Wednesday, May 31, 2017

New York Health Act Rally: In Favor of State-Wide Single-Payer, constituents gather outside the office of New York State Senator Marty Golden

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Bay Ridge, NY – After the New York Single-Payer healthcare bill passed the New York Assembly last week, constituents of New York State Senator Marty Golden aim to highlight his role in the potential success or failure of the New York Health Act (bill S4840) by organizing a rally in front of his Brooklyn office on May 31, 2017. 

The New York Health Act will allow New York State to enact a first-in-the-nation universal, single-payer healthcare platform that would protect all New Yorkers from the impact of AHCA, regardless of age, gender or ability.  

“Sen. Marty Golden has the chance to be a hero for our community by revolutionizing healthcare in our state,” said organizer Sarah Zorn. “If he releases the bill from committee to a floor vote before the end of the legislative session, he would ensure that New Yorkers are guaranteed the coverage they deserve.”  

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The act provides all residents with comprehensive care (primary coverage of your choice, specialists, mental health, vision, dental, prescription drugs and more) on a graduated income scale that would benefit families making less than $400,000. At the same time, it eliminates deductibles and co-pays.  

Since New York State finances the program, the cost will be less than New York currently pays in administrative costs associated with working with commercial insurers. The cost savings from the NYHA would give New York businesses a unique and powerful comparative advantage against businesses in other states and around the world.

The event is co-hosted by South Brooklyn Progressive Resistance and Fight Back Bay Ridge. Co-sponsors include NYC DSA, NY Health Act Now, #GetOrganizedBK, Bay Ridge Democrats, Brooklyn ReSisters, Rally for Healthcare. 

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#Activism #AffordableCare #Brooklyn #DefendHealthcare #demonstration #HealthcareForAll #HealthcareIsAHumanRight #healthcareisaRIGHT #humanrights #MartinGolden #NewYork #NewYorkHealthAct #NYC #NYHA #Obamacare #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #rally #SenatorGolden #SinglePayer #‎Solidarity #TrumpCare #trumpvsallofus #UniversalHeathcare 

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963
Communities call on Governor Cuomo to appoint “People’s Commissioners” to the Public Service Commission (PSC)

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New York, NY – As Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to fill vacant seats on the powerful five-seat Public Service Commission (PSC), community members from across New York City are calling on him to appoint “People’s Commissioners” who will serve the interests of the environment and all the people of New York State, and not just the needs of corporations and utilities.  At a rally held outside Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, on May 31, 2017; community members shared why New Yorkers need a People’s Public Service Commissioner. They also collected signatures for a petition in front of the governor’s office, already signed by hundreds of New Yorkers, asking Gov. Cuomo to appoint PSC members who pledge to work for a cleaner energy future for everyone across the state.

The rally  is especially timely, as the next PSC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 15 and the commission is still short two commissioners for its five-seat body.

"Low-income communities of color shoulder the greatest burdens of our dirty energy economy, and will continue to be the most impacted by climate change.  New York is undergoing very exciting policy shifts when it comes to our energy system and how New Yorkers relate to it,” said Ceci Pineda of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES). “We need People’s Commissioners who center poor, working-class communities of color in the vision for this transition."

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The New York Energy Democracy Alliance and community organizations will hold a rally on Wednesday, May 31, at 1:00pm EST at Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, 633 Third Avenue, to brief the general public on this issue. Speakers will include community members from around New York CIty, who will talk about how the PSC’s decisions are affecting real New Yorkers, and why commissioners who truly represent the people—and not just power companies and business as usual—are essential to New York’s clean energy future. The rally will be held outside the Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, and participants will carry a huge mosaic of faces from around the state, each with a message to the Governor on the importance of appointing People’s Commissioners.

The hashtag #PeoplesCommissioner peppers the Energy Democracy Alliance’s Twitter feed, which has been retweeting posts of signs made by people from around New York. “Cuomo: A people’s Public Service Commissioner is a necessary next step if you are actually serious about leading NY and the U.S. to an equitable existence,” reads one sign.

