Introducing the Rockaway Organizing Coalition
Saturday, November 14, 2015 marked the first official meeting of Rockaway's newest advocacy super group, the Rockaway Organizing Coalition (ROC). ROC is the brainchild of the Rockaway Youth Task Force (RYTF). ROC aims to address the needs of Rockaway residents by strengthening the current community based advocacy network. To accomplish this, the coalition will focus on utilizing the strength and expertise of the diverse community based organizations that serve the Rockaway Peninsula.
ROC's approach to achieving its mission is twofold. At its core, ROC members believe that there is strength in numbers and that the sum of their combined efforts will be greater than its individual parts. Through its diverse membership, ROC will have the capacity to impact the lives of many underserved residents by working under a united banner.
Additionally, ROC members recognize the mutual benefit of consolidating their resources. ROC seeks to provide a formal resource sharing structure for members to utilize the technical expertise, financial resources, and human capital or "people power" of other members. With these essential resources in place and available, ROC members will have a firm foundation upon which to achieve their individual organizational goals.
The formation of the Rockaway Organizing Coalition could not have come at a better time. Rockaway residents have been traditionally underserved and underrepresented. While there is no lack of grassroots organizations that are working to change this narrative, ROC members feel that uniting as a coalition will allow them to magnify their efforts and positively impact more Rockaway residents. Dr. Edward Williams, CEO of Ready Rockaway, states, "This [ROC] has given our community the opportunity to become self-sufficient, self-reliant, and to enhance the capacity of Community Based Organizations".
By joining forces, ROC members hope to bring attention and solutions to issues that have continuously plagued the peninsula. "Gun violence, transportation, and real affordable housing options are just a few of the issues we will address as the Rockaway Organizing Coalition", said Milan Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of the Rockaway Youth Task Force. "Many of the organizations present have independently worked on these issues for years but collectively we hope to see greater progress being made".
ROC is composed of over 10 community based advocacy organizations including the Rockaway Youth Task Force, the Far Rockaway NAACP Chapter, Community Voices Heard Rockaway Hub, the National Action Network Rockaway Chapter, the 101st Precinct Community Council and Fathers Alive in the Hood (FAITH).
The first ROC meeting showcased the dedication of the many community advocacy organizations in Rockaway. Members are hopeful for the future and are inspired by ROC's potential to impact real lives. Kenny Carter, President and Founder of Father Alive in the Hood (FAITH) spoke eloquently, "We, the ROC, are for the people by the people".
The next ROC meeting will be held in December.