It's Happening: Trump's Immigration Raids Are In NY
By: Janet Howard
President Donald Trump's attack on immigrants has arrived in New York. Trump has vowed to deport at
least 3 million undocumented people who, he says, have criminal backgrounds. Fact checkers have found that the number Trump cites for undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds is inflated.
Immigration authorities have already arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least six
states in raids, pursuant to an executive order (EO) Trump signed in January.
That EO expanded the
category of immigrants lacking proper paperwork that federal authorities would target for arrest and
expulsion. Rather than focusing, as President Barack Obama did, on individuals with violent criminal
convictions, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) now has a mandate to nab undocumented
immigrants if they have ever been accused of any crime, even "where such charge has not been resolved."
Immigration advocates say 40 people in and around the city have been arrested by federal authorities as part of a nationwide crackdown on immigrant communities. ICE confirmed the number of arrests to the press. Raids were conducted in five states as well, including California where about 150 immigrants were seized.
Manuel, a taxi driver called into our radio program, Immigration & Caribbean (Cultural) Exposé (ICE) which airs on WVIP 93.5FM on Thursdays from 10pm to 11pm and Sundays from 11pm to 12midnight to share an incident in Bushwick, Brooklyn by immigration agents asking for documents and threatening to take the individual away in the van. The gentleman who was accosted by immigration agents had to call his wife to bring his documents to prove his legal status or suffer being taken into detention. The taxi driver also revealed that several of his friends were petrified about going to work or their normal day-to-day routines.
On Church and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn, there are confirmed reports of immigration agents on the prowl. Also, there are confirmed reports of ramped up enforcements of raids in Staten Island. Rosemary Boeglin, a Mayoral spokeswoman, said that the city will continue to support the nearly 40 percent of New Yorkers who are foreign-born—both documented and undocumented. Roughly half a million residents of the five boroughs are believed to be undocumented. The Mayor's Office says it has received reports about immigration enforcement activity in the city, and that it is closely monitoring the situation. The Mayor says city officials and the NYPD will not act as immigration agents and will never ask New Yorkers about their immigration status. But what about the ICE agents descending on New York and creating havoc, despair and fear, Mr. Mayor? New York is supposed to be a sanctuary city. Get ICE out of New York, now!
In the wake of increased immigration enforcement, advocates say many of the city's immigrants are afraid of being detained. Immigrant advocacy organizations have been flooded with calls from immigrants who are fearful, nervous and freaking out. Many people are worried they'll be deported because they're here illegally. Some have enjoyed protection under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; others are in the process of trying to obtain documentation, pro- immigrant organizers say.
Brian Figeroux, Esq., Senior Partner of the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates, states: "These are difficult and nervous times. We understand the nervousness and fear; it is real. We have been fighting for immigrants since 1996, and will continue to do so. One of the most important things to know is that, this is America and everyone has rights. So it's critical, if you are detained by federal agents to demand a lawyer. It is your right. The lawyer you hire does make a difference. The ability to have a lawyer — quality legal representation, such as a lawyer who is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) — makes a huge difference in the outcome in your case. Do not open your door for ICE agents unless they slip you a warrant under the door. ICE agents are not your friends. With the new administration, they are now empowered even more. There are ways to protect yourself and your family.
For example, being a U.S. citizen protects you and your family from deportation; children 17 years and under derive citizenship from just one parent being a U.S. citizen. We have been offering free citizenship assistance every week for over 10 years. If you have been a Green Card holder for 5 years or married to a U.S. citizen for 3, apply for American citizenship. For those who are undocumented, there are other legal options to legalization in lieu of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. You have to explain your case to an attorney. We offer FREE legal consultations every week through our radio program on WVIP 93.5FM on Thursdays (10pm to 11pm) and Sundays (11pm to 12am). Also, we have FREE Immigration meetings the last Thursday at 6pm and first Saturday at 12noon of every month at 26 Court Street, Suite 701. Now more than ever, is the time to fight back; know your rights, defend them and take action."
Stopped by ICE: You Have Rights!
Stopped by Immigration: You Have Rights. Know Them. Use Them.
If you are stopped by Police Officers, Immigration Agents or other public authorities, you have rights. It does not matter if you entered the country by crossing the border in Mexico, if you are an overstay, green card holder or citizen. As long as you are within the borders of the United States, you have rights. Know them. Use them.
The first step is to call your immigration law and deportation defense attorneys at Figeroux & Associates. The Law Firm team has represented clients across the United States and has a 24/7 emergency line 855-768-8845. It does not matter what day or time it is — pulled over or stopped by Immigration Authorities, call Figeroux & Associates today. Below is a list of your rights and responsibilities.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE QUESTIONED OR DETAINED BY ICE:
1) No ICE officer should stop anybody based on appearance alone; regardless of your ethnicity, the color of your skin, the way you dress or talk or the language you're speaking. It's the law.
2) If an immigration officer asks for proof that you are a legal resident of the United States and wants to see some identification, you have the right to refuse to give them your ID. You can also refuse to answer any of their questions. Unless they have a warrant, you have no obligation to interact with them at all. You can ask "Am I arrested?" If the answer is no, you do not need to give them any information regarding your legal status in the U.S. Showing them ID is totally optional.
3) If you are being interrogated do not give false information, and do not give them false documentation. You can be charged with identity theft if you show them forged documents, or someone else's documents, even if you have legal status. Remember that everything you say or do can be used against you.
4) If immigration officials (ICE) begin to knock on your door you have the right not to open the door. They only have the right to enter to your home if they have a warrant from a judge.
5) If you are arrested in an immigration detention center and you don't want to return to your home country, you have the right to request a meeting with an immigration officer.
6) Do not sign anything you don't understand. You might be signing a voluntary deportation order.
7) Some cases can be resolved with the help of an immigration attorney. The lawyer can request for a court date to meet with an immigration judge and help solve your case. You don't have the right to an attorney provided by the state, but you do have the right to see your own attorney. Call the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates, at 855-768-8845
8) Who should you call: Your family member to contact an immigration lawyer. When you enter an immigration center, they will assign you an A#, which is your alien number. Make sure you give your A# to the people you talk to on the outside helping with your case. If you have no one else to call you should call the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates at 855-768-8845.
IF YOU ARE ARRESTED BY IMMIGRATION OFFICERS:
1. You have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer questions. You can tell the officer that you want to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions. You may say, "I will remain silent until I speak to an attorney." You do not have the right to an appointed free lawyer, but you do have the right to talk to a lawyer and to hire one on your own.
2. You do not have to sign anything giving up your rights, and should never sign anything without reading it first and understanding the consequences of signing it. Signing a document without understanding it could result in you being deported before you see a lawyer or a judge.
3. Talk to a lawyer before signing anything or making a decision about your situation. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of a lawyer who will take your calls. Immigration law is hard to understand. You may have options that immigration officers will not explain.
4. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you have the right to call your consulate or to have a law enforcement officer tell consulate officials of your arrest. Law enforcement officers must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so. Your consulate might be able to help you find a lawyer. To hire the Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates, call 855-768-8845.
WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS
You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Call the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Law Firm, Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.
Regardless of your immigration or citizenship status, you have constitutional rights. Exercise those rights.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES
Stay calm and be polite.
Don't interfere with or obstruct the police.
Don't lie or give false documents.
Be prepared in case you are arrested.
Remember the details of the encounter.
Call the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Law Firm, Figeroux & Associates at (855-768-8845, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week if you feel your rights have been violated.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED FOR QUESTIONING
Remain calm. Don't run, argue, resist or obstruct the police, even if you are innocent or the police are violating your rights.
Keep your hands where police can see them.
Ask if you can leave. If the officer says yes, calmly and silently walk away. If you are under arrest, you have a right to know why. Don't be afraid to ask why you are under arrest.
Like every American, you have the right to remain silent and cannot be punished for refusing to answer questions. If you do not wish to speak to the officer, simply tell the officer that you want to remain silent.
You can refuse an officer's request to search your body or your belongings. Police are permitted to "pat down" your clothing if they suspect a weapon. You should not physically resist, but you have the right to refuse consent for any further search. If you do consent, it can affect you later in court.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE STOPPED IN YOUR CAR
Stop the car in a safe place as quickly as possible.
Turn off the car, turn on the internal light, open the window part way and place your hands on the wheel.
Upon request, show police your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance.
If an officer or immigration agent asks to look inside your car, you can refuse to consent to the search. But if police believe your car contains evidence of a crime, your car can be searched without your consent.
The driver and all passengers have the right to remain silent. If you are a passenger, you can ask if you are free to leave. If the officer says yes, sit silently or calmly leave. Even if the officer says no, you have the right to remain silent.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE QUESTIONED ABOUT YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS
You have the right to remain silent. You need not talk about your immigration or citizenship status with police, immigration agents or any other officials. You do not have to answer questions about where you were born, whether you are a U.S. citizen, or how you entered the country. Just stay quiet, as you talking could hurt your chances at potential immigration relief in the future.
If you are not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them if you have them with you. If you are over 18, carry your immigration documents with you at all times. If you do not have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent.
Do not lie about your citizenship status or provide fake documents. If you claim that you are a United States Citizen and you are not, you can face serious criminal issues. Also, it is better to remain silent, than to provide fake documents.
Contact the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768- 8845 as soon as you can. Or, contact a family member and tell them to call Figeroux & Associates twenty-four hour emergency line (855) 768-8845.
WHAT TO DO IF THE POLICE OR IMMIGRATION AGENTS COME TO YOUR HOME
If the police or immigration agents come to your home, you can refuse them entry, unless they have a warrant.
Ask the officer to slip the warrant under the door or hold it up to the window so you can inspect it. Yes, you can do this, because, you HAVE rights. A search warrant allows police to enter the address listed on the warrant, but officers can only search the areas and for the items listed. An arrest warrant allows police to enter the home of the person listed on the warrant if they believe the person is inside. A warrant of removal/deportation (ICE warrant) does not allow officers to enter a home without consent.
Even if officers have a warrant, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to speak to the officers, step outside and close the door.
Contact the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768- 8845 as soon as you can. Or, contact a family member and tell them to call Figeroux & Associates twenty-four hour emergency line (855) 768-8845.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE CONTACTED BY THE FBI
If an FBI agent comes to your home or workplace, you do not have to answer any questions. Immediately contact the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm, Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845. Or, contact a family member and tell them to call Figeroux & Associates twenty-four hour emergency line (855) 768-8845. Tell the agent you want to speak to your Figeroux & Associates lawyer first.
If you are asked to meet with FBI agents for an interview, you have the right to say you do not want to be interviewed. If you agree to an interview, do not go alone. Immediately contact the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm, Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845. Or, contact a family member and tell them to call Figeroux & Associates twenty-four hour emergency line (855) 768-8845. You do not have to answer any questions you feel uncomfortable answering, and can say that you will only answer questions on a specific topic.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ARRESTED
Do not resist arrest.
Remain silent and immediately contact the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm, Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845. Or, contact a family member and tell them to call Figeroux & Associates twenty-four hour emergency line (855) 768-8845.
Make sure you tell the officer that you wish to remain silent and that you want to contact your Figeroux & Associates lawyer.
Do not give any explanations or excuses.
Do not say anything, sign anything or make any decisions without your Figeroux & Associates lawyer.
You have the right to make a local phone call. The police cannot listen if you call your Figeroux & Associates lawyer. Use this call to contact the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm, Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845. Or, contact a family member and tell them to call Figeroux & Associates twenty-four hour emergency line (855) 768-8845.
Prepare yourself and your family in case you are arrested. Memorize the phone numbers of your family members and the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm, Figeroux & Associates: (855) 768-8845. Do not forget the Figeroux & Associates number: (855) 768-8845.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE TAKEN INTO IMMIGRATION (OR "ICE") CUSTODY
You have the right to a lawyer. Tell ICE that you want to call your lawyer and call the Immigration Law & Deportation Defense Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845. Call 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
You have the right to contact your consulate or have an officer inform the consulate of your arrest.
Tell the ICE agent you wish to remain silent. Do not discuss your immigration status with anyone but your Figeroux & Associates lawyer.
Refuse to sign any documents, such as a voluntary departure or stipulated removal, without talking to your Figeroux & Associates lawyer.
Request and remember your immigration number ("A" number) so that you can provide it to your Figeroux & Associates deportation defense lawyer at Figeroux & Associates.
Every situation is different, so make sure that you think about every step you take. When in doubt, call the Immigration Law and Deportation Defense Firm of Figeroux & Associates at (855) 768-8845.
We can help you sign up for health insurance
by By Mayor Bill de Blasio
A few weeks ago I met a man from the South Bronx named Wellington. He was diagnosed with cancer and lost his health insurance. The City of New York fought for him and discovered he was entitled to free health coverage. Within a few days Wellington was in the hospital, getting care. Today he is cancer free.
This is a frightening time. People tell me they're worried about losing affordable health care and don't know what to do. My answer: Tell everyone you know to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act – or as some people call it, Obamacare. And do it now, because for many of us the last day to enroll for this year may be Tuesday, January 31.
When people have insurance they can see a doctor and deal with small problems before they become big ones. When people have insurance they know that an illness won't leave them owing lots of money. That's why we launched GetCoveredNYC, a team that works to get New Yorkers insured all year long. There is free coverage available for some people. Others can find plans for as little as $20 a month. Call 929-252-8912 and we will put you in touch with someone who can help. Enroll online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov or dial 311 or text coverednyc to 877877 to find a location to enroll in person.
You may have heard President Trump or Republicans in Congress say they are going to end Obamacare. I can't promise they won't, but the best way for you to stop it is to sign up for insurance. Think of what it will do for you and your family. If you need insurance now, then you'll have it for the rest of this year, maybe longer.
The Affordable Care Act has already changed the lives of 1.6 million New Yorkers, so talk to your friends, neighbors, and relatives and make sure everyone you know gets covered before Tuesday, January 31.
Americans for Social Justice will win this War
A war against immigrants is a war against Blacks, which includes African Americans and all other Americans. President Trump has declared war through an unconstitutional Executive Order which targets Muslims using the Department of Homeland Security as the front line in his unlawful warfare. The President and his allies have also targeted three million immigrants who have allegedly committed crimes that make them deportable. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is warning employers that discrimination by national origin is unlawful. Currently, new laws restricting voting rights in Texas and other states are moving forward to become law. Trump is at the job.
In the most recent crisis, Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled, in Darweesh v Trump, just before 9 p.m, on Friday, January 28, 2017, that implementing Mr. Trump's order by sending the travelers home could cause them "irreparable harm." She said the government was "enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals" who had arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status. Click here to read the Judge's complete order.
We need to stop saying 'we' will survive Trump, because millions have died here and in other countries with this position. Americans have already shown their disapproval of the Trump administration through demonstrations and litigation. The Civil Rights movement is now a Social Justice movement. Trump, you are unwelcome to the Presidency; you and your hate group will be defeated; good Americans fighting for social justice will prevail. Join a resist Trump group and make a difference.
Commemorating the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 88 years old on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017.
His courage in the face of adversity and resolve during a time of uncertainty forever changed the course of our nation's history. Dr. King's call to action resonated with people of all backgrounds who rallied together and engaged in nonviolent protests to end racial injustice, discrimination, acts of hatred and violence.
There were many unsung heroes on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement, who raised their voices, were imprisoned, and encountered police brutality on multiple occasions. Though we may never know their names, faces, or stories, they risked their lives for our freedoms. U.S. Representative John Lewis is among those American heroes who helped organize the 1963 March on Washington and two years later, marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where his skull was fractured. Today, he is widely recognized as a "moral leader" who continues to work towards a more just society. We owe a great debt of gratitude and our utmost respect to every freedom fighter.
More than 50 years after Dr. King delivered his now infamous speech at the Lincoln Memorial, his dream, "deeply rooted in the American dream," remains unfulfilled. We have become a nation divided by race, color, religion, gender, and national origin - unable to unify under the American banner to realize our greatest potential. Together, we can move towards a more progressive future and the realization of Dr. King's dream.
Our actions - today and tomorrow - should support and not undermine the incredible gains of this movement. We must resolve to become the land of equal opportunity and protection of the law. Civil rights, women's rights, and immigrants' rights are in actuality human rights. One cannot and should not supersede the other.
Our steadfast advocacy for freedom, equality, justice, and economic opportunity for all will serve as a fitting tribute to the man who helped pave a path for the advancement of all people. Dr. King's invaluable contributions to American and Black history will continue to live on through the generations of men, women, and children who have achieved or continue to strive towards the American Dream.
Throughout the 35th Council District, also known as Brooklyn's Cultural District, community events (enclosed below) will be held in honor of Dr. King. Join today's celebrations through song, dance, spoken word, or readings!
In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the office of New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo will be closed on Monday, January 16, 2017. We will reopen and resume normal business hours on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.
7 Things De Blasio Asked New Yorkers To Do in the Face of Trump's Election
by Ben Max (gotham gazette) — "We have a special obligation in New York City," Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers from The Cooper Union on Monday, giving a formal speech to reassure and rally the city after the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.
De Blasio indicated that he had decided to give the speech because of all the fear that Trump's campaign and election had created. More than two years ago, in April 2014, de Blasio spoke from the same Cooper Union stage, delivering remarks "on New York City's future" to mark his first 100 days as mayor.
Monday's speech had a far less celebratory tone, though the mayor hit similar points. This time, the organizing theme was "Always New York," with de Blasio highlighting the city's place as a world leader and its long-time progressive principles.
In essence, de Blasio attempted to do three things with what was a 40-minute speech Monday: define New York values; promise certain steps from his administration in the face of potential policies from a Trump administration; and call on New Yorkers to take specific actions to help lead the resistance.
Citing a "sense of foreboding," the mayor promised unity and New York City as a beacon of what is good and right in the world. De Blasio said he was deputizing New Yorkers to fortify the city against what he described as threats of division from President-elect Trump.
"We New Yorkers will stand together," de Blasio said. "We're going to stand up for the needs for working people. We're going to stand up for the right to organize. We're going to stand up for our immigrant brothers and sisters. And we know that so many in this city fear being affronted, and we will stand with each and every one."
The mayor made clear that he was responding to Trump's election and referred to "the president-elect" several times, though only said Trump's name once from the hall that has been host to many famous orators and speeches. "I always believe the people will help to correct the mistakes of leaders," de Blasio said.
"I'm going to stand up to anything that affronts our people," that mayor promised, standing in front of about 20 diverse New Yorkers seated on the stage behind him and addressing about 300 in the audience and others watching the video feed. "Our city government will stand up, but the greatest power is in you – the strength and the resiliency of New Yorkers."
"Now, there are things we have to do – real and specific things," he said, recommending the following:
1. Sign up for IDNYC, the city's municipal identification card program, which has been highly popular and is available regardless of immigration status. De Blasio promised that the city "will never turn over the paperwork to the federal government."
2. "We need you to help your friends and family members sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act right now," the mayor said. Earlier in the speech he acknowledged concern among New Yorkers who are registered under the ACA, or Obamacare, of a repeal of the law and loss of health insurance.
De Blasio did not explain why this is important to do, but it appears the thinking is that the more people insured through the ACA, the harder it would be for the federal government to justify repealing it.
3. "We need everyone to register to vote," the mayor said. De Blasio highlighted that his preferred presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, was ahead in the popular vote by about 1.5 million votes, but that Trump had won through the Electoral College.
The mayor has recently taken up voting and election reform in New York, calling on the state government to pass early voting, same-day registration, and other changes. The mayor says he was spurred to get more vocal about the issue by the Bernie Sanders movement and problems with the city's election administration, including long Election Day lines. It is not lost on anyone who watches closely that the mayor is up for re-election next year.
4. "We need to pray," the mayor said, "But not just in our own house of worship, we need to go to a different faith's house of worship in solidarity."
De Blasio, who is not religious himself, regularly speaks at churches and other houses of worship and at religious events. He spoke at two churches on Sunday, in fact, and at Ohel Children's Home and Family Services' 47th Annual Gala. During his Monday speech, the mayor discussed a recent trip to a mosque, which he said gave him hope.
5. "It's so important in this moment to volunteer, to help your city, to help those in need," de Blasio said, directing New Yorkers to "nycservice.org."
6. New Yorkers must speak up against acts of hate and bias, the mayor said. He connected it to "If you see something, say something," the call to keep an eye out for possible criminal or terrorist activity.
"The NYPD is ready to act. The Human Rights Commission is ready to act. If you see someone in danger because of a bias attack, call 911. If you have information about acts of hatred and harassment and hate speech, call 311. But whatever you do, call, so we can get to work stamping out all hatred and bias in this city," de Blasio said.
There has been a wave of hate crimes across the city since Election Day, prompting a variety of rallies, marches, and other actions in response. Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a speech at a Harlem church on Sunday and outlined new steps the State was taking, including a new hate crimes unit in the state police. Cuomo had already announced a new hotline to report hate crimes.
7. The mayor implored New Yorkers to listen to and talk with children. De Blasio cited examples of children worried about being deported, or having loved ones deported, and said that adults should "Let them bring out their fears and concerns. Help them to understand that we, every day in this city, reject division. Show them by your example that you are doing something in the face of this challenge. Show them it can get better because you are acting now."
"I don't say this to burden you. I say it to deputize you," de Blasio said Monday. "From this point on, what we do matters even more because people are watching everywhere. They're looking for an antidote. They're looking for something that works. They need to be reminded there is a better way."
