Category Archives: Articles

Campaign 2016 Kickoff

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Throughout the year, you’ve helped others secure a living wage and affordable housing, expanding access to health care, limiting discrimination and disenfranchisement on the basis of color or gender, and ensuring a fairer, more ethical, more participatory democracy and government that work for us all.
This fall, all those issues and more are on the line. That’s why we’re asking you to join us in knocking on doors, making phone calls, and encouraging people to vote, participate–and move the ball forward toward a better future.
GNYCFC volunteers will be traveling to Pennsylvania to help keep that battleground state Blue and to neighborhoods in Long Island and the Hudson Valley to elect a progressive majority in the New York State Senate. It’s fun, and it’s the best way to ensure that you won’t wake up on November 9th wishing you’d done more.

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER FOR HILLARY AND FEDERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES IN PENNSYLVANIA: Pennsylvania is a swing state on the presidential level, and we have a chance to elect the state’s first woman senator ever in Katie McGinty. In 2012, KeepPABlue helped move the election dial a few points forward to re-elect President Barack Obama; this year, buses will leave and return to Union Square every Saturday and all GOTV days starting September 17th. No prior canvassing experience is necessary.
SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER TO FLIP THE NEW YORK STATE SENATE: Our state senate races receive less media attention than the Presidential race, but much of the dysfunction in our state is a result of the continued Republican control of the State Senate. This year we have a real chance to win back the State Senate, and you can help. There will be phone banks in Manhattan and day canvassing trips to key senate districts outside the city to campaign for great progressive candidates. Free transportation is provided, and no prior canvassing or calling experience is needed.
Let’s work together this fall. We can win this, together!

Sometimes the polite way doesn’t work. Then we take to the streets.

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On June 12th, 49 LGBT club-goers were slaughtered and 53 more injured with an assault weapon in Orlando, FL. The US Congress had no response besides the usual prayers and a strangely deafening moment of silence. That’s why Gays Against Guns is replacing moments of silence with moments of action to make our elected representatives pass sensible gun reforms.
Two weeks after the Orlando massacre, and just days after Congressman John Lewis’s sit-in on the House floor highlighting Congressional inaction on gun safety, hundreds of GAGers marched in the NYC Pride Parade, 49 of them shrouded in white veils and carrying signs with the names and faces of each Orlando victim.
In early July, GAG “named, shamed, and blamed” NRA puppet Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-LI) with a demonstration in his district and a puppet in his likeness. GAG members demonstrated outside Trump Tower on the opening night of the Republican National Convention. They staged “die-ins” outside two New York City Reebok Crossfit stores after learning that the winner of an annual fitness contest would receive a Glock handgun–the same gun used against Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 19 others in Tucson, AZ in 2011. New GAG chapters are sprouting up across the nation, with actions to shame politicians in the NRA’s pockets this election season.
We’re in. Greater NYC for Change has long fought for sensible gun safety laws–laws supported by 90% of Americans and a large majority of NRA members.
We’ve seen the massacres, but also the daily gun violence that kills 33,000 Americans each year. Other nations–the UK, Canada, and Australia among them–have responded to crisis with life-saving gun regulations. Here at home, we increasingly recognize the futility of polite lobbying of politicians. Constituents need to know who is working for them, and who is working for the gun industry.
There’s more: Gun violence disproportionately affects minority and vulnerable communities–children at Sandy Hook, worshipers at a Charleston prayer group, young Black men, and the LGBT community, itself the target of an estimated 20% of all hate crimes. Trans women and LGBT people of color are at greatest peril. But as the direct actions led by ACT UP and others in the fight against HIV-AIDS and for Marriage Equality demonstrate, the LGBT community knows how to fight–and get results.

YOU can join us. Email gagnyoutreach@gmail.com and “like” GAG  on Facebook. You don’t need to be gay to join GAG. All you need is a healthy disgust at politicians who won’t do their most fundamental job: ensuring our safety and protecting us from danger.

This could be it — the tipping point.

One day, we may look back on this summer as the time when our nation resolved it would no longer tolerate racialized policing. The time when we took the first concrete action to change the way law enforcement agencies engage communities of color. When we reminisce, perhaps we will scratch our heads and wonder what took so long for us to even acknowledge the problem.

