Introductory Letter from Co-Executive Director Ana Maria Archila:
What a remarkable year it has been. In 2011, Make the Road New York (MRNY) experienced unprecedented growth, expansion, and achievement, despite it being perhaps the toughest economic year since the organization’s founding. Once again, the energy and commitment of our members, staff, and allies led us to win significant victories and expand our impact.
Over the last year we worked with New York lawmakers to develop and win real policy solutions that deliver respect, dignity and opportunity for our state’s immigrant and working class communities. Our membership now includes more than 10,000 dues-paying individuals and 150 small businesses. And we expanded our impact statewide through our new center in Brentwood, Long Island. There in the heart of Suffolk County’s immigrant community, we recruited over 500 new members and mobilized thousands of voters in the November elections, increasing electoral participation of people of color in local elections by almost 13%.
The success of MRNY comes from our multi-pronged strategy. Our reputation for high quality services makes our offices a primary resource for the communities we serve, and our staff and member leaders are trusted resources for policymakers, media, and other social change organizations. While we’re organizing to win policy changes that improve the lives of hundreds of thousands, we’re also helping hundreds daily who come through our doors to take the steps they need in their individual lives to grow, find opportunity, support their families, and have the chance to make a difference. For neighborhood residents, our centers are generative, supportive, and safe spaces where they can get the help they need, and where they find the encouragement to become leaders in our efforts to catalyze social change.
This innovative and effective strategy is the brainchild of MRNY’s co-founders Andrew Friedman and Oona Chatterjee. They planted the seeds of our organization, and now, after an amazing decade and half, they are stepping down as Co-Executive Directors to continue building community strength in New York City and around the country. Joining me at the helm are Javier Valdés and Deborah Axt, who have served as MRNY’s Deputy Directors since 2009. Their energy, talent, and inspiring dedication to social justice have helped MRNY to win dozens of critical reforms at the city and state level—including the monumental Wage Theft Prevention Act—while building the power and leadership of our membership base.
Together, we look forward to building on MRNY’s many years of victories, forging new alliances, and making lasting changes that move New York—and our country—forward.
Ana Maria Archila