For 17 years, Make the Road New York has fought to ensure respect and dignity for immigrant, poor, and working class New Yorkers. From our early years working to combine legal services, education, and community organizing in Jackson Heights and Bushwick, we had big dreams about what kind of city and state New York can be. And we had the audacity to believe we could build an organization with the sophistication and muscle to deliver on those dreams.
Thanks to the tenacity and vision of our 15,000+ members, and those who have helped us along the way, MRNY has grown into a robust, multiservice powerhouse that works with tens of thousands of New York City and Long Island residents each year.
We've woven together the different strategies necessary to eradicate poverty. We take those tools deep into the neighborhoods where immigrants and low-income New Yorkers live and work. And we deploy those strategies at City Hall, in Albany, and on the national scene to win organizing victories and policy campaigns that improve the lives of hundreds of thousands.
An Historic Merger
Make the Road New York was created in the fall of 2007 through the merger of Make the Road by Walking and the Latin American Integration Center, two of New York City’s most innovative and effective grassroots organizations. The merger was a natural partnership that built on proven successes and created a new state-level organization that combines democratic accountability to low-income people and an innovative mix of strategies to confront inequity and economic injustice, while fostering deep and active community roots.
Make the Road By Walking (MRBW)
MRBW was founded in 1997 in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to help immigrant welfare recipients who suffered illegal disruptions in their public benefits in the wake of welfare reform. Vilified in the national welfare debate, MRBW helped community members organize to make their voices heard, ultimately changing the conversation and improving policy in New York City to ensure equal access to public services. MRBW integrated multiple approaches to fighting poverty and injustice, including education, high quality legal and support services, community organizing and leadership development. Over the decade of the organization’s existence, MRBW expanded its organizing and services programs substantially, and helped to win four more major City policy improvements.
Latin American Integration Center (LAIC)
In 1992, a group of Colombian immigrants who had recently escaped the political violence that ravaged their home country landed in Jackson Heights, Queens and founded (LAIC) to promote and protect human and civil rights of Latino immigrants and encourage their civic participation in New York City. Over the years, LAIC developed into a dynamic grassroots organization, combining education, support services, and grassroots advocacy in areas of school reform, access to health care, and immigration reform. LAIC’s pioneering community-led citizenship campaigns were some of the largest such drives New York City had ever seen. By the year 2000, LAIC had helped over 10,000 New Yorkers become U.S. citizens.