Platform 1 


“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.”

- Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

In Monroe County, 16.2 percent of county residents are Black, but in contrast, on any given day in March 2019, before bail reform, 59 percent of people held in jail in Monroe County were Black.

- Empire State of Justice - report by Vera Institute of Justice

In Monroe County, the average daily jail population has shrunk by 56 percent since 2012, but its spending on jails has increased 2 percent, even when accounting for inflation.

Monroe County spent more than 14 times as much on jails as on housing assistance.

- The Cost of Incarceration in New York State, December 2020 -report by Verat Institute of Justice

The history of policing in America is rooted in slave patrols and settler colonialism (meaning the systematic detention and destruction of Black and Indigenous communities.) Therefore it is imperative that we immediately DEFUND THE POLICE in Monroe County with the ultimate goal of abolishing the police altogether. This means redirecting large portions of the police budget to mental health and EMT teams. This means declaring Monroe County a Sanctuary County, and banning any communication or cooperation by local law enforcement with federal ICE agents (ICE agents who are the modern-day equivalent to Fugitive Slave Catchers). 

We need to fund programs for social uplift not social control.   

‘Say His Name’


Photo by Rajesh Barnabas

Platform 2 


Black babies in Monroe County die at 3-4 times the rate of white babies.

- Vital Records data NYSDOH, Analyzed by MCDPH, 2014-2016

From housing lead paint, to transportation and industrial pollution, Black Rochesterians at infancy to elder age are disproportionally effected by environmental destruction in Monroe County.

In partnership with leading housing advocates like the City Wide Tenants Union and the Rochester Housing Justice Alliance, we affirm that quality, affordable housing is a human right. Our County needs to confront landlords who ignore environmental health codes and push back against for-profit development initiatives that leave our neighbors in the streets. Housing is health care, and we need to extend NY’s covid moratorium on evictions permanently, housing the homeless to save lives. 

Furthermore, climate change will only serve to worsen racial and economic disparities if we do not center equity and climate justice in our regional efforts to address climate change. This is why utmost urgency of a county-wide Carbon Zero 2030 Plan must be implemented, coupled with a local Green New Deal jobs program.

Platform 3


76% of RCSD salary payments or $232 million, go the suburbs every year, where the money helps fund schools in communities from which the city’s minority residents historically have been excluded.

- Rochester's highest paid school employees mostly live outside city, by Justin Murphy, Rochester D&C
Monroe County has two separate and unequal education systems, one for black children and one for white children. The 1954 Brown vs. Board decision is a farce in Rochester. Mirroring the police residency statistics, 82% of Rochester teachers and 84% of administrators live outside the city. We must immediately end this “occupation” in one of two ways:

1) a residency requirement for RCSD teachers and administrators, mandating that they live where they teach.

2) Dismantle the suburban-urban wall of separate school districts, opting for a regional metropolitan Monroe County system.

”No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”

- Nelson Mandela from Long Walk to Freedom

Mural by @verlainenyc and @izzyinks  *   Photo of my kids by Rajesh Barnabas

Priority 4


Of Monroe County’s $1.2 billion spending plan for 2021, only about one-tenth of a percent — roughly $1.4 million — was for the arts. The bulk — $900,000 — went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Another $180,000 went to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Source: “If Rochester is A City of the Arts, Why Don’t We Fund the Arts?” By Rafferty & Andreatta, City Newspaper 
EQUITY IN ARTS FUNDING MATTERS! There must be REAL equity for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) artists and arts organizations first. Race and gender-based inequity is prevalent in arts funding in Rochester. The current and future distribution must be corrected so that historically underfunded black-led and women-led organizations, those most in need of support from the County of Monroe, receive a significant portion of the funding. The current Arts funding model must be overhauled to achieve transparency and be in keeping with best practices in the field.

On a macro level, we will push for budget funding of the arts on a per capita basis comparable to other counties in New York. We rank currently behind all other counties in New York state in this area of funding, and the funding scheme is vastly unequal, with a few large organizations getting all the funding.

Mural artist Jared Diaz @artbydiaz       working on John Lewis mural with:
Darius Dennis @72and10 / Ephraim Gebre @Akbar.paints  /  Dan Harrington @danieljbueno

Photo by Rajesh Barnabas

Paid for by Friends of Rajesh Barnabas
︎      ︎      ︎          contact: