Social entrepreneurs fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. At Ojala Threads we chose to be a social enterprise because we feel a responsibility to our home, the South Bronx. Every sale we make supports the advocacy work we do.
Our founder is committed to make more than sales. She has dedicated herself to supporting community development endeavors in the areas of sustainable housing, public transportation and criminal justice reform.
Working with organizations like Community Voices Heard, Ramona has contributed to the accountability and transparency recently seen within the New York City Housing Authority.
Finding herself below the poverty level, and priced out of the communities in which she was raised, Washington Heights and Mott Haven, led her to fight for public housing. In NYC public housing is the only option for many families. As development and gentrification limit affordable housing, there simply aren't any other options.
With other advocates she negotiates for better basic services, daily trash pick up, basic upgrades, tenant participation in decision making. Her efforts have led to the inclusion of four sites including Mitchell Projects in a pilot program aimed at creating transparency and encouraging tenant participation.
In 2019 we received a grant from Citizen's Committee for New York City. This grant was used to create the Seniors at Mitchel Houses Calendar. This calendar aims to humanize NYCHA residents while changing the narrative around them. It demands that congress adopt H.R. 4546 which will provide NYCHA with the $34 Billion necessary to remediate and operate NYCHA adequately. Residents of Mitchel Houses are raising funds to continue working on this project via Gofundme and calendar sales.
Public TransportationOur founder got involved in the fight for just public transportation because her illness affects her mobility. Living on public assistance also made it difficult to afford public transportation. She turned the frustration into action by aligning herself with Riders Alliance.
As a Bronx based leadership team member she's worked to ensure that stakeholders support NYC's most vulnerable my making the transit system just and equitable. We continues to work on the "Bus Turnaround" campaign, it is the first time New York City's bus routes are being revised in decades!
On January 27, 2020 NYC will launch the Fair Fares program to all New Yorker's living below the poverty line! Participating New York City residents receive a 50% discount on subway and eligible bus fares. Pay-Per-Ride, 7-Day (Weekly) and 30-Day (Monthly) Unlimited Ride options are all available.
Criminal Justice ReformNew York City has taken on criminal justice reform hoping to create a more just NYC. The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform has put forth a set of recommendations for improving New York City’s criminal justice system, including closing the dysfunctional jail complex on Rikers Island, significantly reducing the number of people in jail, and shifting to a modern system of smaller facilities located near the borough criminal courts. This is now referred to as the Lippman report.
In order to execute the recommendations made by Lippman report Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NAC) have been formed throughout NYC. Ramona sits on the Mott Haven Close Rikers NAC. As part of this body she negotiates with stakeholders and community members to ensure that a new jail in the Mott Haven neighborhood will be accompanied by the significant community investments.
The demands from the NAC currently focus on sustainable housing, public transportation, and youth investments. Over the next two years the NAC will continue to negotiate for community investments that address the disinvestment that Mott Haven has seen for the last 30 years. To find out more about the Bronx based jail check this site.