JAMPRO Heads to New
York to Promote Brand Jamaica
By: Tatyana Bellamy-Walker
Hundreds of people from across the Caribbean diaspora lined the parking lot at Sam's Caribbean MarketPlace in Long Island for a weekend-long review of Jamaica's ethnic food
market. Residents sampled foods from Jamaica's own Honey Bun, King Pepper, Salada, Carita
Jamaica Ltd., Wisynco, Grace-Agro processing and Spike industries.
According to a press release sent to Caribbean American Weekly, the event is part of JAMPRO's
two-year plan to network Jamaican businesses with U.S. retailers and exporters.
"We are giving them exposure. A lot of them are not yet in the market—some are, but they have new products," said Andrew Morris, the CEO and President of Sam's Caribbean MarketPlace. "They want to introduce the products to the consumer so there can be more of a demand for [them]."
In mid-September, JAMPRO, a Jamaican-based agency for industry, trade and business, hosted a seven-member trade delegation to promote Jamaican brands and increase efforts in sustainable production.
"A road show provides the perfect forum for our exporters to have direct interaction with other businesses, buyers and customers," said Robert Scott, the President of JAMPRO in a statement.
"It also provides the intimacy required to develop 'hands-on' long-term sustainable relationships, and ultimately repeat purchasing."
Two to three months ago, [is this correct?] Morris joined JAMPRO in scheduling exporters, retailers and distributors. "Sam's [Caribbean MarketPlace] is known as a happening spot and this brings in customers," Morris said. "It's a win-win for everyone." Over the last 12 months, JAMPRO has made two trips to Canada to promote Jamaican brands. In the past years, road shows were held in Georgia, Texas and Florida.
The New York-based station, Irie Jam Radio, DJ'ed the event from 1p.m. to 6 p.m. The radio booth held live interviews with businesses owners and retailers. Kayla Morris, the Brand Manager of Salada Foods, one of the largest coffee companies in Jamaica, traveled more than 1,500 miles to attend New York's JAMPRO road show. "We are getting a very good response," Morris said. "We are hoping [that] for the next barbecue season we will be in stores. We have first-hand information from the [consumers] about which products they like."
>Currently, Salada Foods is a coffee retailer based in Jamaica, with a profit totaling $166,852 for 2015. The company offers cocoa mixes, Salada tea, Mountain Peak roasted and instant coffee, Hotel Sachet roasted beans and Jamaican Ginger tea. New products from Salada Foods can be found at Amazon.com.
Neil Curtis, the Executive Director of Farm Up Jamaica, a non-profit group which helps Jamaican farmers reduce inorganic and genetically modified (GMOS) foods said JAMPRO is helping to boost global agriculture. "There is a whole organic movement worldwide and Jamaica hasn't been participating in that movement," Curtis said. "JAMPRO was a catalyst to the farmers we connected with and since that time three years ago it has grown and grown." The U.S.-based company advocates for the use of environmentally safe practices. "We want more people to realize that you can get healthy foods out of Jamaica," Curtis said.
According to the press release, JAMPRO targeted New York for its high Caribbean population and estimated $75 billion sales in the ethnic food market.
NYC Mayor and Police Department Promise Top Notch Security for J'ouvert 2016
By Vandell Park
For the first time in its history, a legal permit was granted by the City of New York to the
organizers of the Caribbean cultural J'ouvert pre-dawn Labor Day celebration. The 2016 after
midnight street party will also see an increased police presence and safety measures by the
NYPD, as City administration and community organizers of the event seek to stamp out the
violence associated with the cultural Labor Day celebrations.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton say this year's J'ouvert will be the safest, as thousands of police officers will be deployed through the streets of Brooklyn, and some 40 police cameras in addition to those already in place, will be installed along the route of the jubilation parade to ensure its safety.
Mayor de Blasio first made the announcement of safety at a police press conference held at Prospect Park, and then reiterated his message of safety at a Labor Day kickoff party he hosted at Gracie Mansion: "Elected officials, clergy, community leaders came together with the NYPD, and said together we will make this year's J'ouvert safer than ever. You are going to see an incredible community effort on the night of J'ouvert and at the parade; you're going to see extraordinary police presence to keep everyone safe; you're going to see 200 light towers the night of J'ouvert to light up the whole scene for everyone's enjoyment and safety. We are going to go someplace we've never been before in making it the safest, most joyous weekend ever. I remind you that we will not allow a community of hundreds of thousands of proud hardworking people to be typified and characterized by a few bad apples that have done wrong. We are going to show the whole City, the strength and the contributions and the joy of the Caribbean community."
According to Police Commissioner Bratton, the increased security measures this year and going forward, is to prevent similar incidents of stabbings such as that of 24-year- old Denentro Josiah, of the Bronx, who allegedly stopped to break up a fight, and the shooting death of Governor Cuomo's aide, Carey Gabay, who was a reveler at the J'ouvert festival parade in 2015, and was caught in a cross-fire of bullets. Commissioner Bratton says the death of Gabay will forever change the way the NYPD protects the J'ouvert festivities: "In the past, there wasn't that kind of deep planning with the community and there certainly wasn't the kind of investment of resources…now this will be the standard."
NYPD Chief of Operations, James Oniel, says his department has placed shot spotter or gunshot detecting technology in one dozen square miles around the Labor Day activities area. The shot spotters, according to Chief Oniel, will aide in identifying those who may commit crime, but will not prevent shootings. He added that counter- terrorism mechanisms and K-9 dogs will also be in place: "The police are only part of the equation. Especially the night of J'ouvert. It's an absolute shared responsibility between the NYPD and the public we are sworn to protect and serve."
J'ouvert City International President Yvette Rennie, adding to the issue of safety says: "It is very important that we do this so we can pass on our culture to our children. There is a next generation of children who must understand that J'ouvert doesn't have violence and that our culture has no part of violence…we are telling those who are to commit crime, that we are not standing for it because we are J'ouvert."
Ms. Rennie says arrangements are made to have a number of portable potties along the J'ouvert parade route to provide for quality of life issues. An anticipated crowd of 250,000 people is expected to be in attendance for the event. J'ouvert is a long-standing Caribbean pre-carnival celebration and it precedes the annual Labor Day Parade held on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.
Caribbean Diaspora join campaign to exonerate Marcus Garvey
WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) – A number of United States-based Caribbean organisations have joined a campaign to exonerate Jamaica's first national hero, Marcus Garvey.
The Washington-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), said Caribbean Diaspora organisations signing on the campaign include Caribbean Georgia; Caribbean American Advancement Foundation; Caribbean Political Action Committee; Foundation for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey; Jamaica Association of Maryland; Jamaica Nationals Association; and Rebuild Dominica.
"The campaign offers an unprecedented opportunity for engagement among civil rights actors, research and education institutions, and the Caribbean Diaspora community," said Jamaican Dr Claire Nelson, ICS founder and president.
During the 100-day campaign, Nelson said Caribbean Diaspora organisations will, among other things, organise cultural expositions, fora and lectures "to shed light on the legacy of Garvey and provide support for this effort to right a wrong".
Nelson said this "wrong" has "long been a thorn in the side of people of African descent and especially Caribbean Americans, whose ancestors immigrated to the US through Ellis Island (in New York) almost 100 years ago".
Nelson said the campaign builds on activities, over the past two decades, organised by the Universal Negro Improvement Association that was founded by Garvey; the Foundation for the Exoneration of Marcus Garvey; the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations; and ICS, among others.
Nelson said that Garvey's family will hold a press conference later on Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington "to formally announce their petition to the White House for a posthumous Presidential Pardon".
She said the Garvey family, under the leadership of Dr Julius W Garvey, a medical doctor and youngest son of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and several lawyers who have been advising the family on a pro bono basis and others will celebrate Garvey's birthday and kick off of the campaign in support of the petition.
Nelson said the press conference is expected to be attended by leaders of the Caribbean Diaspora and several US Congressional Black Caucus members, "who are joining the call for Garvey's name to be cleared of the 1923 charges with a Presidential Pardon".
In Jamaica, Nelson said celebrations for the birthday will begin with a floral tribute at the National Heroes Park in Kingston, the capital, to be attended by the governor general and political leaders.
She said that, on June 24, Julius W Garvey, Harvard University Law Professor Charles Ogletree and others "submitted a petition requesting a presidential pardon be granted to Marcus Mosiah Garvey to exonerate his 1923 mail fraud charge".
"A pardon is being called for on the grounds that Marcus Garvey was targeted by the US government and J Edgar Hoover [the late, former US Attorney General] for his political activity as a leader of the Pan-African movement," Nelson said. __________________________________________________
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Statement in Support of Posthumous Presidential Pardon of Marcus Mosiah Garvey... Click here
Before Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm
By Rajini Vaidyanathan, BBC News, Washington
Decades before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, there was Shirley Chisholm. As the first black woman to run for president for a major political party she was years ahead of her time. So why don't more people know about her?
Forty-four years ago this week, Shirley Chisholm made history as she announced her candidacy for the White House. Her bid for the top job was short lived, but the symbolism is as powerful today as it was then.
She was a pioneer for her generation, a woman of many firsts - the first African American congresswoman. The first African American to run for president. The first woman to run for president.
"She paved the way for me to be able to set foot on Capitol Hill," says 22 year-old Kimaya Davis, who works for a congressional committee.
Davis is black and secured her job after an internship with the Congressional Black Caucus. Founded by Shirley Chisholm, the Caucus represents black members of Congress.
"It's because of her that I was able to get that internship - it helps young black students. A lot of kids like me, we don't have family connections and privilege."
To those who know about her, Shirley Chisholm is more than a role model, she's an icon and a trailblazer who deserves greater credit and attention than history afforded her.
Despite her many achievements Chisholm is not a household name in the US.
"She was well known in the late 1960s and 1970s, but if you don't come from that era, it's easy to be forgotten," said Ky Ekinci, a social entrepreneur from Florida's Palm Coast.
A few months ago, Ekinci organised the inaugural Shirley Chisholm Day. Around 50 people in the area met to celebrate her life.
His goal was to get many of the younger people in the Palm Coast area, where Chisholm retired and spent her final years, to learn about her.
He created a hashtag, #IKnowNow, to spread the word further afield, tweeting out bite-size facts about Chisholm.
Born in 1924 in Brooklyn, New York, Shirley Chisholm, spent some of her childhood years living with her grandmother in Barbados, before returning to her parents in New York to complete her education.
After qualifying as a teacher she worked in childcare, where she developed an interest in politics. She served in the New York state assembly, then made history in 1968, becoming the first African American woman elected to the US Congress.
Shirley Chisholm wisdom
"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."
"Tremendous amounts of talent are lost to our society just because that talent wears a skirt."
"The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says, 'It's a girl'."
"My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else."
"In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing - anti-humanism."
Medgar Evers College Launches International Education Award
By Vandell Park
Medgar Evers College (MEC) Office of International Education, has launched an annual award ceremony to recognize individuals from the community, faculty members and students who have made a significant contribution to foster the college's international education program. The Office of International Education provides students with opportunities to travel globally for studies, work, internship and research programs that will help them develop rounded skills both academically and socially, thus preparing them for future engagements in their field of choice. The Office of International Education also caters to faculty exchange with other institutions of higher learning abroad. President of MEC, Dr. Rudolph F. Crew, introducing and announcing the awards ceremony for the first time had this to say: "It is truly an honor for our college to host this Inaugural International Awards Ceremony. Clearly, it is with your assistance and the amazing work of the evening's honorees and our distinguished guests that we take another significant step in realizing our quest to transform Medgar Evers College students into global citizens. Part of the journey this evening is to acknowledge those whose labor of love has resulted in this college being able to have the benefit of their kindness, their generosity, and their genius, and they have done it above and beyond the call of anybody's duty… I want you to know that this acknowledgment process is not just for tonight, but it is for the way by which the candles of knowledge and the opportunities that we provide as a school will remain lit all the time. The hope is that as we become closer, that the second objective of this event will be realized, which is for us to understand and fully commit to what it means to be in a college or higher education institution that has dedicated itself to building the infrastructure and the way by which we communicate the power and building of knowledge across many, many islands and many seas, such that students from Trinidad and Tobago and students here in Brooklyn can have a neighborhood."
Dr. Maria-Luisa Ruiz, chairperson of the Department of Foreign Languages; Ms. Jean Joseph, CEO and founder of Joseph Tax and Consulting Services Inc. in Brooklyn; Ms. Shamony Gibson, MEC School of Business; and posthumously, Ms. Agnes Magdalene Abraham, MEC student leader, were the first recipients of the award. Dr. Ruiz was awarded for her role in leading MEC students on several oversees educational trips to Spain, Brazil, Ethiopia, Guyana, Grenada and Canada. Ms. Joseph received an award for her unselfish service and monetary contribution to MEC. Ms. Gibson was awarded for her outstanding achievement as a student who accomplished abroad study programs in Japan and Italy, and Ms. Abraham received a posthumous award for her untiring and outstanding leadership role as president of MEC Student Government Association. Three recipients, Ms. Gibson, Ms. Joseph, and Ms. Abraham, the latter who received the award posthumously for her sister, Agnes Abraham, respectively, expressed their appreciation to MEC: "I feel honored to have received this award. It is still surreal to me. I feel like I am moving into the path where God wants me to. People who don't know me are telling me that you are going to do great and I am humbled and inspired by that, and I can only promise that I will push to be that person. Again I am thankful to Medgar Evers leadership for nominating me for this award."
"This award means so much to me because I was able to be a part of helping Medgar Evers College to enrich my homeland Dominica by assisting in the development of a four-year degree nursing program at the Dominica State College. I am truly thankful to the college for giving me this award, and I will continue to help Medgar Evers College in whatever way I can because Medgar Evers care for international students as well."
"My sister would have been very much honored to have received this award. It is so comforting to know that she did so much good while she was alive that her works can now be recognized even by Medgar Evers College. Thank you Medgar Evers College president and faculty for honoring my sister in this fashion."
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, was given the honor of delivering the keynote address for MEC Inaugural International Education Award Ceremony. Under the caption, "Making the Difference," Dr. Rowley challenged MEC students, faculty, and guests, to rise above the mundane things of life, the daunting complexities and seemingly irreversible conflicts and controversies the world offers and make a difference for the future: "The measure of our success in arresting these concerted multi-faceted issues through international peace and stability, would be influenced by two factors, firstly, the depth of our own appetite for knowledge and truth of wisdom and understanding, and secondly, the intensity of the passion with which we cultivate to comprehensively reject inept and misguided corrupt governance and ideologies, to replace them with leadership committed to the impregnable attributes of integrity, honesty, sincerity and morality in public affairs. We want to be making the difference between shaping the society and the way we know best, creating human conditions in which peace, harmony, equality of opportunities and prosperity for all override all conflicting considerations as opposed to settling for dismal levels of leadership that stands in the way of growth, development and progress, debasing the dignity of man and condemning multitudes to a state of perpetual poverty. The choice is yours. Making the difference in reconfiguring a new world moral and spiritual order where human rights and the welfare and wellbeing of all are given precedent over divisiveness and discord, where men, women and children can engage in enriching, enlightening and elevating process, free from fear of those whose minds are enslaved by diabolically contrasting ideologies, those who seek to reign tribulations, tumult and terrorism upon the brotherhood of man, the choice of making that difference is yours."
The Case For Bernie Sanders
By Vandell Park
Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders is making headway as a catalyst for radical change from the status quo of political establishment within the Democratic Party, and his fire for change has been ignited here in New York City. Already he has reportedly captured the support of two prominent Black New York State Senators in Senator James Sanders of Far Rockaway Queens and Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem, NYS 30th District. Both senators are reported to have openly endorsed Bernie Sanders as the 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate, even though Mr. Sanders is a far way off from securing the delegates required for the nomination.
Caribbean American Weekly in an attempt to find out why the prominent and influential senators endorsed Bernie Sanders, was unable to secure a comment from Senator Bill Perkins, but successfully gleaned the thoughts of Senator James Sanders on this subject. In a telephone interview, Senator Sanders said that his reason for going with Bernie Sanders is because his political message is more inclusive and signals a ray of hope for the Black cause here in America. Senator James Sanders had this to say about his endorsement of Bernie Sanders: "Robert Brice the former Treasury secretary said it best when he said: "If you believe a system is working well then you need a manager, and Hillary Clinton would be a worthy manager. But if you believe it is not working well for you then you need a Bernie Saunders, because he is talking about a political revolution. I've looked at the situation of the people of African descent in this country and I say, between 2008 and 2012 we lost fifty percent (50%) of the entire wealth that we have generated since slavery, in the market meltdown that took place between those years. Before the 2008 market meltdown it was projected that we would have gotten equality in America in about 100 years after slavery, but with the meltdown at this rate, it will now take us about 250 years, so under those conditions you need some drastic change. There is no way we can win in this game. We need a new deal and that is Bernie Sanders."
Senator Sanders however, quickly made known that Hillary Clinton is a great candidate but he would prefer to go with Bernie Sanders primarily because of the political message and his track record of associating with working class people. He noted: "Let's be clear, I will go with any of the Democrats, whoever the nominee is. Any of the Democrats is much better that what's coming at us from the Republicans as we watch their party dissolve into the bigoted, factious sounding Party, so any Democrat is better than that stuff. However, there is a difference between treading water and making sure that you do not drown by getting into a boat. So my point of view is that the policies of Hillary would at best be having us tread water, and we need something radical to move us to a place where we can be participants in America. Bernie Sanders speaks of doing a real stimulus program where he wants to rebuild our infrastructure. Let's be clear, the places which have the worse and crumbling infrastructures are the inner cities, the communities of color, and he is talking of hiring local people to do it, and we will be an extreme beneficiary of this type of program, (a) assuming it happens and (b)that we were able to use local people to do it. I have every indication that he is serious of making it happen, and if that is the only one then that's worthy, but he has lots of other programs too. It is very insulting when people say that Clinton is the first black president. Mass incarceration started with Clinton, so I don't see what we owe this group, but, whoever we go with, we should have some demands, we should not lose our minds. We should have some community demands. I have every intention of bringing Bernie Sanders to Queens and campaigning with him.
Senator Sanders says he was one of the first New York senators to have endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and he will again be a leader in the quest for change by throwing his support behind Bernie Sanders.
Caribbean American Weekly is also endorsing Bernie Sanders as the Democratic Presidential Candidate for the 2016 national elections. While the publication believes the Democrats Party is the wiser choice for leading the country, it opines that Sanders with his more liberal agenda stands to achieve more for the country and in particular people of color. Sanders is making political waves across the country as he flaunts a vibrant socialist agenda which promises a level playing field for all of America. Many young Americans, and in particular black youths are buying into the ideas of free university education and more livable paying jobs for people of all strata of the society.
CEO and Publisher of the Caribbean American Weekly, Brian Figeroux, Esq. comments on his publication endorsement of Bernie Sanders: "Bernie Sanders, I believe is the best qualified person for the Presidency because of his long and faithful career in pursuit for social justice, for empowering those in poverty, for a fair tax system across the board, one that does not favor the 1% above the 99% of the citizenry of this country so that we can achieve economic equality. Most importantly, I think his appeal to the young generation; young voters in this country who need hope, who need their voices to be heard, whose demands are not unreasonable, whether it be a free college education, jobs in the manufacturing industry, his proposal to forgive student loans, if at all achievable. Basically the younger generation is not asking for much since they are simply asking for things enjoyed by the much older generation such as a free college education, and this I believe Bernie Saunders is capable of providing once he becomes the next President of this country."
The Report of the Walter Rodney Commission – breathtaking in its
By: Colin A. Moore
I have not read the transcripts of the Rodney Commission, or the final report of the Commission, but based on the press advisory from Guyana INews, it seems that the Commission has come to the conclusion that the Burnham Government and the principal agencies of the Guyana Government were part of an "organized conspiracy to assassinate Dr. Walter Rodney." The Commission's findings were mind-boggling. This was the first time in Caribbean or Commonwealth history that a head of state was implicated in the murder of a political opponent. What was unprecedented was not only the breath of the conclusion, but the lack of any empirical evidence to support the conclusion. There was no attempt to identify the members of this so-called conspiracy, what roles they played or to articulate the mission of the conspiracy. There was no scintilla of evidence that the Prime Minister of Guyana made any attempt to solicit, importune, command or urge Gregory Smith to murder Walter Rodney. There was no testimony by Donald Rodney, Gregory Smith, Skip Roberts, Norman McLean or Leslie James that L.F.S. Burnham was involved in a conspiracy to assassinate Walter Rodney. The report also went on to state that "we unhesitantly conclude that Gregory Smith was not acting alone, but had the active and full support, participation and encouragement of the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defense Force, agencies of the State and the political directorate in the killing of Dr. Walter Rodney." Where, in heaven's name, did the Commission obtain the evidence to support this exotic hypothesis? There was no such testimony by Donald Rodney or by Gregory Smith or by any of the agency heads -- Skip Roberts, former head of special branch, Norman McLean, former chief of staff of the Guyana Defense Force or by Leslie James, the subsequent head of Special Branch.
The Commission's finding of a criminal conspiracy seems to have been based on the fabricated, self-serving and uncorroborated testimony of one witness- Allan Robert Gates, aka Brian De Nobrega Gibson. The Testimony of this "mystery" witness reads like the script of a James Bond movie. In any court of law, this fabricated testimony would have been laughed out of court by a skeptical jury, and declared "incredible as a matter of law" by a thoughtful judge. The fact that the Commission gave credence to the fabricated testimony of a convicted felon, serving a 4year sentence for fraud in a penal institution, speaks volume about the independence and legal acumen of the Commission. While it is true that the PNC Government did utilize the services of Rabbi Washington, to orchestrate a campaign of violence and coercion against supporters of the WPA, it is also true that the PNC did not have an exclusive monopoly over the instrumentalities of violence in the 1980's.
