The purpose of the Western Queens Community Land Trust is as follows:
1) To promote a more equitable city by way of community land ownership lasting in perpetuity. We aim to reclaim as much land as possible within the geographic area of Western Queens to be owned by the CLT and in partnerships with various local communities, always keeping the principles of economic, racial, and environmental justice and equality in the forefront.
2) To promote community involvement and land stewardship – directly in contrast with the capitalistic goals of private ownership, which places individual needs above those of the community and the greater good. WQCLT is a counterweight to the flawed process of land development in New York City.
3) To strengthen the local economy by supporting local artists, artisans and business owners through affordable working spaces that give back to the community in which they reside through a healthy exchange of goods and services.
4) To prioritize helping low-income residents and other marginalized communities – in keeping with the value of economic equality – by offering them priority access to deep and permanent affordable housing, community, or commercial space.
5) To encourage environmental sustainability via our buildings’ construction, always pursuing the most efficient designs with the least damaging environmental impact.
6) To constantly inform and empower the community with outreach and advocacy campaigns that reinforce our principles and mobilize residents in promoting and sustaining economic equality throughout Western Queens. WQCLT’s properties should always remain a part of their respective communities.
7) To empower immigrant communities by leveraging our communal resources so as to keep Western Queens affordable for people of all economic levels. We aim to maintain Queens’ unique economic and racial diversity by providing land and building space in which residents can live, work, and preserve their cultures.
8) To mirror the principles set forth in Article 17 of the New York State Constitution, which explicitly states: “The aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state and by such of its subdivisions…” We consider ourselves 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. When not trying to keep Queens affordable for everyone, he can be found working alongside Cookie Monster and Big Bird on a certain street most of us know pretty well!
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. She continues to join community efforts to fight gentrification and rezonings, and is also active with a coalition working to pass commercial rent stabilization in the city council.
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 organized local Covid-19 relief efforts 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.