WESPAC 2021 Dinner Journal (1)

WESPAC 2021 Dinner Journal_SPREAD (2)

Invitation to Rally for the New York Public Banking Act (S.1762-A/A.5782) 

RALLY! Fight Back Against Wall Street, Fight Forward for a Just Recovery!

Dear friends and supporters of WESPAC, 

Across New York, communities are calling for local public banks to help lead a just recovery. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 at 1 p.m on Facebook live to rally in support of the New York Public Banking Act (S.1762-A (Sanders) / A.5782 (Pichardo)), a transformative bill that would create a framework for the creation of local public banks dedicated to advancing racial and economic justice. 

Through public banking, communities can divest public money from predatory Wall Street banks that harm New Yorkers and New York communities, and invest in cooperative and community-led economic development, including permanently affordable housing, small and worker-owned businesses, community-controlled renewable energy, and more. 

When: Tuesday, April 13th 2021 at 1 p.m.

Where: Facebook livestream

Who: Co-sponsored by the NYS Community Equity Agenda, Public Bank NYC, and the Rochester Public Banking Coalition

Speakers: NYS Senator James Sanders, Jr.; NYS Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo; Hae-Lin Choi, Communications Workers of America; Stanley Fritz, Citizen Action of New York; Sarah Ludwig, New Economy Project; Melissa Marquez, Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union; Brendan Martin, The Working World; and others.

In Solidarity, 


Nada for WESPAC


Skills to keep in mind for navigating controversial conversations

We can all become better listeners

  • Our educational system is derived from a Eurocentric system which values, the thoughts and opinions and life experiences of those who are in dominant positions in society. We have learned that some people’s stories and life experiences matter and some don’t.
  • Examine your position and whether you always assume people will be interested in what you have to say (based on your racialized background, gender, class background, age, sexual orientation, nationality, language) or you never have that expectation.
  • Notice how often you insert yourself into a conversation, interrupt or speak first in your interactions.

Listening is to gain understanding.

Listening does not equal condoning

Listening does not equal agreeing.

Listening does not equal compromising your beliefs.

Listening = valuing and understanding.

“One of the sincerest forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” Steven Covey

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Steven Covey

When we are engaged in conversation, we have been trained to think about opposing arguments.  Someone gives their opinion and while they are talking, we are planning our response.

  • Listen to position of person.
  • Listen beyond what feels bearable.
  • Ask a question that will try to reach for understanding why this is so important to them. (Is there a personal story that led you to hold this position?)

A mistake we often make is we feel so urgent that our position be understood that we assume everything has to be solved and shifted in one conversation. 

Our goal is to reach for the person behind the position. 

Find an entry point to engage that is based on curiosity and real interest without the agenda of changing the person.

We are training for the long haul, especially with colleagues, family and community members.  This is about building something authentic where we can find common ground so we can work toward moving issues and policies forward as well as building and strengthening relationships.

Culture of shaming – the only thing that shaming accomplishes is we either we get the person to shut up in the moment, and they look for somewhere else to spew their offensive remarks or they become combative, and the conflict escalates.

When do we use these skills? 

When we have a long-lasting relationship and want to maintain and build bridges to greater understanding,

When we a share common goal and want to have civil conversations to create path forward even when there are points of disagreement.

We may NOT be able to reach everyone. 

There may be people or groups that you don’t have the attention to listen to – YET.

Start small and recognize and celebrate every time you can shift the interaction forward.  (This is part of the muscle building process. We are more likely to keep trying when we experience success.)

Stephanie Low

The National Coalition Building Institute (ncbi.org)

Evolution, LLC, consultant

[email protected]

