As we close out 2016, 596 Acres is really excited to welcome our new New York City Community Land Access Program Organizer, Alicia Rodgers. In her own words…
I am excited to join 596 Acres after completing my Master of Social Work in Community, Organizing, Planning, and Development last June. Although my prior professional work in workforce development had left me confident in one-on-one, goal oriented meetings and counseling, I didn’t expect that to play a large role in my future work as a macro social worker. I was quickly corrected, and learned during my time in school and in the field that the individual meeting, one-on-one work, is at the heart of any organizing effort. Before hundreds or even thousands stand together in solidarity, individuals come together to find commonality, build trust, and strategize how to win.
I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who has somehow found time to meet with me over the past few weeks. I have been energized and humbled by the people I’ve met and the places and issues I’ve learned about. I look forward to a new year where I will use the lessons that I’ve learned to guide my work at 596 Acres and beyond.
Over the past three weeks, everyone that I’ve met through my new position has reminded me that the mission of 596 Acres is not to build community gardens (although we help do that) or even to ensure public access to public land (although we help do this too), but to work with local organizers and community members to make sure land in their neighborhood is being used the way that the community believes to be best.
This mission is why I was drawn to 596 Acres, because it allows 596 Acres to play a role in the process, but not to dictate the product; not to do for, but instead to do with.
The fact that every person I’ve met has reiterated this mission to me, making sure that I understand the responsibilities and boundaries of my new job, has let me know that 596 Acres is the type of organization that practices what it preaches.
With gratitude and warm wishes for happy holidays,