For this week’s check-in, I felt it was important to bring this space back in alignment with what it’s intended to be: a space for community and self-care for activists. This week’s featured leader reminded me of how necessary it is to encourage self-care in this movement. Our communities are demanding the freedom to be who we are, to heal, to love, to process emotions as human beings. We’ve been seeing and experiencing a lot of violence lately. Peaceful protests have been met with violence, but our movement is resilient. It’s more than hashtags, tweets and trending topics. We stand on the shoulders of giants.
My heart goes out to the family of Summer Taylor, the 24-year-old activist and Black Lives Matter ally who was killed at a protest in Washington State after someone drove into a crowd of protestors. My heart goes out to the parents and family members of the children who lost their lives to gun violence during the weekend of July 4. We have a window of opportunity now to finally address the root causes of harm in our communities, including the lack of access to healthcare and mental health services, housing, nutritious food and quality schools. It’s time to shrink those police budgets and invest in healing and restorative justice.
This week’s Leader Spotlight goes to Salka in Binghamton. She has been with Citizen Action for about 6 years now. Salka is a Citizen Action board member and is on the chapter’s anti-racism committee. She also previously ran for office and was endorsed by Citizen Action. Salka is really passionate about ending mass incarceration, reforming the justice system, and fighting for housing justice—especially in Black communities. As a survivor of human trafficking, Salka said she sees holes in laws that are supposed to protect people, and that’s what fuels her passion to speak up.
“If you can’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of everyone else. So make sure you take care of yourself when doing this work.” – Salka Valerio
Around the State
This week, we kicked off the 2020 Leadership Summit with the “How We Move, Build & Win” workshop. We had a full house, virtually speaking. Led by our political education team, this workshop delved into movement building, shaping narratives around the issues impacting our communities and membership with Citizen Action. The ice breaker had us all bonding over our favorite songs and TV shows, then we broke into groups to talk about the areas of community organizing we’re drawn to. Shout to the volunteers who helped facilitate this workshop, including Citizen Action board member Shana Dahlin, Jacob Ramos and so many others.
As most of you know, we launched a series called “What’s Cooking? with Citizen Action” at the height of the pandemic. Since all of our programs had moved online, we wanted to create a space to keep people engaged in the issues with a little twist for those of us that were spending more time at home and behind computer screens.
On Tuesday, as part of the #2020LeadershipSummit, we cooked with Pablo Tapia, Executive Director of Assembly on Civil Rights in Minnesota. Click here for the video in case you missed it. It was so good. Pablo spoke about grassroot organizing in the Twin Cities following the killings of Black men at the hands of police, including the tragic shooting of Philando Castile and more recently George Floyd, as well as the violence that has plagued their community in recent weeks. He gave his insights on what it means to defund the police, as well as why we need to abolish ICE.
“#DefundthePolice doesn’t mean lack of security. It means the opposite. People felt safer at the rallies, in communities that organized, than in places where police were present.” – Pablo Tapia, executive director, Asamblea de Derechos Civiles in Minnesota
Charlie Albanetti, co-host and Citizen Action managing director
Rosemary Rivera, co-host and Citizen Action co-executive director
On Thursday, the 2020 LeaderShip Summit continued with “The Power of the Working Families Party,” a panel discussion with Working Families Party director Sochie Nnaemeka.
Sochie Nnaemeka, WFP director
Samra Brouk, candidate for NYS Senate District 55
NYS Senator Alessandra Biaggi, 34th District
Karen Scharff, former Citizen Action executive director
Racial/social justice victory
This week, assault and resisting arrest charges were dropped against Akbar Rogers who experienced police brutality at the hands of Freeport Police Village officers in December. Shout out to everyone who made this happen, including Nia Adams, a dedicated community organizer and justice warrior with the Long Island Progresive Coalition.
“It shouldn’t have taken six months and a grassroots organizing effort to get these charges dropped. The fact Akbar was ever charged in the first place, even though we had video of him being assaulted by those Freeport officers, shows as clear as day the racism and injustice within our so-called justice system.” – Nia Adams, a community organizer for the Long Island Progressive Coalition
This week, the Monroe County Board of Elections announced the unofficial results of the June 23rd Democratic primaries. Congratulations to Citizen Action and Working Families Party endorsed candidates Jeremy Cooney (Senate District 56), Sarah Clark (Assembly District 136), Demond Meeks (Assembly District 137) and Harry Bronson (Assembly District 138)! Read our full statement here.