On September 19, 2010, the leader of the WPA, informed the Stabroek News that "the party was accumulating weapons long before the murder of Dr. Rodney."
The activists in the WPA had publicly proclaimed that it was the policy of the movement to overthrow the "Burnham dictatorship" by any means necessary.
In pursuit of this mission, they had pursued a policy of infiltrating the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defense Force.
In 1979, activists in the WPA, allegedly set fire to the office of the General Secretary and the Ministry of Mobilization.
In 1980, Arnold Apple and Tacuma Ogunseye, two activists in the WPA, were found in possession of large quantities of explosives and detonators, while on their way to the PNC stronghold of Linden.
The Commission failed to articulate the elements of a prima facie case of criminal conspiracy, and it failed to establish proof of guilt, beyond a reasonable doubt. The following are the findings of fact that the Commission should have made:
That the overwhelming facts of the case established that Rodney's death was an intentional act of homicide perpetrated by Gregory Smith, a former electronics expert employed by the GDF;
That there was circumstantial evidence that elements of the Guyana Defense Force, the Guyana Police Force and the Judiciary were involved in a cover- up of the crime;
Participants in a cover up, known as accessories after the fact are involved in suppressing or eliminating evidence of the crime, but are not necessarily involved in the Commission of the crime. Thus, elements of the GDF, the criminal investigation department of the police force, chief magistrate Leslie Birch-Smith and coroner Edwin Pratt were "accessories after the fact," but were not accomplices in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. Rodney.
The following is an outline of the facts and circumstances leading to the assassination of Walter Rodney:
Gregory Smith met Walter Rodney in 1978 at a house party in Second Street, Alberttown, and indicated his support of the WPA. Dr. Rodney gave him several assignments, which sought to utilize his specialized knowledge in the electronics field. He was told to recruit people to the WPA at the Maritime command. On or around June 13, 1980, Dr. Rodney brought three portable citizen band radios or walkie-talkies to his home. He also brought several photo flash bulbs, antennas and batteries. The purposes of the devices allegedly were to act as triggering devices for the walkie-talkie. Dr. Rodney allegedly asked Gregory Smith to test the walkie-talkies. Dr. Rodney brought his brother Donald with him, and the three of them drove to different locations in the City to test the communication devices. At some point, Gregory Smith, gave the devices to Donald and Walter Rodney and left to see an Indian film at the Empire Cinema. Later on when he returned home, he was informed that the device had gone off prematurely, and that Dr. Rodney had died in the explosion.
Donald Rodney, because of the injuries sustained in the explosion, did not testify at his trial before Chief Magistrate Norman Jackman. Instead, he read into the record an affidavit prepared by his attorney, Mr. Miles Fitzpatrick. In his statement of facts, Donald related how he and his brother, Walter, had collected a walkie-talkie from Gregory Smith on Friday, June 13, 1980, and drove around several streets in the city. He recalled how an explosion occurred in the car, killing his brother and propelling him into the street.
Dr. Leslie Mootoo, the government pathologist, testified that Walter Rodney died of wounds caused by an explosive device which exploded in his lap. He testified that the bomb blast propelled through the roof of the car, and down through the seat, ripping open Rodney's abdomen, and blowing his brother out of the car. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the vital organs caused by the detonation of an explosive device. The British bomb experts who examined the device, stated that the walkie-talkies contained a powerful anti-personnel bomb that exploded causing Rodney's death.
The evidence by Donald Rodney, identifying Gregory Smith as the person who handed the walkie-talkie to his brother, Dr. Leslie Mootoo's diagnosis that Rodney's death was caused by the detonation device in his lap, and the statements by the 2 British bomb experts, that the walkie-talkie contained a powerful anti- personnel bomb, provided conclusive evidence of Gregory Smith's guilt of murder, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Gregory Smith, in his book, entitled, "Cry of a Failed Revolution," stated that, after the death of Rodney, he was driven to an airstrip outside of Georgetown, and put on board a plane bound for Kwa-Kwa-ni. A communiqué from the British Ministry of Defense, stated that "following the bomb blast that killed Walter Rodney and injured his brother, Gregory Smith was seen alive at the bauxite mining town of Kwa-Kwa-ni, where he boarded a GDF plane for an unknown destination." Gregory Smith further stated that, a few days after the death of Walter Rodney, he was taken to Timehri Airport and introduced to an immigration officer who provided him with a passport in the name of Cyril Johnson, a plane ticket to Cayenne, French Guyana, $300 in US currency, and a letter to the authorities in Cayenne. The immigration officer then accompanied him to the tarmac, where he boarded an Air Martinique plane bound for Cayenne, French Guyana.
After his arrival at the airport in Cayenne, he was granted entry into the country. A few days later, he was employed by the French firm, PIDEG which serviced radio equipment for the shrimping trawlers. He lived openly in the Guyanese expatriate community in Cayenne, where he met several individuals who knew him from his childhood days in Guyana. He sent remittances to his children in Guyana and invited members of his family to visit him in Cayenne. Pat Rodney, the widow of Walter Rodney, pointed out to former President Hugh Desmond Hoyte that Gregory Smith, Guyana's most wanted international fugitive, had travelled openly from Cayenne to Paramaribo in 1986 to renew his Guyanese passport. His passport was renewed by the Guyanese diplomatic mission in Paramaribo.
Brooklyn Borough President Honors Religious Leaders
By: Vandell Park - Thursday, December 3, 2015
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams honored five of the longest- serving faith leaders in the borough. The Borough President bestowed the Golden Cornerstones Award on Overseer Dorothy Wright and Reverend Herbert Daughtry, both of whom commenced their religious leadership in 1955 and 1958, respectively. Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Imam Siraj Wahhai and Rabbi Linda Henry-Goodman all who began their religious ministry in 1972, 1976 and 1992, respectively, were also recipients of the award. The award ceremony was the focal point of the Borough President's second annual Interfaith Breakfast which focused on the theme: Different Faiths-One Brooklyn.
Borough President Adams says the award presented to the above named individuals is in recognition of their commitment to untiring service in the social justice arena for the people of Brooklyn: "The Annual Interfaith Breakfast brings together different faiths that highlight the rich diversity of religious traditions in the borough of Brooklyn. Brooklyn is blessed to have spiritual leaders and interfaith chaplains who care and minister to the needs of the community across the borough. This breakfast is not only a celebration of Brooklyn's multiple faiths, but also of my office's concept of One Brooklyn. The Golden Cornerstones honor those members who have become pillars of our faith traditions. I congratulate them all on their longevity, sustainability and commitment to improving the body, mind and soul of their congregations and communities."
In addition to the awards presentation, the other major highlight of the event were the number of prayers offered up to Jehovah God for the safety and success of the Borough, the State and the entire country by a diverse group of faith leaders. Reflecting on the words of the U.S. National Anthem, Mr. Adams specifically commented on his perception on what he believes is inferred by the words: 'land of the brave': "most importantly I heard the lyrics of the song which said that we are the land of the brave; it didn't say land of the coward. When you are brave you hold on to those things that are principled and true, because there is a knee jerk reaction to start demonizing other religions, because we don't understand those who abuse religion for their own sick reasons. Those were not Muslims who shot those people in California; those were sick people. In the land of the brave you do not abandoned those things that are principled, that are true and that are real. Brooklyn is going to show the entire globe how we embrace true religion and culture, and that's why this day is reflective of the diversity that makes up our religious philosophies and beliefs in the borough of Brooklyn."
Mr. Adams also seized the opportunity to launch his "seeds of kindness" initiative, which provides a metro card to the less fortunate within Brooklyn who may want to seek basic social services around the city, but do not have the funds to pay transportation to get them to these services. He called on faith leaders to encourage their congregations to contribute to this initiative by simply putting a metro card in the offering plates and have them dropped off at his office for distribution to the various social services centers where they can be distributed to the most vulnerable in the Brooklyn community.
The Green Party-- Ready for the 2016 Presidential Challenge
By: Vandell Park
The Green Party of the United States of America, is hoping to change the political landscape established for presidential elections in this country, by building what its leaders term, grassroots momentum, to ensure access to the election ballots for all states. Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential candidate for the 2016 general elections, says her party, which contended for the presidency in 2012, will, by all means necessary, try again to get on the ballot for the elections so as to bring about the much- needed change from the two-party political status quo that currently exists in this country: "the current political system is more involved with preserving the status quo and preserving their wealthy donors; they …aren't really interested in change that would meet people's urgent needs, so I then became involved in the effort to clean up government and make it more responsive to get the big money out of politics and put the people back in; but what I found, is that neither of the political parties, namely the Republicans nor the Democrats, would allow that to happen. We saw that there was a record low turnout at the elections in 2014, because the Democrats are not giving the people anything to turn out for and the Republicans have become the party of hate and hate speech and of immigrant bashing and the unapologetic party for the rich and the economic elite, and the Democrats have failed to stand up to that and offer an alternative. There are about 58 percent of the voters who say that they want a major independent party, so our job now is to get the word out and to get on the ballot, because that's part of how the establishment protects itself, how it maintains this system that favors the big banks and the big corporations but not every day working people, not people who need jobs and small businesses… young people now are very excited about our campaign."
According to Dr. Stein, the Green Party is, so far, confident of making the ballot for some 40 states and is hoping to do so for the rest of the nation within the near future so as to put up a formidable opposition to the two main political parties at the 2016 presidential elections. She also stressed the importance for getting access to televised debates on the national stage against the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, an area she says is difficult for third parties to break through, but the Green Party will not be bullied in the 2016 general elections: "When it comes to the final debates and these are the biggest ones that most people watch, those debates are controlled by the Republican and Democratic parties which is really outrageous. That's why we have filed two lawsuits in the courts; one is suing the commission that controls presidential debates, and the other is suing the Federal Elections Commission, and while I do not want to get into the technical details of these cases, we are using the force of law because the American people deserve not only to vote, because we have a right to vote, but we also deserve the right to know who we can vote for because otherwise your vote doesn't mean anything if it is not an informed vote, and that's what the debates are supposed to do. So the Green Party is in the court of law to try to force open these debates, and we have these petitions on our website for people to sign, because we deserve open debates…that's why our fight is to get heard. We don't have to convince people because when they hear that there is a voice for them, we have all the support we need to turn the White House into a Green House and to turn our communities into sustainable striving green communities, but we have to fight against a very empowered system in order to get heard."
Dr. Stein says the Green Party's message to voters is simply one that puts the needs of people first and the time has come for people to realize that the established Democratic and Republican parties do not care about their well-being: "Our platform creates an America that works for all of us…we are pushing for an emergency jobs program, an emergency economic program, because they tell us that we are in recovery from the 2008 recession but for most people it is not a recovery; it is still an emergency. We are calling for the creation of 20 million, good wage full- time jobs that would be through small businesses. We will give them support, provide the loans that they need, in fact, giving them incentives to go ahead and hire the people that they need to jump-start these businesses. We will allow for community cooperatives and workers cooperatives; we will look at major public works projects in order to green our economy. This takes on two emergencies at once--an economic emergency and a climate emergency. The 20 million jobs will jump-start the economy and will provide clean renewable energy by 2030. We are also in the process of creating a healthy local food supply that makes us healthy instead of the foods that are subsidized now. And we will also look at a public transportation system so that we will green the economy and will make wars for oil obsolete. That is the core of our platform, but in addition, we are calling for education as a human right; that means reviving our public schools and investing in them, making sure that children in all communities have great public schools. We want to stop this emphasis on high-stake testing that is not supported by science. It's not supported by the data; it is not helpful; we need to teach to the whole student for lifetime learning… this high-stake testing is very unfriendly and drives them down the school to prison pipeline. We are calling for health care as a human right through an expanded Medicare for all systems which will save us money and allow us to cover everyone comprehensively and take out the profiteering from health care. We are calling for an emergency action plan for racial justice now that will end racist policing, racism in the courts and in the prison, as well as segregation in education, housing, and hiring. Finally, we are calling for a foreign policy based on human rights and international law and not based on these wars for oil, regime change and military interventions that are currently causing us a trillion dollars a year and is actually making us less secure. We need chambers of commerce to advocate for small- and community- based businesses so that we, the people, can get the kind of economy that we really need. This is the program that I will push for as president, and as president, I will not just be a commander in chief; rather I will also be an organizer in chief, because if we, the people, need it, we should get it and that kind of pressure can move Congress to respond to the needs of the people."
On the issue of gun violence, Dr. Stein says that the Green Party believes the United States can follow the examples of other countries that have considerably eliminated gun violence from their cities and communities by simply enforcing gun control laws. She pointed out that her administration will push for stricter gun control laws by pressuring Congress to table legislation that will remove assault rifles from personal gun ownership and implement stricter laws for ownership of hand guns: "Gun violence is really the second cause of deaths for young people in this country after automobile accidents and we need to do what needs to be done here; this is not rocket science…we need background checks so that people who do not need to have guns in their hands, do not get them. We need to take automatic and semi-automatic weapons off the shelves. Automatic weapons are not for hunting; they are for killing people… communities have a right to make rules to create safety, communities have a right to deal with the dangers that they are facing, so while we support banning automatic weapons and background checks, that is a national policy… the community ban on hand guns is a way to start. Gun violence or any kind of violence, does not exist in a vacuum; it exists because people are desperate, because people are stressed, because poverty drives people to do desperate things, and poverty drives conflict, which is why we have to make jobs a part of this. Make good schools and education [is] a part of this, which is why we have to deal with homelessness, and when the political establishments say that they do not have enough money they are saying that they do not have enough money for you, and this is what a part of the "Green New Deal" will address. It guarantees the right to a living wage job, it guarantees the right to affordable housing and the right to healthcare and this is the basis for reducing gun violence in our communities. We can fix this and we have the power to fix this. I just want to implore you to go to our website: jill2016.com and sign up to make the change. It's time to build a people's movement to end unemployment and poverty, avert climate catastrophe, build a sustainable, just economy and recognize the dignity and human rights of every person. The power to create this new world is not in our hopes; it's not in our dreams-it's in our hands."
Dr. Stein is a trained medical doctor, who hails from Lexington, Massachusetts. She graduated from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979. She is married to Richard Roher who is also a physician and has two sons. Dr. Stein is an expert on environmental health and has championed the cause of "A healthy people, a healthy planet" for years as an environmental activist.
Nation of Islam Plans 20th Anniversary Million Man March
By: Vandell Park
Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam will be hosting another Million Man March in
observance of the 20th anniversary of the first such march held in 1995. Representing Farrakhan,
Minister Nuri Mohammad says the March will be held on October 10, 2015, on the lawns of the
Washington Mall, in Washington D.C. He noted that in 1995, the Million Man March was one of
reconciliation and atonement, but this 20th observance march will be different. He explains: "This
year we are not going back to atonement, reconciliation and responsibility; the theme of the 20th
anniversary is "Justice or Else." We are saying as a people, that enough is enough; we are sick
and tired of being sick and tired … every time we turn on the television or scroll the time line of
Instagram, Twitter or Facebook; we are seeing the video of a young black male being murdered
by the Ku Klux Klan/ aka the police department; we're sick and tired of it. So we are going to
present a case to the U.S. government to let them know that this is what you have been doing;
this is what you have done to us, to the Native Americans, to all victims of injustice in America,
those original owners of the majority of America, the Mexicans; we are going to make a case
that this is what justice looks like and if you don't give us this definition and image of justice,
then you can expect number one, a "BIG OR ELSE" to come from the God of heaven and then
number two, another "BIG OR ELSE" to come from the hands of the people that you have
denied justice. That is where we are, going into 10-10-15; the "OR ELSE" from the people is
economic withdrawal, black out black Friday, boycott Christmas. Let's take Christmas from this
imaginary white man from the North Pole and a tricked environment; let's give it back to Jesus,
and let's hold our dollar; then we guarantee you that when we begin to use our money like Dr.
King said as a weapon, then we can strike a great blow for freedom, justice and equality."
According to Mohammad, the march will focus on issues that will force the elimination of injustices in all of its forms. He stressed that what one man or a small group of men cannot achieve, a united army can, and that's the objective behind the 10-10-15 march to Washington: "The reality …is that many people[are] coming together for one common cause; the honorable Elijah Mohammad said that our unity is more powerful than an atomic or nuclear bomb… billions of dollars have been spent to keep black people and other non-white ethnic groups from uniting with one another…the honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is being chosen to be our delivery system and he has instructed us, black youths in America, to look at the last two years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his many speeches of 1968; he said boycott and marches isn't working; what we have is consumer power of $30 billion, making the black nation the eleventh richest nation on earth; he said that we have to find a way to start using our money as a weapon. His words are that we are in pain, but, we have to find a way to redistribute the pain. We have to find a way today of economic retaliation…so if we are willing to withhold our money on Christmas and on the biggest shopping day of the year, the day after miss-giving; they call it thanks giving; that day they call it Black Friday, but we call it White Friday, if we withhold our money, you will find that at the end of that cycle billions of dollars will be denied from the U.S. economy and that will be a devastating blow."
Mohammad says he hopes that a group of black congressmen will take their agenda and present it before Congress and make them vote on it but if not, God is sufficient and so will be the unity of those who will congregate for the scheduled march. He added that their unity is going to be the key that day and beyond 10-10-15. He noted that following the march, they will return to their respective places and prepare to mobilize and organize people in an effective way to bring into existence every idea and concept that will be agreed on, on 10-10-15. The keynote speaker will be Minister Louis Farrakhan, along with different representatives who will present the case of injustice from the different spectrum of injustice that exists in America. There will be representatives from the Latino community, from women's rights, from the veteran's community, from Mexican families. According to Mohammad, there will be representatives from all those in America who have been victims of White supremacy. There will be no private meeting with the Obama Administration on that day, since the gathering of men on the Washington lawn is the public meeting that should result in action from the powers that be. He added: "Our Caucasian brothers are also welcome to join this march. Many of them also suffer injustices. Let me say that this is not a march for a color; this is a march for principle and that principle is Justice or Else. As we have seen with the various marches across the country that have to do with Black Lives Matter, there are our White brothers and sisters who have joined in because they understand that they have a contribution to make to underscore that Black lives matters. So if you are a Caucasian who want to join the march, you will be welcome with open arms and with respect and we hope that you will come and join us and be willing to stand against those that look like you that are denying justice to the black men and women of America, but we have seen that this wicked system does not exempt anyone from injustice."
Farrakhan, over the past six months, has been crisscrossing the country meeting with church and community leaders, hip-hop artists, and other key leaders to galvanize support for the Million Man March. Mohammad said that there will be nothing to fear since security measures are in place: "In 1995 there was no violence in the entire city of Washington. Our unity summons and galvanizes the presence of God. There are well- trained security forces within the Nation of Islam who will ensure that there be no violence on 10-10-15. In addition to the well- trained security forces, there will be countless numbers of magnetrons or metal detectors that will be all around the spaces to make sure that no one enters into the sacred space of the Justice or else movement with any form of any weapon where we will be gathered. Everyone should be confident that their safety is guaranteed through the leadership of God. This will be a day of peace, and a serious day, not playing games, not entertainment. If you are not a serious- minded person that really wants to see justice for your people, stay home. This march is not for everybody; this march is for serious- minded soldiers that really want to see the end to police brutality, mob attack, and black on black homicide, rape murder and violence. If you are not serious about putting an end to that then this is not a gathering for you. Transportation is being organized locally in every major city and communities across the United States of America. Go to justice or else .com and you will be able to use an app on your smart phone to find the exact address or phone number to get connected with the organization effort and transportation in your area, to help get you to Washington D.C. Tel: 347-245-9447."
More Trouble Allegedly Brewing at P.S. 181
By: Vandell Park
P.S. 181 safety concerns intensify, as parents, without background checks, are allowed by the Principal,
to function as staff members at the school. The saga of irresponsible conduct, putting children's safety
at risk as well as poor administration, continues at P.S. 181 in Brooklyn, as Principal Heather Lawrence
reportedly continues to run the school with much disregard for the safety of the students and the rules
set out by the New York City Department of Education (DOE). Both parents and teachers are aghast at
Principal Lawrence's reckless behavior and administrative decisions that exposes the students of P.S.
181 to her private intimate affair with a male teacher at the school during school hours, as well as
unknown dangers, by allowing parents who are her friends, but who hold no position with the school's
Parent Teachers Association (PTA), to function in the school as though they are hired by the Department
of Education without any official background check. According to parents, this group of parents, which
moves at the behest and wishes of Principal Lawrence, has usurped the role of the legitimately elected
Parent Teachers Association. This, parents and teachers say, is very disturbing, since the parents
involved are uncouth, brash, and outright disrespectful to students, teachers and other parents.
According to parents, this illegitimate parent group, operating out of Principal Lawrence's office and the office of the Parent Coordinator, Keith Grady, compromises the safety of their children. To compound the issue, parents and teachers are questioning the close relationship between Principal Lawrence and a parent known as Abigail Haynes, who is the spokesperson for the parent group in question, and who functions out of Principal Lawrence's office, since the latter reportedly sometime during the last school year, wrote a letter of complaint to the school's district office, accusing Haynes of making sexual advances towards her. In addition, parents are also concerned that another parent, Andrea Fergus, whom Principal Lawrence recommended to be a Learning Leader in the school, makes approaches to the business community, soliciting various products and items on behalf of the school. Another parent, Debby Fletcher, who is also a learning leader at the school, is reported to have been verbally abusive to parents and using foul languages in the presence of a number of students, and goes around the school from class to class campaigning for votes to remove the current president of the Parent Teachers Association. Caribbean American Weekly understands that these parents, who allegedly are operating at the school with the permission of Principal Lawrence, are more troublemakers rather than individuals who would positively advance the cause of the students of P.S. 181.
