Interfaith Action Network Monthly
December 2020

Ready, Set, Action
Welcome to December!
How ever you and your family are choosing to celebrate in this most dangerous holiday season, the entire staff of the Fair Housing Justice Center wishes all of our friends and supporters the SAFEST of holidays.

As we prepare to bid farewell to 2020, plenty of us are ready to shout “Good riddance!” But along with the horrific COVID-19 crisis, the tumultuous presidential election, and the furious protests in response to the continued police mistreatment and killings of Black Americans, there have been glimpses of hope for what might come next.

Safe and effective vaccines may soon be available. Voters chose to replace an administration intent on stoking division and rolling back civil rights protections. And Black Lives Matter has been championed by a broad cross-section of people of different races in cities and towns all across the country and around the world.

So, as we look ahead to 2021, we hope you will join us in turning with renewed hope and energy to the work of eliminating housing discrimination and building the Beloved Community.
Below are some educational resources we recommend for you to learn more about fair housing.
Our book recommendation this week is Perspectives on Fair Housing, the latest book in the series The City in the Twenty-First Century from University of Pennsylvania Press. Edited by UPenn Provost Wendell E. Pritchett and professors Vincent J. Reina, and Susan M. Wachter, this collection of essays examines the history of residential segregation, how it did not emerge naturally from individual preference but rather was forced through legal, economic, social, and even violent measures. The book’s various chapters focus on different aspects of segregation and discrimination, from sociological, economic, and educational perspectives, and looks beyond race to a more intersectional view of housing equality. It also offers a review of the tools that, if appropriately supported, can promote housing fairness and economic equity in America. Coinciding with the release of the book, UPenn held a series of online panel discussions with the book’s editors and contributors which can be viewed HERE.
On the legal front, we were pleased to announce last month that FHJC’s race discrimination case against the Town of Eastchester survived a motion for summary judgement. First filed in 2016, the case involves discriminatory residency preferences in the Town’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program and in senior housing developments. For towns as racially homogenous as Eastchester, such preferences act as de facto barriers to increased diversity. In his decision denying the motion, United States District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti sided with FHJC on every claim the town raised in its effort to short-circuit the case. Read more about the case, including a link to a transcript of the telephonic hearing, HERE.
Time to get out and advocate in your community! Below are some advocacy updates and ways that you can get involved.
Organizing and advocating for social change usually involves gathering for meetings, rallies, and other events. While COVID restrictions have eliminated nearly all gatherings, there is still an important way to make you voice heard: “Contact your representative.” Common Cause has created a portal on their website that makes it easy to find contact information for all your elected officials. Simply enter your zip code, and click to see telephone and website info for each of your federal, state, and local representatives. (Email can be sent via each official’s website.) It’s the simplest, most direct way to make your voice heard – even AFTER we’re allowed to congregate again en masse.
And speaking of contacting elected officials, FHJC Policy Coordinator Britny McKenzie wants to remind all of our friends supporters about several FHJC-supported bills making their way through the state legislature in Albany. These bills were drafted in the aftermath of the State Senate hearings in response to the rampant discrimination uncovered in the Newsday story Long Island Divided, which FHJC consulted on:
Once the next session starts on January 6th, we’ll be reaching out for support to help get them all passed. Until then, we encourage you to research and discuss the bills among your group or congregation, so you’ll be ready to take action in January. (Photo: CC-BY-SA-3.0/Matt H. Wade at Wikipedia)

Building the Beloved Community
Want to get involved in the Building the Beloved Community interfaith initiative in some other way? Below are some updates from our interfaith initiative:
Are you a member of a group, congregation or community that you think would benefit from learning more about their fair housing rights and how to combat housing discrimination? Invite us to present a virtual fair housing webinar for your community and we can do that work for you. Like a lot of organizations, FHJC has adapted our in-person presentations to serve online gatherings via Zoom, Google Meet, etc. Just fill out the form on our website and we will be in touch to set it up. 

Watch a series of videos in which we asked a diverse group of civil rights and religious leaders to explain what the beloved community means to them. Also, watch and share our "Building the Beloved Community - A Renewed Call to Action" video to learn more about why now is the time to make fair housing a living reality for all.
“Our goal is to create a beloved community, and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”  

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fair Housing Justice Center | 30-30 Northern Blvd., Suite 302, Long Island City, NY 11101
| (212) 400 - 8201 | (212) 400 - 8203 |