FIERCE is committed to exercising our power through strategic campaigns that win real victories for our communities. We ground our work within a long-term vision of changing the structures and root causes that give rise to the challenging conditions our communities face. We are invested to finding solutions for our community that does not put other communities at risk.
Save Our Space Organizing Platform
FIERCE developed the Save Our Space Organizing Platform to counter the displacement and criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color and homeless youth at the Christopher Street Pier and in Manhattan's West Village. The Pier, located on the fringe of the West Village, has historically been the only safe public space for many homeless and low-income LGBTQ youth of color to find each other and build community. In the summer of 2000, FIERCE members began organizing a response to increased policing and mass arrests of youth of color on the Christopher Street Pier. When NYS and NYC closed the Pier for construction in 2001, many West Village merchants, residents and political leaders expressed that they hoped the re-development of the Pier and the beefed-up police presence in the area would improve their quality of life. FIERCE's position, however, is that this concept of quality of life not only ignores, but adversely affects the quality of life of LGBTQ youth, especially those who are of color.
Indeed, the youth who make use of the pier as a public space have reported sharp increases in police harassment, false arrest and racial and gender profiling - usually for just being in the neighborhood. Thus FIERCE has focused our campaign on the oppressive "Quality of Life Policies," which were put into place by former Mayor Giuliani. The laws gave police the authority to treat petty offenses such as panhandling, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, loitering with the intent to prostitute, graffiti, and homelessness itself as worthy prosecution. This emphasis on policing drew massive resources from other social services and education that have the potential to actually address poverty. In fact, under Guiliani and continuing with current Mayor Bloomberg, the only "public service" to receive increased funding has been "criminal justice."
Through a mix of youth-led organizing and activist strategies - including direct action, media advocacy, street visibility through art/activism, and testifying at public forums - FIERCE has been able to change the terms of the public debate about quality of life and public safety in the West Village so that the voices of merchants and residents, politicians and police, are not the only ones that are heard.
To find out about our victories, please read about our Safe Space Saves Lives Campaign and the Our S.P.O.T. Campaign.