CM Williams Honors Kaepernick’s Silent Protest Movement
City Council member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) honored former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick with a New York City Council proclamation last night.
Kaepernick received the award for his ‘commitment to protesting the systemic oppression of and police brutality toward people of color’ at a gala event by The Nation Institute. In 2016, Kaepernick started the movement of taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem at NFL games as a way to protest racial inequality in America. Since then, the act of protest has gained momentum, most recently when President Trump began a sustained campaign of attack against Kaepernick and the other athletes he inspired to take a knee.
The proclamation reads in part, “Despite all criticism, Mr. Kaepernick knew he was in the right and risked everything to make a difference…he continues to prove that by working together, we can create the change needed to improve our society for both our current and future generations.” Kaepernick also received the 2017 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship at the event.
In August, Williams led a rally in support of this movement alongside a group of New York Police Department (NYPD) officers and led fourteen of his fellow Council Members in staging a ‘kneel-in’ on the steps of City Hall in September, in solidarity with the protesting athletes.
“I don’t want to have to wait 20, 30 years to celebrate Colin Kaepernick and what’s done. We had to wait decades before we could celebrate Muhammed Ali. But it’s important to have the courage to know when you’re in a moment, to recognize and celebrate the people who have made that moment happen. Colin Kaepernick ignited a movement with the simple and courageous act of kneeling, and he deserves the recognition and respect that some are trying to deny him,” said Williams.
Nadler Weighs In On Same-Sex Marriage Cake Supreme Court Case
Congressman Jerrod Nadler (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan), acting Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released a statement on the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Supreme Court case yesterday.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a controversial case that will decide if the First Amendment protects a Colorado baker from creating a wedding cake for a same-sex couples. Bake in 2012, baker Jack C. Phillips was asked by a same-sex couple to make a wedding cake for their ceremony. Phillips denied the request on the basis of his constitutional right not to use his chosen form of artistic expression — cakemaking — to advance beliefs with which he disagreed, according to reports.
A decision on the case is expected mid-2018 with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy likely to cast the deciding vote. The case will determine whether the government can compel a U.S. citizen to violate his conscience and participate in speech with which he fundamentally disagrees and that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs.
“Today, as the Supreme Court hears arguments in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that has the potential to shape our country for decades, we must stand together to yet again say that every American, regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, deserves equal opportunity and rights in our country,” said Nadler.
“This case strikes at the underlying premise of our nation – that all individuals are created equal, and deserve to be treated as such. Every American deserves the ability to go into a store, medical office or restaurant and be served. The Supreme Court must not create a license to discriminate, where any individual, citing religious beliefs, can ignore nondiscrimination laws and systematically attempt to disadvantage groups they dislike. For a fair and equal society, businesses must be open to all,” added Nadler.
Eugene Mourns Loss Of Golden Krust CEO
City Council member Mathieu Eugene (D-Prospect-Lefferts, Ditmas Park, Flatbush, East Flatbush) mourned the loss of Golden Krust CEO and Founder Lowell Hawthorne yesterday.
According to initial reports, on Saturday police responded to a 911 call about an emotionally disturbed person armed with a gun at the Golden Krust bakery and warehouse in the Bronx. Hawthorne was found on the floor with a single gunshot wound to the head and a handgun lying nearby, sources said.
The incident is being investigated as a suicide amid rumors the businessman cheated as many as 100-plus workers at the Golden Crust plant out of overtime pay. A suit remains pending in Manhattan federal court over the claim.
“It is with great sadness that New Yorkers mourn the loss of Golden Krust CEO Lowell Hawthorne. Mr. Hawthorne was a valued member of the community who used his entrepreneurial and culinary skills to create a standard of excellence that will never be forgotten. I want to extend my prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and friends,” said Eugene.
Cymbrowitz Decries Proposed Federal Tax Changes, Cripple Affordable Housing
Assembly member Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach), Chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, slammed provisions in the tax bills recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate claiming the changes will cripple affordable housing across New York State.
Over the weekend, the Senate passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by a vote of 51-49, with all Democrats and Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) opposing it, according to initial reports. However, the House’s version of the bill, retains the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program but repeals Private Activity Bonds (PABS), including multifamily housing bonds, which are critical for providing housing and economic development.
In a letter sent to members of Congress and other housing legislators, Cymbrowitz stated that the House bill’s proposed elimination of private activity bonds (PABs), and by extension the four percent low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs), would result in New York State losing approximately $1.98 billion for PABs that are used to provide housing and promote economic development.
“Recent analysis performed by the New York Housing Conference suggests that this loss would result in a $4.5 billion loss in affordable housing investment and the loss of 17,000 affordable housing units each year. Given that construction of affordable housing is also economic development, the proposed changes could also lead to a loss of 28,000 construction jobs each year,” said Cymbrowitz.
“These losses would come at a time when we are facing an increased need for truly affordable housing throughout New York State. New York State as whole, and particularly the City of New York, is facing a drastic shortage of affordable housing and an increasing homelessness rate,” added Cymbrowitz.