Community Action for Social Justice
Community Action for Social Justice is a not-for-profit organization that fosters improved health and quality-of-life for Long Islanders impacted by drug use, incarceration, homelessness, and chronic disease through participant-centered services and policy advocacy to reduce broader social and structural barriers.
At CASJ, we believe that community-based organizations should be community based – that our purpose is to serve the community based on their needs and on their terms, even if we don’t always agree. Our approach is inductive rather than deductive – we must first ascertain what exactly is needed (and how it is needed) rather than forcing our agenda or simply replicating something done successfully elsewhere. To do this effectively, we need to listen – listen to our participants and peers, our staff and volunteers, families and other community members, other local organizations, doctors and hospitals, law enforcement and attorneys, local health departments and other planning groups.
We operate from a perspective of acceptance first, then work to reduce or eliminate boundaries that separate us from ourselves and from community with one another. All of our services are provided for free, and most are anonymous. The majority of our services are provided through grant funding from the NYS Department of Health. One of our most vital functions is as a bridge between the community and government in order to communicate the needs of Long Islanders, negotiate resources, then collaboratively utilize those resources in the most effective, efficient, and transparent manner possible. We plan the process, not the outcomes. CASJ’s development is and will continue to be directed by the needs of the communities we serve, not on outside agendas or funding availability. We work to maintain adherence to a process of open listening, inclusion, integration, collaboration, and accountability. We are accountable to our funders for contracts we sign, but we are accountable to the community for our existence.