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NYC’s M.A.R.C.H. Raids shutter vital cultural spaces. We need #TalksNotRaids @NYCCouncil @StephenLevin33 @KeithPowersNYC @RLEspinal@KeithPowersNYC @RoryLancman @BobHoldenNYC @alickasamuel@alickasamuel Join: TalksNotRaids.com
We need Transparency on M.A.R.C.H #TalksNotRaidsTell your story. NYC’s M.A.R.C.H. Raids shutter vital cultural spaces. The Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (M.A.R.C.H.) are terrifying raids that shutter vital community spaces. M.A.R.C.H. is a group of City agencies, headed by the NYPD, and includes the SLA, DOB, DEP, FDNY, and DOHMH, that primarily organizes and target cultural spaces in order to close them. M.A.R.C.H. efforts result in a terrifying raid in the middle on the night, with half a dozen city agencies storming a venue, closing the space, and issuing numerous fines so as to cripple the business and force a shutdown.
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Transparency on Multi Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) operations legislation announcement.
Oct 17, 2018.
City Hall Park, NYC
Council Member Stephen Levin
“Shutting down an establishment for even one night can cost venue owners significant losses in revenue and put their business at risk,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I am proud to sponsor this much-needed legislation to shine a light on the MARCH Task Force’s enforcement practices and bring greater accountability to the process. Reports from businesses and community leaders about fear-inducing raids are concerning and today’s legislation will help city officials assess a more responsible path forward that balances community needs and respect for New York City’s beloved nightlife culture.”
“As a business owner who has focused primarily on initiatives which add to the vibrancy, education and advancement of our neighborhood; the MARCH on Friends and Lovers was not only extremely intimidating but it undermined all of the efforts we've put into community building. We respect that everyone needs to do their job but these organizations can regulate with respect, transparency and without intimidation. It's clear that fines have take the place of constructive conversations,” said Diana Mora, owner of Friends and Lovers.
“We came to this country and chose to go into business to create a better life for our family and the people in our community. Many business owners would agree that the lack of awareness surrounding certain good business practices, could come at a cost. Sometimes, you end up in trouble or hit with big fines for things you had no idea existed! We are happy to comply with all laws and prefer to practice good business. However, it’s very discouraging when your mistakes —especially the ones you’re not even made aware of— are criminalized. It’s certainly a dream killer. If a complaint is made against us, or we make a mistake, we have no problem collaborating with the appropriate agencies to cure any issues. When inspection matches occur, not only does it hurt us, but it also causes residents and patrons to mistrust enforcement officers. That’s the very energy that we do not want created because we rely on agencies such as the NYPD to protect us, not cause a divide,” said Nola Rodney, owner of the Hills Restaurant and Bar.
“In an era defined by Trump, where no city, person or institution feels untouched by corruption and mismanagement, it is the responsibility of the city of New York to show its citizenry what democracy can and does looks like; for too long MARCH has been a Stasi-like tool used to intimidate small business owners without recourse, often fining them out of existence and, losing jobs, investments and dreams while creating empty storefronts in the fallout... there is currently no way to contact or to find MARCH, elected officials believe it no longer exists, meanwhile it operates in the shadows of our democracy,” said Rachel Nelson, The Secret Project Robot.
"We advocate for safety and preservation of grassroots cultural spaces. The best way to achieve this is through building relationships of trust with all stakeholders. Venues and artists most times have great relationships with their local officers at the precinct level, but when the MARCH task force appears--with what is effectively a scary raid--it wreaks havoc on valuable and vulnerable community spaces. Enforcement must be fair, proportional and transparent. We need talks not raids," said Olympia Kazi, NYC Artist Coalition.