• Stonewall: A Beacon of Hope Fifty Years Later

    By: Owen Boice (MCDC 2019 Summer Intern) 

     

    Some events shape the history of civil rights. Stonewall is one of them.

    On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn—a safe-haven for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers, located in Lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood—and attacked gay patrons. This event, alone, would not change the landscape of the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

    What followed, however, did.

    For the next six days following the raid, riots broke out within the gay community. The abuse, harassment, and discrimination toward LGBTQ+ New Yorkers had reached a critical mass, leading to a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

    The community formed groups such as the Gay Liberation Front, Lamda Legal, and Human Rights Campaign, among others, began advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. In addition to formal organization, Stonewall also brought the existence of the LGBTQ+ community into the public’s consciousness.

    In the Greater-Rochester area, the Democrat and Chronicle published a four-part segment on the gay community in 1964—four years before Stonewall. The Rochester Gay Liberation Front facilitated a social event in 1971 to raise awareness about the gay community. The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley formed in 1973, and by 1989, a parade was added to the annual pride activities in Rochester.

    Even though the LGBTQ+ community still faces pervasive challenges today, Stonewall and its aftermath have been the impetus for a number of reforms. For instance, discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community was perfectly legal until 2003 when New York State passed an act prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. In addition, New York State laws also prohibited same-sex relationships until 1980 when the New York State Court of Appeals abolished the law. Gay couples were unable to marry until July 24, 2011 when New York State became one of the first states to enact marriage equality after Gov. Cuomo signed the legislation a month prior.

    While the memory of Stonewall remains a beacon of hope for the LGBTQ+ community, it also speaks to New York State and Monroe County’s commitment to a more equitable society. This June, the LGBTQ+ community celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall—for the watershed moment it was and the civil rights movement it represents. Rochester commemorates the 50th anniversary this week (July 13th- 21st) as we stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community!

  • 2019 Primary Election Results

    With paper still to count, our Democratic party-endorsed county court candidates, Michael Dollinger, and Karen Bailey Turner have emerged from hotly contested, third-party races and secured the Independence Party and Working Families Party lines, respectively, for November’s general election. Dollinger and Bailey Turner’s stellar performance in June is a bellwether for countywide success this fall!

    LaShay Harris earned over 60% of the vote in her bid to be kept on for Rochester City Council – South District. 

    Michael Patterson nearly doubled his opponent’s tally in his successful reelection campaign for Rochester City Council – Northeast District. 

    Amy Maloy succeeded in her first campaign to win a seat as commissioner of Rochester City Schools against a broad, diverse field of activists. 

    Hon. Melissa Barrett set herself apart from a strong field of city court candidates to retain her position on the bench. She is joined by Nicole Morris, an experienced and passionate assistant public defender.

    Michael Yudelson, former Henrietta town supervisor, earned the Democratic party designation in his bid for County Legislator for the 13th District, a crucial swing seat currently under Republican control. 

    Joseph Morelle Jr. roundly defeated his opponent in an open primary for the Independence Party line in the 17th county legislature district. 

    John Baynes, lifelong Democrat, has parlayed an ambitious gambit for County Legislator – 18th District, a seat friends of Cheryl Dinolfo has long kept warm for friends, into a one-vote lead in a write-in campaign for the Independence Party line. 

    In a closely watched race for the 21st County Legislative district seat, Rachel Barnhart, former journalist and student of government, claimed victory. 

    Linda Hasman won convincingly in a three-person field in her race for the Democratic designation for County Legislator – 23rd District, assuring herself victory in November’s general election. 

    Long-standing community leader John Lightfoot held off a challenge to his 25th County Legislative seat. 

    Yversha Roman weathered a rough race in the 26th Legislative District and beat an incumbent, the only such feat in Monroe County’s 2019 primaries. Roman moves forward to a key race in our effort to take control of the county legislature. 

    Sabrina LaMar, an anti-gun violence activist and sitting County Legislator for the 27th District, bested her opponent and will retain her seat following November’s uncontested general election. 

    Tom Flaherty’s first entry into electoral politics was an impressive one, as he secured a resounding victory in his race to become the Democratic nominee for Webster Town Supervisor

    Congratulations to the Town Supervisor candidate, Gerry Kusse, and town council candidates in Rush, Chaz Rorick, and Amber Corbin, who upset the nominally endorsed Republicans for the Independence Party line. Their write-in campaign was one of the few successful ones in the entire county—but certainly combined to help the top of the ticket. 