Traditionally, the Public Service Commission has been heavily influenced by the interests of entrenched power companies that promote a business-as-usual approach. The New York Energy Democracy Alliance is pushing the PSC to broaden its narrow, strictly market-based thinking and embrace an updated vision of the value of clean, renewable, distributed energy, controlled and owned by the communities that need it.

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About the Energy Democracy Alliance 

The New York Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA) is a statewide alliance of 22 community-based organizations, grassroots groups, and policy experts working together to advance a just and participatory transition to a resilient, localized, and democratically controlled clean energy economy in New York State. The EDA formed in response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding - a state overhaul of energy policy and renewable energy funding. The REV is a historic process that will shape our energy future for generations to come. The EDA holds regulators, political leaders, and energy companies accountable, and works to ensure that the benefits of our energy system flow to all New Yorkers, especially poor, working class people, and communities of color. All New Yorkers, regardless of their background, should have access to the benefits of renewable energy and a sustainable and equitable energy future. The following organizations are official members of EDA:

Affordable Housing Partnership Homeownership Center
Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE)
Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition
Catskill Mountainkeeper
Center for Social Inclusion (CSI)
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
Citizens for Local Power
Citizen Action of New York
Co-op Power
Fossil Free Tompkins
Good Old Lower East Side
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Long Island Progressive Coalition
New York State Sustainable Business Council
Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
Northwest Bronx Community Clergy Coalition
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH Buffalo)
Sane Energy Project
Solstice
Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development
Syracuse United Neighbors (SUN)
WE ACT for Environmental Justice 

#AndrewCuomo #CommunityPower #EnergyDemocracy #EnergyDemocracyAlliance #energyefficiency #GovernorCuomo #MakeREVreal #NewYork #NYC #PeacefulProtest #PeoplesCommissioner #PublicServiceCommission #rally #RealEnergyVision #SaneEnergyProject #SaneSolutions #SolarPower #WindPower #WinWindNY

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Lower East Side celebrated the 30th Annual Loisaida Festival

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New York City - The Lower East Side celebtated the 30th Annual Loisaida Festival on May 28, 2017; this year’s theme is Im/migration, recognizing and celebrating the Immigrant and migrant spirit of the Lower East Side – The Gateway to America, and celebrating the Latin American Immigrant and their contributions to this community, city and country.

Since 1987 the Loisaida Festival has been celebrated the Sunday before Memorial Day weekend in the Manhattan neighborhood known as the Lower East Side, the East Village, or Loisaida. This event is the largest community pride festival in the neighborhood and grows annually in size, excitement, and impact. It is presented in the Avenue C commercial corridor-renamed Loisaida Avenue since 1989.

The Loisaida Festival includes diverse manifestations of the Puerto Rican and Latino cultures expressed through music, cuisine and arts. Although it began as a community event to celebrate the culture, heritage and accomplishments of Loisaida’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic community, the event has created a multi-cultural spirit where people from all races and backgrounds descend from all parts on the city into this historic and eclectic neighborhood.

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The Loisaida Festival has also created a platform for Loisaida’s Latino and, now growing, non-Latino neighborhood residents and families that come together on the day of the event to share and celebrate the Memorial Day Holiday as well as their social and cultural differences. The program includes musical concerts, dance performances, folkloric musical presentations, and arts and crafts exhibitions that showcase the work of artisans that represent diverse ethnic groups and nationalities. It also serves as a vehicle to disseminate critical community information distributed by employees and volunteers of many local and city-wide health and human services organizations.

The Loisaida Festival is sponsored by Loisaida Inc., the oldest Puerto Rican non-for-profit organization in the neighborhood. Loisaida, Inc. was founded in 1979 to address the problem of social and economic disenfranchisement of poor, low income and working class residents of the Lower East Side. Over the years, Loisaida has provided comprehensive education, training and employment opportunities that have targeted young adults. It has also worked with local businesses in neighborhood economic development activities as a means to promote entrepreneurship and help create jobs for local residents.  

