Activist Check-in: Time for Strong Leadership

by | Aug 30, 2021

Dear Activist,

Andrew Cuomo is officially out and Kathy Hochul is officially in. Many of us are encouraged by the appointment of state Senator Brian Benjamin, a Democrat from Harlem, to serve as lieutenant governor. In response to his appointment, and our vision for a New York that works for all of us, Ivette Alfonso, Citizen Action president released this statement:

“Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Benjamin can immediately take up legislation to ensure that all New Yorkers have safe and affordable housing and access to child care, and move forward policies which tax the rich to invest in our communities. They must put parole justice legislation front and center as a priority, including the Elder Parole and Fair and Timely Parole bills co-sponsored by Senator Benjamin that failed to pass this year.” Click here to read more.

Our state faces a slew of issues that have been compounded by the pandemic — from evictions resuming to dark money in politics — and we need bold, progressive leadership by this new administration. With the Supreme Court blocking both the federal and state eviction ban, our state legislators must pass a new moratorium that addresses the court’s concerns, and keeps families out of housing courts. They must also ensure that tenants and homeowners receive payments from the rental assistance program. As we head into the next legislative session, facing new challenges and with much-needed reforms that were left on the table last year, we’re hopeful that we can work with Governor Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Benjamin to bring about the necessary changes we need to protect all New Yorkers. While our leadership may look different, our priorities are the same. We believe in a society where everyone’s basic needs are met. As the rich gets richer, we deserve leaders who will invest in public goods like housing, health care, transportation, and child care for working families.


Around the State

Citizen Action Supports Health Care Workers  

We’re sending our love and support to the health care workers at Catholic Health hospitals in Buffalo as they fight for safe staffing and a fair contract. We know that inadequate staffing results in burnout, unsafe working conditions, and hurts our health care system. This is all too familiar — we saw a similar fight with nurses at Albany Medical, who after years of fighting won their fair contract this year. Health care workers at several hospitals say conditions have deteriorated due to staffing levels, and demand better conditions to ensure quality patient care. Health care workers on the frontlines who know their patients best should have a say in how care is administered. We stand with nurses in Buffalo and everywhere. Below is a photo of Citizen Action Vice President Jim Anderson speaking at this week’s rally with health care workers with the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Western NY Committees Host Day of Action

On Thursday, August 26, our Western New York chapter held a full day of events that focused on our priority campaigns such as Good Cause eviction legislation, voting rights and child care needs in Buffalo. The events were led by Citizen Action committee members, including the education, demand justice, men of color, and housing committees. The day of action started with a Good Cause eviction bill call-to-action. Good Cause eviction, which recently passed in the city of Albany, ends unjust evictions and guarantees a lease renewal to all tenants who follow the terms of their lease, essentially ending arbitrary and retaliatory evictions.  

The chapter’s elections committee held the voting rights teach-in at SUNY Buffalo to mobilize with students and community members in the fight for Democracy, and build solidarity in the face of what we know is a national threat to our voting rights. The photos below were taken at the chapter’s membership picnic.

Photos by Yves-Richard Blanc

Hudson Valley Endorsements

Our Hudson Valley chapter previously announced their endorsements for a slate of progressive candidates who will fight for housing as a human right, environmental justice, health care for all and more. The candidates for Ulster County Legislature endorsed by Citizen Action include Aaron Levin (District 1), Abe Uchitelle (District 5), Phil Erner (District 6), Marissa McClinton (District 12) and Kathy Nolan for re-election (District 22). Click here to read our full press release. The chapter also endorsed Daniel Degan for Dutchess County Legislature (District 2), Barbara Hill for Kingston Common Council (Ward 1), Rennie Scott-Childress for Alderman (Ward 3), Laura Nordstrom for Alderwoman (Ward 7), Michele Hirsch for re-election as Alderwoman (Ward 9), and Robert Drake for Shandaken Town Board.

“These candidates represent our vision for a Hudson Valley where everyone has what they need to live a good life. Choosing strong candidates that can ensure a solid Working Families-Democratic majority in Ulster County and throughout the region means that our communities’ priorities will come first. We are certain these candidates will champion our rights and make the future much brighter for Hudson Valley families,” said Alim Flowers, Citizen Action lead organizer.


Ways to Take Action Now

We can’t wait any longer to address the climate crisis. This month, Congress has the opportunity to go big and bold on investing in climate solutions — and they need to hear from us how important it is that they act NOW. Take action:

Upcoming Events

Back to School Field Day

Saturday, August 28 at 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Join our Western New York chapter for “The Black August Back to School Field.” This day will be held in collaboration with the Black August Organizing Committee (BAOC), and the Backpack Drive will be sponsored by B.O.O.K.B.A.G.S EXPRESS. The event’s goal is to embrace and demonstrate the Black liberation legacy of communal practices, love, and support for Black people and underserved communities. Click here for more information.

Teach The Truth Rally
Saturday, August 28 at 12- 2 p.m.

Join our Hudson Valley chapter and Next Step Hudson Valley as we rally around the importance of teaching Critical Race Theory in public schools. We discuss what we can do to push back against lawmakers trying to ban it. Click here for more information.

Healing 4 A Good Hood

Saturday, August 29 at 1- 3 p.m.

Healing 4 A Good Hood is an event to commemorate the mental, spiritual, and physical discipline of George Jackson. This event will provide the people strategies that can be used to maintain mental, physical, and spiritual Power during our struggle for Justice, Freedom, and Equity for Black and all oppressed people. Free food and beverages will be provided. Children, elders, and families are welcomed. Click here for more information.

People Powered Happy Hour!

Thursday, September 9 at 6-9 p.m.

Join the NYC Chapter for a people-powered happy hour & meet other chapter members!

  • Join the party & become a member for $20.
  • Already a Citizen Action member? Join us for $10!

Black Joy Cookout & Dance Party

Saturday, September 11 at 1- 7 p.m.

Join our Southern Tier chapter for an end of summer celebration of Black Joy! We will also have information related to housing justice in the Southern Tier. Free food. Masks provided and social distancing guidelines in effect. Open to the public! Click here for more information.


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:

“Ours is not the struggle of one day, one week, or one year. Ours is not the struggle of one judicial appointment or presidential term. Ours is the struggle of a lifetime, or maybe even many lifetimes, and each one of us in every generation must do our part.” – Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020)


In solidarity,