  • Get Out The Vote! Primary Election Day, June 25th.

    Election Day is Tuesday, June 25th, and here is all you need to know to effectively cast your vote in this important election.  Polls open at 12 PM and close at 9 PM. Details such as who is on the ballot, and where to find more information can be found on our Who We Are page.

    Additionally, if you have any remaining questions, please call our Get Out The Vote (GOTV) hotline at (585) 434-1620 for questions, court orders or if you need a ride to your polling place.  Remember that if you are rejected at your polling place, you have the right to request a provisional ballot and a receipt for it. This is protected by Federal law. Your vote is important!

    If you’re wondering what you can do to help before election day, we are still looking for volunteers through Tuesday to canvass neighborhoods and phone bank for our candidates. Please sign up via our volunteer form

    To access the voter registration forms to prepare for the general election click here.

    Who are the Democrats on the Primary Ballot?

    (D: Democratic Primary, I: Independence Primary, WFP: Working Families Primary)

    County-Wide

    Adam Bello: County Executive (I)

    Michael Dollinger: County Court Judge (I, WFP)

    Karen Bailey Turner: County Court Judge (I, WFP)

    County Legislature

    Karen Lobracco: County Legislature- District 2 (WFP)

    Marvin Stepherson: County Legislature- District 3 (WFP)

    Josh Mack: County Legislature- District 4 (WFP)

    Terry Daniele: County Legislature- District 5 (I, WFP)

    Dan J. Maloney: County Legislature- District 6 (I)

    Jim Leary: County Legislature- District 7 (WFP)

    Megan Thompson: County Legislature- District 8 (I)

    Catherine Dean: County Legislature- District 9 (I)

    Joshua Foladare: County Legislature- District 11 (I, WFP)

    Michael Yudelson: County Legislature- District 13 (D, I, WFP)

    Carl “Butch” Fitzsimmons: County Legislature- District 15 (I, WFP)

    Lorie Barnum: County Legislature- District 16 (WFP)

    Joe Morelle Jr.: County Legislature- District 17 (WFP)

    John Baynes: County Legislature- District 18 (I, WFP)

    JW Cook: County Legislature- District 20 (I)

    Victor Sanchez: County Legislature- District 21 (D)

    Linda Hasman: County Legislature- District 23 (D)

    John Lightfoot: County Legislature- District 25 (D)

    Yversha Roman: County Legislature- District 26 (D, WFP)

    Sabrina LaMar: County Legislature- District 27 (D)

    City-Wide

    Hon. Melissa Barrett- Rochester City Court (D)

    Mark Muoio- Rochester City Court (D)

    LaShay Harris: City Council- South District (D)

    LaShana Boose: City Council- Northwest District (D)

    Mary Lupien: City Council- East District (D)

    Michael Patterson: City Council- Northeast District (D)

    Judith Davis: RCSD Commissioner (D)

    Howard Eagle: RCSD Commissioner (D)

    Amy Maloy: RCSD Commissioner (D)

    Anthony Hall: RCSD Commissioner (D)

    Towns:

    Tom Flaherty: Webster Town Supervisor (D)

  • Elect Linda Hasman for County Legislature

    As MCDC’s designated candidate for County Legislator for the 23rd District, Linda Hasman aims to prioritize Monroe County families and our most vulnerable citizens by addressing issues with Child Protective Services (CPS), Early Intervention Services, Child Care Subsidies. She also addresses the opioid epidemic, climate change, the LBGTQ community and the well-being of our elderly. Linda also endorsed by NYSUT Rochester, and 1199 SEIU

    Originally from Oswego, NY, and relocating to the Rochester-Area in 2006, Linda has worked as a medical librarian at the University at Buffalo and currently works at the University of Rochester Medical Center as the Assistant Director for Research and Clinical Information at Miner Library. She has been involved in research teams, patient care teams, community health projects and helping patients and families access quality, reliable health information. In Addition, Linda is currently working on a Master’s in Public Health at the U of R.

    Linda aims to tackle Monroe County’s Child Protective Services’ staff shortages, excessive caseloads, and high turnover; early intervention services needed for children with disabilities and child care subsidies. She is also prioritizing the alarming opioid epidemic as she believes Monroe County should adopt multi-modal, evidence-based approaches that bring together various stakeholders in the community from health care providers, public health experts, family members, and local governments. Additionally, Linda plans to offer targeted tax breaks for solar panels, insulation, and modernizing windows to combat rapid climate change, improve public transportation, increase the number of bicycle lanes, community composting, and increasing green spaces.

