City to City: Oakland Warehouse Coalition

Jonah, Oakland Warehouse Coalition:

We started Oakland Warehouse Coalition not only as a reaction to the witch hunt that was begun by the City of Oakland in reaction to the Ghost Ship Fire, but also as a sustainable alternative to some artists' manifestos that were circulated immediately after the fire, which lacked legislative teeth and grass roots heart. We recognized that the only way to effect City policy immediately was to speak as a united front, and promote racial and gender inclusivity even while narrowing our focus down to a particular segment of the population. In the East Bay political ecosystem, we found it best to jettison "artist" terminology and focus on "low-income tenants," which accurately describes our main constituency.

Social media was and is key. We have a Facebook page, a MailChimp list of about 1,000 Oakland residents, regular old Google-for-business email , and a website forthcoming. A local print shop made us a bunch of merch to table at music and art shows and political events. We have a policy analyst, several strong public speakers, good relationships with several law firms, and local media ties that have been developed over years of simply being here as individuals. We'll be registering as a 501(c)4 soon, and we have a 501(c)3 partner organization under whose umbrella we can fundraise. We've avoided asking the public for money and have taken in only about $1100 to date, which primarily has gone to printing and local business registration. The entire organization is staffed by volunteers; it's exhausting work, so we have a bit of drop-off and new blood every few weeks.

For folks in live/work spaces in other cities who are starting to organize, I'd suggest forming working groups , or at least delegate responsibilities to minimize burnout. Have separate people dedicated to social media, fundraising, policy writing, legal advocacy, and of course civic engagement. Choose that savvy someone whose sole role is to lobby politicians. As soon as you have a mission statement and some short-term goals, go about partnering with existing tenants' rights and arts organizations. Hold public meetings. Create press releases. Write legislation. Bob and weave through treacherous political territory. Appear as larger and more influential than you may be at the beginning, then start filling the shoes you just made for yourselves.

– Jonah

Oakland Warehouse Coalition (#OWC )
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Listen: Great long form radio piece on the aftermath of Ghost Ship featuring Jonah - March 3

Events and Important Deadlines

Wed Mar 15

Thur Mar 16, 7pm-10pm
The Floasis, 1342 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn

Thur Mar 16, 8pm
Ánima: Aída Miró, Rhiannon Catalyst, and Sondra Soto-Silva. Paintings and Butoh Performance Gallery Casa Mezcal, 86 Orchard St. 2nd floor, NYC

Fri Mar 17, 7pm
Fire Safety Extravaganza pt 2 with Tara Mc Manus
The Floasis, 1342 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn

Sat Mar 18, 9pm
Dark Before Dawn: Preview with Jonah Levy
(Secret Location by the Myrtle/Wyckoff station), Brooklyn

Mon Mar 20, 10am
Fire Guard Test
FDNY, Public Certification Unit, 9 MetroTech Center, 1st Floor, Brooklyn

Wed Mar 22, 10am-10pm
CreateNYC All Day Symposium & Town Hall
Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, NYC

Fri Mar 24, 11am
Fire Guard Test
FDNY, Public Certification Unit, 9 MetroTech Center, 1st Floor, Brooklyn

Fri Mar 24, 3pm
CreateNYC Office Hours: Displacement, Affordability & Arts Communities
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, 31 Chambers St #201, NYC

Sat March 25, 8pm
Dark Before Dawn with Jonah Levy
Secret Location by the Myrtle/Wyckoff station, Brooklyn

Thurs Mar 30, 7pm
DIY Spaces Town Hall with Dept. of Cultural Affairs Commissioner
Rad larger location TBA

Fri Mar 31, 3:30pm - 5:30pm
Rescheduled CreateNYC Office Hours: Disability And The Arts Dexter Hall, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West NYC

Mon April 3, 7pm
Dancing is Not a Crime - NYC Artist Coalition April General Meeting
Muchmore's, 2 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn

Mon Jun 15
Deadline to Apply For Loft Law Coverage

Join the NYC Artist Coalition

We are an emerging coalition of artists, creative organizations, community leaders, activists, policy makers, and specialists providing mutual support and advocating for informal and affordable community spaces in NYC. Join us in protecting community spaces for all New Yorkers.

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