Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move April 22, 2020

News Site Brooklyn

Williams Calls for Action to Address Racial Disparities 

Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams
Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams

Assemblymember Jaime Williams (Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach) is calling for immediate action to address racial disparities in COVID-19. 

“As we know the Coronavirus does not discriminate and people of all socioeconomic status are being affected. Sadly however, it appears our response and policies do discriminate. Recently, I released a statement calling for the creation of a task force to address the racial disparity in COVID-19 impact immediately. Data shows that communities of more color are suffering at higher rates than New York City as a whole, with higher risks and fewer resources.

“We cannot afford to wait for legislation to pass – Mayor de Blasio needs to assemble a task force of the leading experts today to mitigate racial disparities in the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is critically important to ensure that all New Yorkers, and particularly our most marginalized communities, receive the resources they need to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on their lives. No New Yorker is expendable and that’s why I’m calling for immediate action to address mitigating racial disparities in COVID-19 exposure, testing, access to resources and facilities,” she wrote. 

Adams Distributes Plant-Based Meals 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Borough President Eric Adams joined Brooklyn vegan restaurant Greedi Kitchen LLC to distribute 200 plant-based meals to staff at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center.

“As our health care force works tirelessly to help our community, providing them with nutritious meals is one way we can support them and express our gratitude for their service. The meals we provided today are plant-based because we must protect and maximize the health of our medical caregivers on the frontlines. The immune system is the body’s defense against disease, and plant-based foods provide the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber required to keep that system at its strongest,” said Adams

The food distribution service is one of the many actions Borough President Adams has taken to address food insecurity and help New Yorkers strengthen their health during the coronavirus crisis. Adams recognizes that in addition to proper social distancing and the use of face masks, a nutritious diet can play an important role in preventing more deaths from the virus. As he explained in a recent public service announcement (PSA) alongside medical professionals, plant-based foods are effective for preventing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many of these health issues are the same underlying conditions that put someone at high-risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

Comptroller Stringer Calls for a Stop of Construction

City Comptroller Scott Stringer

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer sent a letter to TC Energy President calling for a stop to construction of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline that puts vulnerable communities at risk, including its own workers, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Citing reports that TC Energy was transporting pipeline workers and their families from across the country to pipeline construction sites last month, Comptroller Stringer denounced TC Energy’s decision to continue construction as these sites could become vectors for infection endangering workers, surrounding communities, and local indigenous groups.

 “We are in the middle of a global public health crisis, and there is no reason to prioritize the construction of this pipeline over people’s lives. People come first, and we must do everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our workers, families, neighbors, and communities,” said Stringer. “Millions of people are sheltering in place and forgoing their daily routines to help flatten the curve. It is simply unconscionable that TC Energy would risk the spread of COVID-19 to its own workers, to residents of rural communities, and to indigenous communities living in close proximity to active construction sites.”

Rose Proposes Legislation to Compensate Public Safety Officers  

Max Rose
U.S. Rep. Max Rose

U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) helped introduce legislation called the  Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act of 2020 last week to expand an existing federal program to ensure that public safety officers who contract COVID-19 in the line of duty are eligible for benefits should they become disabled or die from the virus.

“The men and women in uniform who keep our city safe knowingly risk their lives every time they walk out that door,” Rose said. “We need to have their backs in case the worst happens. The last thing a sick police officer or their grieving family should have to do is fight with the government about whether or not they got the disease while they were serving our country. That should be a given, and under this legislation, it will be.”

 “What we’re seeing everyday through this crisis though is it’s not just public service officers who are putting their lives on the line and making incredible sacrifices for our community—which is why I will continue fighting for all frontline workers to ensure they have the hazard pay and benefits they deserve. This is just one critical part of that effort,” wrote Rose. 

Lander’s Statement on Essential Workers Bill of Rights Package

City Council Member Brad Lander

Council Member Brad Lander  (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Gowanus) yesterday joined in the announcement of NYC’s Essential Workers Bill of Rights, a package of legislation to provide essential workers with rights and protections as they work to keep New Yorkers fed, moving, supplied, and cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“Every night, New Yorkers are cheering wildly to thank the people who are stocking shelves in our grocery stores, delivering food and supplies, driving people to work and appointments, and caring for sick New Yorkers in our hospitals and nursing homes. With this legislation, we’ll go beyond cheering to make sure they have the pay, sick leave, dignity, and workplace protections they so deeply deserve. 

“I’m thrilled to join Speaker Johnson, Majority Leader Cumbo, and Council Member Kallos to introduce NYC’s Essential Workers Bill of Rights, to ensure that these frontline workers are able to take paid sick leave, are protected against unfair firings, especially when they speak out about safety conditions, and are compensated for the risk and sacrifice they are undertaking for our collective benefit,” finished Lander. 

Zellnor Myrie Shares Continued Good News 

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) updated the public with some good news that the number of deaths recorded yesterday have been the lowest in the past two weeks. 

Other Updates: 

  • The city saw its peak of emergencies, 6,527 on March 30th, and on April 18th it was down to 3,485. 5,000 fire and EMS personnel have returned to service after being sick and FEMA has continued to send first responders. 

State Launching:

  • The state is launching a new partnership to bring testing and healthcare services to NYCHA residents. The partnership includes Representative Greg Meeks, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Attorney General Letitia James, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Bronx President Ruben Diaz Jr. The state also announced they will deliver 500,000 cloth masks and 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer to public housing communities. As always, we will be monitoring the service to our NYCHA tenants closely and encourage you to let us know what you are seeing or hearing on the ground. 
  • Top state officials and the New York State Council on Women and Girls has created a COVID-19 maternity task force that will investigate the possibility of allowing birthing centers to serve as an alternative to going to a hospital.
  • The state created a new task force to improve downstate systems once the stay-at-home orders are lifted. The task force includes NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and other local elected officials and housing and transportation experts.


  • Prior to today, due to federal guidelines, New Yorkers were required to apply for regular Unemployment Insurance and be rejected before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. With this new application, New Yorkers will be able to simply fill out one form to get the correct benefits. The application is available at, or by calling 1-888-209-8124. More info here