Organising enclaves under Black and Brown leadership in New York City

A conversation with Imani Henry of Equality for Flatbush (E4F)

Imani Henry (E4F) and Ana Vilenica

Published in Issue 6.1 // Conversation Series

Keywords: New York, Brooklyn, anti-eviction, Black struggles, tenant organizing


This Conversation with Imani Henry of Equality for Flatbush (E4F) offers a glimpse into the grassroots organizing and struggles in New York City, particularly in Brooklyn. The conversation delves into the formation and mission of E4F, a Black Lives Matter group established in 2013, which intertwines anti-gentrification efforts with a strong stance against police violence. The interview begins with the context of a recent solidarity action for the Sanderson family, highlighting issues such as deed theft and racially charged harassment faced by the family. Imani Henry details E4F’s active involvement in cop watching and its roots in the legacy of the Black Panther Party. The conversation also touches upon the organization’s broader Brooklyn-wide initiatives, including food distribution during the pandemic. Key themes emerge, such as the intersection of race and housing, the dynamics of community-led resistance, and the importance of fostering enclaves under Black and Brown leadership.

Equality for Flatbush (E4F) is a people of color-led, multi-national grassroots organization that does anti-police repression, affordable housing and anti-gentrification/anti-displacement organizing in Flatbush, East Flatbush and Brooklyn-wide. Founded in June of 2013, Equality for Flatbush was created as a direct response to the increase in tenant and police harassment due to gentrification. We have only 2 goals: to End NYPD murders and to Stop the displacement of low-to-middle income people from our community. We organize our communities for social change and justice through street outreach, social media campaigns, political advocacy and direct action.

Imani Henry is a resident of Flatbush and a second-generation Jamaican migrant. He describes his work as a social worker at housing works and activism against police brutality through Equality Watch, cop watching, BLM, and Standing Rock. As an elder in the transgender community, Henry is focused on organizing and leading the younger generation. He is a founder of Equality for Flatbush.

Ana Vilenica is a feminist, no border and urban activist and organiser from Serbia currently living in Italy. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the ERC project ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing’ at the Polytechnic of Turin’s Inter-university Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) and a core member of Beyond Inhabitation Lab. Ana is a member of the Radical Housing Journal Editorial collective and the Feminist Autonomous Centre for research (FAC research).

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