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Action for Community Empowerment

Award Recipients - 2003

Jacqueline "Nia" Mason, Executive Director

Action for Community Empowerment (ACE) organizes Central Harlem residents to identify and combat social, economic and environmental injustice. “ACE is dedicated to the right of people to have a decent standard of living, to be safe in their neighborhoods and to have the power to shape their lives.”  Principal goals are to develop community leadership, improve neighborhood conditions and build an organization that advances the interests of working poor and low-income families.  ACE’s programs and direct-action campaigns create a venue for residents to influence policies that affect quality of life in their neighborhood.


ACE emerged in the 1980s seeking permanent housing for homeless families living in Manhattan’s welfare hotels.  The campaign exposed the squalid conditions for which New York City was paying exorbitant rents and the ensuing scandal pressured the City to relocate families.  Many were moved to Central Harlem where ACE successfully organized for housing repairs and established tenant cooperatives.  In 1999, ACE put the media spotlight on the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone’s practices of providing tax incentives to big businesses without any benefit to local residents.  ACE’s Harlem Youth in Action organized a successful campaign creating new jobs and other support structures.  

ACE also works in coalition with progressive groups throughout the City to create a comprehensive housing agenda and build a unified front to demand humane and socially responsible housing practices.


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