Capital District Advocates Seek Justice For All and Calls on Assembly Member Santabarbara to do more!

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Capital District, Press Releases

February 22, 2023 (Albany, NY)  – Today, leaders of Citizen Action of New York’s Capital District chapter and residents of Albany and Schenectady were joined by Albany Common Council Members Gabriela Romero and Owusu Anane for a press conference and rally. Speakers called for legislation improving access to child care and protecting renters from rent hikes and wrongful eviction.

These bills are all part of Citizen Action’s Our Justice Agenda, a comprehensive platform that recognizes the interconnectedness of progressive issues and the well-being of everyday New Yorkers. Strong and healthy communities require investment, this is what area residents want prioritized. By making the wealthy and big corporations pay what they owe, people and communities have what they need to thrive

“People across our city are at risk of losing their homes and it’s long past time we protect them. With Citizen Action’s leadership, tenants fought hard for and won Good Cause protections here in Albany and they shouldn’t have to be afraid of the next court decision that will take those protections away,” said Albany Common Council Member Owusu Anane. “It’s time to pass Good Cause statewide so the hardworking families in our city and cities across the state can sleep at night knowing they can’t be unjustly turned out of their homes.” 

“Every one of our families deserves an Albany that is strong, safe, and healthy,” said Albany Common Council Member Gabriela Romero. “That means ensuring affordable child care that meets every child’s developmental, emotional, and cultural needs. It means making corporate polluters clean up the mess they’ve made in our community. It means making the ultra-wealthy pay what they owe so we can make life a little more manageable for everyday New Yorkers. These are just some of the reasons I am proud to stand in support of Citizen Action’s Justice Agenda; it’s what the families of Albany need.”

“Community members across Schenectady turned out to elect Assemblymember Santabarbara because they know that we need a New York that works for all of us: one that takes action to fight the climate and housing crises and acknowledges the serious challenges facing families seeking child care,” said Taurean Lewis, Citizen Action Community Organizer in the Capital District. “We’re here to make sure he shows up for them, in the same way they showed up for him.”

“My mom raised me as a single parent in Albany,” said Citizen Action Member Hasson Harris. “Growing up, there was a leak directly over my bed that wasn’t fixed until I basically left for college. It was a hassle to get that—or anything else—fixed. Housing support and tenant protections like Good Cause would have changed my life. We all deserve to come home and feel safe, secure, and happy at the end of the day. We need to pass Good Cause in New York this year.”

“We need representation that is going to be available to their constituents,” said Citizen Action Board Member Justin Chaires. “The people elected Assemblymember Santabarbara, but he’s shown a complete unwillingness to listen to their issues — you can’t say you’re an ally to the people and block their calls. We don’t need any more of the status quo, we need real progressive change for Schenectady and Albany.” 

“As a person of color, as a woman, sometimes politicians use people like me to score political points, but this isn’t just policy, it’s our lives,” said Alÿcia Bacon, State Board Member at Citizen Action of New York. “Citizen Action and the collective of all the organizers standing together against the well-funded opposition invested in the status quo is strong, and we won’t stop fighting for real progressive climate action to pass, to protect all New Yorkers. It’s a matter of life and death.”

The press conference was held in East Capitol Park at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, 2/22. It was one of seven press conferences happening simultaneously around the state, in each of Citizen Action’s chapter regions.In the coming days, Citizen Action members will meet with state legislators representing Albany and Schenectady to urge them to stand up for Our Justice Agenda bills.

Citizen Action of New York is a grassroots membership organization with eight chapters and affiliates across New York State. We work on issues important to our communities, including fair elections, equitable school funding, housing for all, environmental justice, and possibility not punishment.