Many of us will be proud to say that we were there and helped do it. Together.

No matter what the coming days hold, let us never forget the lives lost to one of the most horrific manifestations of institutionalized racism. Dear Ally for Justice, step back and allow space for people affected by discriminatory policing to grasp and discuss the real possibility that they, too, could become a hashtag one day. Let’s listen openly and refrain from derailing these dialogues by centering other policy agendas.

Most importantly, let’s be mindful. Black Lives Matter is an affirmation of equality, not a demand for supremacy. This outcry is not preceded by an invisible “only,” nor does it exclude other, unspoken lives. If you’re tired of hearing and seeing Black Lives Matter, be thankful that your survival does not depend on this pledge becoming a reality.

  I N   M E M O R I A M  

Philando Castile, 32, had worked for the St. Paul, MN public school system since the age of 19. Recently promoted to a supervisory position in Nutrition Services, he was working as a cafeteria manager at the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School at the time of his murder.

The kids called him “Mr. Phil.” In the words of a co-worker, “Kids loved him. He was smart, overqualified, … quiet, respectful, and kind. I knew him as warm and funny; he called me his ‘wing man.’”

On the news of his death, a parent wrote, “Every day he fist-bumped my kids, even when they were acting up. He knew every single [student] by name, pushed extra food in them like a grandma, and sneaked extra graham crackers into my son’s bag because [he] got a kick out of it. My borderline autistic son hugged him every day….This was a good man.”

Alton Sterling, 37, was raised by his aunt, Sandra Sterling, who called the large, jovial man a “generous giant.” The father of five children, he had his own struggles with law enforcement, but was respected, kind, and deeply loved by his family. At the time of his fatal encounter with police, he was living in a shelter run by a church group in Baton Rouge, LA and making his living selling music CDs. He was widely known as a “people person” and called “Big A” by his customers.

His cousin, Elliott Sterling, said, “If somebody asked for blues or country music, he’d know it all. He couldn’t make it in a regular job, but he could make it selling CDs. He could converse with everybody.”

An aunt, Regina Adams, remembered: “When he was little, I used to always tell him to go home. I wish I could tell him to go home now.”

TAKE THE #M4BL PLEDGE, and share widely to help end the systemic violence that visits Black communities every day.

GNYCfC SUPPORTS CAMPAIGN ZERO to end police violence in America by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability. Its ongoing review of police union contracts is available here.

This is really important.

That’s why you’ll find volunteers from Greater NYC for Change and The New Latino Movement throughout the five boroughs this GOTV weekend, reminding you to vote on April 19. No matter whom you support, voting this election season is vital.

Mark your calendar now to vote in the Presidential Primary and Special Elections next Tuesday. If you’re not sure you’re registered or where to vote, go to the New York City Poll Site Locator​ or call 1.866.VOTE.NYC (1.866.868.3692) and find out today!

And don’t forget to sign up to call and door-knock to remind voters in NY-9 to vote for New York State Senate candidate Todd Kaminsky in the April 19 Special Election. Who better to replace the disgraced former Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, than a former federal prosecutor known for fighting corruption, upholding the rule of law, and supporting his constituents effectively as a distinguished local Assembly Member? Join us for good government—and to help turn our state senate blue!

Kaminsky Canvasses on GOTV Weekend: 
Saturday, April 16: With Greater NYC for Change. First 20 round-trip train tickets are free! Click to RSVP. The candidate will be present!

With Citizen Action of NY/TenantsPAC. RSVP to Darius Gordon, dgordon@citizenactionny.org or Michael McKee, mmckee@tenantspac.org.

Sunday, April 17: With the WFP. RSVP to Kenny Schaeffer at 917.442.6820 or kenny.schaeffer@gmail.
With CWA District 1. Click to RSVP.

Tuesday, April 19: Election Day volunteers needed ALL DAY. RSVP to any of the names listed above or to the campaign at lukestrong2004@gmail.com.

Phone Banks:
Wednesday, April 13: TONIGHT! 5:00 to 8:30 pm, WFP Headquarters, 1 Metrotech Center North, 11th floor, Brooklyn. Contact: kenny.schaeffer@gmail.com

Thursday, April 14: 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor. Click to RSVP.

Monday, April 18: 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor. Click to RSVP.