In fact, Haynes, who called Caribbean American Weekly to give what she terms, a positive report on the school, when asked about her role at PS 181, says she is one of a concerned group of parents who are operating at the school apart from the Parent Teachers Association to ensure the positive things that are happening at the school are made known to the public. Haynes, when asked what message her group wants the public to know about PS 181, said: "Certainly things that will not degrade the school, nor put the school in a bad light in the public. We are a part of this community and we know that the school is going through a process; it's a rebuilding. We recognize that there are things that should be done; still I think it should be seen in a right and proper way. I think the Principal is approachable, I think she herself has alluded that she wishes she had addressed some things differently, and that's the kind of dialogue we want to have when dealing with our issues, not an article that pinpointedly shows her as a bad person, destroying her character; we share the idea that we should not try to destroy someone else. That's not what we want for the school. There are kids here who can't afford to go to other schools; there are kids here who want to be here and we think that although the school is undergoing a rebuilding process and things aren't what they should be, we think that a more positive spin on the school is what is needed at this time given the circumstances. The students have been through a lot, some progress has being made and there is a lot more to do and that's what we want to focus on."
PTA President Veronica Clarke, when contacted, says she is aware of the activities of the two parents who are learning leaders at the school, including the verbal abuse towards a parent by one of the learning leaders. According to Clarke, the matter of the verbal abuse was reported to the Principal but no action seems to have been taken by the Principal to relieve that parent as a learning leader. Clarke also confirmed that there is a campaign on by a group of parents to remove her as the President of the Parent Teacher Association because of her outspoken attitude towards some of the deliberate wrongdoings of Principal Heather Lawrence.
According to a spokesperson from the New York City Department of Education Press and Media Department, the DOE does not know who Abigail Haynes is since she is not an employee of the DOE. However, the DOE spokesperson confirmed that P.S. 181 is currently under investigation for a number of reports regarding alleged safety concerns and other issues, including an issue involving Principal Lawrence and the PTA body.
"Ms. Lawrence Must Go," Is the Call of P.S. 181 Parents and Teachers
By: Vandell Park
Parents and teachers at P.S. 181, also known as the John L. Steptoe Elementary School in Brooklyn, are outraged at the principal, Ms. Heather Lawrence, for her deliberate neglect of
both children and teachers' safety, and for her incompetent administration of affairs at the school. According to parents and teachers, the principal's lack of control of the students has
resulted in three deliberately set fires in the school building since January of 2015, up to this
current spring term. In addition, it is also reported that Principal Lawrence disobeyed the New
York City Department of Education (DOE) reporting of occurrence procedures, when she covered up the incidents of the fires by not reporting them to the Department of Education, the
Fire Department or even to the local police. There are also allegations that the school's fire
alarm system would be deliberately set off by students sometimes up to five to six times daily,
and this, both teachers and parents say, is a safety hazard allowed by the principal since they
would not be able to tell when the fire alarm goes off for an actual fire.
In addition to the safety issues, there are complaints of serious student misconduct at the school that the principal is also alleged to be covering up. According to parents and teachers, students from grades six to eight are often seen having sex, smoking marijuana in lonely hallways and stairwells of the school, as well as engaging in other activities that should not be allowed on the school premises. It is alleged that Principal Lawrence is fully aware of these unbecoming behaviors by the students, but has chosen not to report them to the relevant authorities at the Department of Education. Many parents also complained that the principal might even be guilty of violating the sexual assault codes of the DOE, since in order to portray herself as being cool, would be often seen placing students to sit on her lap in her office. This, parents say, is not a cool practice.
The principal is also accused of belittling and speaking condescendingly to teachers who would not support her style of leadership, and even making it uncomfortable for those teachers to function effectively. According to the complaints, the principal has openly threatened to make the life of teachers who are not supportive of her, difficult, to the point where they would either leave on their own, or get discouraged and perform poorly so that she would have reason to fire them. This, parents say, is not in the best interest of their children's academic advancement and the time has come for Principal Lawrence to be removed as the principal from the school. Here are some comments from parents and teachers: "Ms. Lawrence doesn't have my child's interest at heart. Every afternoon I come to pick up my child, the fire alarm is making so much noise. What would happen when there is a real fire? The kids and teachers are not safe in this school and the principal needs to go."
"It is bare chaos happening at this school. The kids are running all over the building; the bigger kids have no manners and are even cursing and behaving rudely in front of teachers and even the principal. The principal has no control of these children."
"Look, this woman is outright incompetent. She is nothing like Mr. Coleman, who was the former principal. She has no control of the students, and she acts very childish by trying to be friends with the kids when she should be exercising her authority to demand respect from them. The kids had more respect for Mr. Coleman than for her. They need to move her from this school."
"Ms. Lawrence cannot be trusted as the principal of this school. Not only does she demean us as teachers, but she also lies about a number of things and I am afraid that she might be submitting false reports on us as teachers to the Department of Education. Since she came to this school as principal, a number of teachers have been forced out by her. I love working with the children here, but I am no longer able to put up [with] Ms. Lawrence's action as the principal. I am currently seriously thinking of moving on."
"The principal is just not ready for this job. She lacks the appropriate administrative ability to be principal of this school. She runs the school as if she is running a kindergarten class by having students running directly to her office to complain, even disrespecting their teachers in the process. She doesn't respect teachers and support them. The grades six to eight students are out of control and show no respect for teachers of this school. In addition, Ms. Lawrence is putting teachers against each other by cozying up to some teachers…. She needs to go. I would not be forced out of this school."
The most recent accusation leveled against Principal Lawrence is that she provided the Department of Education FACE Team with falsified document information regarding the School's Parent Teachers Association (PTA). She is alleged to have submitted her friend's name as the co-president of the PTA, unknowing to the school's parent body, and current PTA president, thus allowing her friend the right to vote as the head of the PTA on behalf of the school. According to the parents and teachers, such actions form a regular pattern for Ms. Lawrence, a principal who just cannot be trusted with the care of the students of P.S. 181.
The New York City Department of Education, when contacted for a comment on the situation at P.S. 181, issued a statement through its spokesperson, Devora Kaye, which says: "We are investigating allegations that Principal Lawrence acted inappropriately towards the school's PTA president and we take these additional concerns very seriously. The superintendent has met with parents and families to address their concerns, and we are continuing to monitor the situation closely."
Shirley Patterson: Put
Experience On Your Side
By: CAW EDITORIAL STAFF
The appointment of New York State
Assemblyman Karim Camara,
from the 43rd Assembly District,
to an administrative position by
Governor Andrew Cuomo, has created a
vacancy for one of the most vibrant politically
led districts in Brooklyn, and
already three formidable candidates are
vying to fill the vacant post by way of a
special election scheduled for Tuesday,
May 5, 2015.
Those candidates are: the incumbent Female District Leader from the 43rd Assembly District, Shirley Patterson; the Female District Leader challenger, Diana Richardson; and the current Male District Leader, Geoffrey Davis, the brother of former New York City Councilman, James Davis. However, the incumbent Female District Leader, Shirley Patterson says she is the most qualified person to fill the position since she is already a leader in the district and has a keen understanding of the needs of the people and the challenges they face. Patterson believes that her knowledge of the various issues encountered by the district at the New York State level, gives her the edge above her opponents in the upcoming special elections: "I am currently dealing with the housing problem that plagues the district. I know the ins and outs of this district. I have been fighting for this district as its leader for almost 15 years. I believe the time has come for me to take the fight for my people to Albany. I am committed to continuing the good work of our outgoing Assemblyman, Karim Camara, and to continue building on the foundation that he has built over the last ten years."
According to Patterson, it is incumbent upon her to fight for the rights of the people in the district, especially in the wake of what appears to be a hostile takeover of the district by housing developers. She noted that already the issue of affordable housing is a huge challenge in the district as a number of individuals are losing their rent-stabilized housing and landlords are squeezing every penny from the many residents who are already earning below the poverty line: "My platform will be centered around the housing problem since it is my pet peeve. A number of landlords and even the city, seems to care less about the well-being of the lowincome workers who live in this district. My goal is that once I get to Albany, I will advocate on behalf of these people and try to pass legislation that will allow these people to pay rent equivalent to about 30 percent of what they earn. It is one thing to talk about affordable housing, yet the Area Median Income (AMI) stipulated by the New York State Housing Department is way above the earning capacity of the people. Other issues I want to deal with are the equal rights for women, especially the pay parity that now exists between men and women. It is a shame that here in New York women still earn 15% less than a man who has the same job. I want to ensure that immigrants living in my district and across New York State have fair access to the essentials needed to live in this state such as their children being able to access financial assistance for college and being able to obtain a good education, [and] immigrant parents being able to drive to work and provide for their children most of whom are citizens of this country. I worked for seven years in the city education system; thus, education is one of my priority agenda. I also want to advocate on behalf of our senior citizens and women and men who suffer from domestic violence. These are just some of the key issues I intend to deal with when I get to Albany."
Patterson says that once given the opportunity to represent the district as its Assemblywoman, she will ensure that the concerns of the people are brought to the state legislature, since she intends to meet regularly with the residents, even by visiting their homes to understand their problems so that she can adequately represent their needs. She says a vote for her means their voice in Albany: "I don't know how better to say this, than to say, come out and vote for me on Tuesday, May 5th 2015. You have placed your trust in me before by electing me as your District Leader; you have seen the work that I have done on your behalf over the past 15 years. I want to take my representation for you to a higher level. All I am asking is your support by coming out to vote. If you stay at home, someone else might win that may not represent you the way I would, so kindly make sure that you come out and vote for me, Shirley Patterson, to become your next voice in the New York State Legislature."
Patterson will run as an independent candidate for the Assembly seat since a hiccup in the Democratic Party Primary nominations for the candidate resulted in her name being left off the ballot for this special election on Tuesday, May 5th, 2015.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO AND COUNCIL SPEAKER MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO LAUNCH IDNYC, THE COUNTRY'S MOST AMBITIOUS MUNICIPAL IDENTIFICATION PROGRAM
Mayor announces the acceptance of IDNYC by more than 10 financial institutions and the complete package of card benefits, including entertainment and BigAppleRx prescription discounts
NEW YORK— January 12, 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launched the IDNYC municipal identification program for residents of all five New York City boroughs. The Mayor also announced that the IDNYC card will be accepted as valid primary identification for opening a bank or credit union account at more than 10 financial institutions, and revealed the card's full suite of benefits.
"IDNYC is not only a card for all New Yorkers, it is the gateway to City services, the key to opening a bank account or getting a library card, and the ticket to many of our city's finest cultural institutions. More than that, this card represents who we are: New Yorkers who value equality, opportunity and diversity," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I want to thank Speaker Mark-Viverito and our partners in the Council for their tremendous work and collaboration on this program. Today, we are launching the most ambitious, dynamic and useful municipal ID program in the country, which will have a real and tangible impact on the lives of all New Yorkers."
"Time and again, New York City has shown that we are not afraid to lead," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "In launching the IDNYC program, we are living up to our highest ideals about who we are as a city. I'm proud of my colleagues and bill sponsors Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca and Council Member Daniel Dromm for their support in this process and thank the de Blasio administration for its partnership in making IDNYC a reality for all New Yorkers."
"IDNYC identifies you as a card-carrying New Yorker," said Council Member Daniel Dromm, the card's main sponsor. "This is an exciting day, because today we are saying that all New Yorkers—regardless of gender identity, immigration status, homelessness, or other identifiers—are an important part of our city. I am so proud to have worked with Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Commissioner Agarwal, and Council Member Menchaca to create what I have called the 'must-have accessory for all New Yorkers in 2015.' Congratulations, all!"
"The launch of IDNYC marks the beginning of a new time in our great City. The significance of the IDNYC, however, is far larger than the creation of another form of identification. The real victory of this program is the way that it will make the lived experiences of New Yorkers—from all walks of life—more full and dignified. We remain committed to meeting New Yorkers where they are, and the roll-out of this initiative represents a real sensitivity to the concerns, cultures and lifestyles of all of our residents. This is truly transformative, something greater than the sum of its parts: the Council in fierce partnership with City agencies and our community partners. I applaud the de Blasio administration, the Speaker, the Council, and the countless advocates on their unwavering resolve to ensure the success of this program," said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
"There's no place like New York City in all the world, and residents are rightly proud to claim the city as part of their identities, whether they've been here five months or 50 years. I'm eager to become a card-carrying New Yorker through the IDNYC program and encourage all of my constituents to do the same, and take full advantage of all of the opportunities this ID program provides to explore new York City's most exciting cultural institutions, free of charge," said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy.
"I welcome the launch of IDNYC as an important component in providing access for all New Yorkers to have sufficient identification," said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. "By encouraging the growing use of IDNYC, this plan is an important and practical tool that will provide access to identification for immigrants, young adults, homeless residents and other New Yorkers who may not have access to any other form of proper identification. This historical initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of many New Yorkers, and I applaud the hard work and commitment of Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito, Council Members Dromm and Menchaca, and all the stakeholders to get this important program operational."
"The IDNYC program represents a fundamentally powerful step forward in unifying and strengthening our city," said Council Member Margaret Chin. "I'm encouraging all my constituents to apply for an IDNYC card, and I'm particularly excited about the positive impact the program will have within our immigrant communities, from Chinatown to neighborhoods all across the city. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito for their leadership on this deeply important initiative, and I can't wait to get an IDNYC card of my own!"
A Travesty of Justice Handed Down by Staten Island Grand Jury in the
Eric Garner Chokehold Death Case
By: Vandell Park
The predicted outcome of the Grand Jury decision of no indictment for Police Officer Daniel
Pantaleo, in the chokehold death of Staten Island resident, Eric Garner, unraveled the inevitable
outrage of a people frustrated by a system designed to blatantly discriminate against non-white
Americans. In spite of having access to video detailing the scene of the crime, and a New York
City medical examiner's report which categorically stated that Garner's death was a homicide
due to compression around his neck as a result of the police officer's chokehold, a 23-member
Grand Jury consisting of 14 white Americans, 5 black Americans and 4 of other ethnic origin,
declined to indict the police officer for Garner's death. This decision, according to many,
including thousands of white Americans, is a travesty of justice in a modern technological age
where the actions of the police officer can no longer be doubted and questioned.
While many will look at the reaction of black Americans to the Grand Jury's decision, and millions of white Americans will show solidarity by protesting the result of the bias and deliberate racially composed jury, the bigger narrative for discussion and consideration lies with the instructions given to the jury by the Staten Island Prosecutor and the Office of the District Attorney. As was revealed in the judgment handed down in the Travon Martin case in Florida, jurors can only consider charges that are presented to them by the prosecutor. Recently, in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, the bias of the prosecutor was outrageously evident when he convened a jury, overlooking standard legal procedures, and blatantly disregarded the practice of law by not instructing jurors on what charges to bring against Police Officer Darren Wilson. It is not clear if the prosecutor in the Eric Garner case presented the jury with charges to bring against Police Officer Pantaleo so as to ensure an indictment. However, it is abundant clear that the makeup of the jury with 14 white Americans, and the daunting order that 12 members of the jury must agree for an indictment, is despicable, and reveals the disingenuous approach by the prosecutor to ensure an indictment against Police Officer Pantaleo.
Many are questioning the heavily biased composition of the Grand Jury. Many African Americans are outraged that there were 14 white Americans on the Grand Jury, two more than the 12 members required to secure an indictment against a white police officer, a makeup they believe is systemic and smacks hard in the face of the blatant racial injustice meted out to people of color in these United States. Brooklyn's African American Congressman, Hakeem Jeffries, voiced his displeasure in his reaction to the Grand Jury decision: "The failure to indict is a stunning miscarriage of justice, and makes clear that equal protection under the law does not exist for all Americans.…What more does America need to see? We are better than this as a country.…It is an outrage. It's a disgrace. It's a blow to our democracy." Even white New York Senator, Kristen Gellibrand, who appears to be genuinely speaking with a clear moral conscience, voiced her displeasure at the miscarriage of justice by the Staten Island Grand Jury in the Eric Garner case: "The death of Eric Garner is a tragedy that demands accountability. Nobody unarmed should die on a New York City street corner for suspected low-level offenses. I'm shocked by this Grand Jury decision, and will be calling on the Department of Justice to investigate."
On that note, there is hope that there will be justice handed down to the Garner family and black America, as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made this pledge: "The Department of Justice will conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local investigation. You may have seen the video of Mr. Garner's arrest. His death of course was a tragedy. All lives must be valued, all lives. Mr. Garner's death is one of several recent incidents across our great country that have tested the sense of trust [that] must exist between law enforcement and the community they are charged to serve and to protect." And President Barack Obama was even more direct in his reaction to the decision: "When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that is a problem, and it's my job as President to help solve it.…We are not going to let up until we see a strengthening of the trust and a strengthening of the accountability between our communities and law enforcement."
Meanwhile, there are calls from both black and white America for a thorough investigation of the Staten Island District Attorney's office and the prosecutor who convened and instructed the 23- member racially imbalanced jury. People are concerned that a prosecutor who is paid with tax payers' dollars should be more mindful of the image he portrays as a public servant, having sworn to protect the interest of the office and the people he serves. In fact, there are calls for fairness by all prosecutors since they are paid from the public coffers to do a job that will ensure equitable justice for all Americans.
Comptroller Scott Stringer - A Man of Change for New York City
By: Vandell Park
The now ten-month-old Comptroller of New York City, Scott Stringer, says he is very concerned
about the welfare of all New Yorkers serviced by the city; thus he will not settle for just issuing
bonds and ensuring that the fiscal health of the city is where it should be; he also holds the
position of Chief Auditor of New York City and that allows him also to advocate for the needs of
the people within the five boroughs governed by the city administration. Comptroller Stringer
says as Auditor-in-Chief, he is aware of the financial capabilities of the city and what can be
done to ensure a better way of life for its residents. Already, Stringer says he has identified areas
where the city can save millions of dollars. According to Stringer, the Department of Education
alone, by not following basic reimbursement procedures, cost the city millions of dollars yearly,
money he contends can be used to provide much-needed services for the city's children. He
explains: "I have called out the Department of Education for not filing reimbursement that
can save the city $358 million…as a result we have, to date, been able to put 120 certified arts
teachers in the public schools; we are leading the debate on flex time, so many women are out
of the workforce when they have a first child; only 7% of men leave the workforce. I want to
get corporations to lighten up and allow flexibility so that people can take care of their
children and their elders…on issues relating to the economy we are looking at why the city
has lost 400,000 units of affordable housing that used to rent for $1,000 or less, and I
continue to recognize that as someone who was born and raised in this city, we speak 170
different languages from 200 countries and our economic strength is in the diversity of our
people and I want to be the Comptroller that not just looks at the city budget year in and year
out, but I also want to look at where the city is going to be economically ten or twenty years
from now so that our children will have a real opportunity to succeed."
Comptroller Stringer says since being elected to the position his office has worked along with the Mayor and has refinanced a number of the city's debts, saving the city some $1 billion. He also notes that his office made significant strides on a number of issues; one such issue is leading the discussion on the city's pension funds, since his office manages some $160 billion of pension funds and the retirement security of some 700,000 people, ensuring a return so far of 17 %. The Comptroller says another area he was able to look at in order to implement changes that will benefit the people is that of the distribution of procurement contracts for services and its lack of equitable distribution by the city agencies, especially the meager percentage offered to MWBEs. As a result, he has implemented a grading system and the city overall, has been awarded a grade of D for its inequitable distribution of service contracts: "People don't realize that the city spends close to $18 billion a year on services like law firms, accounting firms and goods like paper clips, paper, a wide gamut of services, and janitorial services, and of the huge $18 billion [it] spends, just 3.9 % of that money goes to women- and minority-owned businesses. So it is absolutely outrageous that a city like ours with such great diversity, 700,000 women- and minority-owned businesses, with 3,800 of those businesses certified for procurement contracts, that the city only spends this small amount, so I decided to do an analysis of the 32 city agencies covered under Local Law 1, which are the aspirational goal of agencies as it relates to women- and minority- owned businesses. We graded the agencies based on their actual expenditure spent and we give the city a D, with 21 of the 32 agencies being awarded a grade of D, because when you only spend 3.9% you are not doing anybody a favor; you are actually hurting communities; you are not allowing economic activity…."
According to Stringer, his office has hired the city's first Diversity Officer in Cara Wallace, and a number of city agencies have begun to meet with her to figure out how to move forward on distributing city contracts to MWBEs. He hopes the city will reach the 20% mark currently issued by New York State which is required if companies are interested in doing businesses with this group and that it will soon make contract procurement distribution an equal playing field across -the -board. Stringer says he is also dissatisfied with the collaboration between the city and the Federal Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) unit, against immigrants in New York City: "I care very much about how we treat our immigrants in this city. We've always been a city that recognizes that the immigrant communities are the next businesses owner, the next artist, the next restaurant owner, the next exciting part of the New York City canvas, and I worry that we are subsidizing federal immigration enforcement which is calling for the detention of nonviolent immigrants and I think that's wrong. As Borough President I thought that this collaboration was absolutely outrageous… there are so many people who are caught in this trap and they are not criminals and have not done anything wrong, and there should not be that relationship… I am calling on the city to end its collaboration with ICE on immigration detainers because of the terrible consequences that this policy has unleashed on our communities, separating families, threatening the safety and due process of New Yorkers and costing taxpayers millions."
