Rochester Citizen Action Members Join With State Elected Officials To Call for the Passage of Our Justice Agenda Bills

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Press Releases, Rochester

Residents applaud the Rochester delegation’s commitment to education, child care and housing


(Rochester, NY) – Today, members of Citizen Action of New York’s Rochester chapter were joined by state and local elected officials and residents of Rochester for a press conference in support of key legislation for housing, child care and education. Speakers including NAME, as well as leaders from Citizen Action, called for the passage of Good Cause, giving tenants the right to challenge unfair evictions, and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, giving tenants first dibs on purchasing properties they live in, or a say on who gets to purchase. 

These and other bills are part of Citizen Action’s Our Justice Agenda, a comprehensive package of legislation that invests public money in the public good. Our Justice Agenda recognizes the interconnectedness of policy issues and the well-being of everyday New Yorkers. By making the wealthy and big corporations pay what they owe, people and communities have what they need to thrive. 

“Everyone deserves to live in safe and dignified housing,” said Barbara Rivera, Community Organizer at Citizen Action. “Every child deserves to grow up in an environment that will nurture their growth. When we understand that housing is a human right, we begin building the bridge to solving all of our issues.”

“It is our responsibility to meet the needs of our students in all ways,” said Maddy Funchess, Community Organizer for Citizen Action. “It’s about doing all that we can to ensure the overall well-being of all Rochester’s youth. In all their intersections, whether at school, at home, or within the community.”

“Growing up and going through school, I faced a lot of challenges and trauma trying to get a solid education,” said Citizen Action Member Kathryn Henriquez. “I learned I had to advocate for myself, and I was lucky to find some allies to help me get through it. Kids shouldn’t have to go through hardships or face punishment because they need special attention. Education is so important in my community, it’s our best chance at a solid future, and we need our elected officials to continue to invest in resources to help our kids thrive.”

“We’ve been faced with so much injustice in Rochester when it comes to housing,” said Oscar Brewer, Citizen Action Member and local housing activist. “Not just on the local level, but on the statewide level, we need Good Cause tenant protections and Clean Hands legislation. Landlords need to be responsive to their tenants’ need for repairs — people deserve safe and dignified housing, and not to face eviction for fighting for what they deserve.”

​”New York State needs to embrace Possibility Not Punishment. I’m here to call on the legislature to pass No More Slavery in New York and Fairness & Opportunity For Incarcerated Workers,” said Dwayne Ivery, a formerly-incarcerated activist and member of Citizen Action. “ Passing these bills will change the lives of many people by helping to prevent recidivism and allowing those released from incarceration the opportunity to live whole lives free from a system of penal slavery.”

The press conference was held at Citizen Action’s Rochester office 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 Rochester to thank them for their support and 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.