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#Art #Boricua #BoricuaPride #festival #LoisaidaFest2017 #LoisaidaFestival #LowerEastSide #NewYork #NYC #Performance #PuertoRico #PuertoRicoNoSeVende #puppets #streetart #StreetFair #StreetFestival #streetphotography #Theater #TheaterLab 

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Using Street Theater Tactics, A Coalition of Women’s Rights and Global Health Activists Denounce Trump’s Anti-Abortion Foreign Policy 

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New York City – A coalition of physicians, AIDS activists, medical students, and women’s health and rights advocates staged a political theater piece in front of the globe outside Trump International Hotel on may 25, 2017; to protest Trump’s global gag rule, which expands the policy restriction to all U.S. global health funding. The expanded policy will prevent health workers from providing basic health care services, will promote unsafe abortions, and will impede progress toward an end to the HIV pandemic. 
  
Under the Trump administration’s global gag rule, foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that receive U.S. global health assistance for family planning, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases will be required to certify that they will not counsel, refer to, or even mention abortion as a condition of receiving assistance from the U.S. government. Previously, this policy applied solely to organizations that received family planning funds. The expansion will do even more damage, including endangering the progress made via the U.S. PEPFAR program, a flagship global health investment in fighting HIV in Africa and worldwide.  
  
“Trump is turning yet more of America’s global health investment into global death dividends with a cynical maneuver—the unprecedented expansion of the lethal global gag rule to all of global health assistance. He has demonstrated once again that his cynicism, ignorance and hatred of women knows no bounds,” said Emily Bass, member of Rise and Resist. 

“Trump’s dangerously broad global gag rule exposes the Administration’s gross incompetence when it comes to global health,” said Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). “Women will pay the price for this unprecedented interference with global health systems. From blocking women’s access to skilled birth attendants, contraception, and safe abortion, to derailing efforts to prevent HIV infections among women and their newborns, this retrograde policy is a direct attack on women's health and rights.” 
  
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Existing U.S. law (the Helms amendment) restricts U.S. foreign assistance dollars from paying for abortions as a method of family planning. Trump’s global gag rule goes beyond this harmful policy to restrict what foreign organizations can do with non-U.S. funds. Previous gag rules that applied only to family planning funds have contributed to the closing of women’s health clinics that provide basic health care, including HIV prevention and treatment. When health centers close, women go without care. International NGO Marie Stopes International, established in 1976 and operating in 37 countries, estimates that Trump’s global gag rule could result in 6.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.1 million unsafe abortions, and 21,700 maternal deaths. 
  
“Expanding the global gag rule to include PEPFAR will reduce the standard of sexual and reproductive care provided to women living with and at risk for HIV and risks undoing years of progress on women’s health in PEPFAR countries,” said Asia Russell, Executive Director of the Health Global Access Project (Health GAP). “Despite the White House’s spin, this is an unprecedented move that prioritizes a cheap political point ahead of the lives of women and girls around the world.”  

“The Trump administration is calling its heinous, Orwellian global gag rule expansion ‘Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance.’ We’re here to call it what it really is – a promotion of death,” said Brittany Herrick, a member of Rise and Resist. “To willingly enact policies based on religious ideology in spite of evidence that more women will die is gross negligence.” 
  
As part of the political theater, women carrying body bags and tombstones labeled with potential causes of death as a result of the gag rule will surround the globe that adorns Trump’s flagship New York hotel as health professionals watch, bound and gagged, prevented by the “gag rule” from providing essential care.  
   
The action is sponsored by a coalition of domestic and international organizations, including Rise & Resist, Health Global Access Project (Health GAP), Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), African Services Committee, International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), ACT UP New York, AVAC, STOPAIDS (U.K.), Metro New York Health Care for All, Women’s Health & Reproductive Rights (WHARR), Just Treatment (U.K.), VOCAL-NY, and ACT UP London. 
  
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BACKGROUND ON THE GLOBAL GAG RULE 
  
The U.S. has a long history as a leading donor and implementer of global health programs. For decades, U.S. leadership in global health has improved the health of individuals in developing countries and contributed to broader U.S. priorities for global development, foreign policy, and national security.   
  
