2022 January Newsletter

2021....What a Year!

2021 was an incredibly difficult year for our community and our country.  Even with the long-awaited release of the vaccine, we are still battling the effects of the pandemic, Covid-19, and its variants.  However, where there is darkness, there is also light.  We have seen that aspects of Universal Healthcare can work in our country with the evidence of the rollout of free vaccines, testing, N95 masks, home tests, and paid leave for those that do fall ill with the virus.  As a result of this, and ongoing realizations of the holes in our current healthcare system that more often than not fails the most vulnerable of our communities, calls for Universal Healthcare are gaining momentum.  The marginalized and young generations are joining the fight in droves to better their communities, and fight for equality.  Our community Teachers’ Unions stood in solidarity with students and families to fight for better protections for teachers, staff, and students as reopening plans for schools were rolled out amidst the ever-present pandemic.  We have seen progress in Union organization across the nation. Due to the increased demand on “essential” workers, Covid health risks, understaffing, and overwhelming conditions, locally we have seen Foodlink and Starbucks employees unite to form Unions, and demand more from their parent organizations. Upstate NY now has the only Starbucks Unions in the country, and all with the help of Union organizations that we are proud to call partners combined with the incredible support of community like our tireless members.

 

And then there is the progress of our own initiatives in Metro Justice.  

With our proactive member support, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish together,

Past…. Present …. and FUTURE!

Welcome to the January 2022 1st Quarter Newsletter

 

Rochester for Energy Democracy Campaign

Our R.E.D Campaign is one of our most important areas of work.  We have been making significant strides in our efforts.  But first, here’s a summary of what we are trying to accomplish.

Our campaign is a grassroots movement to replace RG&E with a community-owned and operated ratepayer cooperative. This utility has 4 guiding principles. They are to be: 

  1. Economically sound just by being not-for-profit. Necessities such as heat and electricity would be public goods instead of commodities controlled by distant shareholders to maximize their own profit.
  2. Democratic and fair through governance by a ratepayer elected Board of Directors. This board will be composed of elected community representatives, appointed representatives of organized labor, and appointed climate experts, so that decisions are made by and for our community.
  3. Committed to a green energy mandate that requires 100% carbon free by 2030 in accordance with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. 
  4. Committed to workers’ rights and a just transition for energy workers, with provisions determined in partnership with local worker unions.

Our most notable accomplishment is that we have, with our R.E.D Committee’s successes in base building, developing grassroots leadership, and reaching strategic benchmarks, earned the respect of our statewide coalition partners over the last few years, who often look to our R.E.D Campaign Committee and Lead Organizer for guidance on base building and campaign strategy. To recognize the importance of our work and value in coalitions, we are very proud to say that Metro Justice received a $90,000 grant from NY Renews Regional Organizing Program.  With this grant we will be able to expand our efforts, and also hire a full time Climate and Environmental Justice Organizer.  The person chosen for this position will be responsible for recruitment, leadership development, and coordination for the Rochester for Energy Democracy Campaign of Metro Justice and the New York Renews Legislative Platform.  We hope to have this position filled by March.  You can view the job description at the following link, Hiring Organizer.

Another milestone for R.E.D is that we have met with every City Councilmember to ask for their support in funding and implementing a feasibility study. Most recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Rochester City Councilmember Lashay Harris, to discuss our campaign and the issues we are trying to address with it. She was receptive, and agreed that there are issues with Avangrid, the parent company of RG&E. We hope to continue to work closely with her and the rest of the City Council. The next steps for R.E.D are completing a request for proposals for the study, reviewing the proposal with the Commissioner of Environmental Services and City Administration, and moving a vote in City Council to approve funding. 

Here are some other developments:

  • The committee is scheduling a meeting with Mayor Malik Evans in February to present the RED Campaign.  
  • The Committee is nearly done drafting the proposals for the feasibility study, and gathering the legislative support needed for its success.  It will soon be presented to the R.E.D Committee. 
  • Reverend Stuart of the United Church Leadership Ministry is supportive of the effort, and will have the committee present to faith leaders on 2/12.

Overall, our initiative is gaining momentum!  With your continued support, we will continue to make major strides towards winning affordable, clean, community controlled, energy for all Rochester residents. We have come a long way, but still have so much more to accomplish to reach our 100% carbon free by 2030 goal!

