Brooklyn Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 3, 2021

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Gillibrand Will be Joining Committee on Intelligence 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced she will be joining the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“I am honored to have the chance to serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the nexus of 21st century security and international relations. I look forward to using my position on the Intelligence Committee to best represent the interests of New York, which has been the top terror target in the United States since before 9/11, and to working closely with the NYPD and NY Department of Homeland Security to keep our state safe. In addition, I plan to use this new assignment to focus on making New York and the nation better prepared for the barrage of cyber-attacks that have targeted local institutions and private businesses alike. Keeping New York safe will require a dedicated focus on hardening both public and private sector cyber defenses and our state should lead the way.”

In addition to serving on the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, Gillibrand will also remain on the Agriculture Committee, as Congress heads into a Farm Bill and Child Nutrition reauthorization. Senator Gillibrand will continue serving on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, as well. 

Clarke Congratulates ACLU President 

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke

U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-East Flatbush, Central Brooklyn) released the following statement celebrating American Civil Liberties Union president, Deborah Archer. Archer will be the first Jamaican-American president of the ACLU. 

“I would like to extend a sincere congratulations to Deborah Archer, the new president of the ACLU. After 101 years, it is high time that a person of color holds this position. More aptly, I am proud that the first Black president of the ACLU is of Jamaica-American heritage. The ACLU has been part of every important battle for civil liberties during our first century, and they remain committed to continuing that legacy as we enter our second. I wish president Archer all the best on her mission to advance future battles for civil rights, civil liberties, and systemic equality,” said Clarke. 

ACLU president Deborah Archer is a civil rights lawyer who began her career with the ACLU as a fellow and has sat on the board of the ACLU since 2009. She has served as general counsel to the ACLU since 2017. Apart from her work with the ACLU, Archer is also a professor and director of the Civil Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law.

Adams on Underground Railroad Landmark

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released a statement after a home in Brooklyn that has been linked to the Underground Railroad was given an official landmark designation. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission is going to  preserve 227 Duffield Street as a historical landmark. 

“Few New Yorkers know that a small row house in Downtown Brooklyn was a critical site in our nation’s history – a place where abolitionist thought flourished, and a safe harbor for slaves on their long sojourn to freedom. That’s why months ago, we joined a campaign to preserve the historical integrity of 227 Duffield Street – to show that the Black lives of freedom-seekers mattered, and still matter to this day. At a time when our nation continues to face a reckoning over the long and painful legacy of racial injustice, remembering and permanently enshrining these pieces of our history has never been more urgent. We thank the Mayor and the LPC for recognizing the significance of this site, and the need to preserve it for future generations.” 

Myrie Bill Expunging Conviction Histories

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) has introduced legislation that would automatically expunge conviction histories. 

“One of the most impactful ways I’ve been able to serve constituents has been offering my support to families seeking parole or clemency for a loved one who has been convicted of a crime. Our office receives letters and requests for help regularly, and we carefully research every case presented to us. It has been one of my greatest honors as an elected official to lend my support to people who’ve paid their debt to society and want to return home to a robust support system.

“The letters we receive often detail the incredible transformations people have made since their original conviction. But I know that no matter what they’ve done to rehabilitate themselves, or who they’ve become in the years since they were incarcerated, many opportunities are closed off to people returning home with a conviction in their past. Renting an apartment or obtaining a job is much more difficult when a criminal record is only a few clicks away.

Right now, only certain types of records are eligible to be cleared under the law, and only then after a complex— and often expensive— process involving bureaucratic hurdles and administrative barriers. I believe people eligible to have their records cleared should be automatically granted this benefit by the state, and given the opportunity to put their past behind them, stabilizing themselves, their families and their communities,” he writes. 

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