For years, Critical Resistance New York City and women from the La Casita program did radical political education together, tended to a community garden space in the Bronx, and, with the Community in Unity Coalition, successfully waged a campaign that stopped jail expansion at Hunt’s Point. Through this collaborative organizing, powerful political leaders were developed and formerly imprisoned mothers shined as experts on what NY communities need instead of imprisonment.
In 2006, CR reorganized our New York City work around the La Casita Project. The main aims of the reorganization were to increase our capacity to fulfill our commitment work working with women and children who live at the La Casita facility, to deepen our ties to the South Bronx, and to more comprehensively connect our leadership development, advocacy, and outreach activities. Putting the La Casita Project at the center of this work increase our ability to grow as a community-based organization with diverse avenues for participation for those of us directly impacted by the prison industrial complex as well as our allies. CRNYC led a fundraising drive specific to the La Casita Project (we received no project support funding in 2006). Our main goal for this grant was to renew our highly successful internship program, which allows women who live at La Casita to complete paid organizing training internships with Critical Resistance.
At the time, CR’s New York staff person, Pilar Maschi, a former participant of La Casita, spent a large percent of her time working directly on the La Casita Project, on coordinating our New York work as a whole, and on working with CR chapters nationwide to support their leadership development and base-building efforts – work for which the La Casita Project provides our primary, replicable model.