There’s been a lot of talk about mental health this month, especially on social media. As activists, the injustices many of us see and experience can weigh on our mental health. We may notice our mental health declining over a period of time– it may come in waves or hit like a ton of bricks. It can come as a result of years of adverse experiences, and for others, it may be difficult to pinpoint. There is no one solution to dealing with mental health issues, but destigmatizing the struggles associated with mental illness can help bring more people who need help out of the shadows. This week, I encourage everyone to pause and tell yourself how amazing you are! Take time to check-in with “self.” How are you feeling? And let’s normalize self care. You can click here for state resources to help maintain your mental health.
The weather’s heating up in New York, and so is our movement for justice. The primary elections are right around the corner, and there are 10 days left in the state legislative session! This summer, Citizen Action chapters will continue our grassroots base building, bringing more activists and community leaders together to organize around our issues. There’s so much work happening now, from discussions about how to spend federal and state aid to our communities, to passing bills in the state legislature to end mass incarceration and provide homeless New Yorkers with permanent housing. Looking to get involved? Click here for a list of events and ways to plug into the movement near you.
Leader of the Month
Citizen Action’s Leader of the Month for the month of May is Julia Amodeo. Julia has been with our statewide volunteer social team since January. Julia drafts letters to the editor and assists with email writing and graphic design.
“My academic background is in environmental studies and philosophy, but the core of my activism and choice to study those topics is my belief that everyone deserves to live a safe and dignified life, and that has been and is denied to so many because of systems I benefit from. Because of this, I am most interested in fighting for environmental justice, housing, healthcare, and ending mass incarceration while promoting literacy, food equity, and legal reform. One quote I have been connecting with recently as my personal life changes so rapidly is: ‘Let us not look back in anger nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.’ by James Thurber,” Julia said.
Julia, delivering food to the community with North Side Mutual Aid in Binghamton.
Around the State
Rally for Green Jobs
This week, our Capital District chapter joined NY Renews and community groups for a statewide day of action in support of the Climate and Community Investment Act (CCIA). The CCIA is a penalty on corporate polluters, but lately, opponents have been falsely calling it a “gas tax.” The bill would actually provide rebate savings for New Yorkers, and in the long-term, incentivize corporations to use renewable energy. The CCIA is an environmental justice bill — climate action to put people and our planet first. It would raise between $10 billion and $15 billion a year to support frontline communities and New York’s transition to renewable energy.
This week, our Central New York chapter announced its endorsements for Utica Common Council, including current council members Celeste Friend and Delvin Moody, Katie Aiello, who is running to represent Ward 1 for the second time, as well as first-time candidate Sparkle Anthony, member-at-large. Click here for the full announcement.
Our Capital Region chapter announced its endorsement of Gwen Wright for Rensselaer County Executive. Gwen is the Democratic and Working Families candidate, and the first Black woman to ever run for countywide office in Rensselaer. The county is ground zero for the WFP, where Republicans have attempted to block the progressive vote by registering Republican voters on the Working Families line. Click here to read more about this high-stakes election in the full announcement.
Canvassing in NYC
Our NYC chapter joined Chi Ossé, candidate for NYC Council District 36, for a day of canvassing. They went door-to-door talking with voters and getting the word out about Chi’s progressive platform. District 26 covers Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights. To see our NYC chapter’s full list of endorsed candidates, click here.
Ways to Take Action Now
Saving Our Public Schools
New York schools are receiving $9 billion to reopen safely and ensure that students’ academic and other needs are met. Part of that money should support culturally responsive education that teaches racial equity.
Take a few minutes to let the New York State Education Department know your thoughts on how the money should be spent! Click here to take their brief survey: http://cit.ac/EdSurvey
Ending Mass Incarceration
An elder dies in New York prisons every two days. This is a crisis. We need New York lawmakers to pass the Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole bills to bring hope and healing to our communities. Click here to take action: http://bit.ly/ParoleJusticeNY
Ending Unjust Evictions
Evictions threaten the health of individuals and communities and can keep families trapped in a cycle of poverty. They negatively affect job stability, disrupt education, and disproportionately harm Black, Brown, low-income, and immigrant people in ways that can last for generations. Evictions are a cause of poverty, not an effect of it. The solution is to pass the Good Cause Eviction bill and invest in our communities by protecting tenants, good landlords, and first-time homebuyers. Send New York State leaders a message: safe, stable, affordable housing for all New Yorkers is a human right.
Helping You Access Quality Health Care
We envision a world where healthcare is guaranteed for everyone, no matter their race, gender, citizenship status, or ability to pay. We believe in a system that provides affordable, quality health care, is culturally responsive, improves quality of life, and is accessible to all. If you could use some help navigating the healthcare system or know someone who could, click here to provide your contact info and a Public Policy and Education Fund Navigator will reach out to you personally or give them a call toll-free at 800-803-8508.
Join Citizen Action’s Volunteer Social Media Team
Social media can be a powerful tool for sharing our ideas and informing the public on issues that affect our communities. That’s why we’re looking to grow a volunteer social media team to help build a strong social media presence for each and every one of our regional chapters. To join the team, contact Karina Roman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reversing Runaway Inequality
Saturday, May 22 & Sunday, May 23
We will discuss both what the current level of economic inequality looks like and how it came to be. Our economic system was built on exploitation of Black and Brown people and, in order to achieve economic justice, we must understand and dismantle the racism inherent in the system. Click here to register.
Check out the rest of our upcoming Political Education workshops: https://citizenactionny.org/political-education-workshops/
June 8- 11, Pickup on June 13
Together We Bid: Online Auction
Our Rochester Chapter is holding an online auction! Stay tuned for more information on our Rochester Facebook page here.
Justice Works 2021 – Virtual Conference Thursday, July 17 and Friday, July 18
Justice Works is New York’s premiere conference bringing together hundreds of progressive organizers and activists from across the state to train, share, network, teach and learn with each other. Click here to reserve your spot now! Keep a lookout for more information coming soon on keynote speakers and our action-packed workshop schedule!
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.