Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is a grassroots community organization that brings the people most directly impacted by injustice together to fight around the issues that most deeply affect our community and challenge the systems of power that are at the root of these problems. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is committed to building working class power in order to strengthen social movements, end oppression, and realize a world that puts people before profit.
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson was formed by long-term community activists as an anti-foreclosure working group of Occupy Poughkeepsie in late 2011. Throughout the next year, we worked to build our membership base and develop our leadership and analysis through trainings led by City Life/Vida Urbana and Right To The City Alliance, which would later become our fiscal sponsor.
In 2013, we won our first major victory against Bank of America, winning back Flavia Perry's home, as a result of public protests and legal struggle. We continued to fight with people to defend their homes, preventing the eviction of Roseanne Phillips and her family, and winning larger structural changes. In late 2014, we helped pass a Poughkeepsie ordinance requiring banks to post a $10,000 bond to the city for each foreclosed or vacant property they own, which would save the city millions of dollars in expenses and bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue.
At the beginning of 2015, we expanded our anti-displacement struggle to include the local struggle against utility monopoly Central Hudson. Their unaffordable bills and high rates of shut-offs disproportionately affect low-income Black and Brown women. Through direct action, advocacy, and legal support we were able to prevent power shut-offs for over 50 households, restructure $115,000 in debt, and win a state investigation into the company. We also won an expansion of a statewide low-income assistance program by $69 million in funding and 550,000 more households in eligibility.
Toward the end of 2016, we started working on education justice through a campaign to close down the discriminatory PACE ("Poughkeepsie's Academic and Career Excellence") program, which is separating out "problem" students into a decrepit building, without enough teachers, without grade-appropriate books, and with a growing law enforcement presence leading to increasing arrests of students. In May of 2017, two school board candidates who endorsed our education justice platform, which pushes for the closure of PACE, were elected.
In the beginning of 2017, we launched the Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone with other local community organizations with an opening event that had over 200 people in attendance. Since then, we have worked to build a community defense network of over 900 people and 30 institutions, helped plan a protest against the Muslim Ban, and organized a training in Peekskill. This community defense system is being built so as to have real structures in place to defend communities from workplace raids, mass deportations, mass criminalization, violence, and systemic violation of our rights and dignity. It was modeled after the work of DRUM in NYC.
In the summer of 2017, we hired Ignacio Acevedo to lead and expand our work for immigration justice in the Hudson Valley, and New York state, more broadly. Ignacio, a formerly undocumented immigrant who has spent almost 30 years living in the area, helped us grow to three new cities — Goshen, Middletown, and Monroe — and open a new workspace within three months.