It’s Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month! This month is a time to reflect on the achievements of Black people over the course of history. It’s a time to celebrate Blackness, and acknowledge how hard people across the African diaspora fought to be treated fairly. It could not be more obvious today that there is still much work to be done to eradicate racism and the many ways it manifests. On the first day of Black History Month, February 1, the city of Rochester released disturbing body camera footage of an encounter with police and a 9-year-old Black child. The child was handcuffed, forced into the back of a cop car, and maced in her face for not following “orders.” This incident has yet again broken many of our hearts. Elected officials have come out with statements condemning the officers’ actions, but we need more than words—we need to defend the police and invest in youth programs and mental health care. Click here to read a statement by Mercedes Phelan, Lead Organizer in Rochester.
Da’Von McCune has been involved with Citizen Action for more than a year. Da’Von, who also emceed our recent town hall in Buffalo (see below for a summary of the event), is a member of the Buffalo Men of Color Committee. He is passionate about succession planning and building campaigns with the next seven generations in mind, as well as the need for all community members to participate in the election process. He is passionate about social justice, Medicare and housing for all, transforming the justice system, food insecurity, and college for all. “I believe there is a living standard that all humans deserve, a floor which no human should live below,” he said. Da’Von is a firm believer that love conquers all— through action, sacrifice, patience and forgiveness. “I believe that we must have honest conversations with ourselves, look deeply at what we care about and how we operate. I believe in order to change the world around us there has to be a conscious look at self, our relationships and then out into the community.”
Da’Von shared the following quotes with us:
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” -MLK
“There is hope for humanity, but in order for us to get there, we really have to interrogate not just what it takes to change laws, but what it takes to change culture that supports laws that uplift humanity and also supports laws that serve to denigrate it.” – Alicia Garza
Around the State
How to Jumpstart the Black Economy
On Thursday, February 4, we joined community leaders from Buffalo and New York City Public Advocate Juaame Williams to discuss ways Black entrepreneurs support their communities and how their communities support them. The town hall centered solutions to the plight of the Black economy and how New York State could help jumpstart it. It also focused on the need to tax the ultra-rich so that we can begin to chip away at the deep racial and economic inequalities in our state and nation. If you missed it, you can watch the phenomenal town hall here on Facebook. Fashion activist Phylicia Dove, Alexander Wright and Gabrielle Lewis were also guest speakers during the virtual town hall.
Save NY Child Care 2021 Campaign kick-off
This week, over 500 parents, early care educators, child care providers and activists came together virtually to call on New York State to invest $500 million in federal and state funds this year to save the child care sector. Child care providers and families who depend on them have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and the recession. We’re calling on Governor Cuomo and the state legislature to ensure access to high-quality child care for all New York families.
The event served as the official kick-off for the Save NY Child Care Campaign, which is focused on securing $500 million in new state funding this year to stabilize and rebuild the child care system. We’re also working to influence the state plan, due by February 25, that outlines how new federal child care funding will be allocated and distributed.
Transforming the Worldview
Saturday, February 6 at 1- 2:30 p.m.
This is our core workshop that focuses on messaging and connects our worldview to the way we make meaning out of our experiences. In this workshop, we’ll break down the four main ideas of the dominant worldview, learn how to avoid reinforcing those ideas in our own advocacy and practice how to share our vision for a just society. Click here to register. See who’s joining on Facebook!
Housing Solutions Town Hall
Thursday, February 11 at 6-8:30 p.m.
Housing Solutions Town Hall community forum will provide a virtual space for residents of NY to hear and share stories about the impacts of lead exposure and get involved in a new statewide campaign to end lead poisoning.We’ll also discuss our plan to end unjust evictions and what the passing a Good Cause evictions bill could mean to our membership. Join us to win a just and comprehensive response to New York’s housing crisis. Click here to register. See who’s joining on Facebook here.
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.
“The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.” – Wael Ghonim