by Kristina Andreotta
It’s easy to feel discouraged when reading the news. Another shooting, more cuts to Medicaid and school lunches, and an impeached president sending tweets from a golf course while he orders assassinations in foreign nations without Congressional approval.
Sometimes it’s easier just to tune it all out and focus on getting through the day — even and especially when that in and of itself is a struggle. Making ends meet, paying the bills, putting food on the table. It’s not easy, especially when those at the top continue to take more and more for themselves at the direct expense of our paychecks, our bodies, our communities. Hopelessness sets in far too easily, and the human experience becomes one focused solely on survival, or finding ways to numb the pain.
The myth of “hard work equals reward” is woven so tightly into the consciousness of our nation that it’s easy to think the billionaires who control our economy somehow earned their dollars. They didn’t.
Those dollars are stolen from our communities, off the backs of our hard work, stolen by greedy bosses, landlords, predatory banks, developers, and through a racist justice system that destroys lives. And then the billionaire class pits us against each other–Black versus white, documented versus undocumented, city versus rural, upstate versus downstate, homeowners versus tenants–dividing us while they squeeze every last dollar from our communities.
It doesn’t have to be this way. So many of us want the same thing. We want our families to be happy and healthy, for our children and those around us to have every possible opportunity to succeed.
In 2020, we must rise up and demand that our elected officials put the health and well-being of our families and communities before the profits of wealthy shareholders and CEOs. We all deserve the dignity of having our basic needs met, regardless of the circumstances we were born into. We need to invest in quality public education, housing, We need to invest in quality public education, housing, renewable energy infrastructure, affordable child care, and quality health care, including mental health and substance use services.
For that to happen, we need to tax corporations and the very rich. We need our elected officials to have the courage to demand the wealthiest New Yorkers return what was taken from our communities.
Where that courage is lacking, we the people must provide the grassroots fire under their feet. We have reached a tipping point in our society, and we cannot allow for the continued exploitation of our families and communities. Enough is enough. We must rise up, together.
On January 18, hundreds of community members will be gathering at 12 noon at the YWCA for the Utica Women’s March. If you’re wondering what it looks like and feels like to be part of the movement for transformational social change, this is a perfect opportunity to find out. And if you’re a seasoned activist, then you already know, and we’ll see you there.
Oh, and bring your pots and pans. We’re done being quiet.