Sending love and solidarity, and praying for strength to everyone impacted by police violence, including the family of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by police in Chicago on March 29.
Citizen Action’s Leader of the Month for the month of April is Gabriel Recchio in the Capital Region. Gabe has been volunteering consistently since moving to Albany a little over a year ago, and has been engaged with different Citizen Action campaigns over the past few years, including the Fair Elections campaign in 2013. This year, he spoke at Citizen Action’s statewide lobby day prep rally and the Invest in Our New York campaign press conference. He co-authored a new op-ed in the Times Union about the benefits of Good Cause eviction legislation in the city of Albany.
“Citizen Action gives me the ability to plug into meaningful local and statewide campaigns in a grassroots way that is proven to be effective. Otherwise, seemingly overwhelmingly problematic, complicated, and widespread issues like runaway economic inequality, racial justice, and climate change (all issues that I am most passionate about) can often feel too “heavy” for me to engage with. Since Citizen Action breaks these massive issues down into smaller, more digestible steps of larger campaigns, I can more fully engage with them knowing I’m part of a bigger plan, strategy, and community of people,” he said.
Gabriel shared the following quote with us: “Technological progress often results in more unemployment rather than in an easing of the burden of work for all.” Albert Einstein
Around the State
RAPP & Parole Reform Rally in Binghamton
On Thursday, April 15, our Southern Tier chapter joined jMothers on the Move, Truth Pharm, Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier (JUST) and members of the faith community for a parole justice rally and press conference at the Government Plaza at 44 Hawley Street in Binghamton. They also visited Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo’s district office to present handcuffs as a form of solidarity with those who have been unfairly served death by incarceration sentences, and balloons with a message to “release people now.” Click here to watch a video of the press conference on Facebook.
One in four incarcerated New Yorkers are age 50 and up, and a majority of them are Black and Brown people. New York must pass the Fair and Timely Parole (S1415/A.4231) and Elder Parole (S15/A.3475) bills. New Yorkers deserve adequately staffed, efficient and impartial parole boards.
Fighting Privatization to Protect Our Environment
Our Southern Tier chapter is also part of a community effort to stop the city of Binghamton from working with Veolia — the same company responsible for the poison lead water crisis in Flint Michigan — for a maintenance audit of the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant. Activists are calling on the Mayor and members of city council to reject the contract, and establish a transparent procurement process that centers the voices of community members and employees at the plant. Live in the community and want to take action? Click here to sign a petition and to learn more about the fight.
Climate Action Hearing
This week, Citizen Action joined NY Renews and climate activists statewide at a hearing for the Climate Community and Investment Act (CCIA). Our Co-Executive Director Rosemary Rivera provided testimony in support of the CCIA, which is a corporate polluter bill that would raise $15 billion to support a just transition to clean energy, and support the communities that have been directly impacted by climate change and environmental racism. Click here to read a press release, which includes statements from member organizations of the NY Renews coalition. Rooted in environmental justice, the CCIA holds corporate polluters accountable for decades of environmental racism. Black, brown and low-income communities have been the dumping ground for toxic waste and facilities that threaten their health and well-being, oftentimes with little to no input from the community.
New York has a Poison Lead Problem
New York has the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning than anywhere else in the U.S., with thousands of children testing positive every year. The impacts of lead poisoning can be felt all around our state.
Citizen Action is leading a coalition to pass legislation to end lead poisoning in New York, especially for children who can be irreversibly damaged by even the smallest dose. Our lead bill would make it mandatory for ALL counties in New York to regularly inspect homes that are likely to contain lead, and create a statewide database of lead violations so that they can be easily tracked and monitored, and support can be provided where needed. We’re currently doing outreach in communities impacted by lead in preparation for the launch of our Lead Free NY campaign. If you or someone you know has been impacted by lead poisoning and would like to share your/their story, click here to connect to a community organizer at a chapter near you.
Hardship Declaration Form is Available to Tenants
New York’s Hardship Declaration Form is available to tenants who are at risk for eviction. Tenants can submit the form to avoid facing eviction or unnecessary court proceedings until at least May 1. Click here to access the Hardship Declaration Form.
“This eviction moratorium was won through relentless tenant organizing, but its protections are only as strong as its implementation. Tenants must be made aware of their rights in order to assert them, and landlords and judges must be held accountable in ensuring this happens.” – Rebecca Garrard, a tenant advocate and Campaigns Manager for Housing Justice.
Federal Action Team
Our collective work to elect a new President and a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate has kicked open the door to change, and we’re ready to run (and/or dance) through it!
We’re part of a national network of people gearing up to stand strong for what we need from our federal government. New Yorkers are in a key position to move the national agenda because Senator Chuck Schumer has replaced Mitch McConnell as the Senate Majority Leader.
A bold relief package is a necessary first step toward an equitable and transformative recovery, and we won’t stop there – we’re building a Federal Take Action Team that we will activate when there are opportunities for real change on the federal level. Join us: cit.ac/federalaction
We can’t wait to build even more power with you!
Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m.
Smoke Weed in Front of the Police Station
Join Truth Pharm, PLOT and 100 Black Men of Broome County for an event in celebration of New York’s new marijuana justice law! This was a hard-fought victory and on national weed day, organizers and community members are coming together to celebrate. Click here for more information.
April 20, 22 & 24 at 6-8 p.m.
Reversing Runway Inequality
This community workshop brings us to discuss how we have come to the massive level of economic inequality we are facing today. The economic system in our society was built off of the exploitation of Black communities, and if we don’t fight racism, we will never see economic equality in our society. 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.
“I think that you think that I’m an exotic survivor…I’m telling you this, because of how [someone] looks, [they] could be dead in the morning and for no other reason…”
Click here to hear more from James Baldwin