It’s been two weeks since the election, and as expected, Trump is refusing to concede and is making baseless claims of voter fraud. President-elect Joe Biden has now exceeded the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Many of us are thinking about ways to show up in this moment—how to celebrate our victories (historic voter turnout, newly engaged voters) and the end of Trump’s reign of terror as we acknowledge the bases of voters who helped with this historic feat. We must thank Black voters, Latinx voters, LGBTQ voters, those without health care, those facing eviction and those impacted by racial violence and brutality, because these are the folks who hit the streets, got their community members registered, drove folks to polls, and continue to lead the movement for collective liberation. Many of these folks are Citizen Action leaders. Thank you!
This week, many of us who work in this organizing universe participated in the Facing Race national conference. During one of the sessions, Judith Browne Dianis of the Advancement Project spoke about movement infrastructure—how organizers were able to move “our people in a moment of despair.” She said we have been able to get people over the despair by “leaning into the difficult moment to see the future on the other side and build it by dreaming together.” Movement infrastructure speaks to the way we base-build and sustain our campaigns until victory. It can also be about the constant need for renewal within social movements. In this moment of reconstruction,we have an opportunity to not only push forward our worldview of equality, but to dream big and push the edge of possibility. Click here for ways to get involved with a chapter near you. Be well and take care until next time.
This week’s Leader Spotlight goes to Dawn Laguerre in Central New York. Dawn is a board member and has been with the organization for over 7 years. “I was originally involved in Citizen Action with John Furman,” she said. “We decided to become part of the larger, transformative Citizen Action over 3 years ago.” Dawn first got into community organizing when she was in high school and vowed to fight poverty. She has worked with NYPIRG in Ft. Greene, and ironically, for the Guilani and Bloomberg administration. Dawn said she spent ten years making sure they didn’t build the Brooklyn Navy Yard incinerator. They didn’t and gentrification forced me out of my community,” she said. This has driven her work to protect people from the harmful effects of gentrification, illegal evictions, environmental racism, and make fair housing a reality. Dawn also supports bail reform, representation on legislative and school boards, diversity and inclusion in hiring practices of the Utica School board, and fair media representation” so that we can live our true, authentic lives.
“She is always willing to throw down for housing and education justice! Whether it’s speaking at rallies, making phone calls to voters, helping with press, or getting on the bus to go to Albany or Washington, D.C. Dawn is a rock for so many of us in the movement in Central New York.” – Kristina Andreotta, Citizen Action regional director
Around the State
Restore Term Limits
Our Central New York chapter launched a letter campaign this week urging the Utica Common Council to restore term limits to reflect the will of the voters. Utica voters, in a referendum, voted overwhelmingly to set term limits at 8 consecutive years in office. In 2017, the Utica Common Council voted to overturn the will of the people and extend term limits for themselves and other elected officials to 12 consecutive years in office. The chapter is inviting Utica residents to take action by sending a letter to City Hall, which will be read aloud during the Council’s next meeting. Click here for more information.
Child Care is Essential
New York’s child care providers have kept New York’s children safe and New York’s parents working, have kept our state’s economy running throughout the pandemic. Sign this petition to get money to child care programs without delay! New York State received $163 million earmarked for relief of hardships experienced by child care facilities across the state, but much of that funding hasn’t yet reached those who need it. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) needs to fix the distribution process to get awarded funds into the hands of providers immediately. Click here for more information.
Tuesday, November 17 at 6:30 p.m.
What We Gotta Do is Organize: Housing & Eviction Defense Training
This is a two-part online eviction defense training. Join to learn about the housing crisis with the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, discuss what is at stake in this moment, think about why organizing is important to housing and eviction defense, to share strategies to organize our neighbors and communities, and work with regional attendees to organize together. Click here to register.
Political Education Committee Meeting
Thursday, November 19 at 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. (Statewide )
Join Citizen Action’s Monthly Political Ed Committee Call on Thursday, November 19 at 5:30 p.m.
This meeting will serve as an overview of upcoming workshops, time for planning regional outreach, and brainstorming around narrative work. Click here to register.
New Member Orientation (Capital Region)
Wednesday, November 25 at 6 p.m.
The last Wednesday of every month, the Citizen Action Capital District chapter hosts its New Member Orientation call. This is a way for members to meet community organizers and learn more about the work the chapter is doing and get plugged in. Learn more here.
NY Renews Mass Call: What’s Next For Climate In NY?
(And How You Can Get Involved)
Friday, November 20th at 12 p.m. (Statewide)
Time to Throw Down on Climate Justice! It is even more important that New York lead on climate justice, and specifically to invest real money into the Black and Brown communities hit hardest by pollution, Covid, and the climate crisis. Citizen Action will join NY Renews, the 200 plus member coalition that pushed for and won New York’s aggressive climate law, for a statewide conversation to go over what this moment means for our fight for climate justice, and folks can get involved. 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.
“In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” – Audre Lorde