“It’s treason,” Finley said. “That is like stealing and trespassing on community property, then confiscating it and rebuilding it without the consent of the people in the community.
“That is a crime,” he added. “People just say it’s gentrification, but gentrification is a crime.”
Finley has been a member of New York Communities for Change (NYCC) since the 1980s. The Canarsie resident said the organization builds a lot of affordable rentals and houses throughout Brooklyn.
His involvement began one day when he was skating on Rockaway Avenue in Brownsville. He met a group of people, including activist Bertha Lewis, who were getting ready to build an affordable housing project for poor residents on an empty lot.
Since then, Finley has been an active member of NYCC. He said he’s traveled around the entire country teaching people how to organize and build affordable housing.
Finley wore a beanie with a number of pins and signs, including one calling for quality education, a NYCC pin, one calling for justice for Eric Garner and another for the Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) campaign.
“The police don’t ever communicate with us, we communicate with them,” Finley said. “They try to pretend they’re helping the community, but they’re killing us.”
When asked if he would vote for Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017, Finley responded negatively.
“We’ll find someone better than him, I can be a better mayor than de Blasio,” he said.