2022 was a remarkable inaugural year for The Action Lab.
We built a powerful and inspiring Advisory Board and Board of Directors. Our staff team grew stronger than ever. Most importantly, we continued building a dynamic community of learning and action and we have catalyzed a wide range of high impact projects in each of our four core initiatives: The Gathering Strength Initiative, the Justice Initiative, the Innovation Initiative, and the Belafonte Initiative.
Our conversations, gatherings, trainings, learning delegations and campaigns over the past year all affirmed our belief that building a more resilient, supportive, curious, creative and experimental community is essential to forging a renewed path forward, and new practices, to realize a future of abundance, resilience, justice, freedom, solidarity, and dignity for all.
Learning in Chile
In April, The Action Lab led a learning delegation of some of the most dynamic community and labor organizers in the US and Puerto Rico to build with left base-building organizations in Chile around the shared project of ending neoliberalism.
Take a Breath Fellows
Over the course of the year The Action Lab’s Gathering Strength Initiative made our upstate space available to over 20 new Take a Breath Fellows. Fellows came from a diverse range of work areas and came for unstructured, non-work, and deeply supported time and space to reflect and rejuvenate. They included educators, organizers, dancers, restorative justice coaches, and more. Your support helps make this opportunity available to more organizers around the country!
Summer Justice Corps
Facilitated by instructor Carolina Bank Muñoz, 21 students joined us this summer to work on community-engaged research around housing, gathering organizing tools and manuals, and assisting Make the Road with a 500-member survey. Each student received a $1000 stipend for participating in the program.
Summer Academy of Law, Organizing, and Power Building
To meet the urgency of this moment, and build the power of poor and marginalized people, we brought lawyers and organizers together in August, to move beyond a focus on short term gains and engage with transformative politics, with a focus on housing justice and decarceration.
Freedom Writers Songwriting Lab
In October The Action Lab held its inaugural Freedom Writers Songwriting Lab, where Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and TAL Board Member and inaugural Bellafonte Fellow Aloe Blacc worked with a group of five high school students to write and produce music through the lens of social justice. They’ll be included on an upcoming EP that Blacc is producing for Black History Month.
Freedom Forward Film Series
The Fall 2022 installment of the Freedom Forward Film Series featured Sing Your Song, a close look at the career and activism of the great Harry Belafonte; War Against our Schools, which shed light on the impacts of Puerto Rico’s school privatization scheme; and Primera, an immersive look at student activism in Chile. Stay tuned for more!
Learning Delegation to Vienna’s Social Housing Program
In the fall, The Action Lab and the Housing Justice for All Coalition brought a delegation of housing organizers, activists, NYCHA public housing residents, and elected officials for a learning mission to Vienna, Austria, where more than 60% of the city’s 1.8 million residents live in social housing. In 2023, we’ll continue researching ways to improve affordable housing in New York and elsewhere.
Countervailing Oligarchic Power
Just days after the midterms, we hosted Countervailing Oligarchic Powers, convening nearly 50 organizers, policy advocates, lawyers, journalists, scholars and funders to discuss using policy and rule changes to build mass-membership organizations that are able to prevail against growing oligarchic power in the US.
Dismantling Racial Capitalism Convening
In partnership with NYU Law and others, we brought together academics, lawyers, and practitioners from various disciplines, the event created space to develop and sharpen our understanding of racial capitalism, how it functions, its horrific consequences, and how we can challenge and dismantle it.
Healing for Liberation: A Community Dialogue on Healing & Justice
Featuring Suhaly Batista, Shane Bernardo, Cherizar Crippen, and Gloria Rodriguez, this multi-generational panel of organizers, activists, healers, and cultural workers reflected on healing work as an essential element of our social justice ecosystem, and a pathway to collective care, earth balance, and interdependence.