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Orange County Justice United is a broad based community power organization that develops civil sector leaders with the capacity to organize and win

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    Justice United's Mid Year Report

    Across the nation, the COVID-19 epidemic and killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor unveiled what we have always known: that America is not working for all of us. It is working only for some of us at the expense of
    somebody else. In the midst of these crises Justice United leaders answered the call to build and exercise our collective power from the bottom up, and to begin to create a new political and economic reality that ensures equity for all.

    This year we have organized and delivered hundreds of members from our institutions and won significant investment in our community. Download our mid-year report below to learn what we have accomplished together so far!

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    Campaign to Improve Mobile Home Parks

    Here are the latest updates from Justice United's campaign to improve conditions in three local mobile home parks. 


    $30,000 Victory at Mobile Home Park B!

    Thursday, July 2, 2020

    Over 50 Justice United members supported neighborhood leaders from Mobile Home Park B during their negotiations with the park owner.

    We have great news! Neighborhood leaders won commitments from the owner to forgive all arrears and debts for residents: a total value of at least $30,000! The debts had accumulated from inadequate park management and miscommunication. 

    Before Thursday's negotiation neighborhood leaders had identified debt forgiveness as their top priority. They're now celebrating this big win!! Many thanks to the JU members who demonstrated our power to the owner and helped set the tone for building a public relationship.

    This win comes in the context of big changes for the park. The owner has accepted an offer of $1.1 million to sell the park to an out-of-state company, and plans to close within the month. Neighborhood leaders had pushed hard for the debt forgiveness issue since it was one commitment the owner could control, even with the sale imminent.

    If the park sale closes as planned, leaders will continue organizing to build a public relationship with the new owners. They'll also continue pushing for trash service, improved water, and more responsive office management. The current owner has guaranteed that his commitment to build a new well will carry over to the new owners, so the leaders will also be holding the new company accountable for well construction.

    More soon! In the meantime, many thanks again for standing with the residents of Mobile Home Park B as they negotiated this victory!

    Progress at Mobile Home Park A!

    Thursday, June 18

    Over 100 Justice United members supported neighborhood leaders from Mobile Home Park A last night during their first negotiation with park ownership. 

    There is good progress to report. 

    Neighborhood leaders led the negotiation and won initial commitments from the owners to address unsafe and unhealthy conditions in their mobile home park. Leaders also secured commitments from the owners to attend a second meeting. Ultimately the goal is to establish an ongoing public working relationship with the owners.

    Below we've detailed how the owners reacted to each of four resident-led proposals. 

    For next steps, residents will hold the owners accountable for their commitments and will develop a strategy to increase pressure behind the proposals where they didn’t win a full commitment.

    We will update Justice United leaders regularly to report on progress and future actions with Mobile Home Park A. We know it was challenging and angering for many on the call to hear executives from a multi-million-dollar capital investment company dismiss the residents' descriptions of financial difficulty during COVID-19. We're going to keep organizing!

    Your solidarity has already been a source of encouragement for the residents. They frequently remind each other that Justice United members will be standing with them. Thank you again for your support!

    Proposal 1: Postpone the rent increase (currently proposed for August)

    Reaction: NO. Executive explained that the company is prioritizing shareholders' earnings. He did, however, agree to another conversation about the rent.

    Proposal 2: Fix septic system failures that are currently creating open pools of foul-smelling septic water, and commit to a regular septic system maintenance schedule.

    Reaction: YES. The owner will assess the failing areas and begin repairs within the month.

    Proposal 3: Remove hazardous and fallen trees, and commit to regular tree inspection to prevent trees from crushing residents' property (which has happened in the past).

    Reaction: YES. Owner committed to assessing trees within 2-4 weeks, and tree removal in the fall.

    Proposal 4: Pave the pothole-ridden roads, which have caused accidents, are dangerous in wet/snowy weather, and require expensive car repairs.

    Reaction: PARTIAL YES. Owner committed to adding new gravel and improved maintenance, but said paving would be too expensive for the company at this time. 

    Additional win: The owner agreed to meet again with the residents within the month to report progress on commitments and continue negotiations.

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    Relational Canvassing

    Relational canvassing is a tool that can help neighborhood leaders organize their power and address concerns that include substandard conditions, safety, the lack of infrastructure, and the threat of displacement by rising rents or property taxes. On March 2 over 100 Justice United members ratified a proposal to use relational canvassing to support these neighborhood leaders.  

    Relational canvassing is a deeper form of canvassing than just simply handing out a flyer, or asking someone to complete a survey. It involves a 10-15 minute conversation with someone at their doorstep, to introduce ourselves, hear their story, identify concerns, and see if they have the appetite to take action. 

    These relational canvasses are part of Justice United's ongoing listening session campaign. Our goal is to engage more than 600 members of our congregations and communities by May 31 to identify the top pressures and concerns facing our families. Ultimately this campaign will lead to the creation of a new grassroots issue agenda.  

    Neighborhoods, Dates, Times

    Justice United has been to support leaders in the neighborhoods that surround our institutions or where members of our congregations live: 1) Piney Grove; 2) Fairview; and at least two mobile home parks in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. These neighborhoods represent over 550 predominantly working class, African American and Latino households. 

    Canvassing Dates and Times (Sign Up Below)

    Saturday, April 04, 10:00 am — 1:00 pm;

    Saturday, April 18, 10:00 am — 1:00 pm;

    Saturday, May 02,  10:00 am — 1:00 pm.

    Training will be provided to all participants from 10:00 am—11:00 am during each canvass. Repeat participants do not need to attend training and can come one hour late. Canvassers will be trained at the UU Congregation of Hillsborough (1710 Old NC Hwy 10) and will then depart to knock on doors in one or more of the above neighborhoods.

    Everyone who participates in relational canvassing will receive training beforehand, will be given materials, and will go in pairs. Each canvass will involve both neighborhood leaders and outside supporters.

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    Success! African American Teacher Hiring Quadrupled at OCS

    Orange County Schools Board of Education Chair Will Atherton, Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder, and HR Director Connie Brimmer attended Justice United's Internal Assembly on March 2 to report on progress increasing teacher diversity through alternative licensure programs that Justice United first asked the Board to strengthen in 2018. They were joined by OCS teachers Wanda Rittenhouse and Monique McAdoo who shared testimony on their experiences with these programs. The full report from the OCS leadership is available here.

    The bottom line: Orange County Schools has more than quadrupled the hiring of African American teachers from the 2018/2019 hiring season to the 2019/2020 school year.

    Justice United leaders have invested over two years of effort in this campaign to increase teacher diversity within Orange County Schools; a campaign that has now delivered real, tangible results. We are proud to celebrate this success and will continue to monitor progress on this issue over the long term.   

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