Our Mission

Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a member-led multi-racial organization, principally women of color and low-income families in New York State that builds power to secure social, economic and racial justice for all. We accomplish this through grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy changes, and creating new models of direct democracy.

Vision Statement

We are working towards building a society in which the systems that govern us foster racial, social and economic justice not exploitation – particularly for low-income people of color. We seek a society in which all people – regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender expression, sexual identity, citizen status, primary language, and ability – are treated with mutual respect and when privileges of one group do not exist. We seek a society in which all people are able to work with dignity, have access to a sustainable quality of life, and can obtain unconditional support in their time of need. We seek a society in which governmental structures are transparent and based on community needs. We seek a society in which policies address the needs of all people and strengthen our communities. We believe in a society where “experts” do not have all the answers but rather a society in which the people most directly affected are the ones making the decisions.

Our Legacy

Community Voices Heard (CVH) was founded in 1994 as a member-led organization by low-income people, predominantly women of color, many receiving public assistance and fighting the welfare reform policies that threatened their families. Leading members like Gail Aska worked to build power in New York City and State to improve the lives of our families and communities. From these early beginnings CVH has evolved into a multi-issue statewide organization of low-income people.

Community Voices Heard subscribes to the following principles as we move forward in implementing our strategic plan.

  • CVH believes that membership must have meaningful decision-making and control of the organization and the work we do.
  • CVH believes that base building is the foundation of what we do – we actively work to increase the numbers of low-income people and people of color involved in social change.
  • CVH believes that leadership development of community leaders, particularly women and people of color, is core to our work and the empowerment of our membership.
  • CVH believes that the people whose lives are directly affected by enforced policies should lead the charge in defining these policies.
  • CVH is about organizing; we provide information and education and refer people to get their immediate needs met, but we remain focused on building collective power for systemic change.
  • CVH welcomes and respects people of all races, ethnicities, religions, ages, gender expressions, sexual identities, citizen status, primary languages and abilities.