A Block at a Time (ABAAT) is based on a concept of Nano-Communities, developed by Dannielle Hille. It is based on the idea that the bigger picture is made up of all the little pieces working together. In this concept Albany is the Macro-Community, the Neighborhoods are Micro-Community and the individual blocks of the Neighborhoods are the Nano-Communities. Its grassroots community building from the ground up. If every block is working to improve itself then the neighborhood is improving and if the neighborhood is improving then the city is improving.
So how do we accomplish this? Its easier then you think all you have to do is work towards improving your block. Identify issues and take the necessary steps to work to correct those issues. Meet your neighbors and learn what issues they have identified, then work with them to address those issues. Know that you are not alone. There are others in your community who are working towards the improving the community and you can reach out for assistance. Connect with your Common Council Person, community leader and other invested parties.
Always remember we are all working towards the same goal, improving our community one issue or block at a time. The Nano-Communities make up the Micro-Communities which make up the Macro-Community. Every little piece makes a difference!
ABAAT was created in 2013 by Dannielle Hille to help her both address issues on her block and provide information that other residents could access. Talking to the neighbors, Dannielle realized that residents would complain to each other but nothing would get to the people who can correct the issue. Her first challenge was to remove two trees that had overgrown their space and were causing structural damage to the adjacent houses. They also narrowed and bulged the sidewalk to the point that strollers and wheelchairs could not utilize the sidewalk. Dannielle was shocked by the refusal of city officials to work with her. She was even more shocked and hurt by the lack of support by her community leaders. Instead of empowering her, they tried to take over and they discouraged being on the front line. Dannielle contained, purchased www.abaat.org and began posting the information she gathered, the steps she had taken and the responses from City and County officials. This lead to a lecturing from a County Legislator about how this was NOT the way we did things. Dannielle continued on her path, utilizing technology to reach her neighbors over the next years, fixing one issue at a time, a block at a time.
Along the way Dannielle discussed with Zach Garafalo, the possibilities if ABAAT and branching out and addressing larger scale issues within the city. With a focus and collaborative work between the community and the police department.
Fast-forward to March 16, 2019 and the incident of excessive use of force by the Albany Police Department over a noise complaint. Dannielle felt this was the right time to start addressing those larger issues. She called Zach and Jonathan Capra and together they devised an immediate response to the March 16th incident. Jonathan with his extensive TV experience told us we need and organization, a brand. Since Dannielle had already built ABAAT, it was agreed that we could utilize ABAAT and work to incorporate it and request 510(c)(3) status. We met with the APD Chief, acquired the Arbor Hill Community Center Gym and rallied the community to come out and speak directly to APD Chief and Command staff. We included the President of the Citizens Police Review Board, Ivy Morris, and District Attorney David Soares. The meetings were a success and we stated planning for the future. More to come…
Co-Founder & President: Dannielle Hille
Co-Founder & Secretary: Zach Garafalo
Co-Founder & Treasurer: Jonathan Capra