Adams, Louis, Cumbo Celebrate Juneteenth
Borough President Eric Adams in partnership with City Council Members Farah N. Louis (D-East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park, Midwood) and Laurie A. Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn) tomorrow will host a Freedom Day Rally at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Library to celebrate Juneteenth, a festival held annually by African-Americans to commemorate the last abolition of slavery and emancipation of slaves on June 19, 1865.
Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed slaves almost two and a half years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended with the defeat of the Confederate States in April, Texas was the most remote of the slave states, with a low presence of Union troops, so enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent. Thus it was on June 19 that the slaves in Texas learned that they were freed.
Amid weeks of national protests for racial equality and justice, this occasion will help galvanize the Black community into action. With youth at the forefront, leading this collaborative effort and community conversation, the lawmakers hope to continue to build upon the legacy forged by ancestors—abolitionists, freedom fighters, civil rights activists, and trailblazers.
The event is slated to take place at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 19 on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at 10 Grand Army Plaza.
Clarke Slams Trump’s Police Reform Executive Order
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Park Slope) yesterday slammed Trump’s Police Reform Executive Order (EO).
The EO, according to Politico, would create federal incentives through the Justice Department for local police departments that seek “independent credentialing” to certify that law enforcement is meeting higher standards for the use of force and de-escalation training. Trump specifically noted that those standards would include banning the use of chokeholds — an especially controversial tactic that has led to the high-profile deaths of multiple African-American men — “except if an officer’s life is at risk.”
But Clarke said recent protesters in every state have made clear, now is the time to transform the way we guarantee fair and safe public safety in this country.
“In no uncertain terms, 45’s Executive Order fails to meet the magnitude of the moment. Like all of the supposed policy initiatives coming from this Administration, this Executive Order accomplishes little despite being marketed as the catch-all solution for institutional racism. Nothing exemplifies this better than a toothless ban in name only on chokeholds that will ultimately protect no one. We must approach policing knowing that we must overhaul the accountability structure to incentivize officers to refrain from misconduct.
“Unlike the EO, the Justice in Policing Act will provide the framework for a reimagination of public safety that holds all bad actors accountable and protects Black and brown communities from the horrors of over-policing, racial profiling and police brutality,” she said.
Rose Announces Support for Justice in Policing Act
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) issued the following statement announcing that he is co-sponsoring the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, the first-ever approach to change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities:
“Every day we ask men and women in uniform to exhibit courageous restraint—similar to what was expected of my soldiers and me in Afghanistan. I understand the split-second decisions Police Officers have to make. I know of the stress and pain their family members must shoulder every day when their husband, wife, son or daughter puts on that uniform. The danger they face is real and I would not vote for a bill that endangers them while on duty.
“So let’s be clear about what the Justice in Policing Act bill does. This bill prohibits racial profiling and mandates training to eliminate the biases that all people have. It treats chokeholds as a deadly use of force that should only be undertaken in the most dire of circumstances, after all attempts to deescalate have been exhausted. It will prevent bad officers who’ve lost their job for dishonoring the uniform from sneaking into another department a few towns over, and will ensure proper oversight of police departments across the country that do not yet live up to the professionalism of the NYPD. This bill will not defund the police, but rather help Police Officers do the job they love safely and with the trust of the community they serve.
“We are all hurting—not equally, and often for a variety of reasons—but that is what we are feeling. But no matter what, we cannot retreat to our partisan corners. We cannot see cops as the enemy or minimize the pain and clarion call for systemic change expressed by protestors across the country. This emotional and complicated work demands more than easy answers and sloganeering. It demands a renewed effort to address deep and long-held racial inequities across society. Let’s get to work,” he said.
Ortiz Lauds New State Rent Relief Law
Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook) thanked Governor Cuomo for signing the “Emergency Rent Relief Act of 2020” that will help thousands of New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“New Yorkers need state assistance to get through the pandemic and pay their bills. Everyone needs a safe home and should not be in fear of eviction if they can’t pay their rent,” said Ortiz. “I fought hard for this legislation to make sure my Brooklyn constituents’ needs are met,” said Ortiz.
This legislation establishes a short-term rental assistance program for New Yorkers who rent homes, have a primary residence in New York, and have incomes below 80% of the area median income (AMI) and a rent burden or amount of rent due over 30% of their income both prior to March 7, 2020 and at the time of their applications. Up to $100 million will be made available for renters in household with the greatest economic and social needs, considering income, rent burden, percentage of income loss and risk of homelessness being considered.