Make sure that you have signed our petition

Energy Democracy Petition  

Join the fight! Learn more about the campaign

R.E.D Campaign

Sign up and donate today!

Donate

Don't forget to share the information with your neighbors and affected family and friends!  Our work has the most strength in numbers. 

We have the opportunity to make a major impact in our community - on our environment - for our future generations. 

Join the fight today!

 

Rochester For New York Health

The New York Health Act [A.6058/S.5474] will provide comprehensive health care for every New Yorker. You and your healthcare provider of choice will work to keep you healthy—New York Health pays the bill. You will never have to fear going without coverage again—especially in the middle of a deadly pandemic. 

Over the last couple of years, tens of thousands of New Yorkers died, lost income, fell behind on rent, and struggled to pay medical bills. Meanwhile, private health insurance corporations made record profits. The COVID-19 pandemic puts everyone at risk, but Black, brown, and low-income New Yorkers carry the greatest burden of exposure, with disproportionately more serving as essential workers and disproportionately fewer having access to healthcare.

 Assemblymember Dick Gottfried is retiring this year. To those of us who have been involved with the New York Health Act (which first passed in the Assembly in 1992, so there are a lot of us!) this represents a seismic shift. It was, after all, Gottfried who first introduced the bill. Even though Metro Justice is more concerned with organizing than with electoral politics, it seems only right to begin this little retrospective with an homage to a man who has been such a stalwart for health equity, in so many ways, for so many years. These few paragraphs now are not just a report; they are an urgent call to action.

Let’s get this Act passed this year, one for all of us, for our community, and for equity across the state. We can do it, but only if we pull together and act!

We came so close last year! In 2020 the pandemic upended all our organizing plans, and we spent the year learning to run virtual meetings and hold socially distanced rallies. But even so, Metro Justice, with allies across the state, worked to educate people about the bill (which will enact universal coverage of comprehensive health care, paid for based on income) and pressure our legislators in both Senate and Assembly to cosponsor it, with the result that by spring of 2021 a majority of not only the Assembly but the Senate as well signed on to cosponsor the bill. For the first time in Senate history the Democratic caucus raised the bill for discussion, spending over three hours wrangling – before deciding that there were (co sponsorships notwithstanding) not quite enough solid votes to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. So now we know where we are, and where we want to get to this spring.

A lot has come into focus during this past year. First, we have known how important unions are to passage of the bill; this year we have developed a clearer picture of which unions are the most supportive (nurses and healthcare workers are leading the way, not surprisingly!) and which are less so, whether due to ideology or caution, and are working to bring them around. We have also met with all our local Democratic legislators and are learning to work more closely with them (that’s the nice way to say keep on pushing!) to educate both their constituents and their party leaders. Finally, we are learning how to organize in the new, pandemic normal. Like the fabulous press conference, we held last fall; in which every local legislator and representatives of multiple sister organizations and unions spoke passionately about their personal experiences with our failing health system.  There was no press in attendance because they no longer attend public meetings that take place after 5 pm. That’s new this year! On the other hand, our internal organization continues to grow.  Volunteers are taking on specific leadership in base building, legislative and union contacts, and accountability on commitments. Several members of the committee were able to take part in a 6-week course in organizing offered across the world by one of the great organizers of our time, Jane McAlevey, supported by a foundation in Luxembourg. We have since been working to develop training sessions ourselves in the key organizing skills of contacting people, identifying leaders, and persuading them to join forces for our common goals.

We are going to need all those skills in the year to come, and we will need more people to add their voices, their skills, and their time, to raise the groundswell of support that will be needed to combat opponents of the bill. Oh yes, those opponents! Insurance and pharmaceutical tycoons are not (yet) buying billboards to fill with misinformation; most of the actual news coverage of the New York Health Act has been remarkably positive, since every journalist who does their homework realizes the bill would be a boon to them and their community. Instead, we have begun to hear rumors of “softening support” and “competing priorities”.  These are Albany whisper campaigns designed to feed on the fear of the unknown, given such a major policy initiative in such uncertain times. Our goal this year (as it has been every year since 1992) is to have the legislature pass the basic bill, which takes the big first step and lays out the form the law will take, in the post-budget session. Then the fun begins – all the budget numbers must be added and wrangled over, the bill must pass again as a budget bill, and be signed by the Governor in order to be implemented. We will need to stay organized, stay on top of our legislators to keep them on task, and make sure the bill comes through the budget process still working for patients, not for profiteers.

