Civil Rights Accomplishments & Victories, 1999-2015

2015 – Helped move the City to create a “municipal ID” program and ensured that the program would be accessible to people without a fixed address, helping tens of thousands of homeless people avoid unnecessary arrest.

2014 – Got the NYPD Commissioner to publicly promise to cease warrant-squad raids on homeless shelters in the 24th Precinct (Upper West Side Manhattan)

2014 – Got the Department of Homeless Services to stop telling the NYPD about homeless shelter residents with outstanding warrants for “Quality of Life” violations!

2014 – Forced the MTA & NYPD to cancel a planned “purge” of homeless people from the subway system

2013 – Secured passage of the Community Safety Act, landmark legislation that will reform the way the NYPD polices communities of color, which is the first bill in the country to explicitly name homeless people as a protected class from police harassment.

2012 – Joined the Steering Committee of Communities United for Police Reform, a powerful alliance of organizations fighting to reform racially-biased NYPD policies like “stop and frisk.”

2011 – Played a leadership role in the development of Bloombergville, training other participants in the first amendment right to sleep on the streets as a form of political protest, and provided security and police negotiation to the alliance of groups constituting Bloombergville.

2011 – Moved an emerging alliance of anti-police violence organizations to prioritize the ending of custodial arrests for Quality of Life Summonses, including Disorderly Conduct.

2011 – Liaised between a street homeless woman harassed by illegal use of the Disorderly Conduct statute by the NYPD and a PTH legal ally, which resulted in a temporary restraining order issued in federal court on her behalf and an ordering of remedial training for police in Manhattan North.

2010 – Initiated a participatory action research project to document the impact of how the NYPD enforces the Disorderly Conduct Statute on homeless New Yorkers.

2010 – Drafted legislation to amend the Disorderly Conduct Statute and secured the commitment of a State legislator to introduce it as a bill.

2010 – Convened two roundtable discussions on the Disorderly Conduct Statute at the Center for Constitutional Rights with dozens of grass roots and legal allies attending.

2008 – Expanded Know Your Rights Legal Clinic to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue

2005 – Launched a Know Your Rights Legal Clinic at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

2005 – Created a legal resource directory and popular education materials around policing and legal issues impacting homeless New Yorkers.

2004 – Stopped the police in Central Park from arresting and harassing homeless people who sleep in the “Rambles” section of the park for several months, through a “sleep out” civil disobedience protest with homeless people who had previously been harassed on a nightly basis.

2004 – Moved the Unlock the Block voting rights coalition to include the issues of barriers to voting for shelter residents and other homeless New Yorkers as a major campaign focus.

2004 – Won extended hours at the federal post office general delivery window which was slated to be closed during the RNC, and which would have prevented hundreds of homeless New Yorkers, including disabled and veterans, from receiving their mail.

2004 – Reversed a decision by the New York State Parole Board to ban parolees who live outside of Manhattan from entering Manhattan unless they could prove employment there, during the RNC.

2004 – Created a network of homeless organized safe havens in churches in midtown Manhattan for homeless New Yorkers during the RNC.

2004 – Created Operation Cardboard Box, which won several key concessions from the NYPD, and Republic National Convention organizers, and significant support from allies in the midtown Manhattan area slated for the RNC.

2003 to 2004 – Conducted dozens of workshops in soup kitchens and shelters, on Homeless Voting Rights and Civic Participation. We hired 7 members of our civil rights committee to develop curricula and conducted civic participation workshops in all 5 boroughs.

2003 – Won major victory against the NYPD in federal court, resulting in the issuance of a groundbreaking settlement agreement and policy directive against selective enforcement of the law.

2002 – First direct action against Bloomberg held on January 16th by Picture the Homeless, in response to his first public policy initiative, “zero tolerance for Quality of Life violations”.

2002 – Moved the New York Civil Liberties Union to file a lawsuit in Federal Court on behalf of Picture the Homeless, whose members were subject to arrest and harassment due to a shift in policing policies of the Bloomberg Administration.

2002 – Launched NYC Freedom Summer, a participatory action research project that surveyed over 500 homeless New Yorkers on selective enforcement of the law by the NYPD in Manhattan.

2001 to Present Engaged legal allies to serve in an advisory capacity to our civil rights campaign.

2001 – Created Homeless Civil Rights Legal Clinic in conjunction with NYC Police Watch of the Ella Baker Center.

1999 to Present Moved the issues around Quality of Life Policing onto the agenda of the anti-police violence movement in NYC.