FUREE - Families United for Racial and Economic Equality

Award Recipients - 2004

Ilana Berger, Nitza Nieves, Rosa Rodriguez & Brenda Stewart, Co-Founders

Families united for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) is a multi-racial, woman-led membership organization uniting low-income people around economic justice issues.  Based in Brooklyn, FUREE engages in multiple strategies including direct action leadership development, community organizing and political education to achieve it goals.  Its premise is that members through direct experience ìhave the wisdom and ability to lead their fight.

FUREE emerged in 2000 when fifteen women challenged BEGIN, the city’s combination workfare and education program, through a direct-action campaign against the Human Resources Administration to protest lack of services.  They helped organize a citywide coalition and won a critical victory in 2003 with passage of Local Law 23 guaranteeing public assistance recipients access to education and training.  FUREE is organizing to ensure that the mayor implements this crucial law.  FUREE is also organizing unlicensed childcare providers, who are paid a sub-minimum wage by the city to care for the children of low-income parents, in order to win better wages and working conditions.  FUREE members have played leading roles in local and national actions bringing the voices of women on public assistance into the welfare reform debate and making sure that government policies work to end poverty.

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