    Furthermore, in alliance with the LGBTQ community, Linda supports building coalitions of community stakeholders to reduce the burden of health disparities, homelessness affecting our LGBTQ youth. Lastly, Linda aims to bring together health care providers, seniors, government officials, and other key stakeholders to identify a way to implement housing and transportation innovations that could benefit senior citizens.

    Vote for Linda Hasman for County Legislator on June 25th

  • Elect Yversha Roman for County Legislator

    Yversha Roman is the designated candidate for County Legislator for the 26th Legislative District and the current 26 LD Democratic Committee Leader– advocating to ensure our fair share of county services regarding roads and infrastructure repairs and a transparent government. Furthermore, Yversha is standing up for the future by seeking child care subsidies and working alongside school districts representatives, and City and town boards to find ways to streamline services and provide the best opportunities for young people. 

    Relocating to the Greater-Rochester Area from Ponce, Puerto Rico at the age of 4, Yversha Roman describes her upbringing as “living in two worlds” as she became deeply rooted in her community juxtaposed to her Catholic school education– having the opportunity to attend The Aquinas Institute and Nazareth College, obtaining a B.S. in Social Work.  By the age of 13, Yversha became a pioneer worked alongside Father Tracey in starting a youth group within her church, St. Michael’s. At the age of 15, Yversha began working as a community outreach advocate with Action for a Better Community’s Action Front Center. She spent five years working as a peer educator in the field of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

    Yversha is currently the Senior Relationship Manager and Latino Leadership Development Coordinator for the United Way of Greater Rochester, helping to provide critical funding to over 70 programs throughout Monroe County, touching the lives of over 30,000 residents. She previously served two years as a mentor and student support specialist at East High school through The Center for Youth Services (CFY), Inc and spent an additional year at East working with the Rochester After School Program. Later, working at Monroe High school as Program Manager for the Center for Youth After School Program. Yversha was later promoted to Assistant Director of School-Based Programs at CFY, helping to train employees and provided oversight for programs such as Rochester Teen Court and New Beginnings School.

    Yversha is endorsed by WEPac, where she is a current facilitator of the program providing women with a safety net of support and the experience to feel comfortable to run for office. In the recent past, she was recognized by the Democrat and Chronicle “Women to Watch”, the Hispanic Coalition of New York State, Inc “40 under 40” and City Newspaper’s “Rochester Ten”, for her community service.

    Vote on June 25th for Yversha Roman for County Legislator.

  • Re-elect Michael Patterson for City Council- Northeast District

    Council member Michael Patterson is the incumbent and designated democratic candidate for City Council’s Northeast District. Originally appointed to the seat on December 17, 2013, Michael serves the council as the Chair of the Neighborhood and Business Development Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee and Arts and Culture committee.


    Prior to his appointment, Councilman Patterson served as the County Legislator for the 29th District. He is also a past member of Metro Justice Council, a progressive member-driven, grassroots organization dedicated to social, economic, and racial justice in Rochester, serving as the Social Action Chair. “I love the work and the opportunity to build this neighborhood and help and support my neighbors,” Patterson told Spectrum News on June 2nd. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about me it’s about the community.”

    Additionally, Councilman Patterson is credited for bringing the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA),  the largest non-profit homeownership and community advocacy organization certified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the Greater-Rochester area. “I start with housing for a very simple reason: if you don’t have a decent affordable place to live and to lay your head, you have got nothing.”

    Re-elect Michael Patterson for City Council- East District on June 25th.

  • Re-Elect John Lightfoot for County Legislature 25

    The Honorable John Lightfoot, incumbent candidate for the Monroe County Legislature for the 25th District and prides himself on “working for the people” since being elected into office in 2012. He serves as Ranking Minority Member of the Transportation Committee and is the Assistant Minority Leader of the Monroe County Democrats.

    Legislator Lightfoot passed legislation that increased the participation of Minority and Woman Business Enterprises (MWBEs) by raising the minimum participation requirements, and was an active participant in the relocation of Monroe Community College– Damon Campus in downtown Rochester and advocated for MCC remaining in the 25th District.

    Additionally, Legislator Lightfoot previously served as Rochester City Councilmember At-Large from 2006 to 2010 and during his tenure, Lightfoot championed the Jefferson Avenue Revitalization Project with over $3.8 million of federal, state and local resources, after which he received the Jefferson Avenue Business Association “Commitment Award.”

