A footnote on my role in CWG.
Why I attend CWG
I attended CWG meetings for two reasons: 1) because I felt responsible for its creation. Had I not asked Chinese Staff and Workers Association to attend the Community Board 3 meetings on the EV/LES rezoning, that rezoning would probably have been approved without notice or controversy. CSWA's protest led directly to the creation of the CWG. 2) Many gentrifiers, including real estate owners, their consultants, non profits and other opportunists are familiar with zoning technicalities. Community residents and workers were unfamiliar with zoning, its jargon, its metrics, its text, intricacies and technicalities. I felt that someone on their side with expertise in zoning, but without any institutional or personal investment in Chinatown, should monitor the proceedings so that the community would not be taken for a ride by gentrifiers who do have a vested interest in a Chinatown or LES rezoning.
Why I never joined CWG
I never became a voting member of CWG, even when I was secretary, although I could easily have applied on behalf of my block association which includes a corner of the CWG catchment area. Since I don't myself live on that corner of the catchment area, and I'm white, as a matter of principle I did not want to be a carpetbagger and give myself a vote.
Why I did not blog about CWG until now
As soon as I started attending and participating as a "friend of CWG" (this is a category for individuals who participate without voting), I stopped blogging on anything related to CWG. This was also a principled decision. It seems to me to be unethical to use a platform that might leverage decisions within the group. Journalism should be separated from participation. The journalist or blogger will have an unfair advantage within the group. I wish all bloggers and journalists would do the same. Either role -- participant or journalist -- is valuable. Doing both is unethical.
Why I support CSWA, NMASS, AALDEF and The Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side
I have always supported CSWA, NMASS and the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side even though some of their tactics are not mine. I think that's okay. Different groups occupy different positions of opportunity. Labor organizations need a loud and aggressive voice because they stand at the bottom of the social scale of prestige. They do not get the knee-jerk respect of a suit or the EO of an institution. This world is morally upside down. Those who are disempowered are given no respect and their legitimate complaints are ignored, while the empowered who need no attention are given respect no matter how corrupt they are, their suit pockets stuffed with government funds. The empowered and influential don't need my support. That's why I support the Coalition members even though their tactics are not mine. Their grievances are genuine. Their demands deserve attention. To each their own tactics -- as long as the goal is the same!