That is why I am calling on everyone who reads this report to take a few minutes right now to pick an action and do it:

  • Use the incredibly cool legislator contact tool to contact Governor Hochul, Senator Stewart-Cousins (Senate majority leader) and your local Senator, and Carl Heastie (Assembly Speaker) and your local Assemblyperson. They need to hear from all of us! You can use the same tool to send an email, to send a tweet or to be directed to their office phones, one after another. If you use the phone option, which has the most clout, remember to hit the star key, not the phone’s disconnect button, after each conversation or message!  
  • Put the next healthcare committee meeting (Monday, 2/28/21 6 pm) on your calendar and RSVP to get the zoom link
  • Find out how much you would save using our new NY Health Savings Calculator and use the feedback button at the end to say how it went
  • Call Metro Justice and ask to be put in touch with the healthcare base building chair to set up a one-on-one meeting to learn more

Next year, I want our Healthcare Committee Report to be all about how we won passage of the New York Health Act in May of ’22 and are gearing up to get the budget bill passed in 2023! 

We can only do this with YOUR help! Please consider joining us today!

Check out our latest developments and volunteer at RocForNYHealth

Don’t have the opportunity to volunteer, but are passionate about the work that we are trying to accomplish?

Your continued support through contributions is an important part of making forward strides!  Please consider donating today! Donate 

 Written by: Alice Carli - Co-chair, Metro Justice Healthcare committee 

 

Elder Justice Committee

MaryDel Wypych, Chairperson

Elder Justice seeks to enable elders to live purposeful, self-directed, meaningful, and dignified lives in their homes and communities. In part, this cause demands that we transform our nursing homes from hospital-like holding institutions into meaningful and nurturing homes where elders can continue to live truly fulfilling lives. It means that we find ways to eliminate elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

In fact, Rochester is the birthplace of the Pioneer Network, a national culture change movement with the goal of changing the nature of nursing homes. However, we also know that Rochester is home to a number of substandard homes, as documented by the New York State Department of Health. 

The Covid 19 pandemic brought these substandard conditions, and lack of staffing and adequate care that the elderly in nursing homes experience, to the forefront of the news. Their isolation and suffering was heartbreaking to watch as many went without seeing their families for nearly a year.  Many died in isolation, and without comfort, their tragedy exploited.  The grievances and atrocities in the nursing home system were made more prevalent, and the need to right this fight stronger.  Our elderly deserves MORE! Which is why we fight for Elder Justice!

Our Elder Justice Committee continues to be on the frontlines of advocating for safety and dignity for our elders and won several critically needed nursing home reform laws this past year.  In 2021, we successfully pushed the state legislature and governor to pass the NYS Minimum Direct Care Staffing Law which requires 3.5 hours of resident direct nursing care per resident per day, and another law requiring Nursing Homes to use 70% of revenue on Resident care including 40% on Resident Facing Staffing.  

Since the passing of these laws, Governor Kathy Hochul issued an executive order putting a hold on the laws passed in 2021!

  • We have since spoken out to our elected officials in Albany and to the Media against Governor Hochul’s Executive Order. 
  • We have also communicated to local legislators at a virtual Town Hall and in writing, our concerns that Albany needs to assure that nursing home reform laws enacted in 2021 be implemented NOW!

Our members continue to boldly speak out to elected officials and to the media against neglect and abuse of seniors in nursing homes.  The time is NOW to amp up this fight!  Our seniors have suffered long enough prior to the Covid 19 pandemic, and most certainly throughout.

We shall not stand for their abuse any longer and ask for YOUR support!

Looking forward, Elder Justice is starting a new initiative to address elder neglect, abuse, and exploitation of both those who live in the community as well as in facilities.  Our Elder Justice Committee will be holding a public forum on Elder Abuse to be held June 15.  This, and other news in Elder Justice including new ways of outreach to both advocates and the community, will soon be found on a new, improved, and regularly updated website! Stay tuned for that launch! 

Please continue to show your support by calling on our elected representatives to enact the passed laws of 2021! 