The expansion of the global gag rule by President Trump threatens to exclude some of the most effective health organizations in 60 low and middle-income countries. These are organizations that have the infrastructure, expertise and community trust in areas we must reach in order to achieve our global health goals. In some cases, they are the only health care provider serving a given community. 
  
The impact of this policy is exponentially greater and more untenable given that the number of foreign NGO partners, many of them small, who receive global health assistance has increased as a result of USAID Forward, an initiative with a core mission of promoting sustainable development by supporting “institutions, private sector partners, and civil society organizations that serve as engines of growth and progress for their own nations.” 

Without funding, these organizations won't be able to provide HIV prevention, care and treatment services, provide integrated maternal health care with contraceptive services, or counsel women on their potential risks of Zika infection, among others.   

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#Activism #ACTUP #ActUpNY #AffordableCare #AntiAbortion #ColumbusCircle #DefendDemocracy #DefendHealthcare #demonstration #DonaldTrump #DumpTrump #ForeignPolicy #GlobalGag #HealthcareForAll #HealthcareIsAHumanRight #humanrights #LoveTrumpsHate #NewYork #NotMyPresident #NYC #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #rally #RejectPresidentElect #RiseAndResist #‎Solidarity #streetphotography #StreetTheater #trump #TrumpCare #TrumpGlobalGag #trumpvsallofus #UniversalHeathcare

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fast food workers urge New York City Council to vote Yes on package of bills supporting a fair work week and better jobs

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NEW YORK— Cashiers, cooks and delivery people welcomed the news that the New York City Council will vote on May 24, 2017; on vital legislation that will improve the schedules and lives of workers across New York City. The NYC council will vote on a package of scheduling bills for a fair work week for fast-food and retail workers as well as a bill that will enable fast-food workers to have a united voice on the job and in their communities. 

The fast-food workers and their allies rally at 12:30 pm on Wednesday at City Hall to call on the Council to vote yes on the bills.

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“With the Trump Administration working to undermine the progress we’ve made on workers’ rights and setting an anti-worker agenda, it’s instrumental that we continue to protect all working New Yorkers. I’m proud to stand with the New York City Council as we New York City fast-food and retail workers achieve a fair work week,” said Council Member Brad Lander, the Council’s Deputy Leader of Policy. “This package will help ensure fairer schedules, will give fast-food workers a pathway to full-time hours, and will create an innovative new model for fast-food workers to advocate for their rights.”

As the Trump Administration and Republicans in Washington are pushing legislation and regulation that is disastrous for working people, workers are calling on the City Council to take the lead in standing up for working families by passing these bills.

The Fair Work Week scheduling legislation includes three bills covering the fast-food industry. The first would require fast-food employers to give workers two weeks’ advance notice on their schedules or pay them a penalty for changes to their schedules with less than two weeks’ notice. The second requires employers to offer shifts in the store that become available to existing part-time workers before hiring new workers to fill them. The last discourages the practice of "clopenings"—when a worker has to close and then open their store without enough time to rest in between shifts. Under the Council’s bill, employers have to pay a penalty fee to workers if they are scheduled for back-to-back shifts with less than 11 hours in between. 

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Another bill would ban on-call scheduling in the retail industry, which disrupts workers lives by requiring them to be available to work certain hours even if they are not scheduled to work and won’t get paid. 

The Council will also vote on the Fast Food Worker Empowerment Act on Wednesday. This first-of-its-kind legislation in the country would enable fast food workers to set up a nonprofit organization to advocate for themselves and their families and improve their communities and fund it with contributions from their paychecks. The bill will help fast-food workers create a strong organization that will educate workers about their rights on the job and help them push for the changes they need in their communities.

