Activist Check-in: Throwing Down to Build Back Better

by | Oct 4, 2021

Dear Activist,

The past couple of years have been a testament to how strong we are when we come together! We’ve been fighting to make sure our elected officials work for the many, not just the wealthy and well connected. The Build Back Better Act is our chance to do things the right way by investing in everyday people, and we can’t let corporations and the ultra rich derail our progress. This week, Citizen Action members threw down to make sure our congressional leaders deliver a plan that puts people before corporate greed.

The Build Back Better plan raises taxes on the ultra rich, includes funding for public and affordable housing, invests in early childhood development, expands health care, and tackles climate change. While negotiations continue, as always, the devil is in the details. We must keep the pressure on Congress to pass the Build Back Better plan intact, fully funded at $3.5 trillion. Senate Republicans and corporate Democrats like Sen. Manchin are standing in the way of historic investments in our communities and are more concerned with keeping the rich rich. We know that the Build Back Better and infrastructure plan will ensure that all of us can thrive and recover from the pandemic stronger than we were before it. For more information about how corporations are working behind the scenes to upend our Democracy, check out this new report by People’s Action, our national affiliate, and Demos.

Around the State

The People  v. Corporations

Citizen Action took part in a national day of action to demand that Congress hold the line on the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan. Activists in New York City and in the Southern Tier rallied at the district offices of their congressional representatives. The Citizen Action Staten Island branch joined with tenants of Park Hill Houses and Stapleton houses, local activists and members of the community for a rally outside Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’s office. In the Southern Tier, Citizen Action members rallied at the Home Depot in Johnson City.The protest centered around fully funding and supporting public and affordable housing through President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda. It also coincides with the release of a new People’s Action and Demos report revealing corporate disruption to the Build Back Better plan. Click here to read the new report.

Citizen Action member Elizabeth details her experience reaching out to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’s office about the inhumane conditions at Park Hill Apartments.


Citizen Action’s NYC chapter & Staten Island Branch


Hudson Valley Candidates Discuss Good Cause Eviction

On Monday, September 27, our Hudson Valley chapter joined their endorsed candidates for a meet and greet at Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston. The candidate spoke about their progressive platforms, and the need for Good Cause Eviction in the Hudson Valley. Citizen Action State Board Member Rashida Tyler also spoke why Good Cause is needed in the region. Good Cause would guarantee all tenants the right to a lease renewal and stop retaliatory evictions and unfair increases. Citizen Action member Justin Hoekstra also gave a membership presentation. Click here for our full list of endorsed candidates.

Photo of Citizen Action’s endorsed candidates and leaders at Rough Draft in Kingston

Southern Tier Chapter Celebrates Black Joy

Our Southern Tier chapter is in the thralls of the federal Build Back Better and local housing justice fights, and last month co-hosted a Black Joy event for children and families in the community. Below are some photos from the event shared by Salka Valerio, Citizen Action community organizer. The Black Joy end of summer event was held in partnership with local groups B.A.W.S.E and Keeping it Current. There were arts and crafts, music, food and other family friendly activities. The event also brought community members together to discuss housing justice.  

Community Organizer Salka Valerio with children at the Black Joy end of summer cookout.


Ways to Take Action Now

Freedom to Vote Act

The Freedom to Vote Act is a historic piece of legislation that 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:

Upcoming Events


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.


Our Everyday Heroes Awards
Thursday, Oct 14 at 6-9 p.m.

The annual Our Everyday Heroes Awards honors people in New York State’s community organizing and social justice ecosystem who’ve made significant contributions to moving the needle forward on key issues that Citizen Action works on, like racial justice, ending mass incarceration, getting big money out of politics or environmental justice! This year’s honorees are Zakiyah Ansari, Charles Khan and Jennifer Ching & the North Star Fund. Click here to join us!

Transforming the Worldview

Saturday, October 16 at 1- 2:30 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.


Phoenix Awards
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:

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.


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.


“I was arrested a number of times. … I never thought in terms of fear. I thought in terms of justice.”- Emma Tenayuca (1916-1999), labor activist, organizer, educator

In solidarity,