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Bianca Cunningham: From AfroSOC to Elections to Eviction Defense

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When thousands of people occupied the park across from New York City Hall in 2020 to demand defunding of the police, “it turned into a huge mutual aid project, and we had to look at what keeps a community safe,” Bianca Cunningham said. Cunningham, now a  campaign director at Action Center for the New Economy, reflected on her range of organizing experiences with Black Work Talk co-hosts Steven Pitts and Toussaint Losier. The energy of the #BlackLivesMatter protests flowed into eviction defense; Cunningham and other supporters of the first Black homeowner on her block faced off against violent landlord goons. Working closely with the eight socialists elected to the New York State legislature, NYC DSA is injecting an element of collective organizing into constituent services—for example, mobilizing for better housing policies at the state level.  In the big picture, Cunningham says, “socialism is the only way to ensure that people get what they need to survive.” She joined DSA and co-founded the AfroSocialist and Socialist of Color Caucus; it started as a happy hour to build relationships, and has grown into a space for people of color inside and outside DSA  who are “radicals and leftists and socialist-curious.” 


Guests

Bianca Cunningham

Bianca Cunningham is Campaign Director for Bargaining for the Common Good at Action Center for Race and the Economy. A former Verizon Wireless worker, she led her coworkers in seven stores across Brooklyn, NY to join CWA in 2014, making them the first unionized retail workers in the company. She later led a 49-day strike to secure a first contract. Verizon fired her for organizing, and during the Verizon strike, picketers across the country chanted “Bring Back Bianca!” Bianca co-founded the DSA’s AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color caucus, a caucus for Black Indigenous and people of color within the organization. She also served as co-chair of the NYC chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America for two terms. She most recently was on staff at Labor Notes where she sometimes wrote and more often facilitated training on Race and Labor.


Tagged

Community Organizing
Racism
Socialist organizing

Referenced Organizations

Action Center on Race and the Economy
AfroSOC

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