Monday, July 13 at 6:30 p.m. — Dogwhistle Politics Digital Workshop — For decades, our opponents have used “dog whistles” or coded racism to divide our communities and reinforce systems of oppression. In this workshop, we’ll talk about the history of dog-whistle politics, how to unmask it, and how we can work together to defeat it. Register here.
We are still in the middle of a deep crisis caused by covid-19 and decades of prioritizing profits over people.The first round of stimulus checks left out many people in need. Congress is working on the next stimulus package and we need them to pass the HEROES Act to provide relief to renters and homeowners, expand unemployment insurance benefits, forgive student debt, provide hazard and paid sick days to workers, and more to ensure a just recovery for all. Join us for statewide actions as we demand a bailout for the people, not corporations!
Binghamton – Southern Tier
Thursday, July 17 at 10:30 a.m. — Car Rally and Press Conference
Location: Recreational Park Binghamton (Park at the Beethoven St. Parking Lot).
Car rally caravans to the Federal Building at 15 Henry Street where we present U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s aid with our list of demands. For more information, contact Mary Clark, 607-232-2084 or cabing [AT] citizenactionny. org
Buffalo – Western NY
Thursday July 17 at 1:00 p.m.
Location: Erie County Building, 95 Franklin St # 1400. For more information, contact Jude Wicksell at 631-949-6423 or email@example.com
Saturday, July 19 at 2:00 p.m.
Location: Albany Housing Authority, 200 Green St. and then we will march to the Federal Building at 1 Clinton Ave. in Albany. For click here for more information, or contact Citizen Action regional director Jose Manzano at 407-961-1010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, July 19 at 5 – 7 p.m.
Location: Academy Green Park, 238 Clinton Ave, Kingston. Click here for more information.
New York City
From Monday, July 13 until Sunday, July 19: Rolling social media photo ops
You’re invited to participate by safely gathering at a local, identifiable landmark in your borough or neighborhood. You can take a photo holding a sign or record a video demanding a People’s Bailout and post to your social media accounts. Don’t forget to tag Senator Chuck Schumer in your posts!
Examples of landmarks in NYC if you visit: Washington Square Arch, Grand Army Plaza Arch, Plaza Hotel, Unisphere, Borough Hall, Yankee Stadium, Ferry Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge or the Botanical Garden.
Thursday, July 16 at 5:30- 6:30 p.m. — Our Statewide Political Education Committee meeting is held on the third Thursday of each month. We will talk about how we can shift the dominant narrative and dismantle long-standing forms of oppression in our communities. Register here.
Friday, July 17 at 5 p.m. — People Power Happy Hour is a biweekly virtual event for community members to talk politics, current events, and everything in between. Each happy hour will feature political updates and special guests along with small group conversation. You can register here and see more upcoming dates.
#Mutual Aid during Covid-19
Citizen Action of New York is part of a statewide network of groups connecting New Yorkers with mutual aid support during COVID-19. Here’s a list of partner groups for people in need, and also ways you can help your neighbors. Click here for information.
#GetCounted in the 2020 Census
The 2020 Census is happening now! The census counts every person in the United States, and the results shape how billions of federal dollars flow in for the next decade in our communities.
It happens every 10 years, and every single person in the country can be counted. In 2010, only 65% of New Yorkers participated in the census. Our families missed out on 35% of available funds. Your participation will help increase the count in communities that need the most support.
Mail your survey, or visit 2020Census.gov to get yours done today! It takes less than 10 minutes and is fully confidential. Email Sheilah at email@example.com with questions or for help. We’re building a team of volunteers to make sure our communities receive the funding we need. There are many ways to help from home. Click here to join our team to make sure everyone is counted in this census!
Join the Movement
We take on issues that make people’s lives better today while creating the political and ideological environment for transformational change. We work statewide to elect progressive candidates who will enact our priorities into legislation, and strategically integrate issue and electoral work.
Our members are the reason we’re able to do effective grassroots organizing and achieve justice for our communities. Our members give what they can when they can, and each contribution is directly invested in local leadership development. Become a member. There are many ways to get involved right now. Click here to contact a Citizen Action chapter in your area and ask how you can get involved locally.
Text “Action” to 83224 to join Citizen Action of New York’s Rapid Response list. You’ll be asked to reply with your zip code to receive local information. Once signed up, you’ll receive text alerts for important Citizen Action events and actions.
self-love will be
an unspoken revolution
just so quite as the sun
the entire damn sky.”