Monday, May 21, 2018

License to discriminate could put the lives of millions of LGBT elders at risk

SAGE's Care Can't Wait Campaign Image with LGBT elders
Religious discrimination has the potential of putting millions of LGBT elders at risk.

We’re building support to fight back, but we urgently need your help. Please sign our pledge and stand with LGBT elders in the face of religious discrimination.

Through arguments made in the Supreme Court's Masterpiece Cakecase, as well as the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at the Department of Health & Human Services, the Trump administration is attempting to give businesses and medical providers a license to discriminate.

A license to discriminate based on religious preference could have especially devastating consequences for older LGBT people, as the vast majority of elder care providers available are religiously- affiliated organizations.

“If the Trump administration succeeds in its efforts to enshrine a religious right to discriminate – either by an anti-LGBT Supreme Court decision or with the slew of ‘religious conscience’ policies that are advancing through federal agencies, it would have a devastating impact on the LGBT community and LGBT elders,” said Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE

In response, SAGE launched Care Can’t Waita campaign to enlist supporters to stand with LGBT elders whose care and livelihoods would be threatened by a license to discriminate. 

I pledge to care for LGBT elders, and all LGBT people, without discrimination.
I stand with them because Care Can’t Wait.

SAGE is also looking for organizations to partner with us on this crucial campaign. Join SAGE and our early partners, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) in saying “Care Can’t Wait.” 

Organizations can take a partner pledge or email us in order to learn how to get involved.

Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and City Councilman Mark Gjonaj in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Protection will host a "Reserve Your Free Rain Barrel!" event. (While supplies last)

For more information and to RSVP for this event, please call (718) 931 - 1721. 

To RSVP for this event, please call (718) 931 - 1721. 

Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Announce Launch of We Speak NYC with New Season of English Language Learning Programs

Previously known as We Are New York, We Speak NYC Builds on Emmy Award-Winning Educational Videos with Seven New Episodes
New Independent Evaluation of We Speak NYC Shows Learners Achieving Increased English Proficiency and Familiarity with City Services
  Today, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs announced the new season of We Speak NYC, the City’s Emmy Award-winning free English language learning program helping immigrant New Yorkers build language skills and become more familiar with City services. The de Blasio Administration invested over $3 million in the launch of new videos and learning tools for We Speak NYC’s second season, previously known as the We Are New York program. This season will tackle important issues facing New Yorkers, including mental health, workers’ rights, and early childhood education.
MOIA also released a new independent evaluation of We Speak NYC, which demonstrates that the program is effectively offering instruction to English language learners, not only on improving their English proficiency but also helping them to navigate the City’s resources and opportunities. Providing New Yorkers learning English with more educational and civic tools for success is part of the City’s continued drive to make New York City the fairest big city in the country.
“Effective English learning programs like We Speak NYC open new doors for New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Though we are a city that proudly speaks over 150 languages, many residents want to improve their English language skills, and we want to meet them with the tools to do it. Empowering immigrant communities with the skills and knowledge to take advantage of more opportunities is how we make the ultimate city of immigrants an even better place for all of our residents.”
“Providing educational resources for all New Yorkers, at all stages of life, opens more opportunity across our city,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phil Thompson. “We Speak NYC builds on the City’s strong track record of delivering proven curriculum to English language learners with new episodes, innovative study materials, and more. With We Speak NYC, the City is bringing New Yorkers with limited English proficiency more tools for success. ”
“We Speak NYC is here to support our city’s community of English language learners. Creating high-quality episodes focused on issues critical to immigrant New Yorkers, like mental health and early childhood education, for independent study or classes facilitated by trained volunteers makes language learning more approachable,” said Commissioner Bitta Mostofi of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Many We Speak NYC facilitators are graduates of the program, creating leadership opportunities within immigrant communities and helping spread the word about important City programs available to all New Yorkers. Our new independent evaluation is evidence of We Speak NYC’s effectiveness, showing that 85 percent of students obtained a stronger vocabulary after only 20 hours of instruction. The new season will help us reach even more English language learners on their journey, both through new classes and by bringing We Speak NYC into the homes of more New Yorkers.”

