Communities & Focus Areas :

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


Dear all,

I have been in touch with Pastor Jeff Geary here at the White Plains Presbyterian Church.  We need a team of medical volunteers who will help people who are going on hunger strike as an act of desperation to pressure our electeds to create a Fund for Excluded Workers.  Over 1.1 million New Yorkers have not qualified for any stimulus package or unemployment compensation since the start of this pandemic a year ago and have reached breaking point and complete desperation.  Some of them will be starting a hunger strike on March 15th.  Please sign up if you can serve as a member of a medical volunteer team to monitor their health.  Details below and thank you in advance:
Medical Volunteer Team
Street Vendors, Domestic Workers, Laundry Workers, Sex Workers, Construction Workers, Delivery Workers & more need your medical expertise and support!

Excluded and essential workers are the lifeline of our country and they’ve been left out of all forms of financial relief during the pandemic. This includes undocumented and recently incarcerated people, and cash economy workers. In fact, 1.2 million New Yorkers are excluded from receiving a single cent of state unemployment benefit or stimulus relief. For over 350 days, our community members continue to face financial peril, hunger, and pending eviction.

Starting March 15th until April 1st, essential and excluded workers, and others, will put their bodies on the line by launching a hunger strike across the greater NYC area. These workers are calling for an Excluded Worker Fund providing direct cash assistance to thousands in need to be included in the NYS budget on April 1st, 2021.

We need YOU to help us pull this off by medically supporting our strikers remotely or in-person during the strike! We especially need medical professionals (doctors, nurses, physicians, medical students) to support the strikers in Westchester, specifically at White Plains Presbyterian church. This means monitoring or supervising the health of a group of strikers. By signing up, you’ll be introduced to our medical volunteer team leaders who will brief you on your responsibilities and schedule you for shifts between March 15 – April 1st based on your availability. 

Please fill out the medical volunteer form and someone from the Fund Excluded Workers (FEW) campaign will be in touch with you to coordinate additional details.

Thank you for your support!

For more information about the campaign, visit:

#FundExcludedWorkers Coalition 

Good morning, all!

WESPAC has partnered with CURE for this important book reading of CASTE this Spring.  All details below:

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Nicole Alifante <[email protected]>
Your organization has partnered with us and five libraries (Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) for our virtual visit by Isabel Wilkerson, pulitzer prize winning author of CASTE, on April 25th
In addition to Ms. Wilkereson’s virtual visit we will have four facilitated zoom conversations about CASTE. 
Partnering entails ANY of these Actions: 
  • READ the book with some of your organization’s members
  • AMPLIFY our event through your networks
  • REGISTER for the event on April 25th with Ms. WIlkerson (Ms. Wilkerson will ONLY be at the 4/25 event) 
  • JOIN us for any of the four discussions on 4/8, 4/17, 4/28 and 5/3. (same registration link as above) 
We want to let our county neighbors know that dissecting the social construct of race and caste in America is an urgent conversation that we should all make space for together. Feel free to contact me with any questions. 
Warmest Regards, 
Nicole Alifante 
— Nicole Alifante 
Founder/President, CURE, Inc.


For Immediate Release: March 10, 2021


Campaign to enact the “NY Public Banking Act” heats up, as communities pursue bold strategy for racial equity and a just recovery

Today, more than 100 community, labor, and cooperative groups and community development financial institutions from across New York State delivered a letter to state legislative leaders, urging swift passage of the “New York Public Banking Act” (S1762A/A5782) as an urgent strategy to advance racial equity and ensure a just recovery for all New Yorkers.

The move follows last week’s introduction of the bill by Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo, Chair of the NYS Assembly Banks Committee. Senator James Sanders, Jr., Chair of the NYS Senate Banks Committee, is the lead sponsor in the NYS Senate. The bill would create a regulatory framework for New York cities, counties, and regions seeking to establish local public banks.