Stringer says he campaigned on being independent in the execution of his duties and to date he is living up to that promise. He stressed that he will hold the Mayor and city agencies accountable and that he is not afraid to call people out. He says he will continue to be an independent voice, and has no problem leading the city in a different direction once it benefits the residents and improve their livelihood.
Click here to read the full report "Making the Grade"
NACC Holds Public Forum on Electronic Money Management and Doing Business with New York City
By: Vandell Park
The New American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), in collaboration with Master Card, through
its Master Card Oportunidad program, is working toward enabling the public, in particular
minority communities across New York City, to better manage their finances and provide
themselves with more affordable ways of doing business. This past October, the Chamber and its
Master Card counterpart. along with the DC 9 Painters Union, held a public educational forum at
the DC 9 Painters Union office in Long Island City, Queens, informing the more than 100
persons in attendance on how to limit the actual use of cash by understanding the electronic
system of managing one's finances, and also how Union members can move on to become
business owners securing contracts with New York City. Mercedes Eggleton-Garcia, Master
Card Oportunidad Senior Advisor, emphasized the importance of doing business electronically,
and the benefits electronic cards offers to the ordinary individual: "Electronic payment products
help people save time and money and are much safer to carry around as against cash. This
method benefits both individuals and small businesses in a number of ways. Electronic
payments are basically prepaid cards, payroll cards, credit cards and debit cards that allow you
to do business transactions electronically. It saves you the inconvenience of going to the bank
to wait in line at either the ATM or the teller, or even the possibility of being robbed of cash,
without any way of recouping the money you may lose. The technology is very safe and
provides you various options for shopping. For example, you can sit in your home and shop
online at your convenience anywhere in the United States and the world using this technology.
I would urge consumers to capitalize on this method of doing business. Very soon cash may
become a thing of the past, so I would encourage people to come out to our educational
forums and learn more about the electronic payment methods, thus giving you opportunities at
different levels of doing business, be it personal or corporate."
Political Director DC 9 Painters Union, Jack Kittle, emphasized the importance of minority businesses getting certified in order to secure contracts with New York City agencies. Kittle says his union is not just responsible for representing workers but is also there to educate its members and help them start their own businesses: "The thrust of our message is very simple; employers and employees do not have to be enemies; we can work together and everyone comes out ahead if you work together. In construction, contractors will not make money if they do not have workers and the same way workers do not make money if they don't have a contractor to work for. You do not have to be scared to work with the Union. There is a narrative out there where a lot of people are scared of unions, because they believe we are going to put them out of business, but in the real world it doesn't work like that. We want you to make money and we understand we are not making money if you don't. We do not begrudge a contractor who is taking the risk to go out there and make money; that is ok with us; all we ask for is a fair playing field where both workers and employers are compensated adequately for the work they do. If a contractor is losing money with us, the Union, we understand if he has to go another way; this is business and it doesn't make sense for him to continue the relationship if he is losing money, but at the same time, contractors must not exploit the labor of our members for their gain; we will not stand for that."
Kittle says the Union is responsible for providing any contractor with trained skilled workers and with other necessary factors required by the city to secure a contract. The Union ensures that there are sufficient trained workers to meet the demands of the labor market, but at the same time the Union encourages workers as well, to develop themselves to the point of becoming business owners. The Political Director says his relationship with the New American Chamber of Commerce is to educate women- and minority-owned businesses who are members of the chamber, about the job market available to them and to encourage them to get certified with the city so they can fill the job demands available in the city market.
Chief Executive Officer of the New American Chamber of Commerce, Brian Figeroux, says NACC and its Coalition of Chambers will continue to educate its members on how to do business and the importance of being certified with the city so as to secure contracts that will build their businesses and help to provide jobs within the various communities they serve. He also noted that it is crucial for business owners and individuals to take advantage of using the electronic technology available for the transaction of business in these modern times. He added that NACC will work with its members to educate them on how to move from employees to employers, while at the same time, teach business owners the essentials required to do business with New York City: "
CULINARY AMBASSADOR COOKS HER WAY INTO THE HEART OF THE 'BIG APPLE'
(First Photo) From Right Hon. Julian DuBois, Consul General for St Lucia in New York, Brian Figeroux, Esq., Publisher of Caribbean American Weekly & Chairman/Founder/CEO of New American Chamber of Commerce & Center, Chef Nina Compton
(Second Photo) From left Pearl Phillip, Editor-in-Chief of Caribbean American Weekly, President of the NACC and Chairperson of the St Lucia-American International Chamber of Commerce, (Center) Chef Nina Compton
SLTB & Chef Nina Highlight Cocoa Inspired Menus for Chocolate Heritage Month!
SAINT LUCIA (August 6, 2014) – With the month of August being designated Chocolate Heritage Month here on Saint Lucia, the island's Culinary Ambassador Chef Nina Compton-Miller has become the focal point of a major marketing initiative by the Saint Tourist Board (SLTB).
The now internationally acclaimed Chef Nina who was the first runner-up and fan favorite in the last "Top Chef New Orleans" series, last week participated in a media blitz that included a media and travel agent dinner, an online chat and a series of media interviews across the 'Big Apple', New York, USA.
Deputy Director of Tourism, Mrs. Tracey Warner-Arnold who accompanied the home grown cooking sensation and now food connoisseur on the intensive media blitz in the greater New York area, says "Chef Nina attracts tremendous attention and love from media and consumers alike. Her unique creations, often highlight the homegrown ingredients and bring to life Saint Lucia's rich agricultural heritage."
In setting a platform to engage and educate new audiences throughout August, Chef Compton will lead the charge for the SLTB in celebrating Saint Lucia's Chocolate Heritage Month, sharing chocolate-inspired recipes and highlighting the many ways to enjoy the beloved spice on-island.
"Cacao has been cultivated on Saint Lucia for hundreds of years," explains Compton. "It is one of the island's most notable foods and it's extraordinarily versatile. Saint Lucians use the spice in everything from cocoa tea for breakfast, to a rub for fish and meats."
In honor of Chocolate Heritage Month, Chef Nina, following on from her media blitz in the 'Big Apple', escorted a food inspired press trip to Saint Lucia. The press group experienced chocolate infused meals, chocolate spa treatments and made their own chocolate along the chocolate heritage trail of Saint Lucia. The Saint Lucia Tourist Board has launched an interactive chocolate heritage trail on stlucianow.com, chocolate-inspired lodging packages, and a Chef Nina Compton- Miller Pinterest Board featuring her favorite chocolate-infused recipes.
The July 28-31 media blitz included discussions with an 'A' list of food and lifestyle oriented US-based publications among them City Grit, Outside Magazine, Self Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine, Brides Magazine and Travel & Leisure. The on-island press trip featured a group from Fodor's Magazine, a writer for Bon Apetit, Food Republic, Fly 'n Dine, The Boston Globe and theLoop.ca For more information about the island of Saint Lucia call 1-800 456-3984, or 1-888 4STLUCIA or visit www.saintlucianow.com
About Saint Lucia
One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies' Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The "Helen of the West Indies," Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - a tropical rainforest and one of the world's few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia's wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties. For more information, visit www.saintlucianow.com
Guyana Tri-State Alliance Honors Youths at Guyana's 48th Independence Anniversary Celebration
By Vandell Park
On July 9, 2014, the Guyana Tri-State Alliance observed the 48th anniversary of Guyana's independence at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The celebration was held under the theme,
"Celebrating Our Youths: Leaders in the Making." The theme was fitting, as the organization
honored sixteen young men and women of Guyanese descent for their accomplishments in
academics, social entrepreneurship, military and other vocational endeavors. The honorees
were: Claudius Agrippa- violinist; Gaiutra Bahadur-journalist; Marguerite Victoria Alleyne-
Thompson-psychology major and graduate, Hampton University; Dr. Bhumika Balgobin-
neurosurgeon; Calvin Booker-international dancer/performer; Osei Brown-undergraduate
student, University of Guyana; Shri Arun Gossai-Acharya Pandit; Urvashie Kissoon-architect/
dancer; Victoria Labban-student/singer; Tiffany Megnath-economist/media communications
specialist; Roger David NG-A-Qui-Yale University honor student; Samantha Persaud-law
student; Sean Patrick Thomas-Broadway/film actor; Alexis Seepersaud-law student; Patrice
Eleah Brown Thompson-honor student and Alain Sue-U.S. Navy/USS Cole Sailor of the Year.
President of the Guyana Tri-State Alliance, Patricia Jordon-Langford, addressing the honorees and celebrants, stressed the importance of striving for excellence in whatever discipline of life one pursues: "Today we are celebrating our youths, our leaders in the making and their accomplishments, their independence. These young people give us hope for tomorrow. Education is the path to a secure, exciting and an independent future. It is indeed freedom... let each moment, each day be a teachable time...dare to live life with great expectations. The realization of one's self-worth is the liberation of the human mind and spirit. It is never too old to learn, because each day, life provides lessons that if taken, becomes an indelible imprint on the psyche...let us never forget our heritage, but become stronger through the unity and support for each other by giving a helping hand whenever we can."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Councilmember Mathieu Eugene hosted the event and also shared words of encouragement to the honorees and participants. Adams, emphasizing the fact that as Borough President, he is there to serve the people, stressed that there will be changes as to how the office operates and that his goal is to raise the standard of expectations for all Brooklynites, including the Guyanese community: "We are not just going to build buildings and structures and Barclays Centers; we are going to invest in people, because if you have a popular brand that doesn't turn into prosperity for all Brooklynites, then it is a waste of an opportunity; everyone has to be a part of what is happening in Brooklyn. So from neighborhood to neighborhood, from Flatbush to Crown Heights, the Guyanese community has contributed to the greatness of Brooklyn. So now that our name has become famous, now that you sell Brooklyn's brand in Paris, now that France says Le Brooklyn, now that we have become so popular, people have forgotten the folks who were not waking up to alarm clocks, but gun shots; but they still stayed; they still make Brooklyn their home... but we still have double digit unemployment; we still have 25% of this borough living in poverty, countless numbers of our children are still not prepared for tomorrow, can't compete on the national and international scale; we have to change the dynamics, and that's why we need great communities like the Guyanese community that always understood the power of education, the power of commitment. So we will be partners in this pursuit; so we will be partners in the progression of Brooklyn. We're going to have a good time; we're going to laugh; we're going to joke; we're going to be dedicated; we're going to be unafraid to succeed; we're going to be true, but most importantly, be you."
Councilmember Mathieu Eugene notified the audience that he is now the chairperson of youth affairs at the City Council and he will work with all stakeholders to ensure advancement for all youths in the city. His challenge to the audience was: "It is important that as we celebrate the achievement of these young people, we think about our obligation to them, to do everything that we can do as leaders of the Guyanese community, to mentor the young people because you are a model for them; you are an inspiration for them."
Following the formal program, those gathered indulged in the variety of Guyanese food and beverages provided, as they were entertained by popular Guyanese and Caribbean music.
Memorial Day: President Obama vows better care for veterans as New Yorkers honor the fallen
Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News
John W. Peterkin (far left), a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, attends the 87th annual parade in the Douglaston and Little Neck neighborhood of Queens on Monday with James Van Thach (center), an injured infantry captain and Barnet Schulman (right), 89, a WWII veteran.
BY Erin Durkin, NY Daily News - Obama commemorated the holiday at Arlington National Cemetery after returning from his surprise visit to Afghanistan. In New York, Mayor de Blasio honored veterans in ceremonies at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial in Riverside Park and at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. De Blasio and Gov. Cuomo both marched in the Little Neck-Douglaston Parade in Queens.
Hours after returning from a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Obama commemorated Memorial Day by honoring the nation's troops — and promising to do better by them at home.
"We're in a pivotal moment. Our troops are coming home. By the end of this year, our war in Afghanistan will finally come to an end," the president said after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.
"And yesterday at Bagram (Air Force Base), and here today at Arlington, we pay tribute to the nearly 2,200 American patriots who've made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. We will honor them, always."
Speaking to service members and their families, Obama made reference to the scandalous reports of waitlists and poor services at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Grace Kennedy/Western Union Contributes Tremendously to Education
By Vandell Park
The Grace Kennedy/Western Union partnership is using its corporate dollars to provide
educational opportunities for children and youths in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
According to Group CEO Don Wehby, each year the food and financial services company
invests thousands of dollars in the welfare of young people to ensure that they are equipped for
life. "We made a decision some years ago in regards to our corporate social responsibility that
we will give back to our country; we will give back to the education of our youths, as our
primary objective. In 1979, some 35 years ago, we formed Grace and Staff where every dollar
that the staff gives, the company matches it, two for one. I am very happy to say that as I stand
here, Grace Kennedy is sending over 400 students to elementary to high school and to
university. We also now have five centers fully equipped with a computer lab. Once our children
are given the opportunity of education, we can change Jamaica and possibly the world, and that
is what Grace Kennedy is about, trying to assist in any way we can, in terms of maximizing the
potential of these children in the inner cities…. One of my heroes is Nelson Mandela, and he
said that education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to effect change….
Wehby says the food and financial services giant values education and believes that once educated youths are available, the human resources needed to guarantee the security of his company in the future will also be available. He added that his company will leave no stone unturned to ensure academic and vocational development for its people. Wehby noted that many people chide his company for spending too much money on youths instead of focusing on other areas of development, but his company will not be daunted by such criticism: "Grace Kennedy Foundation has two other charity causes,… giving back to the environment through Professor Dale Webber which is doing well; and the First Global Bank, which supports our music system; and, there is a hypothesis that if you teach music in schools the grades of the children will go up. We have so far donated equipment to four schools and the grades of the students in those schools have gone up. We also sponsor boys and girls championships in the field of sports. Sometimes some of our investors and shareholders and even the media in Jamaica would question why we spend sometimes up to $600,000 on an event for three days. They say that's a lot of money. My response to them is very simple; I don't consider that type of spending as an expense, but rather as an investment in the youths of Jamaica, in the schools of Jamaica and our entire country. Let's look at the dividends of sponsoring those boys and girls championships: we have Usain Bolt; we have Shelly Ann Fraser who we know is the brand ambassador for Grace Kennedy. We also sponsor the cricket competition in the high schools. We are also looking to expand similar programs in the area of sports and education in Guyana and Trinidad and then move on to the rest of the Caribbean countries."
Western Union International Regional Vice President for the Caribbean, Sean Mason, also shared his company's involvement in supporting education in the Caribbean region: "Western Union is not only about remittances but it is also about community. Western Union has been involved in education for many years now. In 2012, we partnered with our Europa partners in the IPASS initiative, and through that program we have been able to generate significant funds to assist in education. All those partnerships are going through the UNICEFF Foundation. We have allotted some $200,000 to engage some 23 teachers to be educated in new techniques. We also engaged some 290 parents, because parenting is critical to education since in order to send your kids to school, some work has to be done at home. We were able to reach more than 1,100 students in that effort."
Representatives of the companies in attendance addressed a planned forum entitled: "Engaging the Diaspora Enriching the Caribbean" for the Caribbean Diaspora living across the tri-state area at the Tropical Paradise Ballroom in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday, May 8. The keynote speaker, James Moss-Solomon, Executive-in-Residence at the Mona School of Business & Management, University of the West Indies in Jamaica, also emphasized the need for continued investment in education. He noted that the human resources from the Caribbean region are depleting due to migration for various reasons, but that the Diaspora can help to rebuild the human resources and entrepreneurial attitude that once existed in the region. He said that the STEM program that is currently being carried out in the region, is a good one, but stressed that the knowledge received through the program can only be effectively communicated by the students understanding and knowing the English language. He suggested "That we put an E in the word STEM. We may be able to produce the word esteem to suggest something uplifting: 'Embracing Science, Technology, Engineering, English and Mathematics' for a more comprehensive and widespread goal that can address all stages of education and lift the esteem of those students that we are trying to help. The important thing is how can you, in the Diaspora, help? It's not all about money. I would love you to send some money… but what I am asking you is to deal with the discussion on effective ways to bring English up to the highest standards so that it can become a competitive advantage for our students… I want you to research ways in which experiential learning can be developed effectively even though travel can be restricted. Create classrooms and environments that come alive in ways that would make our children want to go to school. Provide projectors, audio and visual aids. Our children need to see the things they don't get to see as a result of not being able to travel."
Wehby thanked the hundreds of Caribbean nationals from the Diaspora who attended the forum for their contribution over the years and for helping the company's expansion in every sphere of its operations: "You have heard me speak of Grace Kennedy expansion as a global consumer group all over the world with revenues of about 40%; when you look at the revenue flow for Grace Kennedy, I really want to thank you; the Jamaican and Caribbean Diaspora has been the main foundation for Grace Kennedy's expansion in this part of the world. I would like to say a sincere thank you, because without you, our mission would not have been accomplished. We have a long way more to go; therefore I will continue to ask for your support in both our food and Western Union business."
Caribbean American Weekly salutes Grace Kennedy/Western Union for not just providing great products and services as well as employment but for having the social conscience to make tremendous contributions to the educational development of the youth of Jamaica and the Caribbean. After all, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste".
Grace Kennedy Group CEO Don Wehby to Address Caribbean Diaspora Forum in Brooklyn, NY (Thursday, May 8th, 2014)
"Financial literacy is the crucial tool that can be used to achieve economic stability and prosperity here in Brooklyn," said Borough President Adams. "When looking at some of the stats, it's alarming to see that only $2 million is spent on financial education for every $54 million that's spent on consumer marketing. Going forward, I want to coordinate our financial literacy partners to empower our residents and small businesses. It's important that we look for ways to help Brooklyn residents make financial sound decisions, to learn ways to better manage their money and to protect our vulnerable Brooklynites from financial scams."
The Caribbean Forum event will be held under the theme, "ENGAGING THE DISAPORA - ENRICHING THE CARIBBEAN THROUGH EDUCATION" and is schedule for Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at Tropical Paradise Ballroom in Brooklyn, New York from 5:30pm - 9:00pm.
Speakers for the evening are James Moses Solomon, Exec-in- Residence at Mona School of Business, University of The West Indies; Don Wehby, CEO, GraceKennedy Group; Sean Mason, Regional Vice President Caribbean, The Western Union Company; and Brian Figeroux, Esq., Figeroux and Associates.
Admission for the event - FREE.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams launches borough-wide financial literacy initiative
BROOKLYN, NY, March 31, 2014: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams launched his borough-wide financial literacy initiative by announcing a month of empowerment and education events across Brooklyn in April. Joined by over 40 partner organizations from the financial, grassroots and small business communities, he will outline this effort to help achieve economic stability and prosperity across the borough's neighborhoods, working with Brooklynites of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to manage their finances and avoid pitfalls. Borough President Adams also officially proclaimed April as Financial Literacy Empowerment Month, citing key economic indicators underscoring the need for greater financial literacy across Brooklyn.
"Financial literacy is the crucial tool that can be used to achieve economic stability and prosperity here in Brooklyn," said Borough President Adams. "When looking at some of the stats, it's alarming to see that only $2 million is spent on financial education for every $54 million that's spent on consumer marketing. Going forward, I want to coordinate our financial literacy partners to empower our residents and small businesses. It's important that we look for ways to help Brooklyn residents make financial sound decisions, to learn ways to better manage their money and to protect our vulnerable Brooklynites from financial scams."
Throughout the month of April, Borough President Adams will sponsor a series of free financial literacy workshops and seminars, on topics including budgeting, building one's credit score, family financial planning, identity theft and student loans. The highlight will be Financial Literacy Empowerment Day, held on Tuesday, April 29th, which will involve a full schedule of events across Brooklyn. Those who are interested in receiving more information on these activities are asked to visit brooklyn-usa.org/ financialliteracyempowerment.html or click here for a FREE Financial Literacy Session that will be held May, 21 at 6pm
Borough President Adams also announced that a guide to financial education will be prepared for distribution by Borough Hall and available on his website by the end of April. In the coming months, his office will be convening a One Brooklyn Financial Literacy Education Council, focused on strategies to help all of Brooklyn achieve and financial security.
A Call for More Administrative and Public Support for Fathers
By: Vandell Park
Efforts are being made to have fathers more involved in the lives of their children here in the city of New York. The fatherhood initiative is being established by a group of men who call themselves the "Responsible Fatherhood Coalition" and who believe that the policies of the child welfare system in New York City and across the United States, are too harsh on fathers. Christopher James, spokesperson and organizer for the Coalition, says the objectives of the group are to eliminate the negative portrayal of fathers as deadbeat dads, engage ASC representatives in meaningful discussions, and educate men on their responsibilities as fathers and how they can be more involved in the lives of their children.
James says: "The way in which fathers are treated by the system is unfair. The policies of OCS, OCF and ACS,[SPELL OUT] are such that fathers don't get a fair deal. The Responsible Fatherhood Coalition will be working to ensure these policies are reviewed. A lot of fathers are complaining that they want to be with[their] children but they couldn't because of a number of issues that prevented them from doing so as a matter of policy. The Fatherhood Coalition wants to create awareness of the problems fathers encounter [so as] to properly father their children and to seek a change of policies in order to ensure better father- child relationships."
Eric Brettschneider, ACS Deputy Commissioner of Coordination and Integration of Services, speaking at the Responsible Fatherhood Coalition workshop, acknowledged that there needs to be closer cooperation between his organization and fathers, since fathers play an integral role in the life of the child. Sharing his experience with his father, Brettschneider noted that his father left school in the seventh grade, but made sure he did his best for his children. He shared an instance when his brother applied for college in Florida and was initially denied admission; his father personally got on the phone and spoke with the president of the institution to make sure his son was accepted. He added that that experience taught him a valuable lesson: "What I learned from that, is that any father can be an advocate. You don't have to have a college degree to be an advocate for our children. I am 67 years old and I can recall that experience. There needs to be a reciprocal relationship between a father and a son…let us foster this project and ensure that in this particular corner of the world every father and every child has a chance to express love and to advocate and care for each other."
