Non-profit

Action Center on Race & the Economy (ACRE)

Website:

acrecampaigns.org/

Tax ID:

82-1199855

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

The Action Center on Race and The Economy (ACRE) is an advocacy organization that promotes left-wing economic policies. Recent campaigns have advocated for cancellation of rent payments and mortgages,[1] cancellation of student debt payments,[2] and a moratorium on corporations merging with one another. [3] To advance its policy objectives, ACRE engages in alliances with many left-leaning and socialist partners, such as organizations such Demos, Democracy for America, Greenpeace USA, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Partnership for Working Families. [4] [5]

ACRE is controlled by the Action Center on Race and The Economy Institute (ACRE Institute). [6] The ACRE Institute is funded by several left-leaning foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, the ARCA Foundation, and the Proteus Fund. [7]

Background

The Action Center on Race and The Economy (ACRE) is an affiliated 501(c)(4) left-leaning advocacy organization controlled by the Action Center on Race and The Economy Institute (ACRE Institute). [8] Launched in 2017, ACRE has two executive directors, Sadiq Bhatti and Maurice BP-Weeks. According to BP-Weeks, ACRE was founded to focus on Wall Street and corporations that are “extracting wealth from communities, with an explicitly racial lens.” BP-Weeks also mentions that “the actual function of how these companies operate is built on the extraction of wealth from people of color.” [9]

The ACRE Institute is funded by several left-leaning foundations. Since 2017, according to the charitable recordkeeping service Foundation Search, these have included the Ford Foundation ($950,000 total), the ARCA Foundation ($75,000), and the Proteus Fund ($15,000). [10]

Rent Cancellation Advocacy

In the spring of 2020 ACRE began promoting a “national reckoning” that would include a “local, state, and federal cancellation of rent and mortgages.” [11]

In April of 2020, ACRE, alongside several other left-wing social policy organizations, launched “We Strike Together.” The campaign website for the project provides a heat map of persons across the country that cannot pay rent with a “unified commitment to demand universal rent relief.” ACRE jointly announced the campaign with Alex Caputo-Pearl (the left-wing president of the United Teachers Los Angeles), and left wing Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D). Left-leaning coalition partners in the campaign included the Alliance for Housing Justice, the Center for Popular Democracy, Jobs With Justice, and the Partnership for Working Families. [12]

The “We Strike Together” web page also features a map to document “rent-strike” actions. [13] The website platform provides resources to tenants seeking to organize a “rent-strike” including the ability to list their location with other collaborators. [14]

“We Strike Together” is a partnership of several organizations and counts “more than 190,000 rent and mortgage strikes” nationwide by individuals. In New York City alone, “We Strike Together” claims to have 14,000 commitments to “not pay rent or mortgage.” ACRE supports the Protecting Renters from Eviction and Fees Act, a federal proposal that would keep a moratorium on evictions from federally managed mortgages in place until March of 2021. [15] [16]

In the summer of 2020, ACRE and allies such as Jamaal Bowman, a candidate for Congress from New York, convened a conference call to announce what AM-NY characterized as a “national eviction blockade.” Bowman called for Congress to implement rent cancellation at the federal level and provide monthly payments to renters until the COVID-19 pandemic ends. [17]

ACRE has also called for private equity companies like Kushner Companies, Blackstone, and Starwood Capital to stop collecting rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. [18]

Police Brutality Bonds

In 2020, ACRE released a report on “police-brutality bonds.” According to the report, the “police-brutality bonds” are financed by banks on Wall Street for high-interest loans to cities and counties to settle “police-brutality” claims. [19] In one example, the City of Los Angeles used a judgement obligation bond to finance $20.5 million of a $95 million settlement during a police corruption scandal. [20] ACRE has accused companies like Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs of making $1 billion in profits off so-called “policy-brutality bonds.” [21]

Amazon.com, Inc.

