Instructors: Sarah Horsley – Rising Sun Consulting and Rene Mardones – Somerville Community Corporation
Register for the entire Planning Series:
Planning 101: October 25, 2019; 9:30am – 2:30pm
“Putting the Community Back in Planning” is a training on the community perspective and experience of urban planning. CDCs and other community groups have a very different role to play in planning than local governments do. While all stakeholders must find common ground across different interests and priorities, community-based organizations must at the same time advance their mission to amplify the voices of low- and moderate-income folks, people of color, seniors, families, etc. Using interactive exercises and a panel of case studies, this workshop will offer tools that participants can use to educate community members about planning processes and support them to advocate for their needs including affordable housing, good jobs, and accessible transit.
A Boston native, Sarah Horsley has supported community efforts for social and economic justice locally and nationally for over two decades. Sarah has witnessed long-time Boston residents work hard to improve the city, only to be forced out by high rents. She stands in solidarity with low-income residents and residents of color who are fighting to remain in Boston.
As Civic Engagement Director at the Fenway Community Development Corporation (2009-2013), Sarah mobilized community leaders to engage in organizing and planning efforts to advocate for an affordable and livable neighborhood. She now offers training, coaching and consulting in community organizing and planning to CDCs and other nonprofits. Sarah was an Advisory Group member for the City of Boston’s Plan JP Rox process and serves on the board of the Boston Tenant Coalition and on the JP Neighborhood Council’s Housing & Development Committee.
Sarah also teaches in the sociology department at UMass Boston and is the proud parent of a five-year old. She received a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in Feminist Studies from Stanford University.
Originally from Chile, René Mardones migrated to the US in 2000. Since that time René has been actively involved in social issues affecting low income communities, immigrants and communities of color in the Greater Boston Area. René grew up in a low-income family that struggled to provide him with a good education. As a student, he got involved in organizing against the dictatorship in Chile and helped to build a group of residents in his neighborhood; they came together to address some of the injustices faced in the community. It is through these lived experiences of oppression and injustice that René learned how organizing can inspire and agitate people to fight against those conditions. He believes that to address systemic problems you need systemic solutions.
In 2003 René joined the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation as an AmeriCorps Organizer. Later René joined Sociedad Latina as a parent organizer; there he had the opportunity to work with immigrants who wanted to better understand the educational system in Boston. He had an opportunity to learn from immigrants whose experience was very different than his experience.
René spent seven years working as a community organizer for Alternatives for Community and Environment and the T Riders Union program. In this position, along with ACE’s member leaders, he ran local bus service campaigns, conducted outreach to recruit members, facilitated trainings and provided 1-1 support and coaching for members to develop their organizing skills. Currently René is the lead organizer with the Somerville Community Corporation, working on a range of issues, including affordable housing, local jobs, and a community benefits agreement around new development coming to Somerville.