Blog The Growing YIMBY Movement

Oct. 18, 2019

Hi, I am Ernest Brown, and I’m proud to serve on the Board of YIMBY Action.

I got my start in this movement when I moved to the Bay Area from Atlanta and my rent doubled and my number of roommates doubled. I was living in Oakland, working in SF, and enduring a commute where once I got off BART everyone who looked like me in the city was homeless. I wondered why a region so prosperous and so progressive came with such poverty.

Like Sonja, I saw that a key piece of the problem was how we made decisions about housing. When the people who can show up at a planning commission hearing in the middle of the day are twice my age and 10x my wealth, it’s not as surprising that people like me aren’t being taken care of.

I’ve been inspired by this movement to take action in light of these challenges. To talk to my neighbors and co-workers and help them see that the problems we face have solutions. To show up to public meetings and share my story and demand solutions. And to come together with many of the people in this room to share resources and ideas for we can win.

This work produces real results:

  1. Discourse: it’s gotten harder to deny that there’s a housing crisis and that more supply is part of the solution
  2. Elections: in the East Bay, my peers and I knocked over 10,000 doors and helped elect housing champions like Rashi Kesarwani and Buffy Wicks
  3. Legislation: the state legislature has advanced bills like the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 to stop the city’s that are the worst offenders from going in the wrong direction and the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 to well protect tenants.

As a board member, I’m excited to grow this movement’s power to turn isolated believers into connected activists, to turn likes and retweets to doors knocked and conversations had. There’s so much more work, 3.5 million homes worth by the governor’s count, to build a California where we can live out our values and create welcoming communities where everyone can thrive.

Check out all the speeches on YouTube