In 2018, ACRE released a report accusing Amazon of weak merchandise and product control that allowed hate groups to “propagate their ideas” on the marketplace platform. ACRE, in conjunction with the Partnership for Working Families, blamed Amazon for using its platform to spread racism. [22] The report also alleged several listings on the marketplace were used to promote Nazi and white supremacist ideas. [23]

Amazon later removed several items ACRE had cited for association with “hate ideologies, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and homophobia.” [24] In 2019, after the release of the ACRE report, the marketplace site removed 20 products that included toilet coverings, doormats, and bathmats with verses from the Qur’an displayed in Arabic writing. [25]

In July 2020, Amazon self-imposed a one-year moratorium on use of their facial recognition software “Rekognition” by police agencies, following accusations the technology provided erroneous results biased against minorities. ACRE responded to this gesture by accusing Amazon of doing only the “bare minimum” with the one-year ban and said Amazon should have never created Rekognition in the first place. [26]

Similarly, ACRE demanded an end to Amazon’s policy of sharing videos from its “Ring Video Doorbell” system with more than 1300 police departments, and an end to all the online retail giant’s partnerships with law enforcement. Doing otherwise, according to the ACRE statement, would constitute “a racist violation of human rights” on the part of Amazon. [27]

Social Media Companies

In 2019, ACRE released a report accusing Facebook, Twitter, and Google of providing algorithms that gave a platform for racist ideologies. In one example, ACRE alleged that (Google-owned) YouTube’s “auto play” feature allows for users who view one objectionable video to soon be viewing numerous others. ACRE also accused Amazon’s software of making similar recommendations regarding book searches. The report also denounced Google, Fidelity Investments, and News Corp (owners of Fox News) of “profiting off a global fascist movement built on bigotry and fear.” [28]

Policy Outlines

In 2020, ACRE and 101 other mostly left-leaning organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership asking that Congress include a “student debt cancellation” plan as part of a stimulus package. The primary promoters of the letter were left-leaning advocacy organizations such as the Center for Responsible Lending, Americans for Financial Reform, and Demos. In addition to ACRE, some of the other left-leaning advocacy organizations participating included Democracy for America, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, the Consumer Federation of America, Greenpeace USA, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. [29]

In 2020, ACRE advocated that the Federal Reserve purchase state and local government bonds during the COVID-19 pandemic, keep interest rates near zero percent, and allow for refinancing of bonds on local and state government debt. According to The New Republic, a left-leaning journal, these measures were supported in Congress by U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY),  Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). [30]

In 2020 ACRE and two dozen other left-leaning advocacy organizations urged Congress to suspend the ability of corporations to merge with each other. Other left-wing signatories included 350.org, Justice Democrats, Friends of the Earth and the Sunrise Movement. [31]

