Thursday, April 19, 2018

After attacks from Cuomo threatening to defund groups endorsing Nixon, Community Organizations rally with Elected Officials to defend their work and future

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New York, NY — Community organizations, and many elected officials held an emergency rally in Foley Square on April 19, 2018, to defend themselves following Governor Cuomo’s widely reported threats defund to grassroots community organizations led by working-class and immigrant New Yorkers of color. In a strong, unified voice, the organizations made it clear that community organizing in New York is here to stay and must be respected by all elected officials and political leaders. 

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The event follows on the heels of Cuomo telling union representatives last week that they must either defund Citizen Action NY, Make the Road Action, and New York Communities for Change, or else they should “lose my number,”—all because the organizations endorsed Cuomo’s opponent Cynthia Nixon. 

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Cuomo also reportedly pulled the organizations’ 990 tax forms, clearly illustrating his intention to attack them. Despite Cuomo’s threats, these three organizations held fast to their principles, and they, along with Community Voices Heard Power will continue to work together to fight for stronger rent laws, stand up to real estate and hedge fund billionaires, push for passage of the Dream Act and driver’s licenses for all, and equitable funding of the state’s public school system.

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At the rally, they were joined by several elected officials, including: State Senator James Sanders and City Council Members Carlos Menchaca, Antonio Reynoso, Ben Kallos, Brad Lander, and Jimmy Van Bramer.

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Participants in the event discussed the important role that community organizations play in defending immigrants against deportation; fighting against the displacement and harassment of tenants; protecting low-wage workers against wage theft and mistreatment; and fighting for access to health care and high-quality public education for all.

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Members and leaders of the following community organizations spoke at the rally today: Citizen Action of New York (CANY), Community Voices Heard Power (CVHP), Make the Road Action (MRA), New York Communities for Change (NYCC), Alliance for Quality Education, Working Families Party, with allies supporting from Indivisible Nation BK, NY Progressive Action Network, True Blue NY, Justice League NYC, Empire State Indivisible, Met Council on Housing, Tenants and Neighbors, and Rise and Resist.

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“We knew that Governor Cuomo was ruthless, but threatening to defund community groups that stand with working people and vulnerable populations is a step too far. Citizen Action won’t be intimidated by Cuomo’s threats. We will continue to mobilize our members to push for equitable school funding, campaign finance reform, and quality health care for all New Yorkers," said Stanley Fritz, Campaign Manager for Citizen Action of New York. "Citizen Action and its community allies want Governor Cuomo to know that we aren't going anywhere."

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"I was there when the right-wing took down ACORN -- it caused real damage to hundreds of thousands of low-income families across this country," said Marie Pierre, chair of NY Communities for Change. "It is despicable that the Democratic governor in New York is now trying to destroy community organizations in our state. We will not back down in the face of these threats, and we will continue to fight for affordable housing, good jobs, and a better life for all New Yorkers."

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Bill Lipton, Director of New York Working Families Party, said: "These community organizations are the frontline of resistance against Trump. Every day they do the hard work fighting deportations, evictions, unsafe housing conditions and more. WFP is proud to stand in solidarity with our community leaders in their fight against these threats and for a NY that includes all of us."

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The groups also announced a new Community Defense Fund has been set up to support the work of these courageous community organizations under attack: http://communitydefensefund.org/.

The New York City Council Progressive Caucus and Assemblymembers Nily Rozic, Tremaine Wright, and Dick Gottfried signed onto the following statement of support:

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“As elected officials representing diverse communities across New York, we stand in deep solidarity with these community organizations, who are at the front lines of the fight for respect and dignity for all New Yorkers. Every day, these organizations undertake the most pressing work in our democracy—fighting for the rights of working-class New Yorkers, immigrants, LGBTQ community and people of color. Their members and staff work tirelessly to safeguard immigrant families from deportation, help tenants stand up to unscrupulous landlords and stay in their homes, ensure that workers are paid a living wage, to fight for all New Yorkers to have access to quality health care and fully-funded public schools, protect and expand LGBTQ rights and more. At a time when the Trump administration has declared war on our communities, it’s more critical than ever that organizations like Citizen Action of New York, Community Voices Heard Power, Make the Road Action, and New York Communities for Change be allowed—and indeed, encouraged—to continue their indispensable work. We are committed to standing strong with these incredible organizations.”

