Rev. Patrick O'Connor & Dr. Calvin Rice, Founding Members
Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership (EQUAL) is dedicated to building citizen power for new immigrants and poor and working families to enable them to shape public policies that impact low-to-middle-income neighborhoods in Queens-a borough of 2.2 million people, of which 46% are foreign-born. EQUAL is made up of 11 congregations with a constituency of over 3,500 residents and is affiliated with the national Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) through which it receives professional leadership and organization skills to build a political base by identifying, recruiting, training, and developing leaders in local communities.
EQUAL engages with neighborhood residents through “listening campaigns,” a systematic process that requires organizers to listen and engage participants. Together community members determine the issues most concerning to them and set a plan of action. In 2010 EQUAL focused on campaigns related to a 10% interest cap on credit, affordable housing, and quality educational programs for young people.