References

  1. BP-Weeks, . (2020, May 28). Mass Rent Strikes Demonstrate That Housing Has Always Been a Racial Justice Issue [Op-Ed]. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.colorlines.com/articles/mass-rent-strikes-demonstrate-housing-has-always-been-racial-justice-issue-op-ed ^
  2. Harrington, A. (2020, July 15). 101 Organizations Agree: Congress Needs to Cancel Student Debt. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.responsiblelending.org/media/101-organizations-agree-congress-needs-cancel-student-debt ^
  3. Shapiro, R. (2020, May 08). 25+ National & State Orgs Urge Congress to Pass the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2020/05/08/25-national-state-orgs-urge-congress-pass-pandemic-anti-monopoly-act ^
  4. Housing Justice Organizers Across Nation Announce Mass Rent Strike Campaign. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/29/18832694.php ^
  5. Harrington, A. (2020, July 15). 101 Organizations Agree: Congress Needs to Cancel Student Debt. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.responsiblelending.org/media/101-organizations-agree-congress-needs-cancel-student-debt ^
  6. Form 990: Action Center on Race & the Economy Institute, Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships, 2018, Form 990, Schedule R, Part II, Identification of Related Tax-Exempt Organizations, Subsection (a) Name, address, and EIN of related organizations, Action Center on Race and The Economy. ^
  7. “Grant Visualizer: Action Center on Race and The Economy Institute.” Foundation Search. Accessed September 16, 2020. www.foundationsearch.com ^ ^
  8. Form 990: Action Center on Race & the Economy Institute, Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships, 2018, Form 990, Schedule R, Part II, Identification of Related Tax-Exempt Organizations, Subsection (a) Name, address, and EIN of related organizations, Action Center on Race and The Economy. ^
  9. Jaffe, S. (2017, May 4). Interviews for Resistance: “Money for Our Streets-Not for Wall Street”. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://inthesetimes.com/article/interviews-for-resistance-money-for-our-streetsnot-for-wall-street ^
  10. “Grant Visualizer: Action Center on Race and The Economy Institute.” Foundation Search. Accessed September 16, 2020. www.foundationsearch.com ^ ^
  11. BP-Weeks, . (2020, May 28). Mass Rent Strikes Demonstrate That Housing Has Always Been a Racial Justice Issue [Op-Ed]. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.colorlines.com/articles/mass-rent-strikes-demonstrate-housing-has-always-been-racial-justice-issue-op-ed ^
  12. Housing Justice Organizers Across Nation Announce Mass Rent Strike Campaign. (n.d.). Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/29/18832694.php ^
  13. Rebong, K. (2020, May 14). National Rent Strikes Prompt Landlord Counteractions. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://therealdeal.com/2020/05/15/landlords-battle-rent-strikes-across-the-u-s/ ^
  14. BP-Weeks, . (2020, May 28). Mass Rent Strikes Demonstrate That Housing Has Always Been a Racial Justice Issue [Op-Ed]. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.colorlines.com/articles/mass-rent-strikes-demonstrate-housing-has-always-been-racial-justice-issue-op-ed ^
  15. Capps, K. (2020, May 05). Your Coronavirus Housing Questions, Answered. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-05/your-coronavirus-housing-questions-answered ^
  16. Senator Hirono co-sponsors bill to extend nationwide eviction moratorium. (2020, July 2). Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.kitv.com/story/42321913/senator-hirono-cosponsors-bill-to-extend-nationwide-eviction-moratorium ^
  17. Cohen, J. (2020, July 01). ‘These landlords don’t care’: Jamaal Bowman and community groups want rent canceled. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.amny.com/news/real-estate-news/these-landlords-dont-care-jamaal-bowman-and-community-groups-want-rent-canceled/ ^
  18. Burns, R. (2020, June 05). When Shelter Comes Down to the Luck of the Draw. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/rental-assistance-lotteries-eviction/ ^
  19. Connon, A. (2020, July 08). What Do the Racial Wealth Gap, Police Brutality, and the Climate Crisis Have in Common? Wall Street. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/07/08/what-do-racial-wealth-gap-police-brutality-and-climate-crisis-have-common-wall ^
  20. Reilly, C. (2020, July 1). Investors want details on bonds that pay for police misconduct. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.rollcall.com/2020/07/01/investors-want-details-on-bonds-that-pay-for-police-misconduct/ ^
  21. Action Center on Race & the Economy – “Police Brutality Bonds” Reveals Companies Profit from Police Violence. (2018, June 21). Retrieved August 16, 2020, from http://greaterdiversity.com/action-center-race-economy-police-brutality-bonds-reveals-companies-profit-police-violence/ ^
  22. Zaveri, M. (2018, July 08). Amazon Is Used to Promote White Supremacist Merchandise and Views, Report Says. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/amazon-racist-white-supremacist-report.html ^
  23. Khan, A. (2019, January 11). Amazon pulls offensive bathmats with Quranic text. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://religionnews.com/2019/01/10/amazon-pulls-offensive-bathmats-with-quranic-text/ ^
  24. Doubek, J. (2018, August 03). Amazon Pulls Some Nazi-Themed, Offensive Items After Criticism, But Many Remain. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/2018/08/03/635221620/amazon-removes-some-racist-items-from-its-site-after-criticism-but-many-remain ^
  25. Khan, A. (2019, January 11). Amazon pulls offensive bathmats with Quranic text. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://religionnews.com/2019/01/10/amazon-pulls-offensive-bathmats-with-quranic-text/ ^
  26. The ACRE Calls Amazon’s Black Lives Matter Stance Fake. (2020, June 12). Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://blackchronicle.com/the-acre-calls-amazons-black-lives-matter-stance-fake/ ^
  27. The ACRE Calls Amazon’s Black Lives Matter Stance Fake. (2020, June 12). Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://blackchronicle.com/the-acre-calls-amazons-black-lives-matter-stance-fake/ ^
  28. Abbas, H. (2019, November 09). New report shows how tech companies profit from anti-Muslim violence and bigotry . Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.arabamericannews.com/2019/11/09/new-report-shows-how-tech-companies-profit-from-anti-muslim-violence-and-bigotry/ ^
  29. Harrington, A. (2020, July 15). 101 Organizations Agree: Congress Needs to Cancel Student Debt. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.responsiblelending.org/media/101-organizations-agree-congress-needs-cancel-student-debt ^
  30. Aronoff, K. (2020, June 30). The Fed Is Bailing Out Polluters While Cities Struggle. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://newrepublic.com/article/158329/fed-bailing-polluters-cities-struggle ^
  31. Shapiro, R. (2020, May 08). 25+ National & State Orgs Urge Congress to Pass the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act. Retrieved August 16, 2020, from https://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2020/05/08/25-national-state-orgs-urge-congress-pass-pandemic-anti-monopoly-act ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Jonathan Westin
    Board Member
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