Intro 410: The Immigrants Voting Rights Bill

The New York City Council is holding a hearing today about Intro 410: The Immigrants Voting Rights Bill, which would allow 1.3 million voting-age, tax-paying New Yorkers to vote in NYC municipal elections. Melissa is a strong supporter of Intro 410, along with 34 other council members. This is a very exciting time in our city and will directly affect around 27,000 individuals in District 8 alone! You can watch the hearing live at 1 PM on the City Council’s website, or stop by the Council Chambers at City Hall to show your support.

Read more about Intro 410: El Diaro NY and ivotenyc.org

Age Smart Employer to Honor Innovative NYC Multigenerational Workplaces

522631_152567761568336_1471581872_nAre you a NYC employer who has innovative practices and strategies that optimize the multigenerational workplace or do you know of one? With over 700,000 of NYC’s workers over the age of 55, they hold a disproportionate percentage of jobs that support and drive NYC’s economy. Organizations that have implemented strategies that utilize older workers’ strengths, talents and skills, have seen an increase in productivity and profits. The Age Smart Employer Award is about embracing a multigenerational workplace and being age smart.  Please click on this link to lead you to the Age Smart Employer website, where you’ll find more information, such as eligibility and selection criteria. 

A selection committee comprised of business and civic leaders in NYC will choose winners in September 2013. Winners will be honored at a ceremonial gala in October 2013. They will also receive city-wide recognition and have exclusive use of the Age Smart Employer Award 2013 Winner logo graphic, as well as receive promotion at national and international conferences and meetings.

Applications are due July 1, 2013 – so apply today or nominate an organization that you feel deserves this honor.

Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies

healthymomshealthybabiesIt is a sad fact that mothers and newborns living in low-income communities like East Harlem suffer from preventable illnesses and serious health risks that tragically take or undermine lives. Just because there are mothers and babies that live in poverty and do not have access to health care or may lack the presence of family or mentors that can help and teach them how to keep their babies well, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to knowledge about completely preventable health problems. The Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA) has made it their priority to bring maternal awareness to this travesty. And there are two ways you can get involved:

  1. LSA is hosting a Virtual Baby Shower through Amazon.com, where you can donate necessities to those who need it most – it includes everything from diapers to baby formula.
  2. Additionally, they are holding a Mother’s Day Haiku and Short Poem Contest. The deadline is May 10th at noon, and you can submit your work (Spanish and English accepted) online or tweet it to @LSA_EastHarlem. The First Place prize is a $100 Macy’s gift card; Second Place prize is a Mother’s Day brunch for two at Kings’ Carriage House; and Third Place prize is a beautiful spring bouquet by Kathy Flowers.

We hope you have a very Happy Mothers Day this weekend & don’t forget about the mothers and babies in our community that could use an extra hand.

Immigration Reform: What You Need To Know

We are happy to share with you a very clear rundown on Immigration Reform, provided by CUNY Citizenship Now:

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Visit CUNY Citizenship Now’s website. It’s a great resource to learn about everything from  protecting yourself from immigration fraud to finding English language classes and preparing for the citizenship test.

You can download the PDF of this flyer to share with your network through this link.

Scholarship & Student Recognition Opportunities

There are two fantastic opportunities available whose deadlines are nearing. Please share this news with anyone that you deem to be eligible and whom would benefit from these opportunities.

COMITE NOVIEMBRE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

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Comité Noviembre will be awarding a $1,000 scholarship to exceptional Puerto Rican youth who are making a difference in their community. Applicants should have a minimum of one-year of volunteer community service experience and be between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. DEADLINE: May 31, 2013. Link to application. 

NEW YORK LEAGUE OF PUERTO RICAN WOMEN’s 2013 COLLEGE AWARDS

Logo-Green-Aqua-32-399x400The New York League of Puerto Rican Women (NYLPRW) Inc. is currently accepting applications for their 2013 College Awards which will be given out during their annual College Awards Gala Dinner Dance in the Bronx on August 22, 2013. NYLPRW is looking to recognize undergraduate Puerto Rican women for their academic excellence and service to the community. DEADLINE: June 7, 2013. Link to application. 

Take a 10-Day Trip to Puerto Rico with Comité Noviembre

This will be the seventh year that Comité Noviembre (CN) will be holding their Annual Trip to Puerto Rico – Buscando Nuestras Raices VII. You must be 21 or older to partake in this 10 day/9 night trip that will take place from Tuesday, August 6, 2013 to Thursday, August 15, 2013. Enjoy all that Puerto Rico has to offer with educational workshops, films, live entertainment and guided tours through San Juan as well as small mountain towns, coastal landmarks and museums. CN is a non-profit organization that keeps the Puerto Rican life alive in NYC through celebrating its’ social, cultural, educational, economic and political accomplishments.

Space is limited so if you are interested, reserve your spot now or contact CN for more information. Early Bird Special must be paid in full on Monday, May 6, 2013. That is also the same date that a deposit of $500 is due to hold your reservation.

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Contact Information:
Teresa A. Santiago – 914.263.6599 – tascommunicationsllc@gmail.com
Angel Santini – 212.677.4181 – angel.santini@iprhe.org
Lourdes R. Torres – 646.541.8326 – ltorres@hostos.cuny.edu

For the high-res PDF flyer – click here.