“The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our economy. Public banks offer a way to rebuild and prevent businesses, especially small businesses, from closing. Public banks also benefit underserved communities who have been, and continue to be, denied financial resources due to redlining. Local public banks would give long-suffering communities the chance to thrive and gain relief from crippling debt,” said NYS Senator James Sanders, Jr. “The New York Public Banking Act would create the structural framework for municipalities to create public banks within their jurisdictions and allow the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to issue special-purpose public bank charters. It is time to serve the interest of the community, not just shareholders. It is time to advocate for a new normal that includes public banking.”

“COVID-19 has completely devastated poor and underserved communities, and the New York Public Banking Act is no longer just necessary, it’s absolutely critical to our recovery. I cannot stress enough the impact that the Public Banking bill will have on all New Yorkers, and I urge my colleagues to join us as we demand swift passage of this act in both houses,” said NYS Assemblymember Victor M. Pichardo. “I want to thank the New Economy Project, the many impassioned activists, organizations, and my colleague in the Banks committee, State Senator James Sanders, Jr. New York State needs public banks now.”

A growing number of state legislators have endorsed the bill, throwing their support behind a broad-based, statewide movement to establish local public banks–financial institutions created by cities and counties, and accountable to the people. Through public banking, local governments can leverage public deposits to support community-controlled economic development, including affordable housing, green jobs, equitable financial services, renewable energy, and more.

“For far too long, hardworking people of color were locked out of traditional banking methods. Now, when so many are struggling, it’s more critical than ever to open those doors,” said Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME. “We must put hardworking New Yorkers at the center of New York City’s recovery – and a public bank is a great way to invest in communities that need it the most. Thank you Senator Sanders and Assemblyman Pichardo for prioritizing racial, economic and environmental justice through legislation that would allow for the creation of public banks. I hope to see this bill move through the legislature swiftly.”

The public banking movement continues to build momentum in New York, with active campaigns from Rochester to New York City and beyond. A similar effort succeeded in California in 2019, and several cities, including San Francisco, are now in the early stages of establishing municipal banks. As local governments in New York seek new ways to promote economic resilience and opportunity–particularly in communities hardest-hit by COVID-19–pressure is mounting on the state to deliver needed support and consistent statewide guidance for public banking.

“It’s high time New York stop depositing our public money in banks that are actively harming New Yorkers and New York communities. For starters, New York must divest from Wall Street banks that have systematically redlined Black and brown neighborhoods for decades, and that continue to extract wealth from New Yorkers and New York communities of color. Many banks that hold our money, including JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, finance destructive industries, from fossil fuels to the city’s worst landlords. The list goes on,” said Sarah Ludwig, Founder and Co-Director of New Economy Project. “The New York Public Banking Act paves the way for local jurisdictions to establish public banks that will accountably hold our public funds, with a clear public purpose and mandate to advance racial and economic justice.”

“Genesee Co-op FCU joined the Rochester Public Banking Coalition and supports the New York Public Banking Act because this legislation is good for community based financial institutions, like ours,” said Melissa Marquez, CEO of Genesee Cooperative Federal Credit Union. “A public bank in Rochester can partner with local financial institutions through participation loans that finance important public initiatives. This legislation is forward thinking and will be so important for cities like Rochester, especially as we deploy public funds for the public good to create a just, post-pandemic recovery that ensures all people and neighborhoods prosper.”

“Throughout history, private banks have actively prevented communities of color from building wealth, through redlining and predatory lending practices. Not only must we tax billionaires to close the gap in our state budget, we must also put that money in public banks, where it can be equitably, transparently, and democratically invested communities hardest hit by COVID-19,” said Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change. “I urge our legislators to support the New York Public Banking Act and divest from predatory Wall Street banks that perpetuate poverty and racial inequality.”