Tuesday, April 19: 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Pro-Choice NY, 470 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor. Click to RSVP.

Fundraiser:
Friday April 15: 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Local 802 (American Federation of Musicians) at 322 West 48th St. Live jazz music and tickets starting at $25. The candidate will be present! RSVP here.

Help Turn the NYS Senate Blue.

Greater NYC for Change advocates on behalf of progressive causes and stands behind politicians and elected representatives who share our values. This year, the best chance to pass legislation that benefits the people of New York State is by flipping our state senate from “R” to “D.”

That’s why we’re urging you to canvass and make calls for Todd Kaminsky before the Special Election on April 19th.

April 19th is not only the date of the New York State Presidential Primary, but also of the Special Election to fill the seat formerly occupied by disgraced Republican Senator Dean Skelos in District 9, located in southern Nassau County on Long Island. Once the Majority Leader of the Republican-led Senate, Skelos was recently convicted of “conspiracy, extortion, and solicitation of bribes.” What better way to replace an unsavory pol than with a former federal prosecutor known for fighting corruption and upholding the rule of law?

Todd Kaminsky has a strong track record as a prosecutor and a current Assembly member representing Long Beach. He has prosecuted Democrats and Republicans alike, from Sen. Pedro Espada to Rep. Michael Grimm. Todd supports clean government and investment in public education, and he has stood with local residents recovering from Hurricane Sandy. He’s a great candidate—that’s why we’re supporting him with calls and canvasses to get the word out throughout his district. 

After this crucial election, we’ll be supporting candidates in key November Senate races so as to give Democrats a reliable majority. Currently the Assembly is overwhelmingly Democratic, while Republicans hold a thin Senate majority, thanks to the dissident IDC. Flip only a few seats—NY-9 among them—and a progressive Senate is within sight, opening a clear path to achieving the promise of our state

CANVASSES FOR KAMINSKY
All canvasses meet at and return to Penn Station. We’ll take the train to Long Beach, where we’ll coordinate with the campaign to door knock. A limited number of free train tickets are available, first come, first served!   

Saturday, April 9th, 9:30 AM: RSVP here

Saturday, April 16th, 10:30 AM: RSVP here

PHONE BANKS FOR KAMINSKY

Sponsored by CItizen Action and the Working Families Party. All are held at the WFP office at 1 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. For more information or to RSVP, email Dgordon@citizenactionny.org or Eabbott@workingfamilies.org.

Wednesday, March 30th, 5 to 8 PM

Wednesday, April 6th, 5 to 8 PM

TENANTS PAC FUNDRAISER FOR KAMINSKY

Many South Shore residents live in rent-stabilized housing, and Tenants PAC is helping secure a pro-tenant Senate with a low-$$ fundraiser. Come meet the candidate and listen to jazz courtesy of Local 802! At Local 802 (American Federation of Musicians), 322 West 48th Street. Donations can be made online at www.tenantspac.org.

Friday, April 15th, 6:30 to 9 PM

It’s about the future of our children.

Public Education

Public education is the government’s promise of a hopeful future for children everywhere. It’s the stepping stone, the shining light, the leg up out of poverty and into prosperity.

But in New York State today, with the most economically and racially segregated classrooms in the nation and a 50% child poverty rate, our governor says there is “no appetite” for the fiscal measures that would fulfill that promise and fairly fund our schools.

Shocking, isn’t it?

According to a lawsuit filed by parents with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, New York State has systematically discriminated against districts with black, Latino, and poor students by inadequately funding their education. And, according to a landmark settlement in 2006, the state owes New York City schools alone over $2 billion out of a total $5.9 billion. (Find out how much your district is owed.) But the state still refuses to pay up, and the Republican-led senate majority continues to prefer to aid private schools rather than pay what it owes to public, non-charter schools.

Today, a 1% tax on the 1%—those earning $665,000 or more annually—would raise over $2 billion in funding for education.

It’s time to #StandUp4Kids. Our children’s futures shouldn’t be determined by skin color, pocket book, or zip code—or the “appetite” of legislators whose election campaigns are funded by hedge fund CEOs or billionaires.

Here’s what you can do, right now:

We urge you to stand with the Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action of New York, savvy egalitarian groups like the Hedge Clippers, and others in demanding that all our kids get the fair shake they deserve.