In the pursuit of racial justice and equity, VOICE engages in long-term struggles that are led by diverse communities to create tangible change. Through campaigns, leaders organize people in smaller battles that bring about concrete changes, ultimately improving the lives of individuals and communities. These campaigns provide valuable opportunities to strengthen the foundation of our communities, nurture leadership development, shift worldviews and policy to create a society that promotes healing and wellbeing.
A bill was signed into law establishing the Ebony Alert by the Governor of California on October 8, 2023, creating a system to aid in the location of missing Black youth, including young women and girls. Voice organizers are committed to working with community to draft, introduce, advocate for, and pass a bill that is reflective of New York State’s needs with the goal of decreasing the rate of missing Black children and increasing the rate of solved cases of missing Black children.
Opportunity 4 Community
Voice Buffalo, through community research, found high levels of hopelessness and insecurity among 10-21 year-olds in Buffalo, particularly in under-resourced BIPOC communities. We're urging an increase in funding for youth programs in both the Buffalo city and Erie county budgets. This would enable extended hours for community centers, offering essential services like tutoring, mental health care, food access, and youth employment. The evidence suggests that this funding boost will contribute to a reduction in gun violence in our community.
Get Out The Vote
A core component of organizing is organizing the vote. A primary initiative of VOICE has been voter engagement, which includes civic education and voter mobilization. When our community is engaged in the democratic process, leaders that are representative of our interests will be elected and we will be able to hold those representatives accountable to the needs of the community who elected them.
Communities Not Cages
Communities Not Cages is a statewide campaign building the power of people and families impacted by mass incarceration to overhaul New York’s racist and draconian sentencing laws. Together, we're fighting to win the passage of legislation to: Eliminate Mandatory Minimums, allow judges to review and reconsider extreme sentences, and support transformation and bring our loved ones home.
Erie County Community Responder Team
Communities across the country are re-imaging their approach to public safety. One way Erie County can begin to re-imagine it's approach to public safety would be to not dispatch law enforcement to every 911 call, especially when there are mental health concerns. The Community Responders for Erie County Coalition, along with experts, community members and directly impacted individuals recommend that Erie County take bold action to reduce community interactions with the police that are better handled by health professionals and peers by investing in a Community Responder Team.
No New Jail
Erie County Sheriff Garcia wants county taxpayers to buy him a new jail, and County Executive Mark Poloncarz plans to allocate $2.5 million for site acquisition, engineering and architectural design to build the jail. Garcia estimates a new jail would cost $200 million. Rather than investing in building a new death camp, we urge our elected officials to redirect these resources towards more humane and effective solutions.