News & Updates

E-NEWSLETTER: No Ban No Wall, Hate Free Zone update, and Educational Justice!

Check out what Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has been working on in the New Year in our E-Newsletter below!

Upcoming Events

Hudson Valley: NO Ban NO Wall

Join the Muslim Student Organization of Bard College, the Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone, and others this Saturday to stand up against the recent Muslim Ban and executive orders attacking immigrants:

Saturday, February 4th
1:30-3pm
Dutchess County Courthouse, 10 Market St, Poughkeepsie

Lost In Detention

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is co-sponsoring the LGBTQ Committee for Racial Justice’s screening of Lost in Detention – about immigration, U.S. policy, for-profit detention centers, and the experiences of those facing deportation – on February 12th from 3-5pm at the Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center in Kingston at 300 Wall St.

Forming the Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone 

On January 14th, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson and Community Voices Heard held an assembly with over 200 people from six counties to form the Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone.

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The Hate Free Zone is being formed in response to an increasingly hostile climate for immigrants, people of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people, women, and workers. The network will build a Hudson Valley that is hate free; a Hudson Valley where an attack on one vulnerable community is an attack on all vulnerable communities; a Hudson Valley where sanctuary policies that protect immigrants from deportation, access to driver’s licenses for all immigrants, investment in public education instead of mass incarceration, and other measures that choose solidarity over hate are realized.

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Over 200 people from six counties gathered for the Hudson Valley Free Zone assembly 

 

Individuals  – or institutions such as community organizations, houses of worship, or businesses – can pledge their support to the Hate Free Zone and get involved by visiting tiny.cc/hatefreepledge

Below is media coverage from the assembly:

Community Members Gather to Form Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone – WAMC Northeast Public Radio

Hate Free Zone Holds First Meeting – The Highlands Current

Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone Brings Community Members Together Under Common Goal – Time Warner Cable News

Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone Convenes in Beacon – Poughkeepsie Journal

Hudson Valley ‘Hate-Free-Zone’ Movement Forms in Beacon – Dutchess Daily Voice

Hudson Valley Residents Stand Up Against Hate – Hudson Valley Post

Hudson Valley Hate Free Zone – Hudson Valley News Network

Local Organizations Plan “Hate Free Zone” to Protect Vulnerable Communities – Hudson Valley One

Mid Hudson Declared Hate Free Zone – Mid-Hudson News

Fighting for Educational Justice

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has been working closely with parents, students, and teachers who are fighting to close the PACE program in Poughkeepsie. The PACE (“Poughkeepsie Academic and Career Excellence”) program represents the worst of educational apartheid: separating out “problem” students into a decrepit building, without enough teachers, without grade-appropriate books, and with a growing law enforcement presence leading to increasing arrests of students.

As parents, students, and teachers have spoken out, we have helped them form Parents and Advocates Supporting Students (PASS). Parents and Advocates Supporting Students publicly launched on December 13th with a press conference outside the PACE building.

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Emelia Suddith, mother of a student at PACE, at the press conference speaking against the School District’s retaliation against those who have advocated for the closing of PACE.

 

 

Below is media coverage from the launch:

New Group Calls for Closure of Alternative School in Poughkeepsie – WAMC Northeast Public Radio

Parents Call for Closure of Poughkeepsie Alternative School – Mid-Hudson News

Parents Want Poughkeepsie Alternative School Closed – The Poughkeepsie Journal

Best,

Jonathan Bix

Executive Director

E-Newsletter: Starting a fight for educational justice!

A quick pitch before we get into updates on our work from the past two months. Our Winter fundraising drive ends this Wednesday, December 7. We’ve raised over $31,000 from 445 donors so far (that’s already more donors than we’ve ever had during a drive). Thank you if you’ve already contributed. If you haven’t donated yet, can you donate now to help us get to 500 donors?

Don’t Mourn, Organize!

The national picture, and the context for our local work, has shifted dramatically in the last month. While we need to maintain our long-term vision even in the face of short term adversity, we are preparing for shifts in our work that can both defend those most vulnerable in this moment and also strategically build power for long-term change. Stay tuned for more information in January.