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New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, added: “Immigrants and working-class New Yorkers rely on these community organizations to help them fight for their rights and basic everyday needs. Whether fighting deportations, keeping people in their homes, or advancing the policy changes our communities need, these groups and their members are on the front lines of the fight for social, economic, and racial justice every day. I applaud their enormous contributions to our city and state, and I will stand strong with them today, tomorrow, and forever.” 

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#Activism #AndrewCuomo #AntonioReynoso #BenKallos #BillLipton #BradLander #CarlosMenchaca #CitizenActionNY #CommunitiesFightBack #CommunityOrganizations #CommunityVoicesHeard #CynthiaNixon #DefendPeoplePower #DirectAction #ElectedOfficials #FoleySquare #GovernorCuomo #MakeTheRoadNY #NewYork #NYC #NYCC #NYCityCouncil #politics #ProgressiveCaucus #Protest #rally #RiseAndResist #WorkingFamiliesParty

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tax March 2018 - The People's Tax Day Action Festival at Foley Square

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New York, NY - On Tax Day, April 17, 2018, one year after the first Tax March, communities across the country are taking action and speaking out against the Trump Tax. Grassroots activists, elected officials, and community leaders joined together at more than 100 events happening from coast to coast to fight for an economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few. In New York City, activists held the People's Tax Day Action Festival at Foley Square. 

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On the anniversary of last year’s historic march, we will come together once again to express our outrage at Trump and Republicans. We demand that Congress #RepealTheTrumpTax and Trump finally fulfill his promise of releasing his tax returns.

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On the anniversary of the 2017 Tax March, people across the country came together to demand an end to the Trump Tax, which will raise taxes for 92 million middle-class families, rip health care away from 13 million people, and threaten life-saving programs — all to give tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations. Add your name below for more information on how to get involved.

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On Tax Day, Tuesday, April 17, Tax March and Not One Penny will host an event at the Capitol to call on Congress to Repeal the Trump Tax. Leader Schumer and Leader Pelosi, alongside their colleagues in the Senate and House, will discuss the disastrous impact the Trump Tax is having on middle-class families, and will demand that Republicans give not one penny in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations.

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The Tax March is a growing national movement that extends far beyond one day of marching. Led by everyday Americans who are tired of systems that are rigged in favor of the super-rich, the Tax March movement maintains that any reform to the tax code should be about closing loopholes for the wealthy and big corporations and building an economy that invests in working families.

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The Republican tax scam does just the opposite. In order to give tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, the TrumpTax raises taxes for 92 million middle-class families, rips health care away from 13 million people, and threatens life-saving programs millions of Americans rely on.

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More than 125,000 people came out on Tax Day 2017 to demand Donald Trump’s tax returns and a fairer tax system for all. On the anniversary of this historic march, people from across the country will come together once again to express their outrage at Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress for passing one of the least popular tax bills in recent history.

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With a coalition of more than 70 partner organizations and an executive committee of some of the country’s top social justice leaders and policy experts, the Tax March will continue to fight for a fair economy that works for us all. Through on-the-ground organizing nationwide, representation in town halls, and amplification on social media and in the press, the Tax March will ensure that President Trump and Congress hear us loud and clear: The TrumpTax MUST GO.

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#Activism #DirectAction #DumpTrump #FoleySquare #ImpeachTrump #MangoMussolini #NewYorkCity #NoTaxesForWar #NotMyPresident #NYC #NotAPenny #Protest #RepealTheTrumpTax #ResistTrump #RiseAndResist #StopTrumpsTaxScam #TaxBill #TaxDay #TaxDayProtest #TaxMarch #TaxReform #TrumpTaxScam 

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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

All Out: STOP Bombing Syria - National Day of Actions to end U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad

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New York, NY - Hundreds took to the streets as antiwar and social justice groups organized a demonstration on April 15, 2018 in New York City, with a rally at Herald Square and march to Trump Tower as part of national regional spring actions throughout the country against the US bombing of Syria and opposing endless U.S. wars.

