We defend the Bronx.

The Bronx Leadership & Organizing Center (BLOC)

The Bronx Leadership & Organizing Center (BLOC)

The Bronx Leadership & Organizing Center (BLOC) was launched in 2022 as a partnership among The Bronx Defenders, East Side House Settlement, and New Settlement. The partnership was founded to spur the development of new solutions to sustainably lift families out of poverty and to promote dynamic leaders who will aim to change the public conversation around social and economic mobility. We do this by utilizing a community organizing framework that identifies and addresses issues, develops community leadership, and builds collective power.

The BLOC brings together a coalition of Bronx organizations working to support Bronx residents to learn and utilize organizing skills and strengthen neighborhood infrastructure. The BLOC coalition is made up of over 45 Bronx based nonprofits, including churches, and advocacy organizations. BLOC’s current committees, Youth Leadership, Workforce Development and Wealth Generation, and Housing, were member-driven formations to help the community connect to services, discuss the systemic history of intergenerational poverty in the Bronx, and collaborate on meaningful, lasting solutions.

Past Collaborations:

Youth Leadership Day– In August 2022, youth from BLOC organizations came together at Joyce Kilmer Park to organize a day to highlight youth leadership in the Bronx. Reaching over 200 people, BLOC joined together to provide community resources and combat negative stereotypes of Bronx Youth.

• Community Resources and Job Fair- BLOC organizations organized a Community Resources and Job Fair at Mitchell Community Center with over 40 providers offering open positions, job/career readiness programs and programs for aspiring business owners. The first hour of the day was dedicated to serving young people ages 14-24 specifically. BLOC received a citation from the office of the Public Advocate for work in the community as a result.

Bronx Housing Forum– The Bronx Housing Forum, held at BronxWorks, brought Bronx organizations and community members together to fight back against deteriorating housing conditions in our borough. Led by the Youth of BLOC Council, nearly 200 people came together to discuss high rents, lack of repairs, lack of affordable housing and growing eviction rates. Following this event, BLOC members testified at the Rent Guidelines Board Hearing held at Hostos Community College to talk about the increasing rate of youth homelessness and the impact of rent increases on all our families.

• Highbridge Family Wellness Day- BLOC members partnered with the Highbridge community at PS 11 to highlight the need for total health and wellness. BLOC offered community activities, workshops and community resources.

Participatory Budgeting– BLOC anchored the Mott Haven and Melrose section, helping to secure over 2300 votes. These efforts led to the community voting to prioritize workshops that will teach Bronx youth about economic empowerment. Our efforts led to the community voting to prioritize workshops for youth teaching economic empowerment.

The BLOC is generously funded by Robin Hood’s Mobility LABs.

For more information on how you can become a member of BLOC, or volunteer on the issues you care about, email alanthony@bronxdefenders.org.

Read our previous quarterly newsletters here.

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