Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 23, 2020

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Treyger, Menchaca Says More Notification Needed to Non-English Speakers on School Closures

Council Member Mark Treyger
City Councilman Carlos Menchaca
City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Council Members Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend) and Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights) last week said more outreach to non-English speaking parents were not properly informed last week when Mayor Bill De Blasio announced his decision to shut down the public school system as a second coronavirus wave spreads. 

Last Wednesday, on the same day of the announcement, the Mayor’s office sent a text alert in Spanish notifying of the closure but without the date. Menchaca chairs the Committee on Immigration and Treyger chairs the Committee on Education.

“At a time when parents and students deserve accurate information regarding their schools, it is unacceptable that the Mayor is flouting his responsibility to provide a proper and complete alert to our non-English speaking neighbors. Nearly one in four New Yorkers have limited English proficiency,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. 

“It is critical that our government can notify parents in the language that they understand so they can respond effectively to their child’s education. Local Law 30 mandates city agencies to provide translated information for public and emergency services. The Mayor cannot repeat these mistakes and agencies must adhere to the law. We are ready to work with the Mayor to ensure our residents are properly notified so that together we can overcome the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

AM Williams Leads Way in Turkey Giveaway

Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams
Assemblymember Jaime R. Williams

Assembly Member Jaime Williams (D-Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach), State Sen. Roxane Persaud, City Councilman Alan Maisel, and Democratic District Leaders Frank R. Seddio, and Sue Ann Partnow last week led the way in distributing 450 turkeys and thanksgiving trimmings to the constituents of the 59th Assembly District. 

The event was made possible not only through the kindness of the volunteers but through the generous efforts and donations made by Kings Plaza Shopping Center, Glenn Terrace Caterers, Food Way, Saba Live Poultry, Nick’s Lobster House, Met Council Kosher Food Network, Metro Plus Health Plan, East Flatbush CDC, the Canarsie Courier, Millennium Development Inc., Canarsie Lions Club, along with the devoted members of the 63rd and 69th NYPD Police Precincts, Reverend Cecil Moonsam of the 69th Precinct Community Council and Father Edward Kane from Holy Family Church. 

“It is with great pride that we as a community can come together and celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving, especially this year in particular, and to be thankful. Through wonderful and generous donations families will be able to celebrate this year, and I am personally thankful for the honor of being able to distribute these turkeys to help insure that so many families and individuals can have a Turkey on Thanksgiving,” said Williams. 

Adams to Distribute Fresh Produce 

Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will join Hunts Point Market to deliver and distribute 5,000 pounds of fresh produce donated courtesy of Hunts Point Market in the Bronx. 

The donation to The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH) in Bedford-Stuyvesant comes as New Yorkers prepare for the Thanksgiving holidays. More than 1.5 million city residents currently face food insecurity, a 38 percent rise over pre-pandemic levels, and some are concerned they will not have enough food for the upcoming holiday. 

This event is slated to take place today, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Campaign Against Hunger, 2010 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant. 

Gillibrand on Racism in the USDA

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation to address systemic discrimination within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) federal agriculture policy.

 “Black farmers and ranchers have been historically excluded in agricultural industries and inequities in federal aid have stripped them from their land. It is not only our responsibility to investigate this systemic discrimination, we must end and correct it so that the next generation of Black farmers can bloom,” said Gillibrand. “The Justice for Black Farmers Act will ensure the Department of Agriculture puts an end to discriminatory practices that have harmed Black agricultural producers for more than a hundred years. I thank Senator Booker for his leadership on this issue and I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to make farming more equitable and inclusive.“

The Justice for Black Farmers Act will help to end and correct discrimination within the USDA and enact policies to protect remaining Black farmers from losing their land, provide land grants to create a new generation of Black farmers and restore the land base that has been lost, and implement systemic reforms to help family farmers across the United States.   

Williams on School Closing 

Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams last week released a statement decrying the closing of city Schools. 

“I know we’re all concerned about school closings. If closing schools can meaningfully slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, that’s important. But this decision was made without caution and without a solid plan going forward.

We’re suffering from a severe lack of competent leadership – with policy decided by haphazard tweets and combative press conferences, from City Hall and the State Capitol to the White House. Make no mistake: we’re dealing with the chaos of school closings because of fully preventable failures from our City, State and Federal leaders. To sell a reopening plan no one wanted, the Mayor came up with a plan to close schools – once the average citywide infection rate reached 3% – but forgot to factor in what the 1.2 million students and their families would do once schools closed. And he made the decision with less than 24 hours notice.

The fact is everyone knew the likelihood was that schools would eventually have to partially or fully close at some point. Still there was no cohesive plan put forth for that eventuality. Any closure must come with re-established Regional Enrichment Centers, an investment in effective remote learning and the necessary technology, family outreach and clear guidelines for when and how to safely reopen schools. In July, I put out a plan to safely reopen schools and I hope the administration will use this as a guide going forward,” he wrote. 

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