New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) is a community-based, non-profit organization that works to ensure that new immigrants can build social, political, and economic power in their communities and beyond. At NICE we envision a world where all people – regardless of immigration status – live and work with dignity and justice.
NICE was founded in 1999 when local activists came together in response to anti-immigrant billboards posted in Queens by the racist organization Project USA. After launching a successful campaign to take down the billboards, NICE made a name for itself through its Government Access and Accountability Program. The Program worked to institutionalize a uniform system for meaningful dialogue between local government officials and all constituents, regardless of wealth, legal status, or voting history. In the early 2000s, NICE also worked extensively on post-September 11th hate crime backlash by organizing a hate crime rapid response system, improving the identification and prosecution of hate crimes, and increasing civil rights education and awareness among newcomer communities. In its early years, NICE consistently managed to mobilize a broad base of immigrants around issues of hate-crime prevention, language access, non-citizen voting, and immigrant civic engagement.
By 2006, NICE had made a permanent home in Jackson Heights, Queens, which allowed us to deepen our connection with low-wage, recently arrived immigrants in Western Queens. After transitioning to new leadership, NICE developed a new mission and vision, expanded our board of directors, instituted a member steering committee, and became a membership organization. Since 2006, our organizing and advocacy work has focused on addressing community needs and has prioritized member engagement and community leadership. Our current efforts center around organizing day laborers, preventing and responding to wage theft, preventing employment agency fraud, and facilitating ongoing member leadership.