Political Odds & Ends, Nov. 17, 2021

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QBP Richards Launches “Civics in the Classroom” Student Engagement Initiative

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Jr. yesterday announced the launch of “Civics in the Classroom” — a boroughwide initiative to supplement existing curriculum by connecting with high school students across the borough about the importance of civic engagement.

“The youngest among us are courageously leading nationwide movements around systemic discrimination, gun violence, voting rights, climate change and more, giving us all so much hope for the future of our society. But there are still far too many young people who are unaware of their power or unsure of their place in our city,” said Richards. “With ‘Civics in the Classroom,’ we hope to not only educate our students about civic engagement but empower them to be the change-makers our city and country need.”

Led by Richards’ Civic Engagement Coordinator Tim Chubinidze, “Civics in the Classroom” will visit one Queens high school each week and include interactive presentations and quizzes about the roles of local and citywide elected officials’ offices, how to address quality-of-life issues through city government and the significance of civic involvement.

The initiative kicked off yesterday, Nov. 16, at Bayside High School. Borough President Richards and school principal Tracy Martinez hosted an engaging discussion with hundreds of students about the importance of voting, being involved in one’s community and much more. 

School administrators who would like more information or wish to participate in Borough President Richards’ ‘Civics in the Classroom’ initiative can do so by contacting Tim Chubunidze via [email protected].

AM Rosenthal Bill Expanding Rights of Pregnant Incarcerated People Becomes Law

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) yesterday announced that her bill (A.611) allowing pregnant people who are incarcerated to have a support person of their choosing while they labor with and deliver their child has been signed into law. 

Until now, incarcerated people in labor were forbidden by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision from having a support person with them during childbirth. 

“Childbirth should not be traumatizing, but that is the experience women who delivered in prison have described it,” said Rosenthal. “Labor and delivery is physically demanding and emotionally challenging, and regardless of where they are, pregnant people should be surrounded with loved ones to support them through the process, including when they are incarcerated. A healthy mother is a healthy baby, and this legislation will help ensure the best outcomes for both mother and that the labor and delivery environment is safe and supportive.”

According to a survey conducted by the Correctional Association of New York’s Women in Prison Project, formerly incarcerated women classified their healthcare experiences in prison as uncomfortable or traumatizing, particularly for those who had experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. Poor prison healthcare is especially detrimental to pregnant people and can have a lasting impact on them and their children.

Approximately four percent of people incarcerated in state correctional facilities are pregnant. Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, considered a national model for family programming, is the only women’s prison in New York State that allows mothers who are incarcerated to live with and continue to care for their children for up to18 months, creating a more positive outcome for both the mother and the child. 

Treyger Secures Funding to Launch New Teaching Academy 

Council Member Mark Treyger

City Council Member and Education Committee Chair Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) yesterday announced a legacy project in partnership with Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School (JDHS) and CUNY. 

The project includes a brand new middle school located next to the John Dewey High School campus in Gravesend, Brooklyn and will expand and offer Career and Technical Education Teaching & Learning Academy at both educational centers. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, NYC schools experienced a shortage of teaching staff available for remote learning and in-person instruction. Prior to the pandemic, a teacher shortage was identified in the State of New York and nationwide. This brand new intermediate school will give students the opportunity to explore fields in education to establish a pipeline to careers in teaching and prepare them for the in-demand jobs.

The program’s four-year sequence provides a strong foundation for students who are interested in becoming educators. Students have the ability to take several classes that are focused on pedagogy and on social-emotional supports for teaching children. In partnership with CUNY students have the opportunity to earn college credits while taking classes through the college’s Education Department.

“As a former teacher and proponent of career-based education, this middle school will offer our local students significant benefits and opportunities for careers in teaching. We shouldn’t have to recruit teachers from around the country when we have talent right here at home,” said Treyger. 

“The revolutionary and comprehensive CTE programs offered at Dewey High School and soon at the new middle school are preparing students for college and career readiness to train our students for the jobs of tomorrow,” he added.

Addabbo Hosts Hosts Holiday Card Drive for Vets Deployed Overseas

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) has created a holiday card/toiletry drive to support our troops overseas during the holiday season. 

From November 15 through Monday, December 6, Addabbo’s three District Offices – Howard Beach office, located at 159-53 102nd Street, the Middle Village office, located at 66-85 73rd Place and the Rockaway office, located at 88-08 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, will serve as drop off locations for this drive. The Senator, who sits on the NYS Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, encourages all to donate to support the troops. 

Items accepted include, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, soap, shampoo and conditioner, disposable razors and shaving cream, deodorant, feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons, disposable wipes, and more. Addabbo will also be collecting any holiday cards and candy like M&Ms and Skittles from the community to send to the troops to brighten up their holiday. 

Addabbo will be sending the care packages to three separate units assigned to the U.S. Army’s 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade stationed throughout Europe, as well as Echo Co. 2/8 Marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan. 

“While the United States recently ended the war in Afghanistan, we must remember that we still have troops stationed around the world protecting our freedoms,” Addabbo said. “These brave men and women will be stationed abroad for the holidays, not celebrating with their families and friends, so I wanted to send them some care packages and holiday cards from residents of the neighborhood to show them that we are still thinking about them and appreciate their sacrifices, especially during the holiday season.” 

For more information, call Addabbo’s office at 718-738-1111. 

Kim’s Statement on JCOPE Vote to Rescind Cuomo Book Deal Approval

Assemblymember Ron Kim (Photo by Yuhline, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Assemblymember Ron Kim

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Queens) yesterday issued the following statement after the Joint Commission on Public Ethics’s 12-1 vote to revoke its previous approval of former Governor Cuomo’s $5.1 million book deal:

“Finally, JCOPE has taken a small step in holding Andrew Cuomo accountable. One does not need a background in law or ethics to understand how brokering a $5.1 million book deal based on falsified data and misused public resources is patently illegal,” said Kim.

“The idea that at the peak of the pandemic, this greedy, corrupt governor profited off the COVID crisis he helped exacerbate while the bodies were still piling up ― it defies human decency and displays utter contempt for the people he claimed to care about. I have faith that our justice system will see this investigation through, and hope his entire immoral syndicate will be brought to justice.”

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