Happy Social Justice Day

Today is the World Day of Social Justice, and do you know what Metro Justice leaders are doing? Joining dozens of other members at an emergency rally to stop the Cuomo budget cuts. 

Sahar Massachi, Metro Justice Member and Writer of this Letter
Today, like every other day, Metro Justice members like you and I are strategically planning and passionately fighting to make the dream of social justice a reality.

We're fighting because we believe in feeding the hungry. We believe in healing the sick. We believe in respecting our elders, housing the homeless, dethroning petty tyrants and living our values. 

Look, I'm not Sami, and I'm not Colin. I'm just a member who volunteered to write this email while the staff were out. In any other group that'd be highly unusual. That's the sort of organization Metro Justice is -- member-run, member-driven, member-supported. 

Do you know how rare that is? Even the big famous groups in New York run on grant money. Metro Justice relies on member dues. Almost exclusively. 

Can you donate $15 to keep us going?

Do you know how powerful that is? It means that we'll always be free of being "the man". No powerful donor will ever threaten to back out because they don't like our work. No politican can cut off our funding. 

Can you donate $30 to make us stronger?

Do you know how fragile that is? Nothing is holding us up but each other. There's no safety net for Metro Justice -- everything it does has to be powered by us. 

Can you donate $50 to bring us to new heights?

Do you know how beautiful that is?

Here's the twist: I live in Oakland, California. I moved here a few months ago from NY. A year ago, when I moved to Rochester, I had barely heard of Metro Justice. And yet, despite everywhere I've been, and everything I've seen, I stick by Metro Justice above all other groups. 

Why? Because it really is something special. We really are doing work that few others are doing. And the MJ community moves me more than anything else has. 

We have something beautiful, rare, and powerful in Metro Justice. But you don't have to take my word for it. Stop by the office any time, and talk to the staff. You'll see how much control and how much fun members can have. 

For now, though, we have to pay the bills. Because there's no one else out there -- no big donor, no giant foundation, no corporate sponsorships. There's just us. 

We have two choices: keep Metro Justice as it is, or give it an infusion of cash that will let it soar. 

I know which one I want.

Yours in service,
Sahar Massachi

Metro Justice & Community Leaders Come Together to Speak Out Against Cuomo's Budget

Metro Justice, NYSUT, and Interfaith Impact came together yesterday to speak out against the negative impact that Governor Cuomo's proposed budget will have on New York's education system.  Here is the news coverage from this press conference.


Read more

Working Families Party Announces Support for Single Payer Health Care in New York State


Working Families Party Endorses Gottfried/Perkins Single-Payer Health Care Bill 
health_care_is_a_human_right.jpgThe Working Families Party announced its support today for "New York Health" (A.5389A/S.2078A), sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and State Senator Bill Perkins. New York Health creates a universal, single payer health coverage plan in the state.

Working Families Party State Director Bill Lipton released this statement:
"This plan cuts out the middleman and assures no New Yorker is uninsured and left behind. Single-payer health care in New York would save lives, simplify the system, and divorce access to a fundamental right from the cruelty of the market."

The Working Families Party is New York’s grassroots progressive political party. WFP has won statewide increases in the minimum wage, a landmark green jobs program, and reforms to the state’s Rockefeller drug laws. In New York City, the WFP recently won a three-year long campaign for paid sick days; the Council has passed a bill that will guarantee paid sick days to an estimated one million New Yorkers.


Read the full Memo of Support Below.
Read more

Blossom South Nursing Home vs. the Federal Government

The following article was written by Ken Traub & Janet Gelein, co-chairs of the Elder Justice Subcommittee of Metro Justice, Rochester NY (a member of LTCCC) will appear in the Long Term Care Community Coalition’s Spring 2014 newsletter “Monitor”

Blossom South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (Blossom South) in Rochester, NY has been a chronic substandard one-star (“much below average”) federally rated facility (http://medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare) that has been a Special Focus Facility for 33 months by the end of 2013.  The Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) started the Special Focus Facility (SFF) program in 1998 to address nursing homes that have persistent, serious problems.  As readers of The Monitor know, the SFF program can be a valuable tool to improve, change ownership of, or close nursing homes that are persistently failing their residents. Once a facility is selected for inclusion in the SFF program, it receives special attention from the state, including a federally mandated requirement that the state conduct at least twice as many inspections as normal (approximately two per year). The goal is that within 18-24 months of being in the program, a facility will either develop long term solutions to its persistent problems or under its current ownership, be terminated from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, in a July 14, 2013 article by Patti Singer titled “City Nursing Home Among Worst In Nation” analyzed 18 DOH inspections of Blossom South between February 2010 and March 2013 that documented 169 deficiencies, of which 33 were repeat problems. The newspaper further reported that the rate of incidents and complaints for Blossom South was four times the state average.  As a result of the 18 deficiencies found by the DOH in their August 8, 2013 inspection, the DOH recommended to CMS the termination of the Blossom South’s provider agreement.   CMS then notified Blossom South that it will not pay Medicare and Medicaid funds for residents admitted after August 31st and will end all payments for existing residents on October 15, 2013.  According to the filings by Blossom South’s attorneys, Abrams, Fensterman LLP, 98% of its residents and gross revenue come from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. 

Read more

It's Time for an Upgrade!


