Queens Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 19, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Meng, Meeks Decry Trump National Emergency

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) and Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) last week both decried President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build a border wall as unconstitutional and a sham.

“President Trump’s national emergency circumvents the constitution and Congress’ power of the purse, using the pretense of a fabricated crisis to fulfill a campaign promise he couldn’t execute through the legislative process. Although executive overreach has very much been part of this administration’s brand, Trump has crossed the Rubicon with this action,” said Meeks.

“Trump already admitted during the Rose Garden speech that he ‘didn’t need to do this.’ In fact, he has spent much of the last few months using the threat of a national emergency as a bargaining tool. When defending the constitutionality of this action, this administration will find it difficult to explain why, if this were to be a real crisis, a national emergency wasn’t called sooner, or why the Department of Homeland Security’s own numbers on border crossings and drug smuggling don’t corroborate the Presidents’ claims.

“The declaration of a national emergency is clearly a power grab, spurred by a failed negotiation. Congress, as a co-equal branch of government, must push back or risk setting a constitutionally dangerous precedent.”

Meng called Trump a petulant man-child who has decided to plunge the nation into yet another national crisis by declaring a ‘national emergency’ over a supposed immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Let me be crystal clear: there is no emergency. Illegal immigration is at record lows. The only emergency is the one in the president’s head. President Trump misled the American people when he said that Mexico would pay for the wall—which was never going to happen. Now he wants to weaken our national security by stealing defense funds to build his medieval border wall. President Trump should be ashamed of his actions today,” said Meng.

Schumer, Gillibrand, Meeks Introduce Legislation To Establish African Burial Ground Museum In NYC

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) along with U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks were among New York’s Congressional delegation in announcing the reintroduction of the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum and Education Center Act.

This legislation would establish a museum and education center at the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan, a site that currently holds the remains of an estimated 15,000 free and enslaved Africans and early-generation African-Americans from the colonial era. The museum would be managed by the National Park Service in consultation with the African Burial Ground Advisory Council, which would be established by the legislations.

“The African Burial Ground is culturally and historically significant to New York and the nation. The establishment of a museum and an education center at this cemetery will illuminate the plight, courage and humanity of the free and enslaved Africans who helped create New York,” said Schumer.“As a nation, we must always remember the tremendous burdens and afflictions experienced by those who were brought here in bondage, and who fought – for generations – against impossible odds to achieve the full measure of dignity and equality and justice that they were due. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation and I urge my colleagues to pass this bill and for the president to sign it into law.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

“The African Burial Ground serves as a tribute to the enslaved and free African men and women who lived in and helped build New York. Establishing a museum and an education center at this location would memorialize their stories and protect their legacies,” said Gillibrand. “This is an important part of New York’s history that deserves to be recognized. I am proud to work with my colleagues in the New York delegation to introduce this legislation and urge my colleagues in Congress to pass this bill.”

“From the beginnings of our colonial past to long after the formation of our union, enslaved Africans and their descendants have endured bondage and forced labor, followed by segregation and discrimination in America. Their resiliency should be commemorated, and their plight: never forgotten. Constructing the African Burial Ground Memorial Museum will serve to commemorate their bravery, remind us how long the journey towards justice has been, and contextualize the historical roots of the inequities that still persist to this day,” said Meeks.

Dromm, Stavisky Celebrate Lunar New Year

City Council Member Daniel Dromm
State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky

City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights)) and State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Central Queens) this weekend joined hundreds of local community residents in ushering in the Year of the Pig at the 9th Annual Lunar New Year celebration at St. James’ Episcopal Church, 84-07 Broadway in Elmhurst.

The event featured a Drag Queen Story Hour reading by RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 10 star Yuhua Hamasaki, Chinese calligraphy demonstrations, traditional Korean drumming, traditional Chinese dance, traditional Vietnamese music, song and dance numbers by students from PS 7 and PS 13, free face paintings and lion dancing.  It also included a resource fair with representation from dozens of local civic groups, social service providers, and city agencies.

This year, Dromm presented an official NYC Council proclamation of honor to City Mission President Lester Lin for his years of service to Elmhurst’s neediest residents, including those living at the Boulevard Family Residence shelter on Queens Boulevard.

“I was thrilled to host my annual Elmhurst Lunar New Year celebration for the 9th year in a row,” said Dromm. “This year’s event was the biggest and most robust to date.  For Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese people around the world, Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays of the year.  It is a special time for friends and family.  As a Council Member representing one of the largest and most diverse Asian American communities in the city, I am pleased to have founded this event that allows us to usher in the new year together as one neighborhood.”

Dromm first established the event in 2011 to create an opportunity for the Asian American communities of Elmhurst to increase their visibility and celebrate their cultural pride while sowing the seeds for future organizing.  The Elmhurst celebration has steadily grown over the years and is now among the neighborhood’s most highly anticipated events.

This year’s celebration was co-sponsored by Asian Community United Society, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, EmblemHealth, Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, MetroPlus, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Queens Library and Queens Museum.

More from Around New York