Queens Lawmakers on the Move April 30, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Sanders, Meeks Lead May Day celebration

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Jamaica, Rochdale Village, Rosedale and parts of Far Rockaway) in partnership with U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D- Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) tomorrow will host a high noon May Day 2020 virtual blast.

The event will see a host of state legislators and city council members from Southeast Queens present a celebration and appreciation of workers in Southeast Queens.

“Southeast Queens is one of the most unionized communities in the nation, so please join us as we strategize with some of the most powerful labor leaders in the country on policies, legislation and protections for all workers in New York, post COVID-19,” said Sanders.

Guests will include Terry Melvin, President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37 (AFSCME), Kyle Bragg, President 32BJ (SEIU), Gloria Middleton, President, CWA 1180 Shaun D. Francois, President Local 372 & DC37 (AFSCME), and Rafael Espinal, President of the Freelancers Union.

The event is slated for tomorrow at 12 noon at Facebook.com/StateSenatorJamesSandersJr/. To RSVP Click HERE.

De Blasio Announces COVID-19 Antibody Testing for Frontline First Responders

Mayor BIll de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday announced that the city’s 11 public hospitals [NYC Health + Hospitals] will offer free antibody testing for first responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 epidemic. 

The testing is being offered through a partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The testing will be for any healthcare worker or first responder across the FDNY, DOC, NYPD, and hospitals citywide. 

“Our first responders have worked around the clock to keep New Yorkers safe from the virus,”  said de Blasio.  “While antibody tests are not a fix-all solution, they will give our heroes the knowledge and confidence they need to help us defeat the virus.”

Antibody testing will not be used to determine whether employees can work. Test results are confidential and will not be shared with an employee’s work supervisor or Occupational Health Services (OHS) unless employees choose to disclose this information. At full capacity, approximately 400 employees can be tested at each acute hospital each day.

Carson Commends DOJ’s Decision to Investigate Sexual Harassment Complaints

HUD Secretary Ben Carson

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson yesterday praised U.S. Attorney General William Barr for devoting all “necessary resources” to aide HUD investigations into reports of landlords demanding sexual favors in exchange for rent.

“The Fair Housing Act embodies the spirit of this great Nation where everyone is entitled to equal opportunity and respect,” said Carson. “No one should have to endure sexual harassment and degrading treatment, especially to keep a roof over their heads. I’m pleased Attorney General Barr has partnered with HUD to fully investigate and prevent sexual harassment in housing particularly during this difficult time in our country.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation coincides with National Fair Housing month and the HUD public awareness campaign – Call HUD: Because Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal.

Since the joint HUD-DOJ sexual harassment initiative was launched two years ago, HUD and its partner organizations have processed around 540 sexual harassment complaints.

Persons who believe they have experienced housing discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or visiting How to File a Complaint on HUD’s website. Materials and assistance are available for persons with limited English proficiency. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may contact the Department using the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. 

Van Bramer Newsletter Highlights

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) in his e-newsletter announced the Woodside Houses testing center opened yesterday. 

The facility is giving priority to testing to those over 65, NYCHA residents and those who have pre-existing conditions. The hours of the facility will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Walk-ins are welcome. The main address for the Woodside Houses is 31-5 49th Street in Woodside.

Additionally, Van Bramer said with data trending in the right direction, both the governor and the mayor have started to talk about reopening things.

“To be crystal clear with everyone, we should not reopen until medical and public health professionals tell us that it is safe for us to go back to a semblance of normal life. There is too much focus on daily press conferences and what this elected official said about that elected official,” wrote Van Bramer.

“If it is safe for restaurants to reopen, for movie theaters to reopen, for the subway to open for non-essential travel, then we should start to go back to our normal way of life, but not before.”

Addabbo: Talk to your Children About COVID

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) yesterday said as the state continues with the stay-at-home order to help flatten the curve against the Coronavirus pandemic, many parents and teachers may have children or students with questions about the virus, how our fight against it is progressing, and what happens next. 

As such Addabbo wants to give adults resources to help explain what is going on to children.

“It is important for children to understand what is happening in their city, their schools, and their homes. If a parent or teacher needs to explain to a young child what COVID-19 is, and what is going on with the shutdown and social distancing, there are many resources for them,” Addabbo said. “Government agencies, like the CDC, and organizations like PBS have online resources available for parents and teachers that give tips and guidelines on how to talk to children of all ages about the changes that are taking place.

“Children are going through a lot during this pandemic as well, with the quick advent of online learning, not knowing what will happen the rest of this school year and even the next, and coping with social distancing,” Addabbo added. “By having open and honest discussions with them about the pandemic and answering questions they have, we can help them better deal with this situation we are all facing.”

For more information, visit some of these sites:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html

https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/how-to-talk-to-your-kids-about-coronavirus

https://www.SesameStreet.org/caring

https://kidshealth.org

Meng Introduces Legislation Requiring Fed to Translate COVID Materials Into Multiple Languages

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D- Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) this week announced the introduction of legislation that would require all federal government agencies to translate into multiple languages all written COVID-19-related materials that are produced for the public.

The COVID-19 Language Access Act would apply to any federal agency that receives coronavirus-related funding. It would mandate agencies to provide written resources in 19 languages including: Spanish, Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Haitian Creole, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese, Greek, Polish, Thai, and Portuguese.

“Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have worked to help translate materials released by the Trump administration and federal agencies in order for the many diverse communities in my district to obtain the critical information they need about COVID-19,” said Meng. 

“But it must be the job of our federal agencies to translate their own resources so that all ethnic and non-English speaking communities in Queens and throughout the country can receive the materials they require. It is unacceptable that federal agencies have not provided all these translations, but the passage of my bill would ensure that they finally do. Language barriers must never prevent anybody from accessing vital and potentially life-saving information. Nobody should ever be left in the dark about the coronavirus, and providing these translations would be critical in our fight to combat the illness.”

Meng noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does provide language accessibility telephone services in 16 languages and some COVID-19-related material in up to 14 languages. 

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