CM Barron, Speaker Johnson Call For Removal of Jefferson Statue
City Councilmember Inez Barron (D-East New York, New Lots, Starrett City) Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) and several other councilmembers yesterday called for the removal of the Thomas Jefferson Statue located in the council chambers of City Hall.
Jefferson was the third president of the United States, and as a founding father of this country, was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and also a mentor to James Madison, a driving force behind the 1787 Constitutional Convention. However, like most of this country’s founding fathers, he was also a slave owner.
“The statue of Thomas Jefferson in the City Council Chambers is inappropriate and serves as a constant reminder of the injustices that have plagued communities of color since the inception of our country. It must be removed. Jefferson is America’s most noted slaveholder, a man who owned more than 600 Black women and men and a scholar who maintained that Blacks were inferior to whites,” the lawmakers wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio in asking for his support in removing the statue.
“The City Council Chambers is a place where we vote on bills to improve the lives of all New Yorkers and build a more fair and just city. It is not a suitable place for a statue of Thomas Jefferson. Keeping it in City Hall sends a terrible message to the people who are counting on us to work towards a more equitable New York City. We urge you to support our efforts as we go to the design commission to expeditiously remove this statue,” the letter adds.
Adams on Outdoor Restaurant Dining
Borough President Eric Adams said this on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement that allows restaurants to begin outdoor dining.
“Restaurants throughout our borough have taken a huge hit from COVID-19, which has been compounded by the difficulty of accessing financial lifelines like the Paycheck Protection Program. We believed this was an important step when we sent a letter to the Mayor on May 15th calling for a comprehensive set of solutions to help struggling business owners, and we are glad the Mayor is now heeding our call to allow restaurants to place seating outdoors in adjoining sidewalks and curbside parking areas. Giving restaurants a wide array of options for outdoor seating is a necessity to ensure these businesses stay afloat while we manage a safe re-opening process.
“However, given the urgency of this situation and the continuing uncertainty around the duration of this pandemic, I believe we must go even further, extending the curbside pilot until October and loaning out DOT and NYPD barriers, rather than having businesses that are already in dire financial straits cover the costs of those barriers. This is a positive step, and I look forward to working with business owners, advocacy organizations, and City Hall to build on this progress,” he finished.
Myrie Needs Volunteers and COVID Updates
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) and Assembly Member Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens) are requesting volunteers for today to help distribute food.
“Volunteers have to be able to remain on their feet and lift and move boxes. When you arrive, ask for Paurcha and Alishia. Thank you in advance to anyone who is able to help,” Myrie said.
If you can help this distribution is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., today, June 19 at 845 Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights.
- There have now been 24,661 deaths statewide, with another 29 yesterday. 1,358 people are currently hospitalized, compared to the more than 18,000 who were hospitalized at the peak of the crisis.
- The city has issued a rent freeze on rent-stabilized apartments, meaning that rent for 1-year leases are frozen and 2-year leases must remain frozen in year 1 and can raise only 1% in year 2.
- The governor and Mayor stated that they are still deliberating on the next phase of reopening and will make a decision tomorrow, but instructed Phase II businesses to prepare for a Monday reopening. This includes offices, in-store retail, outdoor dining, hair salons and barbershops. There is more specific guidance for each type of business in the governor’s presentation here.
- The mayor announced that on Monday, the city’s playgrounds will reopen. The state is allowing all localities to decide for themselves when playgrounds can reopen.
- The governor warned bars that violate health guidelines will lose their liquor licenses, and signed an Executive Order holding bars responsible for the sidewalk/area in front of their establishments.
Frontus Rolls Out Scholarships for Essential Workers
Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Brighton Beach, Gravesend) rolled out a bill that would provide college education scholarships for essential workers.
“We have a chance to do something transformational, not just transactional,” Frontus said. “A college education has been the path to economic mobility to generations of New Yorkers. It is time to give a new generation a path forward.”
The Essential New York Scholarship Program would provide college scholarships to essential workers under terms similar to those in the original G.I. Bill, Frontus said.
Workers must have performed an essential service for at least 90 days and not have been dismissed for cause. The service period for determining eligibility begins March 7, 2020 – the day Gov. Cuomo declared a state of emergency in New York – and ends upon the commencement date of the fourth and final phase of the state’s reopening plan in the county or region in which the employee resides.