Brooklyn Borough President Erick Adams also addressed the workshop participants. challenging them to embrace diversity so as to empower fathers to deal with the diverse issues of fatherhood: "I commend this organization for what they are doing about fatherhood, and how they are going about doing it by bringing people together, …by re-engaging men with their families, re-engaging men in participating in their child's well-being. It was tough for me when my wife and I separated, but we understood that it was about our son Jordan…it was about making sure that he grows up to be a well- developed and a well- rounded young man that appreciates and admires diversity on all levels, and I say that to emphasize diversity, because fatherhood does not know ethnicity. Fathers of all groups should come together, and if you want to develop a well- rounded child, then have a father from the African American community meet a father from Pakistan, or Yemeni, so they can learn and appreciate the diversity of each ethnic group so they can come together to make this city what it ought to be and what it should be."
According to James, this is the second annual workshop organized by the Coalition and he is pleased with the response by fathers, community organizations including the city's child welfare agencies, politicians and the business community. James says it is the hope that the Coalition partners with as many community leaders as possible to ensure that basic family values are restored and fathers are given the opportunity to play an integral role in the lives of their children.
Greater New York Chamber Honors Black Living Legends
By: Vandell Park
The celebration of Black History Month, 2014, in New York City, could not have had a more fitting climax, than that portrayed by the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, as it honored six black living legends, who, over the years, enhanced black history. The six men and women were singled out for their yeomen contribution to various aspects of social entertainment, community service, and financial and health empowerment.
The honorees were recipients of the William Bill McCreary 3rd Annual Living Legend Award; McCreary is a legendary journalist and New York television personality. Those honored were Barbara Askins, Garth Fagan, Irving "Lord Burgee," Melba Moore, Gerald Deas, MD and Frank Savage.
Barbara Askins is currently CEO of the 125th Street BID. She received recognition locally, nationally and internationally for improving the Central Harlem business climate and quality of life. Askins also operates her own consulting firm, Urbace, which helps to facilitate a public- private partnership across New York City and elsewhere. Garth Fagan is the Tony Award winner and choreographer for the popular Broadway show, "The Lion King." Fagan is also credited for creating more than 70 dance heritage coalitions, which resulted in his induction into the 100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures Club. He also taught at SUNY and has created the now acclaimed Garth Fagan Dance Studio in Rochester, New York. Irvin "Lord Burgee," an African American of Barbadian descent, and a World War Π veteran, is known for his exploits as a songwriter/composer, who sold more than 100 million records, including the famous Christmas carol, "Mary's Boy Child," and the phenomenal Caribbean Calypso album of Harry Belafonte, containing songs such as "Day-O" and "Island in the Sun," the latter that was the first to have sold more than 1 million copies.
In addition, there was the renowned Tony- Award -winning actress and Grammy- nominated singer, Melba Moore. Moore was recognized for her work as a television performer and philanthropist, starring in the Broadway musical, "Hair," and securing a string of Billboard- charted hits such as "This Is It," "Falling," "Living for Lo"ve" and "Read My Lips." Then there was Gerald Deas MD, who was honored for his health- crusading work across the United States, even to the point where he is credited for persuading the Food and Drug Administrationto label argo starch as a non-food product. Also a military veteran, Deas became the first black medical columnist for the New York Daily News and medical correspondent for the "McCreary Report." He is still an active medical affiliate of the SUNY Downstate Health Facility in Brooklyn. The final honoree for this year's award, Frank Savage, was honored for his outstanding work on Wall Street as a financier, world class yachtsman and critically acclaimed author. Savage is also known for his work as an advisor to the Bloomberg LP Board and as chair to the Howard University Board. Moore fittingly, kicked off the evening proceedings with a stellar rendition of the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." while Burgee wooed the gathering with his songs, "Day O" and "Island in the Sun." The other recipients expressed their gratitude for being chosen for this prestigious award, and are committed to continue working to improve the lives of the black communities and the wider populace of the United States. Coincidentally, on the same day First Lady Michelle Obama launched a campaign to promote only healthy foods in schools, Deas called on those present at the award ceremony to lead healthy lives. The event, which garnered overwhelming support, was held at the Health First headquarters at 100 Church Street in Manhattan.
Mayor De Blasio Challenges Albany Lawmakers to Listen to the Voice of the People
By: Vandell Park
Mayor Bill De Blasio, in a no-nonsense speech, warns lawmakers in Albany who opposed his tax
plan, to fund Universal Pre-K in New York City, with the assurance that children's futures will
not be jeopardized. The mayor specifically singled out State Senate Co-leader of the Majority
Coalition, Republican Senator Dean Skelos, warning him that his vow to block a vote to tax
the rich to fund Universal Pre-K will not be tolerated. Mayor De Blasio candidly stated: "The
gauntlet has been thrown in Albany; we will respond." The mayor was addressing more
than 200 religious and civic leaders from all faith- based groups across the city of New York,
gathered at the Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn for a breakfast with the mayor. The event
was organized by Reverend Al Sharpton specifically to address the opposition posed by key
influential Albany lawmakers to halt the mayor's tax plan to fund the critically needed Universal Pre-K.
Mayor De Blasio says taxing the rich to fund Universal Pre-K was one of the main platforms in his bid to become the city's chief administrator. He added that the people have categorically mandated him to do so by giving him an overwhelming majority of the votes cast, and he intends to listen to the people who elected him: "We in this time have demanded something different for our children, and we won't accept an education system that doesn't support them; we won't accept the failure that has been so sadly consistent for so many years. We are literally saying it's time to change the playing field; it's time to change the assumptions. Unless we are giving full- day Pre-K to every child, we are not actually doing what we were sent here to do. Unless we are giving kids a safe and secure place to keep learning after school, we're not actually trying to do all we could do to educate them. It's time for something different. Let me tell you, once that demand was put forward a lot of things started to change because people responded. People all over this city responded; people all over this state responded; don't let anyone in Albany suggest otherwise…look at every opinion poll; people in New York City have spoken; people in the state feel the same way. Asking those who have done very well to help us, to give us just a little more so that we can give our children full day Pre-K, so we can give middle- school kids afterschool programs' that's actually commonsense to most people in this state, and in a democracy, that is supposed to matter. When the vast majority of the people, you might take an example Reverend of the elections result, it's apparently 73%, that's a strong majority. When you have a majority like that, it's supposed to rule the day…and political machinations are not supposed to overcome that majority."
According to the mayor, his proposal to tax the rich for the education of the city's children has garnered support from a wide cross- section of leaders throughout the city: "Let's talk about all the other leaders who have joined; the people have spoken; so many members of the clergy have stood up; educators, civic leaders, non-profit leaders, labor leaders that represent more than a million working people, have signed on to this effort for full- day Pre-K and afterschool. Even business leaders are increasingly coming forward; you know why? Because they know if we don't fix the problem, we won't have a strong society for the future; we won't have a work force ready for the demands of the future. A lot of business leaders are saying, wait a minute, I'll pay a little more if that's what will allow us to have an education system that actually serves all our children. That's what we are here fighting for. …47 members of the elected 51 members of the City Council have signed on in support of full- day Pre-K and after school."
Mayor De Blasio says that his plan will immediately provide Pre-K educational opportunities to approximately 53, 767 four- year- old children across the city, with the expectation of serving some 73,000 four-year- olds at full implementation of the program. In addition, more than 120,000 middle -school students will benefit from the addition of new afterschool programs between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. The new programs will include academics, culture, and athletics among other essentially needed extracurricular activities.
The city administration is calling for a five- year income tax increase of 3.876 % to 4.41% on city residents who earn more than $500,000. The city hopes to raise an estimated $530 million in new revenue yearly. According to officials, the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that Pre-K can reduce the achievement gap in the education system by up to 40%. The mayor says the cost for full- day Pre-K amounts to some S1.6 billion a year, while Governor Cuomo's plan offers only $1.5 billion over multiple years, and it simply cannot work.
Mayor De Blasio says he is committed to the people of the city of New York, and is even more committed to the children who depend on him and his administration to put programs in place that will benefit them and enhance their livelihood. He said no one, even those at Albany will deter him from fulfilling the needs of his constituents. He added that the notion of not allowing a vote at the State Assembly on his proposed plan to develop the lives of New Yorkers is unacceptable and amounts to colonial rule and that will not happen in New York: "We are not going to stand idly by without getting a vote on this issue. We are going to use every recourse we have whether legal or otherwise to guarantee a vote."
The clergy gathered at the breakfast were challenged by the mayor to use the next four weeks to inform their congregations of the importance of full- day Pre-K to this city, and to encourage their support for his tax plan. Reverend Al Sharpton rallied the gathering, stopping the mayor in mid speech with the chant: "We want a vote; we want a vote."
Mayor Pledges 'One City, Where Everyone Rises Together'
(PHOTO: AP/gettyimages) QUEENS, NY—Mayor Bill de Blasio today delivered his inaugural State of the City address, "A Fair Shot for Everyone," where he laid out his agenda to strike at rising inequality and create more opportunity for working New Yorkers. Invoking the legacy of Fiorello LaGuardia, whose granddaughter Katherine LaGuardia welcomed the mayor on stage, Mayor de Blasio made commitments to raise the floor for workers, prepare the city's students with the skills to secure better-paying jobs, and fulfill his pledge to provide every child with free, full-day pre-kindergarten.
"We've begun the fight to lift the floor for all New Yorkers…to improve the life conditions of those who struggle with great determination – not to get ahead – but merely to keep their heads above water," said Mayor de Blasio. "And we're fighting to give everyone a fair shot, so that city government doesn't set its priorities by the needs of those at the very top while ignoring the struggle of those born under a less lucky star."
The mayor took stock of his administration's first month in office, from launching an interagency task force to eliminate traffic fatalities, to introducing paid sick leave legislation affecting a half-million New Yorkers, to settling the years-long legal battle over stop-and-frisk so reforms can finally be implemented.
Looking forward, Mayor de Blasio pledged to bring those efforts to fruition and build upon them with new policies focused on lifting up working people and ensuring everyone in New York City has a fair shot. Those initiatives include:
Living Wage Expansion—Mayor de Blasio pledged to end legal efforts to block the implementation of Living Wage measures, sign an executive order expanding coverage, and work with the City Council to increase the number of living wage jobs offered by employers that the city subsidizes.
Local Control of Minimum Wage—The administration will seek state authorization to set its own minimum wage, consistent with the needs of working people in the five boroughs.
Four-Point Jobs Plan for the Next Generation of New Yorkers—The mayor pledged to expand STEM and health care-oriented training programs in high schools and at CUNY, develop new industry-linked apprenticeships, and connect every high-school with an in-demand jobs sector to ensure New York City students are better positioned to fill high-quality jobs in the five boroughs. He will also set a goal that within eight years, the majority of skilled technology-related jobs in New York City are being filled by those educated in New York City schools.
Launching a Municipal ID Card—Mayor de Blasio announced plans to develop a municipal ID card that would serve as a form of identification for New Yorkers who do not have a valid state ID—including undocumented immigrants.
US pauses to remember Martin Luther King Jr. with parades, marches and service projects
January 20, 2014 (Foxnews) – America paused Monday to remember Martin Luther King Jr. with a variety of parades, marches and service projects.
King was born Jan. 15, 1929, and the federal holiday is the third Monday in January.
Hundreds of people filled Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta to remember and reflect on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., who preached at the church.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal was one of the speakers at the service, which featured prayers, music and speeches. The Republican governor said there were not many states that can boast a native son that merits a national holiday, but added: "we Georgians can."
He also said this year he is committed to finding an appropriate way to honor King at the Georgia Capitol, but he didn't go into specifics.
"I think that more than just saying kind thoughts about him we ought to take action ourselves," said Deal, a Republican. "That's how we embed truth into our words. I think it's time for Georgia's leaders to follow in Dr. King's footsteps and take action, too."
In Memphis, Tenn., where King was assassinated, an audio recording of an interview with King would be played at the National Civil Rights Museum. The recording sheds new light on a phone call President John F. Kennedy made to King's wife more than 50 years ago.
Historians generally agree Kennedy's phone call to Coretta Scott King expressing concern over her husband's arrest in October 1960 — and Robert Kennedy's work behind the scenes to get King released — helped JFK win the White House.
In Ann Arbor, Mich., activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte planned to deliver the keynote address for the 28th annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium on Monday morning at the University of Michigan's Hill Auditorium.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Inaugural Address of Mayor Bill de Blasio: Progress for New York
THE CITY OF NEW YORK OFFICE OF THE MAYOR-
"…When I said we would take dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities, I meant it. And we will do it. I will honor the faith and trust you have placed in me. And we will give life to the hope of so many in our city. We will succeed...as One City."
"…We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can offer full-day universal pre-K, and after-school programs for every middle school student. We do not ask more of the wealthy to punish success. We do it to create more success stories."
"…We will remember what makes New York…New York: A city that fights injustice and inequality — not just because it honors our values, but because it strengthens our people. A city of five boroughs — all created equal."
"…That mission — our march towards a fairer, more just, more progressive place, our march to keep the promise of New York alive for the next generation — it begins today."
Full remarks as prepared:
Thank you, President Clinton, for your kind words. It was an honor to serve in your administration, and we're all honored by your presence. I have to note that, over 20 years ago, when a conservative philosophy seemed dominant, you broke through – and told us to still believe in a place called Hope.
Thank you, Secretary Clinton. I was inspired by the time I spent on your first campaign. Your groundbreaking commitment to nurturing our children and families manifested itself in a phrase that is now a part of our American culture – and something we believe in deeply in this city. It Takes A Village.
Thank you, Reverend Fred Lucas Jr., Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Monsignor Robert Romano, and Imam Askia Muhammad for your words of prayer.
Thank you, Governor Cuomo. Working with you at HUD, I saw how big ideas can overcome big obstacles. And it will be my honor to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with you again.
Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg. To say the least, you led our city through some extremely difficult times. And for that, we are all grateful. Your passion on issues such as environmental protection and public health has built a noble legacy. We pledge today to continue the great progress you made in these critically important areas.
Kwanzaa 2013: Dates, Facts, And History Of The Celebration Of Unity, Faith, And African Roots
Though many Americans don't know much about Kwanzaa, it's a beautiful holiday that all can share in. Akiba Solomon of Colorlines.com, federal civil rights attorney Charles Coleman Jr., and Donna Washington, author of "Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa," joined HuffPost Live to explain more about this important celebration of African heritage and unity.
Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 through January 1st.
History Established by Maulana Karenga in 1966, Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors African heritage and celebrates family, community, and culture. It takes its name from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which in Swahili means "first fruits." Kwanzaa's origin lies in the 1960s civil rights and Black Freedom movements, and is a way of commemorating the African heritage of black Americans whose ethnic history was stripped away by the slave trade. Swahili is the most widely spoken African language, and was thus chosen as the language of Kwanzaa's principles.
According to Karenga, "Kwanzaa was created to reaffirm and restore our rootedness in African culture." It is a cultural rather than religious holiday, and can be celebrated regardless of a person's faith tradition.
"First fruits" celebrations date back to ancient Egypt and Nubia, and commemorate the harvest.
The colors black, red, and green are part of Kwanzaa celebrations due to their special significance. Black represents the people, red is for the blood uniting all those with African ancestry, as well as the blood shed during slavery and the civil rights movement, and green is for the lush land of Africa. These colors also reflect the Pan-African movement itself.
There are seven principles of Kwanzaa, celebrated on each day of the holiday and known collectively as Nguzo Saba. They are African values which are named in both Swahili and English.
Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
Families gather during Kwanzaa to light the kinara, a candle holder with seven candles in the colors of red, black, and green. The black candle is placed in the center and used to light the other flames from left to right. Together, the candles are called the mishuuma saba, and they represent the Seven Principles.
Other traditions include the kikombe cha umoja, or Unity Cup, which is used to pour libations in honor of ancestors departed.
Songs and dances are a popular way of celebrating Kwanzaa. "Lift Every Voice And Sing," also known as the Black National Anthem, is a song that celebrates the struggles and triumphs of black Americans.
Kwanzaa greetings are in Swahili and English. "Habari gani?" is a traditional Swahili greeting, and the response is each of the principles, depending on which day of Kwanzaa it is. Other greetings include "Heri za Kwanzaa," or simply, "Happy Kwanzaa!"
The Light of Mandela's Legacy for World Leaders
BY DR ISAAC NEWTON
Nelson Mandela transcends death at 95. Between blessing and benediction, there is heart -broken sorrow. But this is joyful sadness. There is irony too. The marvelous dignity with which death tiptoed in lingering leniency around his fragile health before it robbed us of his abiding presence and radiant smile spotlights indisputable reflection far too inadequate for celebration or critique.
His is a story of vivid pain and triumph, a quarter century of imprisonment and bubbling hope, and most admirably, an unpretentious humanity— plagued by admitted flaws and an unquenchable desire to overcome bones chilling weaknesses without offsetting his ethical authority.
I was introduced to Mandela by the late Tim Hector while I was still in high school in the small twin island state of Antigua and Barbuda. Tim commissioned me to dissect his struggles for political freedom. I was also tasked with analyzing the price he was paying behind bars to usher in a stable multiracial democracy for South Africa.
I later studied Madiba's leadership potency in a development and leadership class at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Of all the world leaders Professor Robert I. Rotberg encouraged us to review; Mandela's story was most inspiring. I grappled with the spiritual anchors that embraced his moral outlook while trying to grasp the consistent pragmatism that animated his quest for democracy. Although I didn't think about it then, I see three lessons CARICOM and world leaders could glean from Mandela's leadership.
Lesson One. He had an intuitive sense of history and a strategic selection of the right moment. He knew instinctively when to act, when to hold back, and most importantly, when to leave the seat of power. He did not allow himself to be doomed by the trappings of the office or to fall prey to short-term group-think about when is the best time to retire. Instead, he chose to be flexible to changing circumstances rather than be swept away by short-term interests. Nothing or no one could have prevented Mandela from dying in office if he wanted too, especially after he led South Africa into a historic multiracial democracy in 1994. But because he was more concerned about a vision of national development bigger than himself, he opened the door for the younger generation to lead the country to an inclusive economic prosperity for all South Africans.
Lesson Two. He governed with an abounding national vision rooted in forgiveness and love. Mandela did not want the promise of a harmonious South Africa to be destroyed by the practice of tribal interests and partisan thinking. That's why he did not permit his moral conscience to reward friends and punish enemies. Finger-pointing blame and vendetta politics were absence from his use of power. It was more important to embrace the enemy through reconciliatory methods than humiliate the adversary by inflicting an unending cycle of violence and counter violence. Mandela gave birth to an adorable social experiment where power and compassion were to cement a multiracial South Africa. In fact, his evolving collective sense of South African's identity was illustrated when he used rugby— a symbol of hatred— to unify the country. Mandela operated with an all-embracing generosity. He sacrificed self-enrichment for national advancement.
Lesson Three. He embodied self-denial par excellence. Madiba gave up his own wants and managed personal impulses for the sake of the masses. By trading self-recognition for excellence in national progress, he crafted an environment of mutual trust, fearless self-control and selfless goodwill. It's not coincidental that on the brink of Christmas—a season that reminds us of the greatest sacrifice ever made in human history by Jesus— Mandela's incredible self-sacrificial practices leap over the boundaries of this century into our eternal memories. During his anti-apartheid struggle, 27 years of Robben Island Prison, and his presidency, Mandela demonstrated stunning self-mastery. Perhaps this was most acutely felt in the sacrificial offering of his family to the cause of freedom and the benevolence which he mirrored to his prison guards. With inspired conviction, Mandela showed that it is possible to transform cutthroat politics with charming humility and still deliver superlative outcomes.
I admire Mandela's decency of consolidating power by finding common ground. Both his abiding faith in the human spirit, and a synergistic relationship between setback and struggles touch me profoundly.
No wonder stardom statesmanship is being bestowed upon this international figure of peace. Indeed, he is a game changing freedom fighter. If his legacy is to remain a rallying source of inspiration, it requires nerves and commitment to apply. Ultimately, no meaningful strategies for endurable social change could be achieved in CARICOM and the world, without a full-blown embrace of authentic moral leadership!
Dr. Isaac Newton is an International Leadership and Change Management Consultant and Political Adviser. He specializes in Government and Business Relations, and Sustainable Development Projects. Dr. Newton works extensively, in West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and is a graduate of Oakwood College, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. He has published several books on personal development and written many articles on economics, education, leadership, political, social, and faith based issues.
Thanksgiving and Hanukkah have collided for the first time since early last century
By Brad Hirschfield, (Washington Post)
Whether you will celebrate "just" Thanksgiving, "only" Hanukkah, both separately or the wonderful mash up going by many names, my favorite being Thanksgivukkah. Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide this year for the first time since 1888, and will not do so again for thousands of years. Whatever you call this coincidence, and whether you are Jewish or not, in addition to giving rise to waves of recipes for everything from latke-stuffed birds, to pumpkin-stuffed doughnuts, the Hanukkah-Thanksgiving mash up reminds us how to live happier, bolder and more successful lives.
But first, we must do a few things that both the Pilgrims and the Maccabees, the original heroes of Hanukkah, knew how to do.