Here is the legislator contact tool to contact Governor Hochul, Senator Stewart-Cousins (Senate majority leader) and your local Senator, and Carl Heastie (Assembly Speaker) and your local Assembly Person by email, tweet, or phone call.  When using the phone, remember to hit the *star key after every conversation/message. We have strength in numbers!

If you know of someone, family or friend, that has suffered the atrocities of elder abuse, get them involved!

Visit our website at Elder Justice for the latest developments and opportunities for involvement.

Donate today to help us continue to fight the good fight! Thank you for your continued support!

We have a new Fundraising and Membership Coordinator!

Meet our new part time Fundraising and Membership Coordinator, Nicole Maitland.  Nicole comes to the organization with several years in non-profit fundraising and event planning. Nicole moved to Rochester in 2001 to attend college studying in Fine Arts, Photography, Communications, and Psychology. She lives in Spencerport with her partner, and teenage son who is a local musician studying at Elvio Fernandez’s Roc Star Academy.  In her spare time, she helps to manage her son’s rock band, enjoys gardening and flipping furniture with her partner, art, and community projects.  She has worked on local campaign committees and is passionate about a progressive agenda.  As a single mother for years that had to work three jobs at times to make ends meet, Nicole understands the struggles of hardworking, low income, families.  

Nicole has several engaging ideas for our members, including the reinstatement of our quarterly newsletter, monthly happy hours, fundraising events when it is safe to do so, social media engagement, and a mutually beneficial partnership with the local Unions.  She is driving to grow our membership base, and continuously adapt fundraising ideas to whatever circumstance our organization may encounter.  Nicole is a passionate and driven advocate of our organization.

Please join us in welcoming her to our Organization Staff!

The Rochester Labor Council Annual Delegates Awards Dinner

Metro Justice has had a long-standing partnership with the local labor movement, fighting side by side for the betterment of protections and rights for workers.  Several of our staff and members were honored to attend the Rochester Labor Council’s Annual Delegates Awards Dinner in November of 2021.  

The impressive lineup of speakers included:

Dan Maloney, Rochester Labor Council President

The Buffalo Soldiers

Reverend Katie Joe Suddaby

Mayor Malik Evans

Senator Samra Brouk

We would like to extend our appreciation and congratulations to this year’s award recipients:

Florence Tripi Lifetime Achievement

Linda Donahue, Cornell ILR/Pride at Work

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter Working Families Advocate of the Year:

Ove Overmyer, CSEA

Mother Jones Award for Sacrifice Above and Beyond:

Christina Christman, Federation of Social Workers

Outstanding Achievement in Political Action:

Julianne Wise, RTA/NYSUT

Jon Garlock Labor Educator of the Year:

Shelly Clements, NYSUT

Retiree of the Year

All Area Retirees

Robert J. Flavin Community Service Award

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 282

Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA)

Richard M. Downey Heart of Gold Award

International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 118

Ray Samson Labor Legacy Award

Ms. Toni D. Phelps, Workers United, Rochester Regional Joint Board

Each and every one of the speeches given were an absolute inspiration.  Congratulations to all of the awardees, the planning committee, and venue staff.  The event was a tremendous success, and we applaud you! We are looking forward to working more closely with our area Unions.  Stay tuned for exciting news!

The Metro Justice 2022 Annual Meeting

 

On January 22, 2022 we had our Annual Meeting, virtually. Parliamentarian Alice Carli called the meeting to order and nominated Marcus Dunn to Chair the Annual Meeting. Nomination seconded. Marcus elected Chair unanimously.

Marcus began the meeting with a moving speech. He began with a note of encouragement.  Marcus, just like the rest of the organizers at Metro Justice, see the challenges that our country and community face amidst the ongoing pandemic, and growing economic, social, and environmental crises’.  However, we are not discouraged because we are surrounded by passionate organizers that will not stop fighting for what we know is right and just.  He said, “... I am encouraged because I still believe in the power of people and the power of movements. If you go outside and find a twig lying in the snow, I think you will find it is easy to break. But what happens if you take 10 twigs and bound them together. What about 20? What about 100? It becomes much harder to break, and the more you bind together the stronger it becomes.  So that is what I propose that we continue to organize, continue to fight, and continue to stay bound in a righteous cause for humanity”. 

