Queens Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 4, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Stavisky, Liu Laud Advancement of Education Diversity Legislation 

State Sen. Toby Stavisky
State Sen. John Liu

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Central Queens) and Senator John Liu (D-Flushing, College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Douglaston-Little Neck, parts of Hollis, Bellerose) lauded the advancement of legislation to address the inequity in New York schools and support diversity in our education system. 

The bills advanced will implement ‘Grow Your Own’ initiatives to help more New Yorkers become educators, expand eligible religious holiday observances, determine ways to increase SUNY participation in the Educational Opportunity Program, and provide more support, training, and mentorship opportunities for educators. 

“New York prides itself on being one of the most ethnically diverse states in the country. It is our different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities that help enrich our shared experiences. This legislation will help ensure that all of our student populations are well represented in our schools from pre-K through college,” said Stavisky, Senate Chair of the Committee on Higher Education. “By fostering a more diverse teaching community, and creating a more inclusive learning environment, we can help shape a stronger, more unified New York for generations to come.”

“While there is a stark lack of diversity among the ranks of New York’s teachers, ‘Grow Your Own’ programs help address teacher shortages and remove barriers for people of color who want to teach,” said Liu, Senate Chair of the New York City Education Committee and a bill sponsor. “This bill will help school districts in New York develop ‘Grow Your Own’ initiatives to increase the number of teachers from diverse communities. Promoting diversity can create an environment that cultivates better ideas and brighter futures for all. In order to progress as a society we must do all we can to update systems that have for far too long neglected to be truly representative of our population.”

More information on the legislation advanced by the Senate Democratic Majority is available here.

Meeks Applauds the Biden-Harris Immigration Reform

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, JFK Airport) issued the following statement on Wednesday regarding the Biden Administration’s immigration related executive orders:

“I applaud the Biden-Harris administration for acting immediately to reverse the disastrous Trump-era immigration policies, especially the efforts to reunify children with their families, rescind the un-American public charge rule, and repair our asylum system.

“The Trump administration’s intentional decision to separate children from their parents as a way to deter immigration will go down as one of the cruelest policies in modern US history. The emotional and psychological damage caused by that policy cannot be undone by executive order, but the newly created taskforce to locate the families of the 600 children still separated will help to reunify them.

“Together with the administration’s first week of executive orders – protecting Dreamers, removing the xenophobic African and Muslim travel ban, and stopping the construction of border wall – these orders show that immigration is a priority for President Biden.

I look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to further reform our broken immigration system.”

Meng Issues Statement on Biden Immigration Executive Order

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) on Tuesday issued the following statement on President Biden signing executive orders on immigration.

“America is the nation that it is today because of the contributions made by immigrants. Our country is enriched by the diversity of cultures and backgrounds that have come to define the American story.

Today marks a return to the America that welcomes immigrants seeking safety, security and opportunity in our great country. I applaud President Biden on his efforts to restore dignity to our immigration system by reuniting families separated by the Trump Administration, ensuring legal access for immigrants fleeing violence, and examining the factors that result in migrants needing to leave their homes. I am pleased that the executive order will also review the public charge rule, a callous and cold-hearted regulation I have fought to overturn from the moment it was implemented, which forces families to choose between putting food on the table or keeping their legal status. In addition, I’m glad to see attention dedicated to assisting new Americans as they transition to life in the United States. This move comes after I called on President Biden to use his executive powers to establish a National Office of New Americans within the Executive Office of the President in order to promote and support integration and inclusion of immigrants and refugees. We must recognize that America will only grow stronger when we help new Americans contribute to the growth and prosperity of our nation.

I look forward to continuing to work with President Biden to improve our immigration system and welcome new Americans to our shores.”

Sanders Hosts Panel on Needs of Sickle Cell Patients

State Senator James Sanders Jr. Photo from nysenate.gov

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D–Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) is hosting a panel discussion on the needs of sickle patients. 

Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disease in the U.S., affecting about 100,000 people — including Black and Hispanic Americans and people of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian descent. The disease causes red blood cells to be stiff and sickle shaped, producing symptoms including extreme pain, acute anemia, tissue and organ damage, and even strokes. Though there is no readily available cure, blood transfusions—as many as 10 units every month—are an important treatment to help prevent or reduce symptoms.

Having a readily available and diverse blood supply is important to meeting the medical needs of an increasingly diverse patient population.

The panel will feature Sanders, Yvette Marie Miller, the Executive Medical Officer for Donor and Client Support Center at the American Red Cross in Charlotte, North Carolina and Kisha Mitchell Richards, the Director of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut. It will be moderated by Kim Nichols, Founding Director of NicholsMD of Greenwich.

The virtual panel will take place on Thursday, February 18 from 12 to 1 p.m. Register in advance here.

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