Civil Rights Icon Claudette Colvin Honored at Parkchester NAACP Meeting

During the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in 1955 there was a young 15 year old girl who stood up for her right to sit on a bus in Montgomery Alabama. Her name was Claudette Colvin who happened to be colored (the term used back then), and she became an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement after being taken off the bus by police for refusing to give her seat up to a young white woman. 

As Ms. Colvin told the audience Sunday, "I paid my bus fare and it is my constitutional right to sit here." That lasted only until police officers boarded the bus to arrest Ms. Colvin. She said that she had been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King who was seeking equality in the south by the Civil Right's Movement. Ms. Colvin went on to say that her colored friends who were with her and gave up their seats stayed away from her. 

Ms. Colvin mentioned that a male classmate who was friendly with a white girl wound up being lynched a few years later after six white claimed that he raped them. Life was very tough for a young colored girl growing up in the south during her childhood. Life was tough for all colored people who were treated as second class citizens in the south. 

While Ms. Claudette Colvin's event on a Montgomery Alabama bus preceded Rosa Parks, Ms. Colvin did not receive the media coverage that Ms. Parks was given. That was because the Civil Rights Movement had progressed, and the time the Rosa Parks incident came about it was then news. Ms. Colvin did testify before the Supreme Court in the case that determined that bus segregation in Alabama was unconstitutional. That then began the desegregation movement in Alabama and the rest of the south.

Congressman Joe Crowley was on hand to present to Ms. Colvin a flag which flew over the U.S. Capital, and said that Ms. Colvin is a fine example of greatness and what is good in this country. Congressman Crowley added that he is honored to commend Ms. Colvin for her Courageous achievements.

Ms. Colvin also received a proclamation from State Senator Luis Sepulveda. Senator Sepulveda spoke of his grandfather who taught him about the Civil Rights Movement, and that Ms. Colvin's act should be in the history books also. he added that it took courage for a 15 year old black girl to do what you did by saying "no I have a constitutional right to sit here." He finished by saying "Ms. Colvin - you are history."

Ms. Colvin stayed to take questions from members of the audience, and take photos with them. 

State Senator Luis Sepulveda, Ms. Claudette Colvin, Congressman Joe Crowley, and the President of the Parkchester NAACP Ms. Beverly Roberts. 

Ms. Colvin taking questions from members of the audience. 

The officers and committee members of the Parkchester NAACP with Ms. Colvin.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shoprite Supermarket Coming to Bruckner Commons

  A brand new Shoprite Supermarket will be replacing the former Key Food next to K Mart in the newly named Bruckner Commons Shopping Center on Bruckner Boulevard. This Shoprite Supermarket under the corporate name of Village Supermarkets should open in July as the 30th store owned by the Sumas family based in South Jersey. It will be the first Bronx Shoprite Store. Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda joined members of the Sumas family and others from the corporate Shoprite office based in Wakefern New Jersey. 

  The occasion was the opening of the Shoprite hiring center. There will be 250 jobs created by the opening of this Bronx Shoprite store that will bring a wide variety of products and services that were not available to the area residents before. Shoprite is also a price and quality leader in the supermarket industry based in New Jersey, but with stores in several regional east coast states. In New York, Shoprite has stores on Long Island, Westchester and other northern counties, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and now the Bronx. The store will be run by store manager Mr. Al Cimmino. More details about this new Shoprite Supermarket (and its features) will follow as the opening date draws close. 

Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. introduces the new Shoprite store manager Mr. Al Cimmino.

Working Families Party Officially Nominates Cynthia Nixon for Governor

Cynthia Nixon calls for end to school-to-prison pipeline in Harlem as progressive activists commit to contact millions of voters to elect first female governor of New York

  In a show of massive grassroots power, the Working Families Party voted today to give Cynthia Nixon their ballot line and formally nominate her as their candidate for governor of New York.