Why Are NYC Public Schools Failing Gym? Melissa Joined the Panel to Discuss the Issues

Last Monday, Melissa spoke on a panel entitled “Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies: The Case for Implementing a Full Physical Education Curriculum in NYC’s Public Schools,” hosted by the Women’s City Club of New York. The panel was convened in response to a number of recent studies showing that NYC public schools are failing to meet State guidelines for physical education.

This issue prompted Melissa to write a letter to the Department of Education last year, signed by thirty-five Council Members inquiring about the DOE’s plan to improve the quantity and quality of gym class in City schools and to address the disparities between schools. Melissa was joined by education chair Robert Jackson along with other phys ed experts, all of whom discussed the many evidence-based benefits of PE, including improved academic achievement along with physical health.

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Melissa expressed her strong stance on this issue:

“Providing quality physical education in our public schools is critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic! It is shocking that according to the City Comptroller’s Audit none of the 31 elementary schools visited were meeting State requirements for gym class, due to factors such as co-locations and budget cuts. This issue is particularly important to low-income communities of color such as the South Bronx, East and Central Harlem, and Bedford-Stuyvesant which are disproportionately impacted by higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other related illnesses. The issue of gym class is a symptom of the overall direction the DOE has been headed over the last decade. Budget cuts, a lack of gym teachers, an overemphasis on high-stakes test prep, and the co-location of charter schools, have all served to undermine physical education in our schools.”

DYCD is Taking Applications for the 2013 Summer Youth Employment Program

625472_10151351850632344_122226527_nThe Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is a six-week program open to all NYC residents between the ages of 14-24 – and the application is available now. We highly encourage District 8 youth to apply to SYEP because of the one-of-a-kind work experience they can receive in a variety of jobs, ranging from government agencies, community-based organizations, private sector businesses and more. Last summer, DYCD employed around 30,000 teenagers and young adults and placed them at 5,677 work-sites. Click here to download the paper application in PDF; and if you have questions, you can download the 2013 SYEP FAQ here as a PDF.

As per DYCD’s website, SYEP is designed to:

  • Emphasize real-world labor expectations
  • Increase awareness of services offered by local community-based organizations
  • Provide opportunities for career instruction, financial literacy training, academic improvement, and social growth

Apply today! 

Safer Neighborhood Streets: Apply for a Slow Zone by May 31st

slowzoneNeighborhood Slow Zones reduce the speed limit on residential streets from 30 mph to 20 mph. Slow Zones grant local families peace of mind because they know drivers in their communities will stick to safer speeds. Communities that apply for a Slow Zone can get safety improvements that reduce traffic crashes, cut-through traffic and traffic noise, making residential streets safer for biking and walking.

NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is currently accepting applications to the Neighborhood Slow Zone program. Community boards, civic associations, BIDs, or other community institutions such as schools or churches can apply. If you’re interested in applying, you can download the application, and follow NYCDOT’s application instructionsApplications must demonstrate local support for the Neighborhood Slow Zone. Applications that include letters of support from key community stakeholders will be prioritized.  

Applications are due by Friday, May 31st. Are you interested, but don’t know where to begin? Need help drumming up local support? Transportation Alternatives will help! E-mail safety@transalt.org, or call at (212) 629-8080.

Council To Pass Melissa’s Street Vendor & Secure Communities/ICE Bills Tomorrow

We are happy to announce that two bills sponsored by Melissa will be passed by Council tomorrow.

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STREET VENDOR BILLS (INTRO 16)

Intro 16 will require the reporting of data related to vendor licenses and permits, as well as the outcomes of vendor adjudications. This bill is integral to the future of the reforming vendor policy in NYC because of the information collected. In addition to Intro 16, Council Member Steve Levin’s bill, Intro 434, which Melissa has supported, will also be passed tomorrow. Intro 434 will cap the maximum fine at $500 and reform the unfair escalation of fines. These bills are a critical first step towards efforts to provide greater support to our vendor community who has played an essential part of the fabric of NYC life for generations. Today, punitive fines leveraged against vendors can easily add up into the thousands, making it nearly impossible for vendors to make a living.

“Our city needs to support and not criminalize our hardworking street vendors,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am proud that the Council is taking a stand to lower the punitive fines that make it difficult for vendors to earn a living and I thank the Street vendor project for their incredible advocacy. Under the bill I am sponsoring, the Council will receive annual reports on vending licenses and fines. My hope is that this data will help inform future policy changes to our city’s vending system. I thank Speaker Quinn, Council Member Levin and Chair Koslowitz for their leadership and support.”

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SECURE COMMUNITIES/ICE BILL (INTRO 989)

We’ve previously discussed our objection to Secure Communities in this blog. Melissa’s Intro 989 amends current law to ensure that immigrants that pose no danger cannot be detained by the Department of Correction. Intro 982, sponsored by Speaker Quinn and co-sponsored by Melissa, focuses on being detained by the NYPD. Whether we like it or not, we are still in the secure communities program. But with this legislation, we will not use our personnel or resources to hold immigrants that pose no danger to our city.

“Today, the Council reaffirms its commitment to protecting our immigrant communities,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We will not allow our city’s resources to be used to facilitate the unjust deportations of hardworking New Yorkers that pose no threat to public safety. These pieces of legislation place limits on our city’s collaboration with the Secure Communities enforcement program, as we await Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I thank Speaker Quinn and Chair Dromm for their leadership on bringing this legislation forward, as well as the Bloomberg administration for their support. I also thank Make the Road New York and the Cardozo Law School for being a critical driving force in passing these important bills.”