I hope this email finds you in good health! There’s been so much happening since our last check-in. We’re battling upticks in coronavirus cases statewide, and we’re approaching flu season. We must stay vigilant and be as safe as we possibly can at this time to avoid catching and spreading the virus. At the same time, we’re gearing up for next month’s general election. We’ve gotten through one presidential debate and one vice presidential debate. We saw Trump once again refuse to denounce white supremacists. And we’ve seen him out repeatedly without a mask on after announcing he and Melania tested positive for COVID-19. The president has shown us that he doesn’t take this virus seriously.
We’re so close to the presidential election! This week, we watched vice president hopeful Kamala Harris gracefully debate Mike Pence. Issues like health care, housing, police reform and environmental justice are on the minds of every New Yorker. The National Working Families Party (WFP) has endorsed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the presidential election, and must secure 200,000 votes on its presidential ballot line in order to stay on the ballot. Due to New York’s fusion voting system, voting for Joe and Kamala will not split the vote—it will count towards the Democratic vote to help us defeat Trump, and strengthen progressive, grassroots movement building in New York.
Citizen Action’s regional chapters are mobilizing voters in support of the WFP. For years, we’ve supported the WFP and fought together to make sure government work for all of us. For ways to get involved, click here.
Around the State
Citizen Action’s annual “Our Everyday Heroes Awards” took place this week. It was a fantastic evening that brought together activists, advocates and elected officials to celebrate Democracy. Typically held in New York City, the awards ceremony was virtual this year. We honored DeNora Getachew who is the New York executive director of Generation Citizen; Melody Lopez, who is the executive director of New York Civic Engagement Table (NYCET); trellis stepter, who is the program officer for Climate Change Solutions and Demoractic Values at the Mertz Gilmore Foundation; and Ricky Silver, co-lead organizer with Empire State Indivisible.
Shout out to Jamell Henderson, our amazing emcee, and Nia Winslow of Closet Artistry, the Brooklyn-based collage artist who created the awards for our honorees. hank you to the presenters, and everyone who showed their support! Not being in person did not take away the essence of what the Everyday Heroes Awards are all about. We truly enjoyed sharing the virtual space together.
2020 Everyday Heroes Awards
Hudson Valley Endorsements
This week, Citizen Action of New York’s Hudson Valley chapter announced endorsements of Karen Smythe for NYS Senate in District 41, Michelle Hinchey in Senate District 46, Jen Metzger for NY Senate for re-election in District 42, and Antonio Delgado for re-election in New York’s 19th Congressional District! Citizen Action of New York will be announcing more endorsements soon. Read our announcement here: http://cit.ac/HVEndorsements. For a full list, click here.
#Caged During COVID
The pandemic underscores the need to end mass incarceration and abolish the school to prison pipeline that targets communities of color and keeps families in a cycle of poverty. Since the pandemic started, hundreds of people have been held pretrial in Monroe County Jail. Leaders in Rochester began collecting testimonials to shine a light on the inhumane treatment of people incarcerated during this public health crisis. One testimonial, written by Church, who at the time had been in jail for hundreds of days, was published on Medium here.
To give voice to those who have become “ghosts in the system,” during COVID-19, the remaining testimonials have been produced into a video with Rochester leaders reciting the messages from the individuals. The video was produced by Roberto Gertler of MOKM Creative Services. Click here to watch the video on Youtube.
#EvictionFreeNY Statewide Day of Action
From New York City to Buffalo, activists rallied to demand an end to all evictions. Tenants and housing rights advocates, including our coalition partners at Housing Justice for All, held a statewide Housing Day of Action on October 1, the day New York’s eviction ban was set to expire. Governor Cuomo’s eviction moratorium, which he extended until January, is not universal and leaves out millions of tenants. Starting on October 12, evictions will move forward. New Yorkers owe $2 billion in rent since April 1. We need a comprehensive moratorium that acknowledges the unique challenges New Yorkers are facing while trying to keep a roof over their heads during the pandemic. Many New Yorkers were already paying more than half of their income on rent and struggled with chronic homelessness prior to the pandemic.
In Albany, Citizen Action, VOCAL-NY, United Tenants of Albany, New York Poor People’s Campaign and Capital Region DSA held an Eviction Defense rally at the state Capitol building. They blocked the Washington Avenue entrance with boxes and furniture. Click here to read our press release. Hundreds of people took to the streets in New York City to demand housing justice.
Photos by Aidan Faiella
Promoting Equity in Education through Community Partnerships
Our Co-Executive Director Rosemary Rivera recently participated in the National Civic League’s All American City Promising Practices Webinar! She spoke about Rochester’s Community Taskforce on School Climate. Back in August, we announced that the city was awarded the All America City Award. Click here to read our announcement about Rochester’s nomination for the award. Click here to watch the webinar.
Our Co-Executive Director Rosemary Rivera
Wednesday Walk for Black Lives
Our Hudson Valley chapter has been participating in the bi-weekly Wednesday Walk for Black Lives, which is a community effort to raise awareness about issues of racial injustice. On September 23, the Wednesday Walk for Black Lives coalition organized a rally. The rallies have focused on justice for Breonna Taylor, stop and frisk, the upcoming elections, and Black Lives Matter. Click here to see a video of the Walk on Facebook. Child care was available at the action.
Get Counted in the 2020 Census
There’s still time to #BeCounted! The Census deadline has been extended to October 31! It can take less than 10 minutes to complete and is fully confidential. Visit 2020Census.gov to get yours done before the end of the month!
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. If you haven’t already, you can complete the 2020 Census by clicking this link! Email Sheilah at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or need help. You can keep track of the census and check out the response rate here.
Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 1:30-4:00 p.m.
Vote NY WFP Phonebank For Samra Brouk With Mondaire Jones — Join Samra Brouk and Congressional candidate Mondaire Jone for #VoteWFP phone banking. Samra is running in Senate District 55 to fight for affordable healthcare, more funding for our public schools, and a New York that works for all of us. Mondaire Jones is an inspiring WFP candidate who won his congressional race for NY-17 during the June primary and is currently running in the general election. Click here to register.
Sunday, October 11 at 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Phone Bank + Training – Join the New York Working Families Party for virtual phone banks on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Join other volunteers and staff for these events— all you need to do is join the video call on your computer, and bring a phone to call New York voters. This is a great event for first-time callers, or for anyone who wants to phonebank virtually with a group. All training will be provided at the beginning of the event. Click here to register.
Tuesday October 13 at 1:30- 2 p.m.
Wednesday, October 14 at 5:30 p.m.
Virtual Meet, Greet & Mobilize the Vote, #VoteWFP – Hear from Citizen Action and Working Families Party endorsed candidates Michelle Hinchey (Senate District 46) and Samra Brouk (Senate District 55) about how we plan to get 200,000 votes on the Working Families Party Line and protect democracy! #VoteWFP Click here to register. Click here to read more on Facebook.
Monday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m.
Why We #VoteWFP – During this conversation, we will be reviewing the history of the Working Families Party and why we vote for the parties’ values of transformation and equity. We’ll also learn why we need to gain 130,000 votes on the WFP line for the presidential race this November. Click here to register.
Join the Movement
Citizen Action of New York is building power in communities across the state. 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. Click here to support. 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.
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Maya Angelou