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With the recent escalation by the Trump administration of the wars in Afghanistan and Syria and threats to North Korea and Venezuela; huge increases in military spending and the threats of nuclear war; as well as increasing attacks on the rights of workers and communities of color and the dangerous growth of white supremacist forces, the time is now to return to the street to make our voices heard.

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Additionally, Trump has now announce that he will hold a military parade to show off the might of the US military. This will clearly be seen as a threat by the entire world.

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This is part of nationally called regional actions that will take place around the country to challenge the war makers and defend humanity.

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The largest U.S./NATO military mobilization since the 2003 invasion of Iraq has moved into position off the coast of Syria, including U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. The bombing of Damascus is underway. Trump and the Pentagon's criminal attack on Syria endangers us all.

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Already tens of thousands have died in U.S. effort to overturn the Syrian government. This U.S. attack could lead to World War III.

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With no legal authority - and in clear violation of international law - the Trump Administration has started its criminal attack on the people of Syria. It is urgent for all of us express our strong opposition to another US war. Oppose all U.S. wars, nuclear threats, sanctions, coups and bases.Fund Human Needs, Not Endless Wars.

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#Activism #AirStrike #demonstration #FreeSyria #genocide #HandsOffSyria #humanrights #NewYorkCity #NotMyPresident #NoWar #NYC #NYC2Syria #NYCSolidarityWithSyria #RefugeeCrisis #RefugeesWelcome #refusefascism #ResistTrump #SaveSyria #SilencedNoMore #StandUp4Syrians #StandWithSyria #StopEndlessWars #stopthewar #Syria #SyriaCrisis #USmilitary #WarCrimes #WarIsARacket #warmonger #WeWillNotBeSilent 

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

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Scientists, Students, and Scholars Organize the March for Science in New York City

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New York, NY - Hundreds of scientists, researchers, and students from around the New York City area gathered in Washington Square Park on April 14, 2018; for the “March for Science New York City”, a rally and teach-in in support of science and evidence-based public policy before marching to City Hall park.

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The second annual rally and teach-in on science-based policy making comes a a response at a time when scientific evidence keeps being dismissed and ignored.

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In 2017, more than one million people around the world gathered to defend science for the common good and its role in policy and society. Since then, science has continued to face increasing threats at the federal, state, and local levels.

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But science will not be silenced - and it’s time to unite again. This year, let’s come together to send a message: we will hold policy makers responsible for enacting equitable, evidence-based policies that serve all communities. We march for many reasons, but unite to defend science — because science belongs to us all.

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The March for Science New York City is being organized by NYU faculty, students, and staff, and being sponsored by NYU and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The March for Science New York City is one of 175 satellites of the March for Science, which will take place in Washington, D.C.

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#Activism #Art #DefendDemocracy #DonaldTrump #DumpTrump #ErikMcGregor #LoveTrumpsHate #MangoMussolini #manhattan #MarchforScience #MarchForScienceNYC #NewYork #nolabcoatrequired #NotMyPresident #NYC #NYU #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #refusefascism #RejectPresidentElect #resist #ResistTrump #revolution #RiseAndResist #Science #‎Solidarity #trump #TrumpCabinet #trumpvsallofus

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

Thursday, April 12, 2018

NYC Public Health Experts Hold Rally and Press Conference at NY City Hall in Support of Safer Consumption Spaces

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New York, NY - On April 12, 2018; at the steps of City Hall, and on the heels of last week’s protest of Mayor de Blasio’s silence on safer consumption spaces as a life saving intervention, members of Housing Works, VOCAL, Harm Reduction Coalition, Drug Policy Alliance, BOOM! Health, SIFNYC, and other advocacy groups continued their efforts to publicly educate Mayor de Blasio on the strong evidence behind supervised consumption sites (SCS) as a public health intervention that saves lives.

