Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Met Gala dress embroidered with the popular progressive slogan “tax the rich” made quite a splash last week and sparked heated debate as Congress works on its $3.5 trillion budget package. The plan would make massive investments in the common good with vital funding for child care, the expansion of health care benefits, tackling childhood hunger, and combating climate change. Now is definitely the right time to raise taxes on the wealthy. Believe it or not, there are more billionaires today than there were before the pandemic started. And according to Forbes, “billionaires have gotten about $1.2 trillion richer during the pandemic.” At the same time, roughly between 2.5 and 3.5 million renters owe around $17 billion in back rent. This is not a coincidence; it is by design. By raising taxes on billionaires and mega corporations, we can Build Back Better, put human dignity first and invest in everyday people.
This week, our Haitian brothers and sisters were met with racist violence by U.S. border patrol agents. The images of agents on horseback using what appeared to be whips on Haitian migrants nearly broke the internet, and rightfully so because they are extremely triggering and inhumane. The Biden administration’s handling of the crisis at the border is unacceptable and an injustice that must be corrected. As the crisis unfolds, many people have rushed to provide mutual aid to Haitian people at the border by collecting supplies and donations. It’s been nice seeing all the love that Haiti has received from folks from the diaspora, but President Biden and Vice President Harris must and can do better to welcome all asylum seekers and help get them the resources they need to live dignified lives.
Around the State
Speak Out Against High Prescription Drug Prices
This week, our Long Island affiliate, the Long Island Progressive Coalition, and other progressive groups and activists, called out Congress member Kathleen Rice for voting against lower prescription drug costs for poor and working people in the Build Back Better budget plan. Her decision impacts tens of thousands of New Yorkers who struggle to afford the medicines they need on a daily basis. On Wednesday, September 22, directly impacted New Yorkers, including many of Rep. Rice’s constituents rallied outside of her Garden City office to demand that she fight for everyday people, and stop working to help big pharma get richer. You can read more about this action here.
Nina Tribble, constituent of Rep. Rice. speaking at Wednesday’s rally. Click here for a video on LIPC’s Twitter page.
Hudson Valley Chapter Makes Three More Endorsements
Our Hudson Valley chapter announced their latest round of endorsements for the upcoming general elections on Tuesday, November 3. Ahead of early voting, which starts on October 23, the chapter endorsed Ulster County Legislator Peter Criswell for re-election in District 7, and Kayleigh Zaloga and Kevin Freeman for Saugerties Town Board. To read more in our press release including quotes from the chapter’s lead organizer and the candidates, click here. The chapter is also hosting a Meet and Greet and discussion about Good Cause eviction with some of their endorsed candidates on Monday, September 27. Below is an image from Citizen Action’s twitter page. Be sure to follow us for more updates!
‘Finish the Job’ NYC Rally in Defense of Democracy
Last week, Citizen Action joined dozens of voting rights activists for a rally and demonstration on Wall Street to call on U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer to overcome the filibuster and pass the Freedom to Vote Act. After months of negotiations, the Freedom to Vote was introduced as a compromise on the For the People Act. The new bill still makes vital changes to our voting system, including starting small donor matching public financing for House elections and ending partisan gerrymandering. Like the For the People Act, its replacement bill would enact critical voting rights laws to protect the freedom to vote for everyone — especially for Black and Brown communities across the country that have been targeted with racist voter suppression laws. Making these changes to our voting system nationwide would make elections fairer and allow us to have a government that represents the people. When we can elect the right candidates who will fight to end the status quo of putting profits over people, and get dark money out of elections, we will have a government that truly works for all of us.
Shout-out to Michelle Ming, our campaigns manager for Fair Elections and Worker/Gender Justice, our partners at the Fair Elections for New York coalition, Jawanza Williams from VOCAL-NY who was the speaker and emcee, Susan Lerner from Common Cause New York, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Congresswoman Grace Mengee
Ways to Take Action Now
Freedom to Vote Act
The Freedom to Vote Act is a historic piece of legislation that protects the freedom to vote for all Americans, stops partisan redistricting and gerrymandering, and curbs dark money in politics so that billionaires can’t buy our elections. The bill has been negotiated, but still needs to pass the Senate. Make your voice heard and join us to fight for Democracy! Click here to take action: cit.ac/FreedomToVote
Meet the Candidates & Discuss Good Cause Eviction
Monday, September 27
Join our Hudson Valley chapter and the candidates they’ve endorsed in the upcoming election. Each candidate will speak about their candidacy, their platform, and why Good Cause Eviction needs to be passed on the city and county level. Speakers include Dan Degan, Phil Erner, Barbara Hill, Laura Nordstrom, Kathy Nolan, Aaron Levine, Michelle Hirsch, Marissa McClinton, Robert Drake, Abe Uchitelle, Peter Criswell, Kevin Freeman, Rennie Scott-Childress. For more information and to register, click here.
Staten Island (NYC)
Wednesday, September 29 at 6 – 7 p.m.
Build Back Better, Corporations versus The People
Join us for a rally and press conference to support fully funding public housing & affordable housing through the Build Back Better Agenda. We will hear from residents of Stapleton Houses and Park Hill Apartments as we fight back against corporations spending millions of dollars lobbying against our communities interests! Click here to join: https://cit.ac/BBBStatenIsland
Breaking the Cycle
Tuesday, October 12 & Wednesday, October 13 at 6 – 8 p.m.
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. Click here to register.
Transforming the Worldview
Saturday, October 16 at 1- 6:30 p.m.
In this workshop, we discuss the conservative dominant worldview and the progressive worldview that we want to replace it with. We look at how the language we use often reinforces the dominant worldview and we practice using language that reinforces our progressive worldview instead. Click here to register.
Tuesday, October 26 at 6 – 8 p.m.
You’re invited to the Citizen Action of New York Phoenix Awards! Please join us on Tuesday, October 26 as we celebrate extraordinary local activists who are engaged in the fight for justice. Click here to get your tickets now: tinyurl.com/CAPhoenix21
The Phoenix Awards honors individuals and organizations in our community who have demonstrated an active commitment to social justice and progressive values. It is our way of honoring the unsung heroes who go above and beyond the call of duty to make our communities a better place.
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.
“It is in speaking their world that people, by making the world, can transform it.” – Paulo Freire