MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Nov. 4, 2020

Manhattan Lawmakers on the Move bannner

Stringer Calls on DOE to Provide “Internet Passports” to Low-Income Families

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (Photo credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0)
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Last Monday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, urging them to provide New York students with the internet access they need for remote learning.

As of now, there are over 100,000 students in New York without internet access. This is particularly problematic today, as many schools have shifted to fully remote learning models due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his letter, Stringer demands that de Blasio and Carranza take immediate action to bridge this “digital divide”. His letter outlines several possible solutions, including offering subsidized “internet passports” to low-income families, to let them purchase broadband service from any ISP in their area.

“While lack of access to the internet may have been a legitimate hurdle in the early throes of the virus’ spread, there is no reason why now – more than seven months into the crisis – the City still has no comprehensive plan for addressing these challenges,” wrote Stringer. “Without immediate action, these students will fall further behind in their coursework and find themselves at an even deeper educational disadvantage. We cannot allow this to happen. Too much is at stake.”

Read the full letter here.

Niou Astounded, Elated by High Manhattan Turnout

Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (Photo credit: Pnguyen5482, CC BY-SA 4.0)
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Financial District, Chinatown) released a video on Twitter yesterday, expressing pride in Manhattanites for turning out in such massive numbers.

The video came shortly after Niou herself cast a ballot. By her account, the line at her polling site was “wrapped around the whole block and down two blocks”. She saw the immense turnout as a sign that Manhattanites recognize what’s at stake in this election, and are just as enthused to join the fight as she is.

“We’re fighting for the issues that we care about,” said Niou. “We are not going to accept, again, the austerity budgeting, the cuts to our working families at a time when we need more and more investment. We’re fighting for funding for our public schools, when our students need the most help. We’re fighting for our essential workers, who are doing the best that they can for us in this difficult time.

“I have no words for how it feels. Thank you so much for voting, and thank you so much for coming out here.”

Maloney Recognizes Native American Heritage Month

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Photo credit:
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Last Monday, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

In 1990, then-President George H. W. Bush (R) approved a resolution designating November as Native American Heritage Month, as a way to provide indigenous North Americans with a way to share their culture, traditions and history with the rest of the country. As Maloney pointed out, the observance is particularly important this year, since the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Native communities.”

“This November, as we honor and celebrate Native American heritage and customs, and the rich contributions indigenous peoples have made to our country, we must recognize that we must do better in ensuring that these communities are given the respect and resources they need and deserve from the federal government,” said Maloney. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Native American communities especially hard, devastating communities who were without the support they need and deserve. During this Native American Heritage Month, I urge Americans to reflect on systemic racism and failures of the federal government to uphold its responsibility to Native Nations that brought us to this point.”