    Prior to becoming an election official, Legislator Lightfoot has committed over 15 years to community service, serving as President of Changing of the Scenes Neighborhood Association and as Co-Chair of the Southwest Common Council. In addition, he earned his Masters in Public Administration and Nonprofit Administration, with honors, from the College of Brockport while in office.

  • Keep LaShay Harris for City Council- South District

    Council member LaShay Harris was recently appointed to City Council on April 30th due to a unanimous vote, solidifying the trust and confidence of the community. Prior to her appointment, Harris completed a full term as County Legislator for the 27th District being the second African-American Woman to serve on county government– the first was the late-great Constance Mitchell. She will continue to be a strong advocate for city residents and support a fiscally responsible government, strong neighborhoods and thriving small businesses, and continuous economic growth.

    Councilwoman Harris began her career in EMS for the National Ambulance, Rural/Metro’s predecessor, as an EMT, eventually becoming a paramedic in 1997 after graduating from the Western New York Emergency Medical Services Training Institute. She previously served as a Paramedic Preceptor, CPR Instructor, and continues as an Educator. In 2003, she took a full-time position at Irondequoit Ambulance as a Paramedic, later promoted to Deputy Operations Manager where she served until her 2008 appointment as the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Rural/Metro Medical Services, Rochester, NY. During her time as the PIO, LaShay developed a robust and responsive Media Incident Alert Program instrumental in forming a partnership with the local media agencies.

    LaShay has been instrumental as an instructor coordinator for the EMS Pathway of the Career Pathways to Public Safety Program and initiated the implementation of EMT training at REOC of the College at Brockport. These programs involve key partnerships with the City of Rochester, Rochester City Schools District and the College at Brockport.

    Vote 10A on June 25th for LaShay Harris for City Council- South District.

  • Elect Mary Lupien for City Council- East District

    As a mother, community activist, city school teacher, Mary Lupien will continue to fight for the protection of renters’ rights, police accountability, the expansion of public transportation and creating a more green and sustainable future as your Councilwoman for the East District.

    “Mary’s dedication to her community, through her work with the Citywide Tenant Union, and as a bilingual city school teacher, is emblematic of our ideals and of the greater fight against inequality in our communities,” said Jesse Lenney, State Committee Member for Working Families Party in regards to Mary receiving their endorsement. Mary was also endorsed by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East Labor Union.

    Mary is fighting for a thriving, livable city where all residents have stable, quality and affordable homes, police accountable by the communities they serve, and where walkable, bikeable streets and fantastic public transportation connects us to our work, schools, and families while creating a more sustainable future. Additionally, Mary aims to earn the trust of the community, partners, and fellow activists to carry forward the shared vision of a better Rochester for All.

    Mary is a board member of the Beechwood Coalition, and a volunteer with the City Roots Land Trust and City-Wide Tenant Union, which aims to prevent displacement of neighbors due to the effects of Gentrification by creating opportunities for stable, affordable housing. In addition, Mary is the organizer with Mothers Out Front, a group mobilizing to preserve a livable climate for our children.


  • Elect Mark Muoio for City Court

    Experience, Justice, and Compassion are what Monroe County designated candidate Mark Muoio for City Court is promising once elected into office. As the current Monroe County Legislature for District 21–representing the North Winton Village, Beechwood and Bensonhurst neighborhoods, and Director of Housing and Consumer Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society of Rochester, Muoio has proven his commitment to the City of Rochester and assisted in his legal knowledge needed to be a City Court Judge. Additionally, Muoio has represented more than 4,000 persons in the Rochester City Court in the past decade.

    In the last 18 months, Mark has worked with the Mayor’s Office, members of Rochester City Council, local judges, and others to bring immediate reforms to civil court and provide a vision of what a more just civil court would look like, such as having a single judge sitting in a dedicated Housing Court and allowing tenants a streamlined right of action to sue landlords for housing code violations.

    As a Legislator, Muoio advocates for more ethical and transparent County government and has worked closely with the Monroe County Department of Human Services to ensure all residents receive their entitled assistance– recently assembling a task force expert and elected officials to address the disparities in DHS sanctions. As Director of Housing and Consumer Law Unit, he fights daily to ensure affordable housing for city residents, safeguarding housing security and combating homelessness.

    Mark resides in the North Wonton Village with his wife and two young children.

    Vote on June 25th for Mark Muoio for City Court.