Podcast: Que Pasa, Long Island? Victory for the Secatogue Nine

Editor’s note: Part five of five. 

Que Pasa, Long Island?

Episode 5: The Legal Strategy That Brought Victory for the Secatogue Nine

In this episode, we tell the story of how the Secatogue Nine, who through their persistence and determination, and with the help of the Hofstra University Law Reform Advocacy Clinic, several community advocates and a seasoned civil rights attorney, stopped the discriminatory cycle playing out in Farmingdale. The struggle lasted for over eight years, and the challenges facing the plaintiffs were profound — uncertainty about outcomes, precarious living conditions during the litigation, working with dozens of law students over the many years of the legal process. We hear about the legal philosophy of attorney Stef Krieger, and how his years of experience fighting for the rights of marginalized communities in Chicago, New York and elsewhere prepared him for this unprecedented, drawn-out legal fight. And we show how the case, settled 10 years ago, remains relevant in today’s climate, in which the problems that were the basis of this years-long fight continue almost unchanged in other communities.

How to resolve Long Island’s affordable housing crisis in the face of local opposition? How to confront the intransigence of entrenched elected officials who are so quick to say not in my back yard when it comes to building new housing for working people? How to include local residents, particularly residents of color, in the development process? How to protect the rights of immigrant workers and their families, especially in a national climate where anti-immigrant sentiment seems to be growing? If anything, as we head into another election season when these issues will be once again at the center of the national debate, it is clear that they will continue to divide communities profoundly, impacting countless families on Long Island, in New York State and throughout the country.