This article was featured in our quarterly member newsletter.  If you are interested in receiving our newsletter, sign up for our mailing list or join Metro Justice here

It’s Time for an Upgrade

By KaeLyn Rich

It’s been almost exactly a year since Governor Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State address, during which he announced his plan to “restore New York as a leader in women's rights” by introducing and passing the Women’s Equality Act. The Women’s Equality Act, or WEA (pronounced /wi/), is a groundbreaking bill that would:

  • Safeguard reproductive health
  • End pregnancy discrimination
  • Strengthen human trafficking protections
  • Support domestic violence victims
  • Provide fair access to housing
  • Stop employment discrimination
  • Expand access to justice
  • End sexual harassment
  • Secure equal pay

As an intersectional feminist, I found it thrilling to work on WEA, a bill that finally addressed gender discrimination and inequity as an issue of multiple oppressions. Many activists and social change agents eventually come to the conclusion that it’s a lack of a wide range of resources that keeps the poor from gaining wealth over time.

“Intersectionality” is the idea that discrimination, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, and classism, do not act independently of one another but actually weave together to create a system of injustice and social inequality. In order to create an equal society, all forms of oppression should be addressed and dismantled. Doing all this -- tackling the roots of poverty -- seems an insurmountable goal. It means we have to dismantle a structure that is fundamentally patriarchal, sexist, racist, ablest, classist, ageist, and on and on.

WEA will not bring down the whole system. But it tackles the issue of gender inequality as multi-faceted, touching many issues that we have tried to legislate for years and, in some cases, decades.

The fight for women’s rights has been long. It is far from over. The fight for gender equality will not be over after we pass WEA. However, WEA is an enormous step in the right direction. Intersectional feminism demands that all experiences of oppression and discrimination are inextricably linked to gender equality. While WEA certainly does not address all experiences of oppression and discrimination, it shines light on issues that many had not thought of, or didn’t think still existed. It links the issue of housing fairness to the issue of pregnancy discrimination to the issue of human trafficking. It links people and communities.

We did not win WEA in 2013, but we celebrated many successes. In just six months, we built a statewide coalition of over 850 organizations, businesses, nonprofits, and groups. We built localized steering committees and coalitions across the state. In the Finger Lakes region, which includes Rochester and surrounding counties, we had over 50 coalition members and a strong steering committee. Metro Justice joined the steering committee with the Genesee Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood of Western and Central NY, Greater Rochester National Organization for Women, YMCA of Rochester and Monroe County, Alternatives for Battered Women, and the League of Women Voters of Rochester Metropolitan Area, and the Rochester-Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation to lead the local fight.


Read more

John Keevert's Letter to Editor

keevert.jpgMJ Treasurer John Keevert's letter to the editor was printed in February 9th, 2014's Democrat and Chronicle.

There are new “free trade” agreements looming in our future; the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which are vast extensions of the disastrous NAFTA model. NAFTA cost millions of American manufacturing jobs and gave corporations the right to sue for loss of future profits any government entities that pass labor or environmental laws they don’t like. The new agreements, being negotiated in secret by unelected trade ministers and multinational corporations, will further overrule our sovereignty and block efforts to improve food safety or deal with global warming.

I applaud Sen. Harry Reid and local representatives Louise Slaughter and Dan Maffei, who have pledged to vote against “fast track” legislation that would allow these unpopular bills to sneak by Congress with negligible discussion and no amendments. Please ask U.S. senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to commit to opposing “fast track” and work instead on bringing jobs back home.

Article Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/letters/2014/02/09/letter-disastrous-foreign-trade-deals-are-in-the-works/5307937/

85 Richest People Richer than 3.5B People

In case you've had trouble understanding why Metro Justice has chosen to focus on wealth inequality in our Fight for Economic Justice, a recent report by Oxfam should make it clear. The 85 richest people in the world currently have more wealth than the lower half of the world population. Yep. You heard that right, there are 85 people in this world that have more wealth than a combined 3.5 BILLION people!

Even more frightening is that the real cultists to capitalism in our media don't actually think this is a problem, but something to be celebrated. 

Read more

Meet the Council Member - Windsor Wade

Windsor Wade-- At-Large Member


Windsor has been a member of Metro Justice since the 1980’s. He served on the Genesee Valley ACLU Board in the 1990’s and has been a participant in Rochester Against Racism. He currently teaches at School Without Walls and has taught in the Rochester City School District for over 30 years.

Metro Justice’s Council is elected yearly by the membership to govern the organization and supervise its staff members, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations. On January 25th, MJ members vote on the council slate at the Annual Meeting and learn about the organization's plans for the new year.  For more details or RSVP, click here.

Meet the Council Member - Ken Traub

Ken Traub-- At-Large Member


Ken has been a member of Metro Justice since 1969.  He has served on Council, as Vice President, and as Chair of the Tax Task Force.  Ken was active in the Liberal and Working Family parties.  He volunteers as a C.A.S.H. tax preparer and nursing home ombudsman.  Ken is currently Co-Chair of our new Elder Justice Subcommittee.

Metro Justice’s Council is elected yearly by the membership to govern the organization and supervise its staff members, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations. On January 25th, MJ members vote on the council slate at the Annual Meeting and learn about the organization's plans for the new year.  For more details or RSVP, click here.

Meet the Council Member - Sarah Richens

Sarah Richens-- At-Large Member


Sarah is currently a dual major in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies at SUNY Brockport. She has been a lifelong resident of the Rochester area. Sarah became involved in Metro Justice through both Occupy Rochester and Band of Rebels. She is one of the founding members of Women’s Caucus of Rochester Red and Black.

Metro Justice’s Council is elected yearly by the membership to govern the organization and supervise its staff members, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations. On January 25th, MJ members vote on the council slate at the Annual Meeting and learn about the organization's plans for the new year.  For more details or RSVP, click here.

Donate What We Do Events