Dear Activist, 

I hope you had a restful weekend. There’s a lot to look forward to this week and some events from last week to unpack. Before we get into that, I want to highlight two shining stars from our chapters: 

Tanairi Taylor in New York City 

Tanairi is a new active member, but has been a dues paying member and recently has come on as the new co-chair to our housing committee.

Our Co-Executive Director Rosemary Rivera, Tanairi’s mom and Tanairi at our Women in the Movement reception during Caucus Weekend in Albany, on February 16.

“Tanairi is now leading housing strategy meetings with our Bronx coalition, which is part of the larger HJ4A (Housing justice for All). Tanairi attended Caucus weekend on behalf of Citizen Action, and has quickly soared as a leader here in the Bronx.” – Courtney Miller, Citizen Action Community Organizer

 

Nidia Benitez in Rochester 

Nidia is the mother of Stevie Vargas, our community organizer in Rochester. Nidia has been a dues paying member for about 8 months, and has been more involved with the chapter over the past 2 to 3 months, attending community events on behalf of Citizen Action and participating in the political endorsements process. Thank you for all you do, Nidia, you’re appreciated! 

Thank you to the extraordinary leaders in each district! We thank you for all you do to support our communities and help build power!

Now, here’s a recap of last week and some of the ways we’re showing up for our communities this week. 

 

Around the State 

We joined our coalition partners at Housing Justice for All for a Housing Town Hall in Buffalo on February 18. The group discussed the New York Homes Guarantee and Good Cause campaigns. The Good Cause Eviction bill says that property owners can’t evict tenants on whim, and acknowledges that an unaffordable rent increase is equivalent to a rent hike. 

 

“I’ve knocked on thousands of doors on the West Side of Buffalo, and the stories are all the same: families are being destroyed by the housing crisis.” – Christian Para, Citizen Action community organizer

On Wednesday, February 19, there was a full house at our Hudson Valley chapter’s Demand Justice Education committee meeting. Letters were written, personal stories shared and strategies planned to demand the $15 million owed to Hudson Valley students, as well as culturally responsive curriculum and ending the school-to-prison pipeline, among other changes to promote students success. Join us for a lobby day in Albany on Wednesday, February 25, to demand justice! Details below.

 

Our Utica chapter showed up to the Utica Common Council meeting to reject a resolution to rollback the new bail reform law.

We also joined leading civil and human rights organizations to release a policy memo rejecting the Senate’s proposed changes to New York’s new pretrial reform laws, which is available here. The memo details the harmful impacts of the proposed changes.

 On Thursday, February 20, Citizen Action and New York Working Families Party leaders in Rochester announced their endorsement of Harry B. Bronson for re-election in the 138th Assembly District! Bronson has been a champion for education equity, and is committed to justice reform and affordable housing. See more here.

The Working Families Party also officially endorsed Matthew Toporowski for Albany County District Attorney, and Sam Fein for Assembly in the 108th District. You can read more about their endorsements here.

Our Buffalo chapter is setting the stage for a new committee focused on collective liberation!

 

Citizen Action Community Organizer Christian Parra and Colleen Kristich with Partnership for the Public Good (PPG), hosted the first of many meetings to form a coalition so that Buffalo and New York State can be stronger in the fight for liberation.The group will focus on many goals towards this effort, but protecting bail reform is currently the main focus. The intention of this coalition – yet to be named – is to help end mass incarceration and address the issues facing poor and low-income people and people of color. 

Upcoming events

ALBANY

Tuesday, February 25 at 11 a.m – Day of Action on Bail Reform – At the New York State Capitol, we’re joining Akeem Browder, the brother of Kalief Browder, other deeply impacted people, our coalition partners and allies in government for a press conference and rally to remind lawmakers about why this reform was critical, and to reject the Senate’s proposed bail reform rollbacks. Click here to RSVP.

Tuesday, February 25 – Good Cause Lobby Day – Press Conference at 12 p.m. – We’ll be at the Capitol to demand passage of the Good Cause bill this year. The measure was left out of last year’s housing package and 5 million tenants need these vitals protections. Join us to demand housing as human right. RSVP below.

Wednesday, February 26 – Albany Lobby Visit to Fully Fund our Schools – New York State owes $4 Billion in Foundation Aid, much of it to schools where Black and Brown students have been chronically underfunded. Find out how much your school district is owed here. The New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights recently released a report calling out New York’s lack of investment in our students. The full report is available here. If you’re traveling from the Hudson Valley, RSVP below.

BINGHAMTON

Tuesday, February 25 at 6 a.m.-6 p.m. – Good Cause Lobby Day – Buses will be heading to Albany from the Citizen Action office in Binghamton located at 477 State Street at 6 a.m. and will be returning to Binghamton at around 6 p.m. Food and Transportation included. More details here.

Saturday, February 29 – The Truth About Bail Reform at 3 – 5 p.m Broome County Public Library, 185 Court St., Binghmton, 13901. Come learn about bail justice! Let’s talk about the positive impacts of our new pretrial laws. RSVP here.

BUFFALO

Tuesday, February 25 at 6 p.m. – Report to the People – Join us for an informative discussion with community leaders about the issues that affect our everyday lives. RSVP here.

Thursday, February 27 – 6-8 p.m – Transforming Worldview In this workshop – facilitated by our political education team (Ravi/Sam) – you’ll break down the four main ideas of the dominant worldview, and discuss how we can avoid reinforcing those ideas in our own advocacy, and practice how to share our vision for a just society. RSVP on Action Network here.

Saturday, February 29 at 9:30-11 a.m. Men of Color Committee Meeting – The Men of Color Committee will meet monthly to discuss the challenges men of color face in our society, and what we can do to promote success in our communities. RSVP here. Meetings will be at our office located at 1439 Main Street.

KINGSTON

Wednesday, February 26 at 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Albany Lobby Visit to Fully Fund our Schools – New York owes Kingston schools upward of $14 million in education funding. Hudson Valley parents, students, teachers and community members are heading to Albany to call on state leaders to fully our schools. For more info, and to RSVP, click here.

Tuesday, February 28 at 6-8 p.m. Circles Film Screening and Q & A #WisenUpKingston – Join us to watch “Circles,” a film about Eric Butler, a pioneer of the restorative justice movement, impassioned educator and mentor, and Hurricane Katrina survivor. Butler will be calling in to the screening via zoom for a Q&A! View the trailer here.

ROCHESTER

Saturday, March 1 at 2:45 – 5:45 p.m. – “Just Mercy” Screening and Panel at the Cinema Theatre. The movie is based on Bryan Stevenson’s acclaimed memoir about a lawyer’s relentless quest for justice.  Learn more here.

NEW YORK CITY

Wednesday, February 26 at 6-8 p.m. – From Hashtag To Action Panel hosted by Color Comm, Women of Color in Communications – Come and discuss social media activism’s implications with brilliant minds, including our Political Director Stanley Fritz. Register here.

Become a sustaining member

Citizen Action of New York is building power in communities across the state. Join us by becoming a sustaining monthly member today. Click here to support.

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Closing message

“Hold your passions, discharge your worries.”

Worrying rarely changes an outcome; it’s more like praying for what you don’t want to happen, but feeding our passions provides inspiration for life’s journey.

Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, whether that’s painting, singing, skating, reading romance novels or taking pictures, feed that passion and you’ll find relief from the mundane – although there’s never a dull moment in the life of an activist. When we feed our passions, we realize that there’s an endless source of inspiration all around us. And we tap into that source when we exercise the creative gene we all possess as co-creators of the Universe. Pay attention to the way you feel when you relinquish control and create from your heart.  

In Solidarity,

Tanique