11/04/2013 04:45 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Dawn Of A New New York

New York City is experiencing the dawn of a new day.

After twelve years of corporate governance, a new paradigm of activist government is breaking forth. Ordinary New Yorkers are stepping up and leading community-based movements for a just and sustainable New York.

In recent years a growing coalition of community leaders, faith leaders and labor leaders have joined together to fight successfully for a Living Wage Bill, a Paid Sick Days Bill, and a Police Reform Bill. These are the first fruits of a harvest for justice driven by this coalition of conscience.

For far too long, New York City has been run by elected officials who cater to every whim of Wall Street brokers, real estate developers and insurance company executives. While the rich are getting richer on Park Avenue, six subways stops away in the Bronx, the poor are getting poorer. Tired of the trend of a corporate approach to city government and real estate development, poor-led, multi-faith community coalitions are organizing for justice in the Bronx and beyond.

For example, the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition helped negotiate a community benefits agreement with KNIC Partners that ensures there will be 100% Living Wage jobs, 52,000 square feet of community space, and a sustainable green architectural design for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center.

This offers a new paradigm of real estate development that is in and for the community. Vibrant faith-rooted organizing networks are giving birth to a new generation of elected officials who are committed to a vision of activist government, tapping into the heart and soul of the democratic spirit.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has," writes Margaret Mead. A small, but rapidly growing, group of committed New Yorkers are changing the face of our beloved city. Together--faith leaders, community leaders, labor leaders, artists, journalists and elected officials--we can achieve the dream of democracy in a new New York.