From recalling a group of brave, hopeful, religious outsiders, the Pilgrims, who boarded leaky ships bound for a place they did not know, to a group of equally brave and hopeful religious outsiders, the ancient Israelite clan known as the Maccabees, who took on a fight they had little chance of winning, these are stories of recognizing possibility and celebrating abundance.
In each case, as in all of our lives, the story could have gone in a different direction. The pilgrims could have stayed home, or could have resisted celebrating when so much around them was still so rough and so terribly uncertain.
The Maccabees could have also stayed home, or could have decided that there wasn't enough oil to keep the Jerusalem Temple's Menorah (candelabrum) burning, so why bother lighting it at all, thus robbing us all of the inspiring story of the little jar of oil which lasted longer than it "should" have. But they didn't.
The Pilgrims did make the journey, and the Maccabees did fight and light. In both cases, they trusted in the possibility of the moment, and in the abundance they possessed. That's what allowed both the Pilgrims and the Maccabees to undertake their respective challenges, and to celebrate the successes they had already achieved, even though they knew that a long road still lay ahead of them.
Neither the Pilgrims nor the Maccabess were naive; they were simply heroic in ways that we all can be as well. They simply followed a path marked by the following common steps:
First, we don't need to pretend that all is well in our lives in order to experience thankfulness. Try to find at least one thing for which you can be grateful despite the tough times in which you may find yourself this year. It's amazing how much happiness this practice can generate, on Thanksgiving, on Hanukkah and throughout the year.
Second, sharing with at least one other person, and hopefully many more, the things for which we can be grateful. Whether at a table bursting with food, or by lighting menorahs for all too see, public celebration lies at the heart of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah for a good reason. Things feel so much more real when we share them with others.
Third, celebrate even though we may still find ourselves in the midst of all kinds of challenges. It may be that things in your personal life are not ideal, that things at work are not as you hoped they would be, but that doesn't mean there are not always things for which to be grateful.
If the Pilgrims could declare a day of thanksgiving, despite all the death and deprivation which they were experiencing and the Maccabees could light the lamps and celebrate even as the war they were fighting continued to rage – if they could find some good despite how short they had fallen of their ideals – so can we.
Whether at the table around a turkey, around a menorah set with candles, or wherever else you find yourself this Thanksgiving or Hanukkah, trust and celebrate that there is more in your life than you may know, and more possibility for you in the future than you may imagine. Trust in that, share your stories with others and listen to theirs, and two things will happen: you join the ranks of some of the greatest heroes of both American and biblical history, and you really will have happier holidays.
President Obama salutes veterans
President Obama positions a commemorative wreath during a ceremony on Veterans Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
(Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)
Richard Overton survived Pearl Harbor, fought at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, has lived to be 107 years old — and on Monday earned a standing ovation led by the commander in chief, President Obama.
"This is the life of one American veteran — living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free," Obama told an appreciative crowd during a Veterans Day address at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Overton, who had met Obama earlier in the day at a White House breakfast, said during a brief telephone interview that he was honored by the attention. "It went all right," Overton said. "I hope he keeps on talking some good words about me."
As Americans across the nation paid tribute to veterans, Obama said "we will never forget" those who fought, bled and died for their country, even as it moves past wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"As commander in chief, I'm going to keep making sure we're providing unprecedented support to our veterans," Obama said.
Republican Mayoral Candidate, Joe Lhota Says He Has Big Plans for New York City
By: Vandell Park
Come Tuesday, November 5th 2013, New Yorkers will decide who will be the next chief administrator of New York City. Already there is a heated battle for the position as Democrat Bill De Blasio and Republican Joe Lhota are fiercely campaigning to fill the seat that will be left vacant by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both candidates are of the view that they are best suited for the position. Numerous polls taken on the race have Bill De Blasio leading Joe Lhota by large double-digit margins. In spite of the polls, the Republican candidate believes he has what it takes to manage the city's affairs and come Election Day New Yorkers will choose him because of his experience and track record. He sat down with Caribbean American Weekly recently to share his vision for the city of New York:"My vision for New York City is to make the city one of opportunity as it once was. I'm going to make sure that everyone understands, just as our immigrant parents and grandparent, and some of our first-time immigrants[who] came to New York and [believed] the old line of New York streets paved with gold; they're really paved with opportunities. I want all New Yorkers to share in that opportunity. I look at my own background. I was born to two teenage parents; they struggled for ten years before my father became a cop. We lived in the South Bronx; I was the first one of my family to go to college. I want to make sure that every single New York City kid, no matter who they are, have those same levels of opportunity. I want New York to be a great place to live, great place to work, to have fun, but most importantly, a place where we can raise our family."
Lhota, who once served as Deputy Mayor and at times Mayor, says his work as an administrator is well-known and tested; he noted that working in both the private and public sector in key leading positions, has positioned him to become the next Mayor of New York City: "I wanted to run for Mayor, because I thought of all the candidates I saw who were interested in running, none of them had the experience I had in working in a large complex organization. I think we've learned over time that we just can't leave the running of the government of New York City to career politicians; we need to have someone who understands and has a vision for where they want to take this city."
The Republican candidate says small businesses and job creation will be one of among the top priorities he will deal with as soon as he takes office: "First and foremost I want to stop the government from all of the outrageous charges and fines that they are placing on small businesses. They are actually looking at small businesses as ATM machines; every time they go in they come out with tens of thousands of dollars worth of funds. [There should not be] inconsistent application of the regulations; we need to make sure that our inspectors are properly and consistently trained; we need to make sure that our businesses understand what the rules are, and most importantly I want to be able to deal with small businesses, some of the tax burdens that they have; we need to alleviate that tax burden. I want small businesses to expand… I want to create small business mentoring programs where they can develop experience and grow to become big businesses. I want to focus more on minority-owned businesses; marry them to large businesses; give them jobs or contracts so they can gain experience and build their resume, so they can begin to create jobs on their own. The most important thing that I feel I can do is to enhance the economy of New York, by expanding the economy; you [must] expand the income and equality of New York, and the only way I know of is to get the people who are unemployed, employed and those people who are under-employed get better-paying jobs and hopefully career-paying jobs. I will enhance job training programs. I will also go and seek out and work with more [large] businesses here in all five boroughs. I don't want to just focus on Manhattan and Manhattan-based businesses."
Lhota says he will continue the stop, question and frisk policy as is mandated by law once police officers follow the correct procedures. He considers it proactive policing; however, he will not tolerate racial profiling: "First and foremost racial profiling, stopping someone because of the color of their skin is illegal, and if a police officer does it, in my administration, they will lose their job. There is no room for racial profiling anywhere in the city of New York. I want to train our police officers and retrain them, and each and every time I want the community to understand how the cops are being trained, because the community will then understand what police officers are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do. There's a lot of misinformation out there; we need to explain what that training is on the question of stop, question and frisk; that's how we would be able to get rid of all of the misinformation."
Among the other key issues the Republican candidate will address are: providing identification and drivers' licenses for undocumented immigrants and affordable low-income housing for those families who are at the lowest step of the economic and social ladder in the city. He plans to build 150,000 low-income housing units, and intends to secure all of the projected 30 post office buildings that are slated for closure here in the city and build housing complexes for low- income earners. He will also hold the Atlantic Yard developers feet to the fire by making sure they fulfill the promises they made and signed, to provide low-income housing for the people of Brooklyn. The Mayoral candidate says his administration will be completely different from Mayor Bloomberg, because he will consult with the people of the city and work off of their suggestions and ideas: "People should vote for me as Mayor because I have a history of always telling the truth. I am not going to make promises I can't keep, but here is the one promise I will make and I know I can keep it. I want New York to understand that I want to expand the number of jobs we have here, so that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to get on the road to the American dream…I will be different from Michael Bloomberg as Mayor; my management style is very, very different and my approach in dealing with the outer boroughs is different. I was born in the Bronx, I now live in Brooklyn. I understand what it means to not live in Manhattan. I believe that it is very important that the Mayor leave lower Manhattan as frequently as possible. I will have town hall meetings every month somewhere in the city of New York, mostly outside of Manhattan, I will bring all my deputy mayors, I will bring all my commissioners and for three hours we will listen to the people in the community; we will answer their questions… it doesn't matter what borough I go to outside of Manhattan, whether it is Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island or the Bronx; everybody says they are the forgotten borough; it's not going to happen. And let me tell you what language I'm not going to use; we are not going to have outer boroughs, because that means there is an inner borough and I don't buy into that at all. Let's call them by their names… the highest area of growth right now is right here in Kings County, Brooklyn and I want that to happen in all of the boroughs.
Letitia "Tish" James: A Real Voice for the People
By Randall Toure, ESQ.
The campaign of Council Member Letitia "Tish" James continues past the Democratic Primary of September 10th and will take a second run at the Democratic Nomination for the New York City Public Advocate's Office. This is the only race that is being contested on October 1st and for many people the thought of coming out for another election is the last thing they want to do but they are wrong. This race is important because the Public Advocate office is critical in the three citywide offices, along with the Mayor's and the Comptroller's offices. Most people don't know that the Public Advocate is next in line to run the city of New York if anything were to happen to the mayor. That is something to consider when looking at the next Public Advocate because the next Public Advocate needs to be able to work as the chief executive of this city on a moment's notice.
The Public Advocate also serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services. The next Public Advocate has to be someone who is a champion of the people and will work for the benefit of the public with an experience and commitment from years of public service.
The next Public Advocate has to be a voice of the people not in just theory but in the real world with a record of standing up against corporate interests for the working people of New York, who was a leader in the City Council on ending Stop and Frisk, who fought for MWBEs in securing more opportunities and who has supported and is the co-sponsor of legislation in the City Council granting "green card" holder the right to vote in municipal elections and also supports driver licenses for undocumented workers and that person is Council Member Letitia "Tish" James.
Bill Thompson Concedes Democratic Mayoral Nomination
By Vandell Park
Just hours shy of one week following the New York City mayoral primary elections, Bill Thompson finally threw in the towel in the Democratic mayoral nomination race, conceding to Bill de Blasio who since last Tuesday's elections secured some 40.3% of the votes casted. Thompson, on Monday, made the painful decision to stand on the steps of City Hall, the office he had hopes of occupying, to throw his support behind De Blasio, citing Democratic unity and the interest of the people of New York, since the counting of the remaining votes can take several more days, even weeks. After some very harsh words for the New York Board of Elections and the way in which electorial votes are counted in the city, Thompson had this to say as he conceded: "We must make this city work for all New Yorkers again, where every child goes to a great school, where our police protect our … safety and constructional rights at the same time. Where every voice is heard and every vote counted. That's the city we believe in; that's our city of opportunity; that's the New York we love and the path to getting there begins with Bill de Blasio walking through these doors as the next mayor of the city of New York. I am proud to stand here today to support Bill de Blasio to be the next mayor of this city of New York."
Immediately following those words, both Thompson and De Blasio embraced and the former New York City public advocate thanked Thompson for his support and shared these words: "This is a gathering of friends and people who for years worked together for a common cause. I want to say to everyone assembled here, that there is nothing more beautiful than Democratic unity and I thank you for it."
Among the number of Democratic leaders in attendance was Governor Cuomo who is believed to have brokered the deal for Thompson to concede. Thompson initially stood his ground on the principle that every New Yorker deserves to have his or her voice heard and that would be to have every vote counted. While it is believed that Thompson was pressured by Democratic leaders to support De Blasio, Thompson said that the counting of the more than 60,000 votes by election officials will take a significantly longer time that is expected; thus for the purpose of the Democratic Party having a good shot at the mayoral seat come November, he has decided to put the needs of the people above his needs or that of De Blasio's. Political experts are of the view that time was running out for the Democrats, the longer they take to decide on a mayoral candidate.
Meanwhile, since Thompson did not withdraw from the race before the New York State elections deadline which was set for Friday night, the option of a runoff on October 1, will still be on the table should De Blasio fall below the 40% threshold required.
Democratic Mayoral Primaries Result at a Standstill- Awaiting Vote Count
By: Vandell Park
The Old English proverb: "He who laughs last, laughs best," may be the case of the two leading
Democratic mayoral candidates here in New York City, with Bill Thompson positioned to have
the best laugh in the end. With 98% of the precincts reporting the results following the primary
elections on Tuesday September 10, Bill de Blasio has a commanding lead of 40.3% of the votes
cast, while Bill Thompson has just 26%. Many political flip floppers, who also demonstrated
on Thursday that they are willing to hang their mouths where the so- called political soup falls,
stood with De Blasio on the steps of City Hall, urging Thompson to concede, but, they have all
demonstrated in so doing that the will of the people does not matter.
Thompson, on the other hand, is standing by principle, following the voting guidelines set out by the New York Board of Elections and enforcing the democratic process by ensuring that every vote counts, before conceding. His stance in this matter may very well determine the eventual outcome of the mayoral race, should De Blasio, in the end, after the votes are counted, falls below the required 40% needed to be the democratic mayoral candidate. Thompson very candidly stated his position: " Yes, Bill de Blasio may have the 40% now, but all the votes have not being counted and that position can change when the votes are counted. I want every voice in New York City to be heard, people voted and their voices should be heard. So, I am prepared to give the people the opportunity to decide. People do not want to be bulldozed again like over the past 20 years, and me conceding without all the votes are counted is to force the people who have not voted for De Blasio to accept him as their candidate when they have not chosen him. We believe the votes should be counted."
According to information revealed by election officials on Thursday, the number of uncounted paper ballots appears to far higher that was assumed earlier. Preliminary reports revealed that there are over 70,000 paper ballots yet to be counted and that process would not commence until Monday September 16. Thompson supporters say that some 60,000 absentee and affidavit ballots which represent some 10% of the Democratic votes cast on Tuesday is yet to be counted. A breakdown from the Board of Elections on the votes to be counted, shows that majority of those votes are from black neighborhoods in Harlem and Central Brooklyn where Thompson has very strong support.
It is possible for De Blasio to fall well below the 40% threshold required to become the Democratic mayoral candidate when those votes are counted. Once that happens, a runoff is inevitable. Should there be a Democratic runoff, Thompson, who according to many political pundits, has a better chance of beating Republican Joe Lotta, may be standing on a firmer platform, since he was willing to stand up for the people of New York City, in letting their voices be heard. Thompson has always campaigned on the platform of standing for principle. Many New Yorkers stands with Thompson on his stance to allow the electoral process determine the outcome of the election. Meanwhile, De Blasio has garnered the support of many leading Democrats, but, there are many who dubbed those Democratic Party stalwarts as a group of people who are spineless and are not willing to represent the needs of the people they serve, but are very quick to follow the majority even if they are wrong. New Yorkers say Thompson by refusing to listen to his Democratic colleagues who urged him to concede the elections before the votes are all in, shows his independence and determination to fight for New Yorkers even when his party has abandoned him. Thompson, according to state law, has up to Friday night to concede the elections; failure to do so, the Board of Elections will determine whether there will be a runoff.
The Editorial Board of Caribbean American Weekly (CAW) endorses Bill Thompson to be the next mayor of NYC
BY VANDELL PARK
The Editorial Board of Caribbean
American Weekly (CAW) strongly
endorses Bill Thompson to be the
next Mayor of New York City. Here are
excerpts from his interview. As the city of New York mayoral primary
races winds down, many of the candidates
are now strategically positioned to
appeal to specific demographics of the
City since they would have either garnered their support from key endorsements or from meeting with them in person as they have already moved through most of the City interfacing with them
directly on the campaign trail.
CAWcaught up with Mayoral Candidate
William "Bill" Thompson who has so far
secured a number of critical endorsements
from Bronx Borough President Ruben
Diaz, Congressman Gregory Meeks,
Chair of the Board of Regents Merryl
Tisch, former Lieutenant Governor
Richard Dick Ravitch, Assemblyman
Karim Camara, Assemblyman Danny
Farrell, Congressman Jose Serrano,
Congressman Hakeem Jefferies, The
United Federation of Teachers (UFT),
among other major stake holders within
the City. However, despite these key
endorsements, and the assurance of voters
from key sections of the five boroughs,
Thompson believes that only voters can
decide the outcome of who will be the
next mayor of New York City.
He says people need to come out in large numbers on September 10, and vote for the candidate they would like to run the city for the next four years. He noted that should people run with the polls and decide to stay at home because their candidate is not leading in the polls, that can only serve to their disadvantage, because only their vote will matter in the end. He had this to say: "This election is close. I think we've all seen how the polls have been inaccurate before…if we look back at the election in 2009, just a couple of days before when I was running for mayor against Mike Bloomberg, they continue to say its going to be a blowout. If we look at the Maritz polls, Quinnipiac polls… how inaccurate they are and how they undercount black and Latino voters to begin with, but aside from that if you are looking right now in the pools about Anthony Weiner and Christine Quinn, this is more about name recognition than who people are going to vote for, and I haven't seen a front runner in years, particularly for Mayor who have end up winning. I'm confident that I have been out there before, that people know me, they remember me, I just have to be out there, campaigning, reminding people of the work I did as president of the Board of Education, the work I did as Comptroller of this City of New York, and even in the race I run for Mayor in 2009, so I'm not worried. I think more and more people are coming on board and we are making that strong statement."
Thompson says he has also been out everyday mingling with faith-based organization and community groups, ensuring that people know and understand that he intends to fight for them personally, not from the loft position of sitting in the mayoral chair, but coming out into the various communities across the five boroughs and seeing firsthand what the needs of people are and address those needs in priority order: "New Yorkers are concerned about a number of things from an education system that is not serving our children well, an education system where high school graduates aren't able to do college level work. I want to make sure that we have an educator at the top of our public School system. I think we are tired of the Joel Kleins, the Kathy Blacks and the Dennis Walcotts, who aren't educators. It's about making sure that instead of this excessive focus on standardized testing, we start to look at comprehension and critical thinking, making sure our students can compete, whether they go out to the world of work or graduate or go to college. I still support mayoral control, but we need to make a few changes. The educational panel needs changes. I don't need the majority on that board; give me six out of thirteen; and if I can't convince one person that what we are trying to do is educationally sound, they shouldn't vote for me anyway. We shouldn't have commissioners on this board; let's put parents who should be appointed by the mayor, that way there is a real dialogue, and people will realized that everything is not rubber- stamped. I think that you should get parents involved, you can get the public involved again in public education and from the private education panels, we can see greater flexibility and greater involvement. That I think create the real change that people are looking for and a mayor who pays attention to the needs of people and listen to them. That hasn't happen in 12 years. I want a chancellor who is an educator. It's about making sure our neighborhoods aren't under siege by criminals, ensuring that there is an increased number of police officers making sure that every neighborhood is safe in the city of New York. Making sure that things like Stop and Frisk aren't misused and abused. We see in 2011, 700,000 people, mostly of them young adults, most of them who were black or Hispanics,who were stopped and who were innocent, this has to stop. You do not want to eliminate stop and frisk. Stop and frisk have been missused and abused and tied to performance goals or some would say quotas. When you tie it to performance goals, that's not the way it is designed. It is designed with the constitutional safeguards to it that has a real reasonable suspicion, then an officer with those reasons can stop, question and frisk an individual… communities want to be safe, they don't want to be targeted, they don't want their children unnecessarily stopped and frisked. I don't want my stepson, stepdaughter or my daughter stopped and frisked without a cause. So we need to take it away from being part of a quota or performance enhancement goals and let officers have the discretion again and we hold them accountable for that. It's also about housing, people in housing have been abused, apartments are turned into warehouses, making sure that people are treated fairly. This campaign has got to be about Jobs. If you look at the high rate of unemployment among black men and Hispanics, it is unacceptable. This campaign is about having a mayor in City Hall who represents all New Yorkers. We haven't had that in close to 20 years now. I can assure you that I will be the first in 20 years to be the mayor of all five boroughs."
Thompson says when he becomes the next mayor of New York City, he will ensure there is an equal playing field for all New Yorkers, by presenting them with opportunities that will allow all to succeed equitably. "It is in creating opportunities. If you look at New York City and the level of poverty and the income disparities, it is appalling. I will be working to ensure that there is more fairness in that area. Who do you hire? Is it a diverse group of people? Is it representative of the City of New York? It's making sure you get the best and the brightest and a diverse group of people. It's in creating opportunities for all, economic empowerment continues to be an issue today. Creating opportunities for minority and women owned businesses. Right now the number of businesses this city does is only about 3% of minority-and women-owned businesses, meanwhile, the state is trying to get it to 20%. We should be able to do at least 20%. So it is taking the opportunities that others have provided to me and realizing that it is my responsibility to be able to provide opportunities to others. To try and create a city where there is fairness and equity; try and create a city where middle-class New Yorkers and working New Yorkers aren't continued to be pushed out of here. That's the responsibility you need to take."
On the issue of immigration, Mr. Thompson was very candid: "Those who are immigrants, whether they are documented or undocumented, I want people to be involved. I want people to get involved in making their community stronger, and I think the one thing that we need to understand is that in New York City, immigration has made us stronger, it has created more vibrant communities. What separates us from some other places, if you look at cities like Cleveland and Detroit and others that have not had immigration that people aren't going there; those cities are dying. If you look at New York, immigration has been great for us. We need to make sure that in Washington they get it right, that they move forward with Comprehensive Immigration Reform that will create an opportunity for those who are here, and a real pathway for citizenship. In New York City we understand how immigration has been strong and great for us. The rest of the country needs to join us and understand how good it is for this country. So I'd like to see our federal government get it right soon. Regarding issuing drivers' licenses for the undocumented, it is one of the things that we are taking a look at these days and seeing how and in what form that can be done…you can't do something on just a city level, you got to be able to do it on a state level. One of the other concerns that I have is, I don't want people to feel that they are being targeted in a negative sense. There are so many people who are concerned and worried about being identified and what does that mean, would it lead to their possibly being deported or things like that. So we have to be very careful in how we do that and making sure that it is coordinated with the governor as well as with the mayor and the city of New York. As the next maor of New York City, I want us towant to be able to look at different options and possibilities."