Metro Justice is an organization of doers, we are STRONG with passionate activists, members, organizers, that will not idly stand by. “...Our campaigns are how we fight like hell to preserve life and build a better future for people and our planet.”  We saw this evidence in Mohini’s presentation of the work that our campaigns have been up to.  Needless to say, we have much to be proud of.

Elder Justice continues to be on the frontlines advocating for the safety and dignity of our elders.  

Such highlights included:

  • The passing of the Minimum Direct Care Staffing Law requiring 3.5 hours of resident direct nursing care per resident per day
  • The passing of a law or requiring a minimum of 70% of Nursing Home to revenue to be spent on resident care
  • Fair and safe Resident Visitation Law 
  • Laws addressing nursing home transparency and accountability

Due to their incredible work, Elder Justice has received a significant presence in the press. There is much more to come in the future for this campaign. 

R.E.D has made many large strides in our campaign for community owned sustainable energy. Through marches, canvassing, teach-ins, critically educational social media messages R.E.D has been successful in furthering our message.  With special thanks to R.E.D Committee members Uday, Wesley, Greg and Tori that have done an excellent job of keeping up with smart and creative social media content. 

  • In September 2021, with the People’s Power March, we successfully publicly launched the R.E.D Campaign. Over 100 people joined us to speak outside the RG&E building. The march was opened and closed by powerful stories and calls to action by RED members Amanda and Narm. 
  • The first benchmark is the upcoming release of the feasibility study. Thanks to the efforts anchored by RED members Emily, Uday, John, and Angela, we are set to complete a request for proposals with a shortlist of the best firms. The other important step was to meet with all the Rochester City Councilmembers to get their commitment to support and fund a feasibility study. Under the leadership of Helena, our lobbying chair for the campaign, we have received the support of every City Councilmember. 
  • Next Steps:  
    • Meet with the Mayor and initiate the formal process to commission the feasibility study
    • We also presented to the Monroe County Legislature’s Climate Action Council and are moving through the steps to have County funding and support behind the study as well. 
    • Once we have the feasibility study up and running, we can shift towards the next big step: a referendum.
    • Winning that referendum will need a powerful community coalition. Anchored by Amanda, Rio, and Crescenzo’s leadership. We are excited to be in this movement with 1199 SEIU, Federation of Social Workers, VOCAL-NY, Rochester Democratic Socialists of America, the Rochester City Roots Community Land Trust, Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, and Connected Communities.

We welcomed the new Steering Committee for Rochester for NY Health. Hannah and Alice joined us as co-chairs, Brendan joined us as the Lobbying Chair, Claire as our Basebuilding Chair, Arseniy as our Union Solidarity chair, and Rosie as our Secretary and listmaster. Under their leadership the following strides have been made:

  • We started with a press conference in March, which announced the unanimous City Council resolution to endorse the NY Health Act
  • In June, we closed the legislative session with a statewide action in Albany with the entire Campaign for NY Health. Almost 300 people, including a bus from Western NY led by Metro Justice, blocked major intersections in Albany. About 30 people also participated in a die-in in front of the NYS Capitol Building.
  • Many of you showed up on a cold winter day in November to kick-off this year’s push for the NY Health Act. EMCEE'd by Alice, this was the first time the entire local Democratic delegation joined us at an action to demand the NY Health Act. One of our newer members, Mev, also spoke to share her healthcare story. Our critical allies in labor, the United Auto Workers and 1199 SEIU, also joined us to say that the time for the NY Health Act is now.

Following the updates from Mohini, she then introduced a couple leaders from each campaign. Helena Webster and Raghav Devarakonda spoke for Rochester for Energy Democracy; Alice Carli and Hannah Jackel-Dewhurst spoke for Rochester for NY Health; and Marydel Wypych spoke for Elder Justice.

We would also like to recognize all of the amazing elected leadership of our committees:

Rochester for Energy Democracy             

  • Amanda Richardson                                                 
  • Rio Hartwell
  • Emily Ghosh
  • Uday Chockanathan
  • Helena Webster
  • Crescenzo Scipione

Rochester for NY Health

  • Hannah Jackel-Dewhurst
  • Alice Carli
  • Claire Mattson
  • Rosie Quinn
  • Brendan Whitelaw
  • Arseniy Gutnik

Elder Justice

  • Marydel Wypych

The meeting of the Metro Justice Education Fund, 501c3 was then called to order, by the Meeting Chair.