Hundreds of workers have been advocating for these bills with City Council members since they were introduced in December. Over 3000 fast-food workers and their allies signed a petition in support of the four pieces of fast-food legislation:http://www.seiu32bj.org/press-releases/fast-food-workers-sign-petition-fair-work-week-good-jobs/] 

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“The city council can be at the vanguard of promoting workers’ rights and protecting vulnerable communities by passing these bills. Getting a fair work week for tens-of-thousands of minimum wage workers in New York City and ensuring fast-food workers can speak with a united voice on workplace and community issues will strengthen our city and help workers win dignity on the job, ” said 32BJ President Hector Figueroa, whose union has supported fast-food workers since their first strike. “The union movement and progressive community have stood with fast-food workers in the fight for $15. We're proud to keep standing with them as they stand up for good jobs, stronger communities and respect.”

All of the bills have a majority of council members signed on as co-sponsors.

“RWDSU is committed to raising job standards across industries and occupations. On-call scheduling is a pervasive and exploitive employment practice where workers do not find out until just before a scheduled shift if they will be required to work or not. Today's passage of Intro 1387 by the New York City Council and the Speaker is a critical step in helping workers gain more control over their own lives and their ability to earn a living. When Mayor de Blasio signs the bill into law it will set a national precedent that will help retail workers not just survive in this country but thrive,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Party.

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“CWA District 1 is proud to stand with New York City fast-food workers who are fighting for better jobs. They need fair schedules so they can plan their lives, take care of their kids and make ends meet. They also want to have a united voice to ensure workers in the industry know their rights on the job and can advocate for the issues that are important to them in their communities. This is good for workers and good for our city,”said Dennis Trainor, Vice President, Communications Workers of America, District 1.

“New York City can take a stand for workers by passing this vital legislation so individuals in the fast-food industry may improve their schedules, support their families, and strengthen their communities," said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. "As the federal government and Republicans in Washington try to chip away at the rights of working people, we must resist these attacks at the local level and support our workforce.” 

"This package of legislation is about fairness, respect for people’s time, and restoring some balance into the employer-employee relationship," said Council Member Corey Johnson. "These bills will directly improve the quality of life of workers throughout the city and I’m proud to play a role in their passage. At a time when labor rights are under attack across the country, it’s more important than ever that New York lead the way in setting new standards for valuing workers."

The Fight for $15 started in New York City in 2012, when 200 brave fast-food workers walked off their jobs, demanding $15 and the right to form a union without retaliation. The movement has spread around the world. Once considered a long shot, workers have won $15 in California and New York State, in cities like Washington, D.C. and Seattle, and in companies and industries all around the nation.

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#32BJ #Activism #demonstration #FairWorkWeek #FastFoodForward #FastFoodWorkers #FF15 #FightFor15 #humanrights #legislation #LivingWage #MinimumWage #MinWageRealityCheck #news #NewYork #NotMyPresident #NotOneStepBack #NYC #NYCityCouncil #PeacefulProtest #rally #RejectPresidentElect #RetailWorkers #RiseFor15 #SEIU #SEIU32BJ #‎Solidarity #Union #UnionWorkers #WeWontBackDown #WorkerRights

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Supporters of the Brazilian Democratic Regime gather at Union Square to echo the voices of those demanding Elections in Brazil immediately!

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New York - Supporters of the Brazilian Democratic Regime gather at Union Square, New York on May 21, 2017;  to echo the voices of those demanding Elections in Brazil immediately.

In 2016 Brazilian Democracy suffered a Coup and President Dilma Rousseff, was unfairly removed from office through a parliamentary coup. The corrupt politicians who staged her removal did not act in the benefit of the general population but of themselves. The illicit gains through bribery schemes and corruption of those who deposed Dilma Rousseff have been unmasked and proven. They must be removed from office immediately and new elections need to happen immediately.

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The most recent scandal directly links Michel Temer, Brazil’s illegitimate president, and Aécio Neves, who ran against Dilma in 2014 to organized crime, drug trafficking and millions in offshore accounts.

The illegitimate government of Michel Temer has put Brazil in a political abyss and complete turmoil. Human Rights are in danger. Education, Housing, Social Security, Universal Health Care and many more services have been badly damaged by the illegal acts of Temer and need to be restored. TEMER MUST GO!

