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WKBW 7 News Buffalo
Fighting inequities with Justice Agenda 2023
By Eileen Buckley,
The fight against inequities from housing to child care, health care, education, and labor in prisons came to Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo Wednesday.
Citizen Action of New York rallying for their Justice Agenda 2023 calling on the state legislature to approve legislative changes on major issues they say impact families, community members, and students.
“Buffalo — can you hear it? Can you hear our mighty spirit?” Advocates chanted.
Advocates issued a rallying cry directed at state lawmakers who represent Buffalo.
They want the state legislature to support seven priorities in a Justice Agenda including affordable child care, and health care for all, and fix housing issues by ending evictions and rent hikes.
“There are women with small children who have no electricity and have to plug their refrigerator into an extension cord,” stated Kelly Camacho, community organization, Citizen Action of NY.
“Economic devastation is wreaking havoc on Black communities across the nation,” commented Franchelle Parker, executive director, Open Buffalo.
In education, the Justice Agenda is also asking for an end to out-of-school suspensions with a bill called "Solutions not Suspensions", which is a major trouble spot in the Buffalo Public School District.
“Stop coloring them all the same way. There's other things that you can do. Instead of kicking them out — kicking them out is not educating them. It is not giving them the spirit to be prosperous — to be a good citizen. None of that,” Ina Ferguson, education advocate in Buffalo.
“Begging you to do things that are basic human rights, everybody, and I mean everybody,” declared Donna Robinson, Buffalo organization, Release Aging People in Prison.
I spoke with Robinson who is calling for an end to forced labor in prisons and to remove the 'school to prison pipeline'.
“The education process is set up to fail us as working parents and single-family households,” Robinson replied.
Advocates are calling on lawmakers including State Senator Sean Ryan and Assemblywoman Monica Wallace to listen to their agenda.
Both leaders were unavailable for interviews.
Ryan issued a statement saying in part he would "never close the door to discussions" and believes there will be "thoughtful conversations" in the months ahead.
Those fighting for this Justice Agenda say they will be lobbying state lawmakers including Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes of Buffalo Thursday and more lobby set for March.