On the northern side of Sara D. Roosevelt Park sits a large brick structure. Once a youth center, the Stanton Building was shut down during a time of high crime in the Lower East Side and is now used only for storage by the Parks Department. Since the late ’90s, there’s been talk of returning it to community use, but that has yet to happen. So, Wednesday afternoon, a group of local activists gathered outside of the building in what was the first of three events intended to stimulate collective planning about its future.
Sheila Bapat is an attorney and writer, whose work focuses on issues of economic and gender (in)justice. In her latest book, she turns her attention to the labor struggles within the domestic worker realm—historically a black hole for unionizing efforts and labor rights. Bapat’s work shows that this trend is slowly shifting, and through interviews with community leaders and activists, chronicles the escalating movement to secure labor protections for the invisible people who work in the “private” domestic realm.