Lower East Side Community Hero 2021
Nominated by Carolyn Ratcliffe, Art Loisaida
For over 20 years as a grassroots organizer and policy developer, Anthony Feliciano has been a true advocate for social and economic issues facing all New Yorkers, especially low-income, immigrant and communities of color, the uninsured, under-insured, and people with disabilities and other marginalized individuals and families. Anthony has spent most of his life in New York and his career in the non-profit world and public service since 1990. But his childhood and some of his teen years were also spent in Aguadilla and other parts of Puerto Rico.
Currently, Anthony is the Director for CPHS. CPHS mission is to fight for equal access to quality health care for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, language spoken, diagnosis, or the ability to pay. CPHS is a voice for the public health and hospital system, a voice for the allocation of public funding in the state and city budgets; a strong supporter of community organizing, and supporter of the health care safety net and access to health care services for everyone, particularly in low-income, medically underserved, immigrant and communities of color. CPHS is committed to ensuring that the voices of medically underserved communities, especially their need for safety net health care providers, are heard. As a membership organization with an active board of directors, CPHS has many routes to understanding the important issues confronting many communities and prioritizes extensive community involvement in its numerous community health projects. For his advocacy and policy work, Anthony recently was awarded 2020” Health Power 100” leaders award from City & State.
Prior to CPHS, Anthony was the Catalyst Coordinator for City Parks Foundation/Partnerships for Parks. The Catalyst Program identifies three to four historically under-served parks and dedicates itself to galvanizing support for and commitments to community building.
Anthony’s career in organizing really started when he was taken by his father to Charas/El Bohio Community Center, founded in 1979 in the old P.S. 64 school building on E.9th Street. He was involved in gang related issues, his father wanted to give him a different outlet. He learned about and was connected to many struggles on the Lower East Side. The community center was wrongly evicted by developers in 2001 — but others and Anthony have been fighting to get back the building, which has sat abandoned ever since. In High School, he co-founded a student organization in Brooklyn called Students Against Violence Everywhere (S.A.V.E.) to address the racial and social unrest doing the Crown Heights Riots. The curriculum to address alternatives to violence, prejudice, racism and other isms became part of the student leadership program for the Board of Education. The Anti-Defamation League and the Conference of Christians and Jews were pivotal in the success of S.A.V.E and creation of the curriculum. He then became a volunteer youth mentor at ASPIRA of New York, a Latino/Puerto Rican, a national Latino youth organization. He then was one of the youth leaders for the MUEVETE Committee at Puerto Rican Association of Community Affairs. In 2001, he was part of the groundbreaking step of announcing that they were leaving PRACA to set-up MUEVETE as its own independent community-based organization. The organization was called ATREVETE. At Hunter College, he was one of the leaders for Hunter Slam and the CUNY Coalition fighting against tuition hikes,reduction of school-aid, and unfair practices of the CUNY Board doing Mayor’s Giuliani’s Administration.
He is a part of the leadership of Good Old Lower East Side, and the beginnings of Public Housing Residents of the Lower East Side- two organizations that work to keep people in their homes, and on other economic and social justice issues In 1999, he worked as Assistant Coordinator for the New York Asthma Partnership at the NYC Department of Health. However, knowing that organizing was his passion, he decided two years later to work for Citizen’s Action Committee.
Since then he has worked as an organizer around health care justice issues. He has worked for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest for five years and had the pleasure to work there for Eddie Bautista, a true Environmental Activist and Advocate. In 2005 landed at Commission on the Public’s Health System (CPHS), a citywide health advocacy organization.
Along with his wife, he is a founder of Mexican Americans Initiating Zealous Empowerment. He with Jerry Dominguez organized undocumented immigrant workers in Green Groceries to get fair wages and benefits—which led to Green Grocers Campaign and a settlement, made by then Attorney General Elliot Spitzer for back-wages and improve conditions. Over 100 Green Grocers had to sign the agreement set forth in the settlement.
In addition, he has been currently and in the past active in the following positions:
- State Committee member for 74th Assembly District
- Former District Leader for the 74th- Assembly District (Lower East Side and East Village)
- Speaking engagements in the Tri-State, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico •
- Board member of the Campaign for NY Health for the NY Health Act (A.5062-A)
- Board member of APICHA Community Health Center
- Frequently reached out on critical health care issues by CRAINS NY and Politico. Written several op-ed pieces in
- Gotham and other publications (i.e. “We Need a Public Health Mayor” • 2011/2012
- Citations and Proclamations from Hon Jerold Nadler 8th Congressional District and other elected
- Provide workshops to non-profits on community organizing, partnership development and outreach methods
- Former Steering Committee member of Good Old Lower East Side
- Member of the LES Long-Term Recovery Group
- Member of Campos and ABC Community Gardens
- Former Board member of Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS Research and Treatment (now called SMART University)
- Former Funding Board member of North Star Fund
- City Council Speaker Primary Care Collaborative in 2009; NYC Parks Department Immigrant Parks Collaborative in 2010; New York State DOH and Governor’s Prevention Agenda in 2013; Appointments to the City Council Asthma Taskforce in 2014; The Mayor’s De Blasio Transition Team” Committee in 2014; Former Community Board No. 3 member; Member of Friends of Kaiser Park; Steering Cmte of Campos Community Garden and Carmen Pabon Community Garden; Member of a establish committee by the City Council and Mayor’s office called Committee on City Health Care Services. Appointed member to the NYS Long-term Care Advisory Group; Presenter at all the NY Health + Hospitals Executive Council of Community Advisory Boards.
Although Anthony is a committed family man and father of a 10-year-old boy, he finds time to devote himself to organize around social justice issues, especially around access to health care. He has been part of many victories that include saving hospitals, stopping state and city budget cuts to vital health services, racial and ethnic discrimination in access to health care, passing of Family Health Plus, Language access laws and other legislations that have had a positive impact on New Yorkers. Currently he is part of the new LES Eviction Network, a tenant led coalition supported and facilitated by Good Old Lower East Side.