BRADO-NY is a collective of Brazilians and people interested in Brazil who have diverse biographies and identities. As a collective, we denounce the legislative, judicial, media and corporative coup that overthrew the democratically elected Brazilian president Dilma Roussef. Today's Action is aligned with those currently happening throughout Brazil.

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#AbaixoAMidiaGolpista #AbaixoARedeGlobo #Activism #BRADONYC #Brazil #BrazilianCoup #CallitaCoup #DefendDemocracyinBrazil #DiretasJa #DoPlanaltoPraCadeia #ForaTemer #NewYork #NYC #OPovoDecide #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #StoptheCoupInBrazil #UnionSquare #VoltaDilma

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The 11th annual Dance Parade and Festival returns to the heart of Manhattan

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New York, NY – The largest dance event in the Northeast is set for the 11th Annual Dance Parade and Festival in New York City on Saturday, May 20, 2017. The free annual event, with more than 80,000 spectators, draws on the city’s incomparable and rich diverse dance talent, to feature thousands of dancers from all over the city, and out of town, for a vibrant street parade and dance festival.

Beginning at 21st and Broadway, the procession ends at Tompkins Square in the East Village for the festival and celebrates myriads of dance styles in a multi-cultural, rhythmic-infused magical display of the human body in motion.

“With our country divided after the election, we’re proud to bring 80+ unique dance styles and cultures together,” said Greg Miller, executive director of Dance Parade, a non-profit organization. “The dance community decided the theme ‘Dance For Peace” and we will start the parade with a minute of silence for those who can’t dance, followed by an eruption of moving artistry that’ll rock the city!”

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Dance styles reflect the cosmopolitan legacy fo the city and the elastic inventiveness of the form, and include African, Asian-Indian, ballet, Indian bhangra, Bolivian Tinkus, Brazilian zouk, breakdance, Chinese, hip-hop, Irish, Indonesian, Jamaican Dance Hall, lindy hop, modern, roller disco, salsa, samba, Tahitian, tango and Tibetan. One third of the registered groups hail from states other than New York.

Among this year’s highlights so far are 50 organizations featuring 30 dance styles including Clogging Connection and six majorettes groups.

A Grand Marshal launches the parade in a ribbon cutting ceremony. Past Grand Marshals include Garth Fagan, Carmen de Lavallade, Robert Battle, Savion Glover, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Dr. Charles ‘Chuck’ Davis, Jacqulyn Buglisi and Louie Vega.

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Leading out the parade will be over 100 New York City youth who will dance in their “debut on Broadway” after having participated in a ten-week dance education program in workshops sponsored by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and funded by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The workshops are run in urban centers in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

No Parade would be complete without the New York Dance Police (NYDP), a volunteer group of men and women who inspire the crowds to dance and celebrate the spirit of Dance Parade. Anyone caught not dancing could be ticketed which includes a summons to attend a free dance class in the city.

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#2017 #Art #costumes #dance #DanceParade #ErikMcGregor #festival #fun #Music #news #NewYork #NYC #StreetPhotography #photojournalism 

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Friday, May 19, 2017

28th Annual Harlem Black Power “Shut ‘Em Down” rally and march in honor of the 92nd Anniversary of the birth of Malcolm X

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Harlem, NY - In honor of the 92nd Anniversary of the birth of Black national hero, Malcolm X, on May 19, 2017; members of December 12th Movement, Black Lives Matter Greater New York and Harlem residents gathered outside Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, 163 W. 125th St. to hold the 28th Annual Black Power “Shut ‘Em Down” rally and march. All commerce from stores and street vendors along the 125th Street corridor between St. Nicholas and Fifth Avenue in Harlem shut down between 1pm and 4pm in a commercial show of respect for Malcolm X. 

As part of the events on the 92nd Anniversary of the birth of Malcolm X, the 52nd annual pilgrimage to Ferncliff Cemetery in Westchester County, where the bodies of Malcolm X and his wife Betty are interred, departed from the corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard on early Friday.

On returning to Harlem, the December 12th Movement conducted their 28th annual “Black Power Shut’em Down!” economic boycott, which forces all businesses along 125th Street to close their doors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., in a mighty display of self-determination.

