Other Local Institutions & Centers Of Power
Many of the issues your community faces can be addressed by NYC government entities and structures. However, local government cannot always address your concerns. You should identify the local institutions that have an impact on your community and might have an important role to play in dealing with issues and problems.
There are many such institutions throughout the five boroughs. Some of these are citywide while others are community-specific: neighborhood businesses, large corporations, major non-profit organizations and religious institutions.
While privately owned businesses, corporations, non-profit organizations and religious institutions are subject to the laws and regulations that apply to their activities they usually can modify their own policies and actions without going through the same process as government agencies. They have their own, internal process to adhere to, but some of the approaches and tactics for pressuring government can be useful when applied to these entities as well.
The local supermarket can be targeted to enforce eco-friendly measures to reduce the waste of produce or limit the use of plastic bags. Local businesses and corporations can be held accountable for engaging in predatory or discriminatory practices that adversely effect community members and consumers.
Likewise, major non-profit institutions are centers of power within the community, oftentimes with a strong constituency or following. There are different kinds of non-profit institutions including, but not limited to, colleges and universities, hospitals and other health related organizations, charitable organizations, direct service and advocacy as well as a range of community groups.
Local institutions do not always have the power to make the decisions or put into place the changes your group is seeking. But they may be in a position to influence those with that power and as such you will want to explore the possibilities for generating their support or active participation in your efforts.
Religious institutions often play a powerful role in the life of a community, and in some areas there may be several different religious institutions. Because a person’s relationship to his or her religions institution is very personal and often a very strong bond, you need to build connections with members of a given congregation before moving ahead on any campaign that is challenging that religious center. Having an inside connection can prove pivotal to the success of your undertaking.
You should also think of the religious institutions in your community as a potential base of support. The question then is how to best enlist the active involvement of these institutions.