Rosemary Rivera to Take the Lead at Citizen Action of New York, First Latina and LGBTQ+ Executive Director

by | May 30, 2023 | Press Releases

(May 30, 2023) – As Citizen Action of New York reaches its 40th year, Rosemary Rivera is becoming the first Latina and the first LGBTQ Executive Director in the organization’s history. 

A directly impacted New YoRican who grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City, Rivera began her career as a formerly incarcerated volunteer. Her knack for grassroots power-building has achieved many, many victories, leading her to hold the role of Organizing Director for 9 years, and then Co-Executive Director alongside Jess Wisneski for the past 5 years. A brilliant organizer, Rivera has been an instrumental figure in key victories like winning equitable funding for New York schools and developing and passing a new Code of Conduct for Rochester City School District, which resulted in a 40% drop in student suspensions. 

Jess Wisneski, who will officially transition out of the Co-Executive Director role on June 16th, 2023, had the following to say: “After almost 18 years at Citizen Action of New York, I can’t express how deeply my life has been touched, shaped, and changed by the incredible network of grassroots leaders, organizational leaders, candidates and electeds, and talented organizers that I’ve shared community with along the way. As Citizen Action celebrates its 40th year of impactful work, I can think of no better leader to chart the course of the future. Rosemary is a visionary leader, with fire in the belly for organizing, for building power and deep community with and for the people.”

“I’m thrilled to hear Rosemary Rivera will take the lead at Citizen Action of New York, as their first-ever Latina, and first-ever LGBTQ+, Executive Director,” said Sulma Arias, Executive Director of People’s Action. “During the past five years in which Rosemary and Jess Wisneski have been Co-Executive Directors, the organization has seen great forward momentum in the face of unprecedented societal challenges. I’m excited to see what Jess does next, and I know that under Rosemary’s leadership, Citizen Action of New York will continue building grassroots people power to achieve more progressive victories in New York State!” 

In addition to her role at Citizen Action, Rivera is also Board Chair of the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the Vice President of People’s Action, on the Board of Directors for the North Star Fund, and a state committee member for the Working Families Party.