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ANHD Statement on Amazon Exit

February 14, 2019

When We Fight, We Win

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development celebrates the victory of community groups across New York City in successfully deterring Amazon from developing its proposed headquarters in Long Island City. The movement against Amazon was led by immigrants, people of color, and working class New Yorkers. ANHD member groups CAAAV, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, and Make the Road New York, along with ANHD ally Queens Neighborhoods United, led this fight and deserve recognition for the pivotal role they played in mobilizing the community.

As history shows us, communities that are most deeply affected by large-scale development have most often been excluded from what happens in their neighborhoods, and how public dollars are spent. As ANHD has stated in the past, New Yorkers should not be put in a position where they have to make concessions to private development in order to meet their community needs. Queens residents, like all New Yorkers, deserve access to good paying jobs, good transit, and truly affordable housing through real, transparent, and community-led development- without having to trade in their neighborhoods to the world’s largest corporation.  Today, we see the power of organizing in our communities to prevent displacement, to create real economic opportunity for all New Yorkers, and to ensure that our voices were heard by elected officials, by policy makers, and by the world’s most valuable corporation.

Amazon’s exit from New York presents the opportunity for a new vision for economic development: one that centers the voices of immigrant communities, communities of color, and low-wealth communities. This new vision for economic justice ensures good jobs set aside for local residents; adequate job training; and strong protections for residential tenants, small businesses, and middle income homeowners. It’s clear that our City can no longer rely on failed models of trickle-down development that have continually put communities of color at risk. Rather than embrace a strategy that focuses simply on expanding the tax base, a holistic approach to economic development must center the voices and needs of those communities that stand to both benefit and lose most from new development. We need investment in people, not just in a place.

There is still much more work to be done to create real economic justice and to make New York an equitable city. But today, we have proof that when we fight, we win.

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