>>CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS<<

Harlem’s Schomburg Center and the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Educational Center also have events throughout the weekend. The December 12th Movement is calling on our community to respect and celebrate Malcolm X by participating in the Malcolm X Conference for Self-Determination.

At 6 p.m., they host a Cultural Tribute to Malcolm X in the Gallery of the State Office Building. African drumming by Ndigo Washington and Joyce Jones will introduce the film “Malcolm X Speaks.” Spoken word presentations by the inimitable Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, the fiery Mandela Brathwaite (son of Pan-African giant Elombe Brath) and the nationally acclaimed IMPACT Repertory Theatre Group will be followed by a jazz performance by Jazzmeia Horn’s (2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition winner) quartet.

The conference will formally open Saturday, May 20, at All Souls Episcopal Church (88 St. Nicholas Ave. at 114th Street). Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., the December 12th Movement and the conference organizational supporters will greet the attendees. The dynamic Fred Hampton Jr., son of the slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, and chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee, will deliver the keynote address at 11:30 a.m.

The heart of the conference will be the two panels/workshops. From noon to 2 p.m., the first panel, on “The Historical Demand for Independence and Reparations,” will be a discussion on (i) Black people’s revolutionary battles for self-determination through independence, separation and repatriation and (ii) the political and legal battles for reparations as a remedy for the United States’ crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing (now called “gentrification”) of Black people.

The second panel, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., on “The Political and Cultural Battle for Independence and Freedom” will look at how a plebiscite (referendum) can be a weapon for Black self-determination and a weapon against rising fascism in the U.S. The open discussion will examine “Which Way Forward” for Black people in the age of the Trump/Clinton platform of lies and the systemic derailing of our fight for freedom.

The day will conclude at 5:30 with a plenary to sum up the panels’ findings and propose a course of action for the future.

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The conference is supported by CEMOTAP, National Black United Front, People’s Organization for Progress and Black Lives Matter of Greater New York.

#Activism #BlackLivesMatter #BlackPower #BLM #BLMGreaterNY #BLMNY #D12 #demonstration #Harlem #MalcolmX #march #NewYork #NoCommerce #‎NoJusticeNoPeace #NYC #PeacefulProtest ‎#PowerToThePeople #racism #SafetyBeyondPolicing #ShutEmDown #‎ShutItDownNYC‬ #‎Solidarity #TakeBackOurCommunities

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Bicoastal LGBTQ Ppotest to #FreeTheChechen100 activists demand US Government to expedite visas for Chechen LGBTQ asylum seekers 

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New York City – Bay Area and New York LGBTQ activists are holding a joint protest rally today to protest against the illegal detention since February of over 100 gay men in Chechnya. The protests by the Bay Area Queer Anti-Fascist Network and Rise and Resist group in New York come in response to an urgent call for public solidarity action by RUSA LGBT, a refugee resettlement group in New York, and the Russian LGBT Network, leading the grassroots evacuation of Chechens inside Russia. 

US LGBTQ groups are mobilizing a larger gay movement to demand the President Trump add his voice to global leaders urging Russian President Vladimir Putin to release the group, and for the US government – and Canada -- to expedite visas Chechen LGBTQ asylum seekers. Activists are calling on all US progressives to speak out and help fund several grassroots groups engaged in rescue and resettlement activities to the persecuted Chechen LGBTQ community.  Today’s protest is part of a growing social campaign, #FreeTheChechen100.  

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“We stand in urgent solidarity with our Chechen gay brothers inside illegal detention centers, but also other Chechens who are imprisoned by the brutal regime of Ramzan Kadryov,” said Brian Worth of the BAQAFN.  “The attacks on gay Chechen men aren’t new but these arrests are an escalation – intent to wipe out a class of citizens. That’s a step toward genocide.” 

“We understand that the arrests of gay men have been halted – for now – so international pressure is working. But we can’t let up until they’re freed and reach safety,” added Jay Walker of Rise and Resist.  

