The NYC Community Land Initiative (NYCCLI) is calling on the NYC Council to pass the “Community Land Act,” a legislative package that helps community land trusts (CLTs) bring land into nonprofit community ownership, for permanently-affordable social housing and other needs. Together, these policies combat real estate speculation, advance racial equity, and promote neighborhood-led development without displacement.
Producing, Interviewing, Directing, Filming, Editing
In collaboration with NYC Community Land Initiative

Gentrification, evictions, displacement and rising rents. Since the 1900s, New Yorkers have taken collective action against real estate, landlords & property management. Yet today, the same issues keep repeating – over and over again. This begs the question – what can we do to address this cycle of harm?

This video essay documents the land movement in New York City and the fight for land justice. From Community Land Trusts, to tenant organizations, there is a city-wide movement advocating for more just approaches to land through collective ownership and stewardship. The video highlights the various scales of activism that is occurring across the city in this fight, including state-level legislative advocacy, all the way to organizing around vacant plots of land in their neighborhood.

Embedded within this city-wide movement are also intimate narratives of people’s lives – often, black, brown and immigrant communities, those that have suffered most from the detrimental effects of extractivism. By framing these various efforts across boroughs, groups and communities as a collective fight for justice, the video hopes to expand the viewers understanding of land in context of broader issues of justice.

Featured in the video are interviews with:
  • Debra Ack, co-founder of East New York CLT
  • Maria Torres-Bird, resident of Cooper Square & board member of Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association
  • Edward Garcia, organizing director of Northwest Bronx Community Clergy & Coalition
  • Matthew Shure of Northwest Bronx Community Clergy & Coalition

Other testimonials and presentations are from the following events:
  • Rally & City Council Hearing on Feb 23
  • Community Land Act Bronx Townhall on Feb 25
  • Community Land Act Queens Townhall on Mar 7