Crescenzo presented the Nominations Committee’s slate for 2022 Council. 

We would like to extend special thanks to our outgoing Council members:

  • Jake Allen
  • Robert Hoggard
  • Bill McCoy

Welcome to the new Council Members Darien Lamen and Callie Rabe. 

This year’s full, unanimously elected, Council will be:

  • Evelyn Evans for President
  • Luis Torres for VP
  • Marcus Dunn for Treasurer
  • Crescenzo Scipione for Secretary
  • Alice Carli, at-large
  • Larry Knox, at-large
  • Darien Lamen, at-large
  • Julie Miller, at-large
  • Anthony Plonczynski-Figueroa, at-large
  • Callie Rabe, at-large

After the election of the 2022 Metro Justice Council, our Treasurer Marcus Dunn presented the Budget Report: 

The 2021 Results - Combined 

  • 2021 Income - $160,472
  • 2021 Expenses - $152,546
  • Net Income of $7926

A few important notes about last year’s finances are: 

  • 2021 results leave us in a strong cash position where we can support challenges to cash flow
    • Over performance in grant funding
    • Received an additional PPP Loan
    • Kept expenses under control; had strong end of year giving
  • Hired a part time fundraiser in 2021 and grant funding will support the hiring of staff to support R.E.D Committee activities 
  • Finance committee provided a conservative estimate on revenue due to uncertainty around COVID and lack of event planning due to COVID; and overperformance in membership and/or additional events in the second half of 2022 could result in Net Income for the year. 

For the 2022 Budget, members can expect a: 

  • 2022 Income - $180,200
  • 2022 Expenses - $184,402 
  • Net Loss of $4,202

With your help we can make a positive difference in no time! 

Marcus introduced Nicole Maitland, our new Fundraising and Membership Coordinator.

After a brief introduction, Nicole outlined what she has been working on since joining the organization, and what she hopes to accomplish.

  • Nicole has been working on getting back in touch with members, recruiting new members, and attempting to get feedback from all on how to better improve the member experience so as to encourage engagement.
  • The newsletter will be returning quarterly (and here is the first installment!) 
  • The New Member packet will be getting a fresh look and sent out to all new members every three months. 
  • Nicole will be working with distinguished members of the community on fostering a mutually beneficial partnership with the local Unions which will be rolled out soon. 
  • Nicole plans to utilize networking contacts and building relationships with local businesses, venues and talent to find creative ways of fundraising and holding events while we are still battling with Covid pandemic. One such solution is an online, fundraising event in the form of a basket auction that will drive attention to our social media platforms and website.  Baskets donated from local businesses will be posted to our social media with a minimum bid. Members will be able to bid on their desired items, and a winner will be announced via our social media at the end of the auction. 
  • Monthly Happy Hours are coming! Members will receive an invitation.  Please bring a friend or family member that you think would be interested in hearing about our mission. 
  • Large in person fundraising events will be back. Some potential plans include a golf tournament, a walk/run, concerts, trivia nights, and comedy shows to engage the community and gain support through new membership and donations.

The Annual Meeting closed with a powerful Keynote Address by Will Westlake, a barista leader in Starbucks Workers United. His remarks shared the story of how workers in Buffalo unionized successfully, the challenges up ahead, and the importance of this fight for a new generation of workers’ power with more young people joining the union movement. Will then took questions from our members and received a commitment from Metro Justice to support the fight however possible! 

After we adjourned the meeting, members were welcome to attend Zoom breakout rooms to learn more about our ongoing committee efforts. Thank you so much to all of our members that attended; your participation is what keeps us the democratic and member-led organization that we strive to be!  

In Memory of June Gill 

 

Sadly, we have recently lost a long-time member of Metro Justice, and defender of social justice. On January 6, 2022, June Gill passed at the age of 87.  She was truly a force to be reckoned with, and a very valued member of our organization. Please see her full obituary below:

June Gill

Irondequoit: 6/24/1934 - 1/6/2022

Age 87 survived by the Snell Family - Steve, Dale (Anita), Ray Don, Cousin George Fastook and Joan Wieczorek, and many dear friends.

June retired from the U of R.  She worked in many local school districts - FRES, West Ridge, Boces, Crane & Leary, #14, #12, #13, and #33.  She enjoyed volunteering, volleyball, and pickleball.  She liked to read, take classes, and learned French, Spanish, and Russian.  She was proud of her Irish and English heritage.

