Our Justice Agenda
A vision for 2023 and beyond
At Citizen Action of New York, we envision a world where every person’s basic needs are met. It’s a world filled with love and respect for its people and the planet. It’s a world where democracy reigns and each person is able to reach their fullest potential. It’s a world where equity is the norm and oppression, in all forms, is eradicated. It’s a world without war, violence, or the threat of climate destruction. The world we want is possible, but it will only exist if we work together.
To achieve this vision, we have to understand two very important ideas:
The things we care about because they affect our everyday well-being—like housing, education, and health care—are not isolated from each other. It’s all interconnected.
Where you live determines where you can go to school. How far you go in school affects your long-term health. Your ability to find affordable health care affects the very length of your life. So if we care about one of these things, we have to care about all of these things. If we want to fix one of these things, we have to fix all of these things.
We are battling against racial capitalism, the interacting oppressive forces of racism and capitalism that show themselves through inequality and bigotry.
Greed, racism, patriarchy and other systems of oppression permeate the very fabric of our lives—through economics, education, housing, technological advancements, healthcare, climate policy, and our criminal legal system. If we are to create the world we envision, we have to dismantle racial capitalism.
These are the priorities we’re working on this year to make our vision a reality:
Everyone deserves guaranteed housing that is safe and dignified, regardless of their income or social status. We will protect tenants and invest in community ownership by:
- Passing Good Cause Tenant Protections to give tenants the right to challenge unfair evictions and discrimination by landlords
- Passing Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act to give tenants funding and first dibs to buy properties they live in when they go up for sale, and have a say in who can buy them if they don’t
- Passing Housing Access Voucher Program to provide all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, with rental support that keeps pace with the actual cost of rent and can be used as long as the need exists
- Passing Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Safe Housing Act to remove lead from rental properties and ensure that landlords and towns that don’t remove it are held accountable
Health care is a human right. We will shrink the racial divide in health care, expand access, and stop corporations from getting rich on the backs of patients by:
- Passing Hospital Financial Assistance Access to force hospitals to make financial assistance funding accessible to patients and raising the threshold for who qualifies
- Passing Coverage For All to ensure all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, are eligible for health care coverage
We must strengthen and expand our democracy, which means protecting the rights of every single person to participate in it. We will make elections accessible for all New Yorkers by:
- Investing $70 million in Public Financing of Campaigns to ensure elected officials are accountable to people, not special interests
- Protecting the Freedom to Vote for all New Yorkers and strengthen and expand participation in our democratic elections
Everyone deserves to live in a healthy and resilient community, protected from extreme weather and pollution. We will prioritize frontline communities, low-income communities, and communities of color by:
- Passing Climate, Jobs, and Justice Package to invest $10 billion in programs and policies to stop global warming and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, protect public health, and create green jobs and infrastructure
- Passing Climate Change Superfund Act to force the fossil fuel companies who have willfully created the climate crisis to pay for the solutions to it
Every child, regardless of their zip code, deserves high-quality child care and public education in which they are able to grow emotionally, mentally, culturally, and creatively. We will ensure this by:
- Increasing funding for child care to ensure more families, including undocumented families, receive vouchers; child care workers make a living wage; and providers get funding
- Passing Solutions Not Suspensions requiring schools to use therapeutic practices instead of punishment in schools and limiting suspensions
Every New Yorker should be able to thrive. We will prioritize public goods and services instead of predatory corporate profits by:
- Raising taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers so they pay what they owe
- Reducing state subsidies for corporations to end the pay-for-play culture in Albany
- Increasing the minimum wage across New York
Every person has inherent dignity, including those who cause harm. We will end the system of modern-day slavery in New York by:
- Passing No More Slavery in New York to amend the state constitution to abolish slavery; end forced labor in prison; pay incarcerated workers the state minimum wage; and create a path to work after release
- Passing Connecting Families to end the outrageous predatory fees incarcerated New Yorkers and their loved ones have to pay for phone calls
- Passing Treatment Not Jails to stop criminalizing mental health and increase treatment options instead of imprisonment