Fighting For Educational Justice

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has been working closely with parents, students, and teachers who are fighting to close the PACE program in Poughkeepsie.

The PACE (“Poughkeepsie Academic and Career Excellence”) program represents the worst of educational apartheid: separating out “problem” students into a decrepit building, without enough teachers, without grade-appropriate books, and with a growing law enforcement presence leading to increasing arrests of students.

As parents, students, and teachers have spoken out, we have helped them form PASS: Parents and Advocates Supporting Students. PASS has been speaking out at school board meetings, doing political training, and developing a campaign to close PACE and fight for equal education for all. You can read more about the issues with PACE in the Poughkeepsie Journal:

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/education/2016/09/16/city: alternative-school-deplorable-teachers-say/90514442

Building the Energy Justice Movement

The New York State Energy Democracy Alliance

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is on the Steering Committee of the New York Democracy Alliance (EDA) — a growing coalition of 17 organizations working for energy justice in the state. We recently helped the EDA hire its first staff person, and in October we were part of the EDA’s end-of-the-year retreat to create its plan for 2017.

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Climate Justice in the Bronx

On November 15 we joined our allies the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), which works with individual and institutional members to win concrete victories that improve material conditions for Bronx community members, for NWBCCC’s climate justice retreat for faith leaders. We shared the story of our fight against Central Hudson Gas & Electric with the present clergy and discussed how Con Edison is fraudulently taking advantage of consumers who fall behind on their bills in New York City.

The National Movement 

At the end of October our organizer Spencer Resnick was part of a panel on utilities justice in Providence, Rhode Island. Other groups on the panel were the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, the Right to the City Alliance, the Public Utility Law Project, the Rhode Island Center for Justice, and the George Wiley Center. The panel made connections between water and energy utility shutoffs and discussed the interconnection between organizing and legal advocacy. 

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Have a happy holiday season!

Best,

Jonathan Bix

Executive Director

E-Newsletter: A new HVBLMC website, and more!

Check out what Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson has been working in the Fall 2016 in our E-Newsletter below! 

Five Officers Charged at Downstate Correctional Facility

In 2013, Kevin Moore was beaten so badly by five corrections officers at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill that he was hospitalized for 17 days. As discussed in the New York Times, the five officers have now been charged for federal civil rights violations. 

Yet, we’re still waiting for charges to be brought against the corrections officers who murdered Samuel Harrell at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in 2015. The Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition continues to call for the officers’ immediate suspension from the Facility (where they continue to work) and for the filing of murder charges. 

You can read the Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition’s full statement here at their new website www.hudsonvalleyblmcoalition.org

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Post on social media to spread awareness about Moore’s case and demand justice for Samuel.

Sample tweets: 

#5DownstateOfficersCharged now we want #JusticeForSamuelHarrell #BlackLivesMatter http://pojonews.co/2djg672                                                                                               #BeatUpSquad still on duty after brutally murdering Sam Harrell #JusticeForSamuelHarrell NOW #BlackLivesMatter #CharlotteToNY

Building the Energy Justice Movement: Statewide and Nationally

As a Steering Committee member of the New York State Energy Democracy Alliance, we’re working to ensure New York’s publicly funded energy programs emphasize investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that promote economic, environmental, and health improvements in New York’s most vulnerable communities. That’s why we’re continuing to call for New York to create a Race and Economic Equity Metric and Asset Mapping tool to measure progress of investment in these communities, and calling on New York to ensure that 40% of Clean Energy Funds are directed to low-income communities and communities of color. You can help by adding your name to our appeal.

Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson also had the opportunity to give a presentation on our energy utilities work, including on our new report, at a recent conference of foundations. The convening, Towards a More Resilient Place: Promising Practice in Place-Based Philanthropy, took place September 19-21, and was hosted by the Neighborhood Funders Group and the Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions. Foundations and advocacy organizations at the conference from around the country- including New Mexico, Minnesota, and Massachusetts- requested copies of the report. 

Voter Registration

National Voter registration Day was September 27th. We celebrated by holding a voter registration training and outreach session in Poughkeepsie with the New York Civic Engagement Table. We registered 34 people to vote!

