Queens Lawmakers on the Move July 28, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Adams Kicks Off Census Push Week

City Council Member Adrienne Adams

Council Member Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park) kicked off Census Push week with a community rally on Monday as part of a collective effort to get a complete count in the upcoming 2020 Census. 

“It is important for every man, woman and child who lives in New York City to be counted in the 2020 Census as it will determine our allocation of federal funding for the next ten years,” said Adams. “Regardless of immigration status, income or if your family just moved here, we need every household to participate in the census. The funding we receive based on census data has a direct impact on the quality of life for everyone who lives here and I am proud to work with my colleagues in government and local community groups to increase the local census count for the benefit of all residents.” 

Adams was joined by Acting Borough President Sharon Lee, Assemblymember David Weprin, Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, community leaders and Census partners to start a week of action in an effort to educate and motivate the hardest to count communities in Queens.

Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into communities each year. The importance of education and outreach cannot be understated and the rally began a week-long push to inspire every individual and family, regardless of economic or immigration status, so that these neighborhoods will not be short-changed. The event highlighted a shared commitment to ensuring that hard-to-reach populations will be included in the decennial census.

Local community groups in attendance included: Sadhana, the Sikh Cultural Society, Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Gurdwara, Chhaya CDC, United Madrassi Association, ABNY, LifeCamp and Caribbean Equality Project.

Addabbo Calls on Feds to Extend COVID Unemployment Boost

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways) believes it is crucial for the federal government to extend the $600 portion of the unemployment payments before they expire on July 31 to help Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, who are struggling to keep paying their bills during the shutdown.

“As expenses continue to pile up, it is our responsibility as elected officials to ensure that none of our residents who are unable to work suffer due to this pandemic,” Addabbo said. “The extra $600 each week, for many, will help keep them in their homes, allow them to purchase medication, pay rent or help feed their family. Without it, those same people may not be able to make it through to the end of this shutdown.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed nearly 150,000 Americans and has left millions more financially unstable due to the countrywide shutdown of many businesses. 

It has caused unemployment rates across the country to soar to levels not seen since the Great Depression. According to the NYS Department of Labor, the number of unemployed New Yorkers increased by 154,000, from 1,318,600 in May to 1,472,600 in June 2020.

Even with businesses slowly returning as New York is now in Phase 4 of reopening, it remains difficult for many New Yorkers to find work if they have been laid off.

Addabbo plans to pen a letter to his colleagues in the federal government, asking them to keep this $600 weekly benefit alive for a certain period, so people can continue to survive throughout this pandemic.

Meeks Remembers John Lewis’ Role in Appropriations

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

Representatives Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) and Alcee L. Hastings (D-Florida) issued a joint statement last week regarding the language in the Fiscal Year 2021 State, and Foreign Operations Appropriations (SFOPS) bill that supports efforts to foster diversity and inclusion in international affairs and provide protections for minority and indigenous populations abroad:

“Our success in securing more funding and reporting requirements to diversify America’s diplomatic workforce and combat global racism is bittersweet, as this will be the first time that Congressman John Lewis’ signature will be absent as we finalize the process of securing these important steps in the House appropriations process. We urge Senate appropriators to support these efforts as the Senate moves forward on its bill. 

“John was the conscience of Congress, a champion of human rights not just here in the United States, but globally wherever there was intolerance and bigotry. For close to a decade we have fought alongside John to make sure the SFOPs appropriations bill reflected the importance of that mission, including working to ensure that the workforces of our State Department and USAID reflects to the world the diversity of our nation. We worked with John to direct that the State Department create and increase initiatives that promote racial equality and combat discrimination, including in the Western Hemisphere where the U.S. should be working more diligently to protect minorities and indigenous populations that are severely at risk, and in Western Europe where George Floyd protests have highlighted racial profiling and ongoing racial disparities with roots in colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.

“As John’s good friend Dr. King famously said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ As the House prepares for floor consideration of the House SFOPs bill, we thank House Appropriators for recognizing the importance of the funding and directives that we have requested. We are proud to have worked with John now and over the years for additional funding for our international efforts to correct racial injustice worldwide. He continues to be a driving force as we honor his legacy with our ongoing focus to realize these efforts.” 

More from Around New York