SOUTHWEST BROOKLYN TENANT UNION
A neighborhood-based tenant union that brings together tenants and allies to support the right to housing for all.
Throughout 2016 and 2017, I worked as a tenant organizer in Brooklyn and spearheaded the start of a new neighborhood-based tenant union power and combat displacement through grassroots power. The Southwest Brooklyn Tenants Union (SWBTU) brings together tenants and advocates to support the right to housing for all residents in Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, and Red Hook. Formed in response to increasing displacement pressures and tenant harrassment, SWBTU works with members by connecting them with legal counseling, emotional support, organizing and direct action, media and political education, and mutual aid. Monthly meetings provide a supportive space for residents to share collective knowledge and skills, and invite tenants to connect their individual stories to city-wide patterns of displacement.
In 2018, I conducted a group interview with four of the founding members of the Southwest Brooklyn Tenant Union to elevate their memories of how the union was founded, to have a space to collectively analyze the roots of the housing crisis, and to share successful organizing strategies. Above is a five minute excerpt from the story-circle. The story will be archived and shared with the public in 2019 through the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s Narratives of Displacement and Resistance digital storytelling map.