The immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York proved it is here to stay when in broke ground Thursday on a permanent home in Corona.
The organization will build a three-story community center at 104-19 Roosevelt Ave. across the street from Corona Plaza and when it is completed in 2020 the new facility will serve as a headquarters and a “beacon of hope signifying the dignity and worth” of immigrant New Yorkers and working-class people of color.
“After years of dreaming of having our own home as an organization, today we witnessed a historic moment — we broke ground to build a new and gorgeous community center in the heart of Queens,” MRNY Co-Executive Director Deborah Axt said. “This new building will enable us to do this ambitious work, giving us the space and resources we need to serve more people and run the many programs that are so critical to our mission. In a time when many from our community are living in fear, this building is a sign of hope and a place where we all belong.”
The 24,000 square foot steel and masonry building will include multiple classrooms and flexible education space, a community gathering area, an expanded number of private office spaces, a commercial kitchen and shared dining area.
“We are enormously proud that, in the face of the continuing, egregious anti-immigrant actions of the current administration, we are standing firm and stronger than ever,” MRNY Co-Executive Director Javier Valdes said. “It will be a welcoming space signifying the value of every person who enters our doors, a beacon of hope, safety, and dignity for all immigrants and working-class people of color. On this day we make good on our promise to our community and the world: We are here to stay.”
The organization will move out of its current location in Jackson Heights upon the centers completion doubling the space for immigrant rights programs and enable large and diverse groups to gather in one space and build collective action to advocate for fair services and policies in New York and beyond.
“Make the Road New York is a driving force for immigrant rights, education, equal opportunities and justice,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said at the ceremony. “This new community center here to stay in Queens will help expand the organization’s capacity and presence to build power and further serve New York’s growing families. As the most diverse county in the nation, Queens is proud to be home to Make the Road New York.”
The center is funded with the generous support of the City Council and individual donors to the group’s Here to Stay Campaign.
“Make the Road has faithfully served our immigrant friends and neighbors for many years,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm, the Chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee, said. “I have seen the impact of their transformative work firsthand and am pleased to have helped make this capital project a reality.”
The organization says its values will “ring through every aspect of the space,” with all voices heard, making clear what transparency and democracy in action look like.
“Every activist, organizer and elected official hopes their actions ripple through the community, but few make waves like Make the Road New York,” City Councilman Francisco Moya said. “It will no doubt extend their reach and strengthen their foothold in New York City as they continue to fight for justice and human rights.”