The Museum has established many long-standing formal and informal relationships with schools, cultural institutions, Lower East Side residents, community organizations, and local businesses. This work was beginning to take on a more intentional and formalized structure before the COVID-19 crisis interrupted those efforts. This type of connection-making allows our programming and staff to be more inclusive, strengthens our relationships with our neighbors, and helps identify alternatives to policing. To begin the work of cultivating local community relations, we have:
Renewed our partnership with the American Indian Community House (AICH), exploringways to collaborate on programs hat centers American Indian voices, histories and experiences, as well as shared use of virtual and physical space
Reviewed our current strategies for calling 911 and engaging police
Established a connection to a NYPD Neighborhood Coordinator to explore alternatives to policing
The long-term goals of the Community Relations Working group are to establish a coalition of local settlement houses and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) organizations through which we create a regular series of low-cost and/or free accessible programming, develop comprehensive de-escalation training and new protocols for police involvement, and build relationships with with BIPOC scholars and communities to support the expansion of more inclusive and accessible program content.
In partnership with the American Indian Community House, we published a blog post featuring Native artists and makers. The collaboration was featured in the Tenement Museum’s January newsletter as well as on both organizations’social media feeds.
In an effort to connect with Lower East Side seniors, who have been particularly impacted by the pandemic and experienced increased isolation, we have reached out to neighborhood settlement houses with senior centers to offer a series of free virtual programs.
We’ve built on our partnership with the American Indian Community House
In November we co-hosted a virtual Tenement Talk exploring the life ofRichard Oakes and his role in theRed Power Movement.
We’re collaborating on a forthcoming piece for the Museum blog and social media accountsfeaturing Native makers and artisans and their work
The discussion continues about alternatives to police
We’ve been testing the 311 App’s Outreach Request feature and connecting with Downtown Goddard for support with encounters with people who are homeless
We’re seeking staff feedback to establish protocols for calling 911 for frontline staff
Partnered with LES artist collective, Illegal Art for a participatory-based public art project on Orchard Street, offering a freeengagement experience for the neighborhood
After spending much of the first three months addressing the Museum’s anti-racism commitments goal setting and working to establish sustainable paths forward, we’ve focused the last three months prioritizing those goals and taking action in those identified areas. Led by our established working groups, we looked at where some of this work was already in progress (equitable hiring practices) and what felt most urgent (alternatives to using the police). In December, the Museum underwent additional staff reductions as we continue to respond to this unprecedented time, decreasing the numbers of staff members who were actively engaged in these projects. With that said, we recognize that doing the work to live up to our anti-racism statement and commitments is a long game and the Museum is committed to continuing to push forward.
Deepen our relationships with neighborhood settlement houses to learn more about how the Museum can serve its longstanding LES neighbors
Follow-up with the contacts provided by the NYPD Neighborhood Coordinator to develop new staff response guides and training materials
Identify opportunities to boost community organization programs, news, and content through the Museum’s media platforms
Reconnected with AICH to learn how we can help bolster their programming that centers American Indian voices, histories and experiences