Contact: Tom Groover, [email protected] / 303-709-3327 / www.nationalcommunityrightsnetwork.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 13, 2015

The National Community Rights Network (NCRN) Board of Directors has endorsed the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Charter Amendment that will be on the November 3, 2015 ballot in Youngstown, Ohio. This charter amendment was written by local citizens with help from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to advance the rights of residents and prohibit fracking activities that would violate their rights to clean water, air, the peaceful enjoyment of their homes, and their right to be free from chemical trespass.

In granting this endorsement, the NCRN Endorsement Committee considered the efforts of the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee (YCBRC) and activities of the group including educational outreach, previous campaigns, media presence and especially their continued efforts despite fierce opposition from local and state government officials, the Chamber of Commerce, unions, the Mahoning Democratic Party and other “leaders” of the community.

OHCRN board member, Lisa Kochheiser, stated, “What the Youngstown group has done leaves me with goosebumps. Their story is such a compelling testament for the strength of the human spirit in our struggle toward environmental, social and political justice.” Heidi Kroeck, YCBRC member and Youngstown resident, expressed that, “We in Youngstown are grateful for the endorsement by the NCRN of our continued work to elevate citizen’s rights above corporate rights and exercise the power of the people at the local level to demand a safe and healthy environment for our community.”

Concerned citizens of Youngstown formed the Youngstown Community Bill of Rights Committee in 2013 after more than a year of trying to persuade local officials of the need to be concerned about fracking, earthquakes and leasing city land. Despite attempts to not even allow the charter on the ballot the YCBRC successfully battled in the media and the courts to let the voters decide for themselves.

“The indomitable spirit and tenacity of the YCBRC members is inspiring to us all. Their tireless effort to bring democracy to Youngstown is the same revolutionary resolve the colonists, emancipators, suffragists and civil rights leaders taught us.” NCRN President Cindy Kudlik said. She added, “We are proud to stand united with Youngstown against the greed that destroys sustainability.”

The NCRN consists of seven statewide networks that have grown out of the grassroots organizing of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which has assisted communities to advance Community Rights at the local level for nearly 20 years. More than 160 communities across the U.S. have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights, protecting community rights to clean air and water, sustainable food, energy, and other systems, and the right to local self-governance.

The NCRN is committed to providing education, outreach, and support for the development of additional statewide Community Rights Networks. The organization is partnering with state and local Community Rights advocates to build a grassroots, people-driven, Community Rights Movement that will democratize and humanize decision-making at all levels.

The NCRN mission is to assist our state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on local, community self-governance and community rights; secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; assert community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advance those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

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