University Settlement and its partner organization The Door collect social justice project ideas for its Isaac C. Kwock Award. We're excited to announce this year's winners for our second annual award: two excellent projects from seven wonderful finalists.
Isaac Kwock was a staff member who contributed a great deal to both University Settlement and The Door over the span of 11 years, and made many friends and changed lives along the way. This award is an opportunity to honor Isaac's memory and keep advancing his important work through supporting projects at both agencies that work to bring about social justice in the many, many forms that it can take.
After much debate and consideration between the committee members, we selected the following two projects:
- Project Home Staff, "Tenant Leaders"
Project Home (eviction prevention program) proposes the creation of a group of tenant leaders to address rent stabilization and rent control in NYC. These tenant leaders will work with the Project Home staff to provide a series of trainings, culminating in an advocacy event at the final vote of the Rent Guidelines Board. Tenant leaders will receive stipends for their participation, and will become community experts who will serve as resources to their communities and lead future advocacy events.
- Elizabeth Kaplan, "On The Map: New York"
Elizabeth Kaplan proposes "On the Map: New York," an interactive online media atlas that will showcase amazing art from underrepresented communities to foster greater understanding of and engagement with the wealth of these communities. This project, through collaboration with Door and Settlement curators, will enable exploration through video "tours" that showcase unique music and dance scenes throughout New York City, featuring local organizations and sites, special events, and community artists. "On The Map" strives to draw attention to specific communities, neighborhoods, traditions, and venues that are under-represented in other media forums, or that are shown in a manner that ignores their social context and deeper meaning. By highlighting artwork within a community context, the project aims to increase connections between individuals and communities and to deepen understanding of culture and context.
Elizabeth Kaplan, a Development Associate who supports both The Door and University Settlement, reflected on her project being selected for the award: "I am so grateful and honored that 'On the Map: New York' was selected as one of the winners of the Isaac Kwock award. It's an incredible inspiration to help carry on Isaac's legacy. A team from The Door and Settlement will be working over the next several months to put some of the dynamism and richness of our community online: building an interactive media atlas of the city that celebrates artists and communities who use music and dance as a means for social change. We'll be experimenting with how to leverage curated videos along with social media to facilitate on and off-line exploration of, connection with and support for the communities that are the city's cultural and social heart yet whose art is so often either ignored or hijacked and presented out of context in mainstream media. It's going to be amazing."
We are thrilled by these amazing projects and excited for their implementation. Congratulations to the winners!
We'd also like to thank and congratulate all of our other finalists. In addition to the two winners, our Executive Director Melissa Aase and The Door's Executive Director Julie Shapiro identified two honorable mentions. Both of our organizations will pursue additional funding to support these honorable mention projects.