Activist Check-in: It’s the Final Stretch

by | Jun 8, 2021

Dear Activist,

With capacity restrictions easing at gyms, outdoor venues and workplaces, New Yorkers are being encouraged to get back to business as usual. Getting back to “normal” will look different for each of us, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. New Yorkers are falling deeper into poverty as a result of the pandemic. Debt is an overlooked, but major economic crisis impacting poor and low-income families. The stress of owing more than they make for reasons beyond their control can set folks back years and even generations. It prevents people from saving for the future, building legacy wealth or furthering their education, for example.

Medical debt is a growing concern in New York, but state leaders have an opportunity to do something about it. We’re urging them to pass the Patient Medical Debt Protection Act (S2521/A3470) to protect New Yorkers from surprise bills and facility fees. This bill is more important than ever as New Yorkers continue to deal with impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their health and general well-being. Click here to take action to end medical debt!

The June 22 primaries are weeks away! Early voting starts on June 12 and will run until June 20, 2021. Click here for more information from your local board of elections on how you can vote early or on Election Day. Also, HAPPY PRIDE MONTH – our Southern Tier chapter is helping organize a Pride Flag rally and dance party on Saturday, June 5! Info below.

Around the State

State Leaders Must House the Homeless

On Friday, June 4, housing justice advocates and activists from Albany to Buffalo rallied and marched in support of the Housing Our Neighbors with Dignity Act (HONDA). The bill would “allow owners of financially-distressed hotels and commercial properties to sell them to the state to create permanent affordable housing for homeless and housing-vulnerable New Yorkers.”


Climate Action for the Climate Community Investment Act

This week, people from Buffalo to New York City, joined NY Renews for a rally outside of the New York State Business Council’s office, and staged a die-in at West Capital Park in Albany, in support of the CCIA. The purpose of the demonstration was to highlight the human cost of climate inaction to New Yorkers health and well-being. It is unclear whether the bill will be brought for a vote this session. We NEED a commitment from state leaders that the bill WILL get passed. Click here to read more.


Activists at West Capitol Park in Albany getting ready to march up the street to the NYS Business Council office.

Meet the Candidates in Rochester

This week, our Rochester chapter held a meet and greet community cookout with Citizen Acton endorsed candidates! It was all smiles and good vibes as Citizen Action members heard from endorsed candidates like Camille Simmons, candidate for Rochester school board, and Kim Smith, candidate for Rochester City Council. Click here to view a full list of endorsements for the June 22 primary elections.  

Emergency Rental Assistance Program Launches with Glitches

In New York City, thousands of tenants and homeowners have applied for emergency rental assistance, showing how urgent and great the need is. However, many tenants and homeowners have had issues completing their applications. There have been reports of people receiving error messages while trying to set up their accounts and uploading documents. Housing justice and tenants rights advocates with Housing Justice for All NY are working to organize a response to these problems. If you’ve faced an issue while applying for rent relief, feel free to share your experience with us. You can respond to this email. The good thing about the state rental assistance program is that undocumented New Yorkers are automatically eligible to apply. You can find out more information here!

End Unjust Evictions in the City of Albany

New York’s eviction moratorium is expiring at the end of August. The federal eviction ban is expiring on June 31. Despite the state’s rent relief program, many tenants are still at risk for predatory evictions and rent increases. The battle for Good Cause eviction is taking center stage in the city of Albany, where the bill is being proposed as part of Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s Fair Housing legislation. Thanks to our amazing communications team member, Dana Willbanks, and the Capital Region members, our Good Cause info mailer went out this week to city of Albany residents!

Ways to Take Action Now

Roughly 25% of the state’s prison population is over the age of 50. New York has a failing parole system that is creating a crisis where people are aging and dying in prison–literally death by incarceration. Like every aspect of the criminal legal system, these thousands of disproportionately Black and Brown people are caught in a system that values endless punishment over personal rehabilitation and true community safety. Click here to tell legislators that we demand parole justice now.

Upcoming Events


June 8 & June 9 at 6-8 p.m.
Breaking the Cycle

In this workshop, we explore the motivations and drivers of the criminal legal system, including policing and mass incarceration. We pay special attention to the institutional racism at the heart of the system that has been oppressing Black and Brown people for centuries. With that understanding, we can begin to redefine safety in our lives and communities. This workshop will be done in two sessions. Click here to register.

Thursday, July 17 and Friday, July 18
Justice Works 2021 – Virtual Conference

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!

New York City

Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 12 p.m.
March for Parole Justice

Join hundreds of people from across New York State on June 5 for a march to demand Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart- Cousins pass the Elder Parole and Fair & Timely Parole bills. Click here for more information.


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.

Southern Tier

Saturday, June 5
Pride Flag Raising at 10:30 a.m. / Dance party at 7 p.m.

Join our Southern Tier chapter and other progressive community groups at City Hall for our Pride flag raising. At 7 p.m., we’ll meet back at Peacemaker’s Stage for a dance party, speakers, drag performances, and more! Event hosts include PLOT: Progressive Leaders Of Tomorrow, The PRIDE of Binghamton, Northside Mutual Aid, DAROC Broome County, and 100 Black Men of Broome County. RSVP here:

Monday, June 7 at 12 p.m.
Moral Monday

Join us and the New York State Poor People’s Campaign for a news conference and rally to demand a Third Reconstruction in America. America needs a Third Reconstruction to revive our moral and political commitments to democracy and the founding principles of the country. The Southern Tier chapter’s very own Salka Valerio, a fearless organizer and leader, will be speaking at the event! Click here to register. You can visit the event’s Facebook page 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.

Stay Connected

Tweet us! For live updates, follow our statewide Twitter page. And if you’re looking for cool articles, memes and a little conversation, like us on Facebook here.

Closing message:

“History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.” – Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)


In solidarity,