In 1959 New York City announced a “slum clearance plan” by Robert Moses that would displace 2,400 working-class and immigrant families and dozens of businesses from the Cooper Square section of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Guided by the belief that urban renewal should benefit – not displace – residents, a working mother named Frances Goldin and her neighbors formed the Cooper Square Committee (CSC) and launched a campaign to save the neighborhood. Over five decades, they fought politicians, developers, white flight, government abandonment, blight, violence, arson, drugs, and gentrification – cyclical forces that have destroyed so many working-class neighborhoods across the US. Through tenacious organizing and hundreds of community meetings, they not only held their ground but also developed a vision of community control. Fifty-three years later, they established the state’s first community land trust – a diverse, permanently affordable neighborhood in the heart of the “real estate capital of the world.”
Following the screening, a panel discussion will feature Vernon Richardson, June Jones, Joel Brooks and filmmaker Kelly Anderson. Tickets are $10 in advance or at the door.