Director’s Update (December 2023)
Pratt Center Friends & Supporters,
It’s hard to believe that three months have passed since I started at Pratt Center. The past few months have been difficult for New York City and the world, as we've faced numerous challenges. Amidst these struggles, I've been deeply moved by the organizers and community members who have stood up for dignity and justice. I consider myself fortunate to work at Pratt Center, where I can actively support movements for racial, economic, and climate justice.
As I’ve kicked off my time at Pratt Center, one question has been forefront in my mind: What do the people that are most impacted by systemic problems in NYC need to be able to fully participate in shaping the future of our city? With that in mind, I’ve been meeting with leaders of community organizations, elected officials, Pratt Institute faculty and our own Pratt Center staff to hear what they think Pratt Center needs to be doing to be most impactful at this moment.
For example, I’ve talked with partners from Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and learned about the long history between GOLES and Pratt Center. I was inspired by their work to build resiliency, cohesion and leadership across the Lower East Side in the face of increasing climate disasters. I’ve talked with partners at the New Economy Project about the growing Community Land Trust movement and with our partners at IMPACCT Brooklyn about our ongoing collaboration to connect low-income homeowners and tenants to clean energy. I’ve also met with Pratt faculty members that are part of our Taconic Fellows program to discuss ways we can support and bolster their community-engaged research projects. I’ve also spoken with various community partners and businesses about ways to connect to our Made in NYC program for local makers and manufacturers as we start to plan for Made in NYC Week next spring.
I’m excited by what I’ve seen and heard. Pratt Center will jump into 2024 ready to fight for a just transition by increasing access to clean energy for low-income communities of color. We will work at the intersection of housing and climate justice to ensure tenants in basement apartments can live in safe, healthy conditions and without constant fear of flooding. We will work towards a more vibrant small business sector by connecting BIPOC makers and manufacturers to training and technical assistance with Pratt Institute faculty. And we will ensure low-income communities of color across NYC have the tools and resources they need to participate in decisions about the City’s newest zoning initiative, City of Yes.
As we approach the end of 2023 and look forward to a new year, I’m filled with gratitude for our incredible staff, community partners, funders, and faculty and students from across Pratt Institute that have welcomed me with excitement and warmth. I look forward to meeting even more of you in the months ahead, and finding more ways to make positive, systemic change in the coming year.