Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN) is a grassroots community organization, established in 1977 and dedicated to improving the lives of families living in the neighborhoods on the south, southwest and near-west sides of Syracuse, N.Y. SUN is a member of the National People’s Action (NPA) organizing network, a coalition of neighborhood groups from over 30 states that work on changing national policies that have a direct effect on local neighborhoods.
SUN members are active, knowledgeable and involved citizens, working for neighborhoods that have:
1) homes that are affordable and in good repair.
2) equal access to quality public services.
3) crime and drug-free streets.
4) access to fair credit and decent bank lending.
SUN members take the lead role in all of SUN’s activities–facilitating public meetings, testifying at government hearings and negotiating with representatives from private industry, government officials and executives of non-profit agencies. Our neighborhoods become stronger when its residents are able to advocate for themselves.
SUN proposes concrete policy solutions for problems in our neighborhoods. SUN’s victories include the reform of the city’s property tax assessment system, passage of the Nuisance Abatement (anti-drug house) law and creation of the city-funded mortgage foreclosure prevention program. In 2006, SUN was a finalist in the MetLife Foundation Police Community Relations Award for the work of our Neighborhood Crime Committee.
The basic blueprint for community organizing was developed by Saul Alinsky who helped organize neighbors in the Back Of The Yards area of Chicago starting in the 1940’s. As the documentary film about Alinsky “The Democratic Promise” states:
A passionate believer that social justice could be achieved through American democracy, Saul Alinsky methodically showed the “have-nots” how to organize their communities, target the power brokers and politically out-maneuver them. The lessons he taught people about the nature of power, imparted dignity to the poor and helped create a backyard revolution in cities across America. His work influenced the struggle for civil rights and the farm workers movement, as well as the very nature of political protest.
More Information On Community Organizing: Basics of Organizing Introduction to the nuts and bolts of organizing–written by Shel Trapp the founding organizer of N.P.A.