Dear Social Justice Forum Participant,

We were so pleased to have you join our Racism Workshop last Wednesday, March 24th led by the Westchester Youth Alliance and Peekskill Youth NAACP. It was a completely youth-planned, led, and hosted event and we are so proud of all the hard work they put into it. Your input, thoughtful comments and insights as participants were also what made the night so special! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and welcome any and all feedback.
This workshop was quite indicative of some of the work we do here at Westchester Youth Alliance. Our mission is to build bridges across our diverse communities of faith, race and identity through dialogue and service to strive for justice and understanding. We welcome all youth from any and all backgrounds, and are always looking to expand our reach in the community. If you are a youth living in Westchester we would love to have you join! Alternatively, if your child/grandchild/youths you know in the community might be interested in joining, please have them contact us! 
We also have room for not just young people, but adults as well. We have an amazing board that we are always looking to add to, in addition to many mentorship and volunteer opportunities available. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to get involved.
You can follow our work at Westchester Youth Alliance, via our instagram @wya_ny, and on our facebook page Westchester Youth Alliance! If you so feel inclined to donate to our cause, you can support us at this link: Support Us — Westchester Youth Alliance. Any and all donations are incredibly appreciated.
We were also so lucky to partner with Peekskill Youth NAACP for this workshop. We hope to continue working with them in the future in growing and building our relationship. If you would like to contact them, you can email [email protected] or [email protected]. You can also follow them on their website Peekskill NAACP and on their instagram @peekskillyouthnaacp. You can also donate here: Donate Peekskill NAACP. Any support is very much appreciated.
Thank you for being a supportive, active member of the Westchester community. We hope that you decide to become involved in WYA. We really would LOVE to have you! Please tell your friends and family about our work as well as Peekskill Youth NAACP. The more people we reach, the more community building, justice-related work we can do to make this world better; but only with your help! 
We look forward to staying in touch and hearing from you.
The Westchester Youth Alliance Leadership Team


Dear Nada,

I am one of the organizers of a three-part webinar series on affordable housing in Westchester. Attached is a flyer for the series, below is the line up for each panel, as well as a link to the registration page. The first panel is this coming Wednesday, April 7. Please consider joining us. If so moved, please share to your networks. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Forward we go ….
Here is the link to the registration page:
Here are the panel participants and moderators:
The first session on April 7th, will focus on the history of our housing crisis and what has inhibited fair and affordable housing from being built and fully integrated into the county.  

It will be hosted by Juanita Lewis, Hudson Valley Organizing Director, Community Voices Heard and panlists will include:
  • David Schwartz –  Vice-Chair, Westchester-Putnam Working Families Party
  • Norma Drummond – Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Planning
  • Joe Czajka – Senior Vice-President – Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress

The second session on April 21st, will focus on solutions to the housing crisis. It will be hosted by Joan Grangenois-Thomas, Trustee, Village of Port Chester and panelists will include:
  • Cea Weaver – Campaign Coordinator, Housing Justice for All

  • Rich Nightingale, CEO Westhab

  • William G. Balter – Principal, Wilder Balter Partners Inc.

  • James Rausse, AICP, WEDG – Director, Planning & Development Office of the Bronx Borough President

The third session on May 5th, will focus on the steps that government and activists need to take to address the housing crisis. It will be hosted by Abe Baker-Butler and panelists will include:

  • Vanessa Agudelo – Councilmember – City of Peekskill

  • Rebecca Garrard – Campaign Manager for Housing Justice, Citizen Action of NY

  • Lisa Burton – Office of County Legislator Damon Maher 

  • Thehbia Hiwot – President of the Office of Finance and Development, NYS HOUSING TRUST FUND CORPORATION

Important message from Veterans for Peace, NYC:

Veterans For Peace NYC Chapter 34 is initiating a project to inform veterans,the public and especially elected officials about specific threats to veterans healthcare and what concrete actions can be taken now to address them.Veterans from other organizations are working with us. We would appreciate your sharing this request with your contacts. The project is entirely virtual and will require participants to devote no more than 5 hours per month working entirely from home if they decide to participate. Contact: Pete Bronson Text/phone 917-453-3666 or email:[email protected]



 Name an issue and there are multiple opinions and strong emotions – immigration, facing and moving forward to correct the impact of 400+ years of systemic racism on our country, the climate emergency, healthcare, housing, criminal justice, the economy, abortion, and the Middle East are some examples. 

This interactive workshop will engage participants to practice listening and coalition building skills with people who have diverse points of view.  Come prepared to connect and practice using issues that are close to your heart.

(Be prepared to practice skills that can be applied to activism and conversations with family members, neighbors and friends.)  

Offered by Stephanie Low, the National Coalition Building Institute

Registration required here if you have not previously registered.