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Someone dies of an overdose every 7 hours in New York as overdose crisis now kills more people than traffic accidents, homicides, and suicides combined. Since SCS advocacy began in earnest in NYC in 2007, there have been nearly 9,000 overdose deaths in the city.

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Thursday’s action comes on the heels of a powerful rally last week made up of 100 harm reduction advocates, directly affected people, housing activists, medical professionals, and treatment providers at City Hall that demanded the Mayor takes a position on the lifesaving intervention of SCS beyond that they are “complex.” The rally, which included civil disobedience, led to a dozen protesters being dragged out of City Hall as they protested Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inaction on supervised injection facilities. The sit-in on the steps of City Hall forced the mayor to use a side-entrance to the building when he arrived.

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Advocates are deeply disheartened that the Mayor and First Lady have failed to mention, even once, the that SCS saves lives, despite Health Commissioner Bassett stating that the “public health literature is clear.” The Mayor has said he is going to release the study this month. However, advocates are concerned that the Mayor has either not been briefed on the vast public literature on SCS, or he is choosing not to take a position because of politics. Advocates will demand he take a position on this issue to prevent more deaths after thousands have already passed away.

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“In a moment when New York State's overdose crisis continues to grow--with overdose deaths killing more New Yorkers than traffic accidents, homicides, and suicide combined--we need bold thinking and action,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York State director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “If we want to save lives, reduce criminalization, and end racial disparities, we need comprehensive, innovative, and forward-thinking approaches like safer consumption spaces. New York is in a unique position to step up and implement innovative drug policies rooted in science, compassion, and public health as we did with syringe exchanges before. It is the time for New York's elected officials to lead the way in implementing drug policies that can succeed."

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"For too long, we have watched our fellow New Yorkers die of overdose while the Mayor and First Lady bat around words like 'complicated,' 'complex,' and 'soon,'" said Robert Suarez, Community Leader at VOCAL-NY. Safer Consumption Spaces have been proven to save lives and connect people to care, and in the over 30 years that they've existed, no one has ever died of an opioid overdose in one. The Mayor needs to stop stalling and come out in support of SCS now before more lives are lost."

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Nearly 100 safer consumption spaces exist around the world. They have been rigorously evaluated and shown to steeply reduce overdose deaths, HIV and viral hepatitis infections, and public disorder, and to increase access to drug treatment and other healthcare. Millions of injections having taken place at some of them, yet not one overdose death has been documented in these facilities.

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Momentum for safer consumption spaces is building across the country, with officials in Philadelphia announcing their plan to create Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (CUES), effectively safer consumption spaces, at a press conference on January 23, 2018. Last year, San Francisco’s city health officials said they could potentially open safe injection sites within 8-12 months. Kings County in Washington State has been approved to open an SCS. Maryland, Vermont, California, Maine and Massachusetts have all introduced legislation to approve the sites. Beyond academic research, a growing body of editorial boards and opinion pieces have highlighted the need: New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, US News, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun, Seattle Times, Bloomberg News, LA Times, The Nation, and the Boston Globe.

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The American Medical Association (AMA) voted to support the development of pilot safer consumption spaces. The New York Academy of Medicine and Massachusetts Medical Society also both publicly support safer consumption spaces, and the Journal of the American Medical Association published a review of research supporting safer consumption spaces. In April 2017, more than 100 New York City healthcare professionals signed an open letter in support of safer consumption spaces, urging elected representatives to adopt them as a public health intervention to prevent overdose deaths.

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#Activism #BillDeBlasio #CityHall #DeBlasio #DirectAction #displacement #DrugAddiction #DrugPolicy #EndOverdoseNY #GMHC #HousingWorks #humanrights #MayorDeBlasio #NewYork #NewYorkCity #NYC #OurCity #PeacefulProtest #PeacefulResistance #rally #SaferConsumptionSpaces #VocalNY #YesToSCS

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