The Hudson Valley Chronogram

In September, our Organizer Margaret was interviewed for an article about anti-Black racism in the Hudson Valley Chronogram:

“Parents are trying to teach their children to be hyper-vigilant and hyper-aware all the time – the way you’re standing, the way you approach somebody – with the knowledge and expectation that you’re going to be seen as a threat,” says Margaret Kwateng, of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a multi-issue community organization based in Poughkeepsie that connects people with problems rooted in systems of power, and co-founded the Hudson Valley Black Lives Matter Coalition. “Parents are often assumed to be incompetent, uncaring, or ineffective,” Kwateng says. “This framing shifts the blame from economic systems that have destroyed all of their surroundings to the parents, who are struggling to put together the pieces.

Read more at http://www.chronogram.com/hudsonvalley/necessary-movement/Content?oid=2383724

Teach-In: the Plans for a New Jail in Dutchess County

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The End the New Jim Crow Action Network (ENJAN) will be hosting a teach-in about Dutchess County’s plans to build a new and larger jail on Saturday, October 15, from 10:00 am-1:00 pm in the cafeteria in the Family Partnership Center on 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie. 

The teach-in will provide updates on the county’s jail plans, present a number of ideas for reducing the jail population and creating more just response to crime in our country, and discuss alternatives being used around the country.

Best,

Jonathan Bix

Executive Director

E-Newsletter: Fundraising Drive Success, and More!

If you haven’t already, make sure to download our new report on utility justice and sign up for our report-release webinar on Wednesday, July 27th at 3pm ET!

Fundraising Success!

We finished our mid-year drive with over $23,000 raised from over 240 donors, including 73 new monthly donors! That’s an increase of over 160 donors and $10,000 from last year. Because of your grassroots support we’ll continue to protect low-income households’ access to utilities: from the families of our members to statewide policy change.

We would also like to thank the national Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, and the Community Organizing Grants Fund of the Peace Development Fund, for their recent grant awards.

The Investigation of Central Hudson

The Public Service Commission’s investigation into Central Hudson Gas & Electric for possible violations such as racial discrimination and illegal shut-offs, initiated at our request in December, is ongoing. Our intern Caitlin Munchick recently published an article in CounterPunch explaining why the investigation is so important. An excerpt is below:

“Joel could fit in Trudy’s hand when he was born, head-to-toe in her palm. Trudy was told that the chance of survival for a child born under 21 weeks of pregnancy was less than 10%… The hospital discharged Joel [after 6 months]. His medical equipment filled the living room and he was attached to an oxygen machine… A man arrived on a day when Trudy was home from work, wearing khaki trousers and a navy blue golf shirt with the words, ‘People. Power. Possibilities. Central Hudson,’ covering his right breast. He told them that he was there to shut her power off.” Read the rest in CounterPunch.

A Victory Worth Seventy Million!

In June 2015, the Public Service Commission created a proposal to modify low-income energy assistance programs—without soliciting input from low-income people. Read our Poughkeepsie Journal article to learn how our work expanded their original proposal by $70 million in funding and 550,000 eligible households.

Best,

Jonathan Bix

Executive Director

P.S. A last reminder. If you haven’t already, make sure to download our new report on utility justice and sign up for our report-release webinar on July 27th at 3pm ET!

Download our new report!

We’ve published a report! It discusses energy utilities as a strategic issue to link the housing and environmental movements, our replicable organizing model, and our policy proposals.

We’ve spent over a year on this and are excited to share it with you! So please do the following:

  1. Download the full report and executive summary by clicking here 
  2. Sign up for the report-release webinar on Wednesday, July 27th from 3 – 4:30 ET here

On the webinar you’ll hear about the national energy affordability crisis and why energy affordability organizing is critical for bringing the leadership of frontline communities into the environmental movement. You’ll hear from a NLMH member and staff, the main report author, and the Right to the City Alliance (which helped produce the report). We expect over 200 participants.

You can also email info@nobodyleavesmidhudson.org if you’re interested in purchasing hard copies of the report and/or executive summary.

Best,

Jonathan Bix

Executive Director

A Victory Worth $70 Million!

