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Written by Sure We Can

February 28, 2020


Sure We Can (SWC) is a community space, sustainability hub, and redemption center located in Bushwick, Brooklyn NY (USA). At our site, canners, or those who collect and redeem bottles and cans to earn a living, come together with artists, students, and neighbors to envision a better world, expressed through recycling, gardening, composting, and art. SWC goes beyond livelihood support through community, providing dignity and building advocacy and by forging alliances at local, national, and global levels. SWC goes beyond livelihood support through advocacy and by forging alliances at local, national, and global levels. Now, that world is threatened: we need help to purchase the land on which we have grown, where we currently operate under the shadow of eviction.

Our mission is to support our local community, particularly its most vulnerable members, and promote social inclusion, environmental awareness and economic empowerment. For over 10 years, Sure We Can has served the community of canners, and today it has evolved into a community center that promotes a sustainable urban culture and facilitates a circular economy. As New York’s only non-profit redemption center, Sure We Can stands proudly in its relationship to canner culture, and all informal, just, and compassionate economies, viewing them not as marginal or dismissively “alternative,” but as an integral part of the essential and urgent work of creating a world where nothing is wasted, and in which everyone counts.

We face many challenges: stigmatization of our work, marginalization of our community, dismissal of our dreams. We are being pushed out of the space which we have sustained for a decade. The city we live in and for which we care so much tells us we are unwanted: an inconvenience at best, and an enemy at worst. Politicians blithely ignore our voice, preferring the soothing purr of money over the hoarse cry of those in need. And above it all we see a world torn between those who wish to be caretakers of a future for all, and those who wish to devour the future to feed their greed.

Still, we know we are not alone. Together with our allies we work every day to create a welcoming space for all comers which nurtures values of conscientious stewardship of our planet and of each other. It’s in this spirit that we reach out, to ask for help in ensuring that this vital work can continue. Most meaningfully, we need to own our space. Our landlord is asking for $3 million, a price that we cannot come close to meeting on our own. If we can’t secure that and are forced to move, we ask for resources to facilitate that move and to maintain our community through that seismic shift. We need help to reach beyond our limits, to keep advocating to all who will listen for a world in which everyone matters.