The detentions mark a “gay pogrom” that began in February when Chechen leader Ramzan Kadryov began to arrest and imprison gay men. Three were murdered; other disappearances are rumored, according to Human Rights Watch who verified some releases in April. Putin says the federal Russian government is investigating. It’s unclear how many men are now imprisoned. Of 80 calls to the Russia LGBT hotline, 56 were among the initial 100 detainees. 

If they are released, the danger remains high. Local Chechen authorities have urged the populace to engage in “honor” killings of any suspected gay men – a purging of the “stain” of homosexuality – not a new phenomenon in tradition-bound Chechnya. One gay honor killing was reported in the media already. Russian LGBTQ activists have rescued 42 Chechens fleeing the region, but more desperately seek asylum outside Europe, fearing their relatives will hunt them down for honor killings.  

“We are urging all US gay people, and all US citizens to speak out, and to push our government to provide visas and help,” said BAQAFN’s Worth. Citizens are urged to direct donations to RUSA LGBT in New York and Rainbow Railroad in Canada for resettlement of Chechen gay asylees; and to Russia LGBT Network to continue its evacuation and support activities. 

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New Yorkers are invited to bring candles and cups to the evening rally and vigil at The Arc at Washington Square Park; Bay Area residents are invited to bring signs. Both events will feature speakers and offer rally participants a chance to speak out. 

#2017 #CandlelightVigil #EndHomophobia #EndTransphobia #FreeTheChechen100 #GayLiberation #GayRights #GaysAgainstGuns #LGBTQ #LGBTQLivesMatter #NewYork #NYC #PeacefulProtest #RiseAndResist #WashingtonSquare

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963
Crown Heights residents and Housing Advocates to protest Councilwoman Laurie A. Cumbo’s State of the District address over Bedford Armory Project

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Brooklyn, NY - On May 18, 2017; Crown Heights residents, housing advocates opposing the Bedford Armory development such as the Black Institute, the Crown Heights Tenants Union, the Democratic Socialists of America, New York Communities for Change, and Picture the Homeless, organized a demonstration in front of Ingersoll Community Center in Brooklyn; protesting Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo’s state of the district address over her lack of support to a community led plan. The controversial project has been subject of numerous protests because of lack of affordable housing for local residents. The community is calling for the project to be killed and be placed into a community land trust already presented to her, that could produce more than double affordable units for Crown Heights residents compared to what the site developer is proposing. 

The community and stakeholders have yet to hear Cumbo’s position on a community plan presented to her that could produce more affordable housing than what the City is pushing

Vaughn Armour, NYCC Crown Heights leader remarked: "My neighbors and I see through this dog-and-pony show. This is nothing but hype and bluster, and if Laurie Cumbo were really against this project, it would be dead tomorrow. We can't afford six months of being lied to only to see this project go forward in the end. This will bring more housing we can't afford, and increase evictions and homelessness in a neighborhood that is being taken over by gentrifying developers like BFC. BFC stands for Bad for Crown Heights. Every time their project moves forward, our elected officials are betraying us. This deal must be killed and it must be killed now."

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BFC is planning on building 330 luxury units at the public site that the majority of Crown Heights residents cannot afford. The highly controversial project has been the source of fierce opposition for a year. In August of last year tenants and housing advocates successfully pressured the City to drop Slate Property Group from the project, the same shady firm involved in a scam to turn the former Rivington House nursing home into luxury condos.

#Activism #AffordableForWho #AffordableHousing #BedfordArmory #BeforeItsGoneTakeItBack #BFCPartners #Brooklyn #CityPlanning #CrownHeights #DeBlasio #displacement #Gentrification #HousingRights #humanrights #killthedeal #LaurieCumbo #LowIncomeHousing #MayorDeBlasio #NewYork #NOEVICTIONZone #NothingInnovativeAboutDisplacement #NYC #OurCity #PeacefulProtest #rally #RealAffordabilityForAll #rezoning #SaveNYC #tenantsfightback #Zoning

© Erik McGregor - erikrivas@hotmail.com - 917-225-8963