“The New York Public Banking Act is critical to a just recovery in the months ahead and to equitable economic development in the years to come. Tax revenue is public money that should be deposited in a public entity, one that serves the community by investing in permanently-affordable housing, green energy, public infrastructure, basic financial services for unbanked communities, and a host of other public projects long neglected by commercial banks,” said Deborah Wright, Political Director for UAW Region 9A. “UAW Region 9A proudly supports this effort to make municipal finance democratic and an engine for local economic growth.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has underscored how we desperately need bold policies, like public banking, to address the expanse of disinvestment across New York. In a time of financial instability, to keep our communities whole, public banking is a solution we should invest in,” said Kathryn Franco of the Western New York Law Center. “In a city like Buffalo—one of the nation’s poorest and most segregated—public banking would allow for the use of public funds for the public good, while providing a level of accountability to residents that speaks to community reinvestment needs beyond existing policies like the federal Community Reinvestment Act. We need the New York Public Banking Act.”

“Even though they benefit from our public money, Wall Street failed New Yorkers as the pandemic raged on,” said Tousif Ahsan, Civic Engagement Coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). “New York State must aid localities in taking back their money, and their power, by passing the New York Public Banking Act.”

“The New York Public Banking Act will lay the foundation for a public bank in New York City and other cities and counties across the State,” said Danny Hanson, Core Team Member of Sane Energy Project. “These public institutions would play a vital role in divesting public funds from fossil-fuel-lending Wall Street while investing in community-led renewable energy and other essential community needs. This type of investment is what our City and State need to recover equitably from Covid-19 and create a racially and economically just future.”


Please register here for Sunday, February 21st at 3pm:


Dear Nada,
Following up from our conversation, I would appreciate your forwarding this summary to potentially interested people / organizations. Thank you.
I am on the Steering Committee of the Clean Water is Good for Business campaign, run by the American Sustainable Business Council and four state affiliates. The objective is to build a coalition of businesses and business associations to take action to clean up and preserve the Delaware River watershed, a water source for most of Westchester County and 50% of NYC. As the watershed faces numerous threats, we are recruiting business owners / leaders who care about clean water to become signatories to be part of the growing business support for these efforts. The collective voice of business has a significant impact on gaining support for policy and green stormwater infrastructure solutions to ensure clean water and protect our health. On the campaign webpage, you can download a short paper and add your voice by signing on to the clean water principles. I have attached a 2-page summary document as well. 
The New York Sustainable Business Council has coordinated business support on many fronts. Examples: They have been leaders in banning / regulating persistent toxic chemicals such as PFAS in places where they have the most impact on water quality. As COVID-19 has magnified existing challenges to water systems and demand for clean water, they led creation of recommendations as part of a larger guide for reopening our economy at state and local levels. As business support grows in Westchester and NYC, they will have more power to protect our water. 
We are happy to provide education and answer any questions. Again, the information and sign on opportunity is on the campaign page
Thanks so much and best wishes,

Camille L. Cannistraci
CLC Consulting LLC

Harry is a WESPAC member and the coordinator of the local chapter of JVP.  Thank you, Congressmember Bowman, for your leadership on this.  To date, Israel has vaccinated 33% of its population (over 3 million people) but has not provided vaccinations to the 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  Under international pressure, the Israeli authorities have agreed to release 5,000 doses of the vaccine to frontline Palestinian health workers only. 

Such an expression of commitment from Congressmember Bowman to the inherent equality of Palestinians is unprecedented coming from a member of Congress representing our districts here in Westchester County.  Thank you, Congressmember Bowman:

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Harry Soloway <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 1:36 PM

Friends –
In a letter to the Israeli Consulate today, Jamaal Bowman took a strong and thoughtful stand on ensuring that Palestinians receive the Covid vaccine. You can read the letter here: 
JVP Action is asking that as many constituents as possible either email Jamaal’s office or telephone directly at 202 225 2464 to thank the Congressman for taking a strong humanitarian position.
In your communication with Jamaal’s office, you may choose to include the following points:
  • Identify yourself as a constituent.  For Jewish members, identify as a Jewish constituent on the call 
  • Thanking him for making it clear that Israel has an obligation under international law to provide the vaccine to Palestinians and that this is a result of the horrible occupation that harms Palestinians daily 
  • Saying that we are grateful that he is going to hold the Israeli government accountable and we do not want our tax dollars going to fund Israeli apartheid 
One final request, as much as it is possible, please let me know how many calls and/or emails are being made.