Activist Check-in: Controlling the Narrative

by | Jul 7, 2021

Dear Activist,

Right-wing politicians and their supporters across the country are trying to turn classrooms into battlegrounds, spreading lies about the lessons being taught in schools about race, racism and our country’s history. Our Co-Executive Director Rosemary Rivera joined the Partnership for the Future of Education to publish a personal and thought-provoking piece on why anti-racist and culturally-responsive education is critical to kids’ education.

“We should want our children to be aware of the world they live in. Exploitative and deeply-entrenched policies that eliminate the teaching of critical race theory and limit culturally-responsive education in our schools will continue to marginalize Black and brown communities. This is not only detrimental for the development of young students of color, but white students as well.” she says. Click here to read more.

Like CRT, the For the People Act, acknowledges that structural racism exists, and it tackles some of the most blatant voter suppression tactics we’re seeing today. Citizen Action member Justin Hoekstra wrote a letter to the editor to stress the importance of passing the bill now in order to save our Democracy. Click here to read Justin’s letter in the Daily Freeman.

Over the past few weeks, we celebrated Pride Month, Juneteenth, primary victories, and saw mixed reactions to Derek Chauvin’s 22-year sentence for murdering George Floyd. His sentencing was announced on what would have been Tamir Rice’s 19th Birthday. A nation that buries its past is likely to repeat it.

Around the State

Fighting to Protect Voting Rights

With Congress heading towards recess, we’re putting pressure on Senator Schumer to pass the For People Act. The bill would establish automatic voter registration and small donor matching for congressional elections, roll back restrictive and discriminatory voting rules, restore voting rights to people with past convictions, and end partisan and discriminatory gerrymandering. Click here for a great article about why we must end gerrymandering before heading into the next election cycle.

Our Regional Director Mercedes Phelan and Community Organizer Jalil Muntaqim joined fellow voting rights activists at Indivisible as part of statewide mobilizations, for a rally outside of Sen. Schumer’s regional office in Rochester. Jalil has been directly impacted by voting restrictions. Last year, he faced charges for attempting to register to vote before he was aware if he received a pardon from Gov. Cuomo. New York just restored the right to vote to formerly incarcerated New Yorkers this year, and the For the People Act would make it the national standard, among other policies that will expand voting access and strengthen our democracy.

In Buffalo, Citizen Action members also rallied outside of Schumer’s regional office there. Click here to read more about the rally in Buffalo.

We rallied in Binghamton to support the For the People Act

Good Cause Eviction Bill Moves Forward in Albany

This week, the city of Albany’s Good Cause eviction bill was voted out of committee! The bill will be brought up for a full vote by the Common Council later this month. Good Cause eviction would end unjust evictions and guarantee good-faith tenants the right to a lease renewal. Albany will lead the state in passing this transformational bill at a time where so many are struggling to stay in their homes.

Ways to Take Action Now

We live in a world where racism exists, and to deny that fact is to deny reality and the everyday experience of millions of people. Students need to be able to learn about these realities to change things for the better. Click here to add your name to a petition to save education:

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, July 14 at 6 p.m.

Letter to the Editor Workshop

Join us for a Letter to the Editor writing workshop! We’ll go over some writing and submission tips! Feel free to bring a draft with you or brainstorm some ideas during our breakout groups on what your next or first LTE will be. Click here register:

Thursday, July 17 and Friday, July 18

Justice Works 2021 – Virtual Conference

Justice Works is New York’s premier 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!

Justice Works features workshops, speakers and performances highlighting the community organizing and civic engagement currently being done in New York. This year, Justice Works 2021 will take place virtually July 17-18. We are so pleased to announce one of our keynote speakers, Sarah Lewis!

Sarah Lewis is among the most insightful and eloquent speakers on race in America, one of only two professors ever hired at Harvard to focus on African-American art. Her research focuses on the intersection of African American and Black Atlantic visual representation, racial justice, and representational democracy in the United States. Click here to reserve your spot now!

Tuesday- Thursday, August 10 and 12 at 6 – 8 p.m.

Our Political Education department is back with the Reversing Runaway Inequality workshop August 10 and 12! In this workshop, we will examine the massive level of economic inequality we bear in America today. We will discuss both what the current 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.

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:

“A system cannot fail those it was never intended to protect.” – W.E.B Dubois

In solidarity,







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