The purpose of the Western Queens Community Land Trust is as follows:
- To promote a more equitable city by way of community land ownership lasting in perpetuity. We aim to reclaim as much of the Western Queens area as possible for CLT ownership and in partnership with local communities, always focusing on economic, racial, and environmental justice.
- To promote community involvement and land stewardship. This remains directly in contrast with the capitalist goals of private ownership, which place individual needs above those of the community and the greater good. WQCLT seeks to counterbalance the flawed process of land development in New York City.
- To strengthen the local economy by providing affordable working spaces to local artists and business owners. This can ensure a healthy exchange of goods and services within the community.
- To offer priority access for low-income residents to deeply and permanently affordable housing, community, and commercial spaces in marginalized communities, as a way of keeping with the value of economic equality.
- To encourage environmental sustainability in our building design by choosing the most resource-efficient designs with minimal negative environmental impact.
- To constantly inform and empower the community with outreach and advocacy campaigns that reinforce our principles. We aim to mobilize residents in promoting and sustaining economic equality throughout Western Queens. It is important that WQCLT’s properties remain part of the community.
- To empower immigrant communities by leveraging our communal resources so that Western Queens remains affordable to people of all economic backgrounds. In order to preserve Queens’ unique economic and racial diversity, we provide land and building space for residents to live, work, and preserve their cultures.
- To mirror the principles laid out in Article 17 of the New York State Constitution, which states, “Aid, care, and support for the needy should be provided by the state and its subdivisions.” We consider ourselves to be one of those subdivisions.
Memo Salazar, co-chair
Memo is a filmmaker and longtime resident of Sunnyside, Queens. He is also a local business owner and co-runs the Sunnyside CSA, which aims to bring sustainable food justice to the neighborhood. Aside from trying to keep Queens affordable for everyone, he is often found working alongside Cookie Monster and Big Bird on a certain street everyone knows!
Jenny Dubnau, co-chair
Jenny Dubnau has lived in Jackson Heights for 18 years. She is a working artist who has been renting commercial workspace for many years. She’s a founding member of the Artist Studio Affordability Project and a member of the Justice for All Coalition steering committee. Her community efforts to fight gentrification and rezonings continue, and she is actively involved in a coalition working to pass a commercial rent stabilization law.
Julia Forman, Treasurer
Julia Forman is a third-generation New Yorker born in the Bronx. She has lived in Dutch Kills since 2014. She is an attorney with public service experience in criminal and civil law, and a board member of the Dutch Kills Civic Association. She has coordinated local relief efforts for Covid-19 with Astoria Mutual Aid Network, Sunnyside/Woodside Mutual Aid and LIC Support, as well as coordinating local efforts to encourage census completion and voter registration.