Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Jan. 11, 2021

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Adams on Vaccine Distribution

Borough President Eric Adams
Eric Adams (D)

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams yesterday joined with local officials to improve coordination in distributing and administering COVID-19 vaccines, and prioritize vaccinations for high-risk individuals and populations, as well as institute a system to track vaccine racial distribution data in real-time to track vaccinations and ensure they’re being distributed on an equitable basis. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has, in reality, been a tale of two pandemics, with the virus taking the worst toll on Black and Brown communities. As I have stated previously, inefficiency leads to injustice. Part of the reason for these deeply disparate impacts is that the City and State failed in the early stages to collect real-time data illustrating the severity of what these communities were facing. As we continue to roll out the vaccine, we must learn from these past mistakes and ensure we have real-time tracking mechanisms in place to ensure there is an equitable racial distribution of vaccine dosages. I thank Council Member Miller and our colleagues in government for leading this charge and ensuring that our most vulnerable communities are not left behind as we continue to roll out the vaccine,” said Adams.  

Adams said the disproportionate number of Black and Brown New Yorkers who died from COVID-19 might have been mitigated had there been more timely reporting of racial demographic data of test positivity rates, death rates, and hospitalizations from the start of the pandemic.

City data show that Black and Latino New Yorkers have died from COVID-19 at about twice the rate of white New Yorkers. The pandemic has also had a serious impact on the city’s Asian communities. South Asians have had one of the highest test positivity rates of COVID-19, while the Chinese community has faced one of the highest mortality rates. In the midst of an alarming post-holiday surge, communities of color need prompt data disclosure on the distribution and administration of vaccines to prevent further loss of life. The group called on the City to require that racial data be collected at the time of administering the vaccine. 

Velázquez Addresses Chinatown Exclusions from Loan Program

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Northern Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, Queens) has addressed a letter to Commissioner Jonnel Doris of the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) asking the Department to qualify the area’s businesses for loans. 

The SBS’ Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) storefront program offers financial assistance to businesses suffering from a lack of revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chinatown’s business district west of Bowery was excluded, despite being in dire need of aid. 

“The impact COVID-19 has had on our community cannot be stated enough,” wrote Velázquez. “The overwhelming majority of our community’s businesses are mom-and-pop shops employing local workers. The survival of these businesses is instrumental to preserving the community’s economic ecosystem.  The small businesses of our neighborhood are a classic example of what your agency should be striving to preserve. I applaud the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) on its hard work to get money to struggling shop owners—a herculean task—given the economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus.”

Frontus Denounces Racial Profiling 

Mathylde Frontus
Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus

Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Gravesend) will hold a press conference with six Coney Island boys and their families to protest racial profiling of the youths at the Bay Parkway subway station.

The boys, ranging in age from 12 to 17, were returning home from Burger King on Dec. 27 after having used gift cards Frontus had given them for their community service. On entering the Bay Parkway subway station, the boys said the station attendant announced that he was calling the police, accusing the youths of intending to board the train without paying the fare.

MTA officials told Frontus that the agency has opened a formal investigation, and each of the boys is preparing a Title VI discrimination complaint against the MTA.   

This event is slated to take place 3 p.m. today, Jan. 11 at the Bay Parkway subway station.