“I am proud to officially accept the nomination for Governor of New York from the Working Families Party,” said Nixon. “I’m ready to work alongside the thousands of WFP members and activists who will knock on doors and organize in their communities for a New York that belongs to all of us, not just the few.”

Nixon outlined her progressive populist agenda for New York state and called for finally funding NY’s public schools in compliance with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, strengthening and expanding rent laws across the state, enacting single-payer health care, and making New York a true sanctuary state.

“Racial segregation, chronic underfunding and the over-policing of our public schools are an unholy trinity that are making too many majority black and brown schools more like jails than institutions of learning,” said Nixon. “Let’s just imagine the outcry if this was happening in predominantly white schools.”

With active grassroots supporters in all corners of the state, the Working Families Party will help bring a broad base of support to Cynthia's campaign. Since its inception, the WFP has worked to pull the Democratic Party closer to its voters rather than its big corporate donors. The WFP has successfully campaigned for paid sick and family leave, a $15 minimum wage, criminal justice reform, and making millionaire’s pay their fair share.

“New York is a 2 to 1 Democratic state, and we need a Governor that is as true and blue as it’s people. Governor Cuomo has $31 million in the bank and counting, but we have each other, we have the power of the people. The calvary is not coming to save us, we are the calvary," Nixon said to a fired up crowd.

Earlier this week, Our Revolution, the Staten Island Democratic Association, and the Coalition for a District Alternative all announced their endorsement of Cynthia's bid for governor. In the last few weeks, she has been backed by the Broadway Democrats, Village Independent Democrats, and Three Parks Independent Democrats. This adds to an even longer list of endorsements, including Democracy for America, Daily Kos, New Kings Democrats (NKD), Council Member Carlos Menchaca, the Working Families Party, Make the Road Action, Citizen Action, and the New York Progressive Action Network.

Israeli National Sentenced for Cocaine Conspiracy and International Money Laundering Charges

  An Israeli national was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for conspiring to transfer $2.5 million worth of cocaine from Colombia to Israel via Boston and to money laundering charges. 

Jalal Altarabeen, a/k/a Glal El Tarbin, a/k/a Jalal Salamah, a/k/a Abu Rasheed, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to four years in prison and three years of supervised release. The government previously administratively forfeited from Altarabeen nearly $1 million. In February 2018, Altarabeen pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and six counts of international money laundering. In February 2017, Altarabeen was extradited from Poland after being indicted with a co-conspirator. Altarabeen and the co-conspirator were previously charged in a federal criminal complaint in March 2016.
From October 2015 to April 20, 2016, Altarabeen and his co-conspirator conspired in Boston, Colombia, Poland, and elsewhere to distribute 50 kilograms of cocaine and to launder money internationally. They also negotiated to buy 50 kilograms of cocaine from an undercover officer posing as a drug trafficker. The undercover officer’s relationship with the co-conspirator began in 2008 and included a meeting in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Altarabeen and the co-conspirator agreed to pay the undercover officer $50,000 per kilogram to have the cocaine delivered in Israel. The undercover officer told the conspirators that the cocaine would be transported from Colombia to Boston and from Boston to Beersheba, Israel. Altarabeen agreed to make an advance payment of nearly $1 million to cover transportation costs, and he sent six wire transfers from Turkey totaling $999,972 to an undercover bank account in Boston. The undercover officer and Altarabeen agreed that Altarabeen would pay the $1.5 million balance after the receipt and sale of the 50 kilograms of cocaine.
Over several months, the undercover officer spoke with Altarabeen and the co-conspirator by telephone, WhatsApp, video Skype and in person.  They contacted the undercover officer using telephone numbers from Cyprus, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Colombia, and discussed the drug transaction while in Bogota, Colombia, on Oct. 14, 2015, and Feb. 9, 2016.