Victory BannerIn June 2015, the Public Service Commission created a proposal to modify low-income energy assistance programs—without soliciting input from low-income people. Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson convened a committee within the New York State Energy Democracy Alliance to respond. In August 2015, we mobilized to Albany and won statewide public hearings so low-income consumers could make their voices heard. Over the rest of 2015, Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson organized Energy Democracy Alliance groups, and our own members, to turn out to these hearings and demand expanded funding and eligibility for assistance programs.

As a result of these actions the Public Service Commission modified its proposal, which was released last Thursday. Funding has been expanded by $69 million, and eligibility has been expanded by 550,000 households. In total, funding will be $248 million, and 1.65 million households will be eligible. A joint interagency task force, designed to further increase enrollment to 2.3 million total households, has been formed. This is the first statewide utility assistance program in New York, and it was won despite significant opposition from powerful corporations.

At the meeting last Thursday announcing the decision, staff from the Consumer Affairs offices described the “enormous amount of input” from low-income people that led them to rewrite the initial proposal. As our organizer Spencer Resnick said in the Daily Freeman, “This is a victory for the people who took time out of their lives to fight for a program that they need.” The affordability crisis has not been solved, but this program’s expansion is an incredible victory that sets up low-income people for further advances.

PS — This is what happens when we make our voices heard! So if you haven’t yet, click hereto use our template to submit a comment to the Public Service Commission in support of the investigation of Central Hudson being fair and thorough. As a reminder, we got the Commission to open an investigation based on possible racial discrimination, illegal shut-offs, and other consumer violations.

Best,
Jonathan Bix
Executive Director

Take action to help the investigation of Central Hudson!

Will you help us ensure a systematic investigation takes place? Click here to make a comment in support of the investigation, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our newsletter when you’re done! 

Help the Investigation of Central Hudson

Click here to submit a comment to the Public Service Commission in support of a fair and thorough investigation. Even if you don’t live in New York state, please submit a comment; it will still help! The more comments that are made, the more comprehensive the investigation will be. We’ve even made it easy by creating a template you can use:http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50109/c/10522/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?sign_uppage_KEY=9775

Meeting with Assemblyman Cahill

In March, Nobody Leaves and our allies at Citizens for Local Power met with State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill at his office in Kingston. We had a productive meeting, looping the Assemblyman into the ongoing investigation of Central Hudson, discussing legislation on intervener funds, and getting to know one another. Just yesterday, the Assemblyman submitted his comment in support of a systematic investigation. The Daily Freeman, a paper in Assemblyman Cahill’s Ulster County, recently published an article on the investigation. 

Right to the City Alliance 2016 National Retreat

The Right to the City Alliance is (in addition to being our fiscal sponsor) a national coalition of over 50 racial, environmental, economic and housing justice organizations across the US, of which Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson is a proud member. In April, Right to the City brought its member organizations together at their retreat in Chicago, #RenterPower2016. Along with 130 other people, our organizer Spencer Resnick and our member Trudy-Ann Bowen-Griffiths spent 4 days building the future of our national housing movement. 

Grant Announcements

We would like to extend our thanks to the NoVo Foundation for selecting us to become a funding partner and for awarding us a one-year grant. The NoVo Foundation, led by Peter and Jennifer Buffett, seeks to “foster a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership.”

We would also like to extend our thanks to the Dyson Foundation for selecting us to become a funding partner and for awarding us a one-year grant. The Dyson Foundation’s current grantmaking includes a significant grants program in the Mid-Hudson Valley that seeks to improve the quality of life in the region, create opportunities and support for economically disadvantaged individuals and families, and strengthen the nonprofit sector.

Thank you for your continued support and participation in the fight for racial and economic justice!

 

E-Newsletter: We’re on PBS!

On February 12th, our member Trudy and organizer Margaret spoke to PBS New York about our work. In the news segment, we talked to reporter Jenna Flanagan about the abuses by Central Hudson, our fight against shut-offs and racial discrimination, and the continuing Public Service Commission investigation into Central Hudson’s practices (see below).

Our member Trudy talks to Jenna Flanagan on PBS New York.

Continue reading E-Newsletter: We’re on PBS!