She was the descendant of two Revolutionary War Patriots - Esek Ryno and Jesse Dolbeer.  June was a lifelong activist for social justice. She attended the 1981 Anti War Rally in Washington D.C. and participated in many local causes. 

In true fashion of her undying support of the organization and our important work, June had indicated that she would like donations in her memory to be made to Metro Justice. Donate In Memory of June Gill

Here are just a few memories some members have shared about June. 

“June arrived at many peace demonstrations and could be counted on as someone always in solidarity with efforts toward justice in Central America. We need people like June and I am very sorry for her loss.”  - Marilyn Anderson

“June was always there at our anti-war rallies, with her wry sense of humor, her reliable commitment to the cause of peace, and a refreshing disdain for the powers that be. This is a sad loss for all of us.”  - Doug Noble

“June was one of my first friends when I moved to Rochester, a comrade, with whom I went to farm worker meetings once a week. That's where I met her and maintained a loose relationship over the years. She was always present, whatever we were engaged in, despite ongoing medical problems. I'm glad I had the opportunity of having her a part of my life.”  - Sylvia Gasoi

“June was a truly committed peace advocate. She protested the US invasion of Vietnam by refusing to pay taxes, so the IRS impounded her car. She worked at Kodak at the time.”  - Bill McCoy

“I was acquainted with June for years by seeing her at Metro Justice and Central American solidarity events. I didn't really get to know her until a group of elders formed the “Band of Rebels” in the spring of 2011. We rallied on Mondays at noon, in front of banks, the federal building, and other locations. We opposed the financial elites that created the financial crisis and then benefited most from the bailout. We advocated for the protection of Medicare and Social Security. We described ourselves as grandparents and elders “raising cane” for social justice. June was one of the most regular demonstrators at these events. I came to enjoy having quiet conversations with her in between the chants and picketing. We have lost a number of people who were regulars at these demonstrations. June is our most recent loss. She will be sorely missed."  - Jim Bearden

“June was there every week with the Band of Rebels to fight against bank predation. I was lucky to know her and experience her sharp observations and wry sense of humor. We will all miss her.”  - Grania Marcus

“Besides being a committed activist for peace and justice, June carried really good vibes. It was fun to be with her. Thanks June”.  - Peter Mitchell 

“Whenever I think of the Band of Rebels I think of June. She always showed up. If she was at a demonstration of any sort, I knew I was in the right place! And talking with her in the midst of it all was always a pleasure.”   - Gail Mott

The Newsletter is back, and we are on a roll!

It’s been an incredible year for Metro Justice, and we will continue to make strides in our efforts. We hope that you have enjoyed the return of the newsletter. You can expect to see new additions quarterly.  If there is something that you would like to see in the next edition of the newsletter, please feel free to reach out to Nicole Maitland at [email protected].   

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Metro Justice staff, committee, and board members. Without your dedication and hard work, we would not have gotten as far as we have. It is truly an honor to witness your complete and total dedication to our organization, its good work, and our community.  

The only way that we can do that is with the help of our members!  We would like to thank our members for their continued support, and offer this challenge: Do you have a friend or family member that would be interested in supporting our causes?  If so, we would like to meet them!  Please direct them to our website Metro Justice or bring them to an upcoming Happy Hour!  We will be posting dates for our Member Engagement Happy Hours on our social media pages soon!  We look forward to interacting with you all in person once again! We are the strongest in large numbers! 

It takes so much to run this organization, and we couldn’t do it without your contributions.  Please consider donating today towards working for the success of any one of our initiatives.  Donations can be made at Donate or by mailing a check to:

Metro Justice

1115 East Main Street

Box 15, Suite 207A

Rochester, NY 14609

The Covid 19 pandemic hit our organization hard, just like many others. However, with the strength, perseverance, and dedication of all of our staff, committee members, board members, community allies, and of course…ALL OF OUR MEMBERS...WE SHALL PERSEVERE!!! 

Thank you to our dedicated members for your continued support! 

This January 2022, 1st Quarter Edition of the Metro Justice Newsletter

 is dedicated in honor of 

The Memory of June Gill

May She Rest in Power

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  • Nicole Maitland
    published this page in What's new? 2022-02-10 15:50:44 -0500

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