(VOCAL-NY was formerly known as the New York City AIDS Housing Network – NYCAHN)

Voices Of Community Advocates & Leaders (VOCAL) is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, public education, participatory research and direct action.

As people directly affected by HIV/AIDS, the war on drugs and incarceration, we have often been invisible or demonized when decisions are made about our lives, even though they are among the most urgent crises facing our communities. Intense stigma surrounds these issues because they disproportionately affect people of color and LGBT people, and are rooted in severe racial, gender and economic inequalities. At the same time, these issues are often misunderstood as the result of individual failings instead of failures by our economy and society to ensure adequate housing, healthcare, economic security and other basic human rights.

We believe in a democratic and inclusive movement for social justice that lifts up all New Yorkers. Through our work we overcome stereotypes that we cannot organize effectively because of who we are, and challenge misconceptions that we remain outside of our communities rather than vital members of it. In fact, VOCAL is part of successive waves of organizing movements that have enlarged the circle of those who are active in the fight for social justice and win change that transforms our lives and the broader communities we live in. Our life experience provides us with valuable knowledge to identify solutions to community problems, and it inspires deep motivation and creativity in our work for positive change.

Visit our website for more info.