Neighborhoods in one Orange County city have embraced activism as a tool for social change. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
.Citizens in Newburgh are known for being vocal: community activists affiliated with "Community Voices Heard" recently rallied over affordable housing - concerned about high rents and buildings they say are in poor condition. Beatrice Pulliam is a 23 year old mother with severe health issues - worried about the neighborhood she lives in.
The activist march thru the city's east end came to a halt when a property owner appeared on the scene, angry that tenants who had opened their homes to the press and public had not paid their rent - but the marchers believe they accomplished what they set out to do: increase public awareness. Mayor Judy Kennedy was not available for comment: a woman who answered the telephone at the Mayor's office said they were "familiar" with Community Voices Heard - last week Mayor Kennedy proposed measures to refocus the city on safety and economic growth.
Citizens rallied again last Thursday - calling on the lame duck Congress NOT to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent. They delivered a pledge to lame duck Congresswoman Nan Hayworth's office, demanding that she focus on creating jobs rather than cutting vital services when she gets back to Washington.
Ibby Watson and his granddaughter Danielle are among those who argue Hayworth still has the ability to push her own agenda and ignore the will of her constituents in the final weeks of her term.
Ibby,Danielle and the other activists stress that, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, focusing on infrastructure investments and creating jobs is the surest way to speed up our economic recovery, reduce the deficit, and ensure communities like Newburgh thrive and can withstand future storms.
Community Voices' Loretta Manning has nothing but hope for Newburgh, its rich history and its current inhabitants - rich and poor, black and white - she has a message for Congresswoman Hayworth
Nan Hayworth did not respond to telephone calls or emails soliciting comment.