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Splendor of Jamaica to be on Display at Jamaica's 51st Anniversary of Independence Ball at the New York Hilton
For Immediate Release
New York/7.6.13/CMM…It's fast approaching the time of year again when the people of the island of Jamaica celebrate that nation's Independence. And (not to be left out) the Diaspora will join in that celebration. As such, the splendor of the colors, music, vibes and fabulous folk of the island will be on full display in the Ballroom of the New York Hilton Hotel on Saturday August 17, when the Jamaica Independence Celebration Foundation Inc (JICFI) of New York presents the annual Anniversary Independence Ball.
Coming off a record setting 50th Anniversary of Independence Ball where Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honorable Portia Simpson-Miller, ON, was the guest speaker, the stage is set for a marvelous 51st. The theme is "Celebrating Jamaica," and is under the patronage of the Consul General of Jamaica to New York, Herman G. LaMont. Special guest will be His Excellency, Professor Stephen C. Vasciannie, Ambassador of Jamaica to the United States of America. The Grand Marshall of the event is Mr. Sam Wright of Quality Auto Mall and Ford Credit.
"I look forward to welcoming my fellow Jamaicans and friends of Jamaica to our 51st Independence Anniversary Gala. I salute the honorees for their outstanding contribution to the community and their accomplishments in their respective fields. They have made us proud to be Jamaican. We need your support, so come, celebrate with us and I promise a spectacular evening," said Paulette Willoughby, Foundation Chair.
The Mistress of Ceremony for this year's event is noted actress and singer, Sheryl-Lee Ralph, who is of Jamaican heritage. Honorees are Ms. Heather Foster, Office of Public Engagement, The White House; Dr. Answorth A. Allen, Orthopedic Surgeon and Irie Jam Media.
These festivities are not just driven by the need to `party' but also encompass a mission of service and charity; deeply rooted in supporting the causes and many needs across the Island and Diaspora. Aid has been given to several organizations among them; New York City Rescue Mission, Good Shepherd Foundation, Early Childhood Foundation, Ward Theatre Foundation, Boys' Town Foundation, Alpha Boys' House, American Foundation of the University of the West Indies (AFUWI), American Cancer Society, Mission for the Poor and Mustard Seed Communities.
Proceeds from this year's event will provide full scholarships for needy students to attend the University of the West Indies and support an early childhood basic school. A silent auction will offer exciting packages. Guests are being asked to come prepared to bid. Entertainment will be provided by the Fabulous Five Band. Guests can expect a sumptuous fare of Jamaican entrees and delicacies.
Sponsors for the evening are, Quality Auto Mall, Ford Motor Credit, Ford Motor Company, Caribbean Food Delights (Royal Caribbean Bakery), Grace Foods USA, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill, Gleaner Company USA, Tower Isle's Frozen Foods, Carib News, Jet Blue, VP Records and Phoenix Beverages.
Tickets are two hundred dollars, ($200) per person and are available at the Jamaican Consulate, VP Records and Royal Caribbean Bakery.
For more information JICFI may be reached at 631-374-7811, or 718-527-3484; email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.jicfi.org.
DA Hynes Honors Caribbean Nationals for Outstanding Service to the Community
By Vandell Park
The Kings County district attorney, Charles Hynes, continues to show his love and appreciation for the contribution Caribbean Nationals are making towards the advancement of Kings County, New York City's five boroughs, New York State and the United States of America in general, as he honors yet another nine Caribbean American nationals for their outstanding service to this country and their immediate communities, during the 8th annual celebration of Caribbean Heritage Month. The award ceremony was held on June 18th 2013, at the Tropical Paradise Ballroom and Banquet Hall, located at 1367 Utica Avenue in Brooklyn.
District Attorney Hynes says recognizing the stellar service and contribution of the men and women from the Caribbean is about the least his office could do to thank then and to encourage others who are already making a difference in the lives of the thousands of New Yorkers they serve on a day-to-day basis. Hynes expressed these sentiments: "We are fortunate indeed that Caribbean Americans saw our great country as a land of opportunity. The fabric of America has been woven together by all, as immigrants who have made our great nation their home and have contributed to our wonderful diversity. Caribbean immigrants and their descendants have enriched our tradition by weaving new threads into our country's cultural fabric. It is during this month that we are reminded about the large and diverse constituency that Caribbean Americans have in this wonderful county of ours, Brooklyn. This month we are drawn together to recognize the tremendous contribution of Caribbean Americans who have enhanced our national character, by their hard work, work ethic and ambitions. But Caribbean Americans can be recognized this month and every month for the talent and love they have for arts, music and life itself as well as their commitment to faith in bounding."
The eight individuals honored were Brooklyn's deputy borough president, Sandra Chapman; Jean Alexander, director, the Caribbean Center of New York; Robert Omar Gordon, Footprints Café; Reverend Clive Neil, the Bedford Central Presbyterian Church; Pastor Gil Montrose, Mt. Zion Church of God; Daphnee Supris and Emmanuel Tropnasse, the Vodou Bar; Travis Roberts, director, the Casym Steel Band; and Patrick Fuller, leader, the Community Achievers. District Attorney Hynes says the individuals honored have followed in the footsteps of great Caribbean Americans such as Colin Powell, Alexander Hamilton, Shirley Chisholm, D. E. B. Dubois, Caribbean Sprinter Auto Bolton and civil rights activist, Marcus Garvey.
Three of the individuals honored spoke with the Caribbean American Weekly, expressing their appreciation of the gesture extended to them by the Kings County district attorney. Deputy Borough President Chapman says: "Receiving this award from the DA's office is indeed an honor for me. The work I do is on behalf of the residents of Brooklyn and all those served by Borough Hall, and I don't take it for granted. I am truly appreciative of this award, thank you."
Roberts, of the Casym Steel Band, says he never thought his work was so important that he would be honored, but he is thankful: "I think it was a great achievement because I believe a lot of people do good things in the community and they do not get acknowledged for it so I appreciate what the DA office did for me today." Meanwhile, Pastor Neil of the Bedford Central Presbyterian Church, says: "I think it is always good when one has given of one's self in service to the community…. It's not for recognition, but it's about impacting and changing the lives of those you confront day by day. So, if you can be recognized for making a difference in someone's life that's commendable, and I am just glad to be able to receive an award today."
District Attorney Hynes praised California congresswoman, Barbara Lee, for introducing the resolution in 2005, that resulted in the month of June being observed annually as Caribbean Heritage Month.
President Obama Delivers Memorial Day Remarks at Arlington National Cemetery
President Barack Obama participates in a Memorial Day wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 27, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Today President Obama traveled to Arlington National Cemetery to commemorate Memorial Day, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and delivering remarks. The President thanked members of the armed forces and veterans for their service to the United States, and paid tribute to our fallen heroes laid to rest at Arlington.
President Obama noted that, as of last year, Americans are no longer fighting and dying in Iraq, and that there is now a transition underway in Afghanistan as well. "This time next year," the President said, "we will mark the final Memorial Day of our war in Afghanistan."
The President closed by asking Americans to keep the fallen in their hearts:
On this Memorial Day, and every day, let us be true and meet that promise. Let it be our task, every single one of us, to honor the strength and the resolve and the love these brave Americans felt for each other and for our country. Let us never forget to always remember and to be worthy of the sacrifice they make in our name.
Margaret Thatcher pass away at age 87 following stroke
Monday 8, April 2013
Margaret Thatcher, the most dominant British prime minister since Winston Churchill in 1940 and a global champion of the late 20th-century free market economic revival, has died.
Her spokesman, Lord Bell, said on Monday: "It is with great sadness that Mark and Carol Thatcher announced that their mother Baroness Thatcher died peacefully following a stroke this morning. A further statement will be made later." Downing Street announced that she would receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul's Cathedral.
David Cameron, who is cutting short his trip to Europe to return to London following the news, said: "It was with great sadness that l learned of Lady Thatcher's death. We've lost a great leader, a great prime minister and a great Briton."
He told the BBC: "As our first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher succeeded against all the odds, and the real thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country, and I believe she will go down as the greatest British peacetime prime minister."
Cameron later said parliament would be recalled on Wednesday "for a special session in which tributes will be paid" to Lady Thatcher. In a statement, President Barack Obama said that, "the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend."
"Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will." He added that her premiership was "an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can't be shattered".
Buckingham Palace said the Queen was sad to hear the news and that she would be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.
The first woman elected to lead a major western state, Lady Thatcher, as she became after the longest premiership since 1827, served 11 unbroken years at No 10. She was only overthrown by an internal Tory party coup in 1990 after her reckless promotion of the poll tax led to rioting in Trafalgar Square.
Efforts Are Going On to Eliminate the School-to-Prison Pipeline Here in New York
BY VANDELL PARK
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes continues to devise ways to save minority youths from the scourge of crime and incarceration which appears to be imposed upon them by a system which seems to be geared primarily to profit financially from their endemic misfortunes. His recent attempt to provide such relief was a collaborative effort with Medgar Evers College through an organized meeting of minds by way of a symposium on February 14 and 15, 2013, "Race, Law and Justice: Strategies for Closing the School--to--Prison Pipeline." At his symposium men and women from various community organizations, faith-based groups, educators, judges, attorneys, non-profit organizations, parents and students were faced with an uphill task to deliver meaningful solutions to end the systemic scourge which places minority youths in prison and destroys their lives.
District Attorney Hynes, addressing the opening of the two-day event, said that his office is ready to be a part of a system that will keep children in schools and out of the juvenile and criminal justice system: "We must close the prison doors and open the college dormitories; we cannot instill in them either intelligence or character or keep them from entering the prisons without giving them the proper tools they need to succeed. We all bear the responsibility of supporting our young people to become educated individuals set on a pathway to becoming productive adults. If we fail them, we fail ourselves."
Delivering the feature address, retired chief judge, Judith S. Kaye, said: "The school to prison pipeline is the most toxic and deadliest of all" systems she has encountered as a judge and there needs to be initiatives in place to keep kids in schools rather than in the courts. As she stressed the importance of ensuring positive characteristics are inculcated to the youths, she quoted Fredrick Douglas who said: "It is better to build strong children than to repair broken men and women."
The panelists who spoke at the symposium identified issues such as: racial bias, lack of funding allocated to minority communities to provide positive programs, lack of training for school safety officers, economic conditions parents face, and lack of positive relationships between educators and students as the contributing factors to the school to prison pipeline epidemic.
However, some attendees of the symposium believe the problem is a systematic one that allows for financial gains by many including the nonprofit groups at the expense of youths' future development. They contend that once the profiteering of the kids stops and police officers are taken out of the school system, teachers are trained to adequately deal with and develop understanding relationships with students; along with community members being allowed to work along with the schools, changes will be evident in the lives of the children, thus stopping the unnecessary arrests and suspensions that currently occur in schools. However, many believe that inasmuch as District Attorney Hynes may be well intentioned by hosting a symposium on the juvenile incarceration pandemic that affects mostly minority youths, the real solution to the problem lies in the eradication of racial bias that exists at the top of, and within, the administrative aspect of the educational and political system.
District Attorney Hynes's office revealed that the efforts to stamp out the school to prison pipeline system will be an ongoing activity over a three-year period aimed at effecting change in the juvenile justice system here in New York City, with expectations that once successful, will expand throughout the country.
Dr. Una Clarke: From Foreign Student to Political Icon
BY VANDELL PARK
Following in the footsteps of her ancestors, a petite woman, Dr. Una Clarke, who towers in confidence, academic excellence, political determination and love for her people, says she was determined to make Caribbean people proud of her; therefore, she seized every opportunity that was presented before her to realize that objective. Born in the Parish of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, to parents who were active in civic leadership, Mrs. Clarke moved to the United States in 1958 as a foreign student. One year after arriving here, she became an active member of the International Students Union, participating in activities that would enhance the lives of foreign students from across the world, thus creating the platform for her political career here in the United States.
During her early years in the United States, she lobbied for the rights of foreign students and an educator by profession, she laid the foundation for public service by becoming the vice president of her children's school parent teacher association and further strengthened her position by becoming the president of her block association. After years of functioning in various leadership positions within the education arena and community life, Mrs. Clarke made her move to become directly engaged in politics.
She collaborated with a number of prominent Caribbean nationals at the Medgar Evers College Research Center to ensure direct representation in the New York City Council for Caribbean Americans living in Brooklyn, by having two new districts added to the council in the 1989 redistricting process, the 40th and 45th districts. In 1991, Mrs. Clarke ran for the political leadership of the 40th district and held that position until 2001 when she resigned from public office and her daughter, Yvette D. Clarke succeeded her.
During her tenure in public office Mrs. Clarke said she was pleased to work with Caribbean people doing whatever she could to enhance their lives both here and in the Caribbean.: "That's one of the reasons why I entered political life; I told everybody that I was a Caribbean American, because I knew that I had to make an impact on our community… I am in America but I remain loyal to my own heritage as a Jamaican and as a Caribbean person…. I did not come to the United States of America and forget from whence I came and to whom I belong….I think that my being in the United States has given me an opportunity not only to speak to, but to speak for, the Caribbean and the Caribbean community…. And I have always given voice to the Caribbean and the Caribbean people. I think I am an essential ambassador to the Caribbean and for the Caribbean having lived my [life] in such a way that both Caribbean Americans in the United States and those at home can be proud of me."
Her accomplishments on behalf of her people are what she terms "political infrastructures" that will benefit them for years. Those accomplishments include: 1. Stopping the sale of, and rebuilding of, Kings County Hospital. 2. Legalizing the commuter vans on Flatbush Avenue. 3. Building a vendors market on Caton Avenue that provides some 60 jobs for immigrant nationals. 4. Introducing public policy that paved the way for Caribbean teachers to be recruited to teach in the city's public schools. 5. Initiating the policy for the implementation of the Minority Woman and Business Enterprise (MWBE) in the New York City Council, and 6. Collaborating with other civic groups to put an end to police brutality that affects minorities in Brooklyn. Commenting on her achievements Mrs. Clark noted: "A lot of times if you have a program, when you leave office the program discontinues, so what I did was to put in place initiatives that will benefit the Caribbean and immigrant community in general long after I left office. If you build a hospital, everybody goes to the hospital; if you build a school everybody goes to school; if you build a vendors market it not only helps the vendors, it helps the community,… In addition, I had to be loud because police brutality was the order of the day, and I had to be loud to let the establishment know that I will not have them use the Caribbean community as a place where they can just kill people without having substantial evidence and to operate indiscriminately, and that we as a community will not stand by and have our nationals being brutalized…."
Mrs. Clarke says she enjoyed working with immigrant people and mostly her Caribbean folks. The former council member says she enjoyed what she did and would do it all over again for the benefit of the people she served: "My political life has been a great life; it's been rewarding,… I know that my work and my accomplishments have made it possible for my daughter to be a successor of mine…so as to continue the work that I started here in this community. The way I see politics is to know when you've made your contribution and to know when you should have somebody else step in and do even greater work than you did. You have to know when it's time to pass the torch." Her advice to younger politicians and those aspiring to become politicians is: "having strategy and understanding your goals and objectives in politics is important. Politics is… about direction; will I swim or will I sink? In my mind, I'd rather sink if I am not going to achieve the most for my community,…"
Mrs. Clarke, who has a Masters of Education degree from New York University, and post-graduate diplomas from Columbia University, along with a Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Technology in Jamaica, was the first immigrant woman to be elected to the New York City Council. She is calling on the various Caribbean ambassadors to cooperate with each other and form a united front if they want to truly represent the people of the Caribbean: "if all the ambassadors would get on the same page and go to Congress or go into the President with one voice we would get so much more. We as a Caribbean people could push the Caribbean to do what is right by the nations of the Caribbean. If we stand here and we are united as a people…we can go into them and say this is what we want to do regionally in terms of a trade agreement. You can't make an agreement with Trinidad and another for Guyana or Jamaica; it has to be one treaty…."
A TRIBUTE TO EWART THOMAS-ACADEMIC ICON AND MATH PHENOM By Colin A. Moore, CAW Writer
Happy Birthday, Ewart, on your 70TH Birthday Celebration--
70 runs, not out, and still batting vigorously. Hip Hip Hooray
on a magnificent Test Match. May you, with God's blessing, advance, like Brian Lara, to the century mark and beyond.
Permit me, Ewart, to extend this convoluted sporting metaphor, one step further.
The Apostle Paul, at the end of a glorious spiritual marathon exclaimed: "I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is reserved for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall gave me at that day" (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Ewart, I have looked on, with bated breath, as you have run this magnificent marathon. It is a journey that began in the sleepy hamlet of Vryheid in New Amsterdam, Berbice, where you attended your father's elementary school and learned the fundamentals of arithmetic, algebra and geometry which you later developed to perfection.
The marathon continued at Queens College in Georgetown, where you won a Guyana scholarship in 1959, and became one of the first Guyana scholars to have earned distinctions in all three science subjects-- physics, chemistry and mathematics.
In 1960, you won a UCWI open scholarship and proceeded to the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) where you graduated in 1963, with first-class honors in mathematics. The marathon continued at St. Johns College in Cambridge, UK, where you were awarded a PhD in statistics in 1967. Your dissertation focused on the creation of a mathematical model of the brain.
The marathon culminated at the University of California at Stanford where you became Professor of Mathematical Psychology in 1974, then chair of the Department of Psychology at Stanford, the largest psychology department in the world, and in 1988, you became dean of the School of the Humanities and Sciences, the first person of African ancestry ever to achieve this feat. In 1989, UWI granted you an honorary Doctorate of Laws for being the most outstanding student in the quarter century since your graduation in 1963.
As you continue your magnificent marathon, I tip my hat in tribute to a great Berbician, a famous Guyanese, a celebrated West Indian, a renowned alumni of Queens College, an illustrious alumni of the University of the West Indies, a mathematical genius, an outstanding scholar, teacher and administrator.
In spite of his monumental academic achievements, Ewart Thomas remains at heart "a simple country boy" without the hubris and affectations so often found in Afro-Saxon academics. He is a "people's person" who has become a friend and confidant to the Caribbean community at Stanford. When asked by a reporter why he was so famous on campus, Ewart replied in his usual self-deprecating and unpretentious manner, "Because I throw the best fetes on campus."
One day when this marathon is completed, I have no doubt that the Creator will meet Ewart at the Pearly Gates, and confer on him that blessed crown of which St. Paul spoke, and greet him with the words, "come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world" (Matthew 25:34).
It is a serious travesty of justice that, in spite of his outstanding academic credentials, the University of the West Indies, his alma mater, has not seen fit to appoint him as vice-chancellor. It is even more pathetic that the University of Guyana, a second- rate academic institution, has not seen fit to appoint this first-rate Guyanese scholar as its vice-chancellor. I can only hope that President Barack Obama, who has often spoken of the need for minorities to do well in mathematics and sciences, would appoint this outstanding black scholar as secretary of the Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology where he would be an inspirational role model to young Black and Hispanic students in the United States.
*Colin A. Moore, Esq. was a classmate of Ewart Thomas at Queens College, Georgetown; a fellow resident of Taylor Hall at the UWI campus at Mona, Jamaica; a fellow Berbician and Guyanese national. E-mail address: email@example.com
What Are You Thankful For?
By Pearl Phillip, CAW Editor-in-Chief
Psalm 69:30 says, I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving. When was the last time you said thank you and truly meant it? As America celebrates the holiday of Thanksgiving, how many of us know the true history of Thanksgiving and the big, fat turkey?.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
In 1817, New York State became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer, Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb"—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to "commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife" and to "heal the wounds of the nation." He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt's plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole's Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a "National Day of Mourning." Similar events are held in other parts of the country as well. Also, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.
We cannot change the past. We can, however, affect the present and the future. Thanksgiving is here to stay. As people with good hearts and kind spirits, we can look beyond the history of Thanksgiving and simply focus on "thanks" and "giving". Firstly, we must be thankful for the breath of life, good health, family, loved ones, food, shelter, heat and clothing, the right to worship (remember to pray every day, many times), the right to vote (which I hope you exercised in the recent elections, there are people who wanted to vote and couldn't), a job (as irritating as your boss can be, sometimes) and more. Secondly, we must give. Just to let you know a secret; it is in giving that you receive. When your hands are closed, nothing goes out, but guess what? Nothing comes in as well. We must give to those who are less fortunate than us in so many ways and for so many reasons, whether it is poverty, misfortune, or natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy. We can give so much in so many ways. We can give the easiest, which is money or we can give the most valuable which is our charity, you know, love of neighbors, community; our gift of our time, volunteering. Be a mentor: a big brother or sister, an uncle or aunt. Make a difference in someone's life.
On the business side, remember also to make time this Thanksgiving for not only family and close friends, but also clients, colleagues, and employees. Make Thanksgiving about reflection and appreciation. Skip the generic holiday greeting cards in December, stay ahead of the curve and create a meaningful impression by sending thoughtful thank-you cards for Thanksgiving. Use this time to say "thank you" to clients for helping to grow your business, to colleagues for advice on difficult matters, and to employees for their hard work and dedication to your firm. Being one of the first cards they receive this holiday season will not only stand out to the recipient, but will build loyalty and strengthen relationships.
In closing, I leave you with this Thanksgiving Prayer by Samuel F. Pugh:
Help Me Thanksgiving Day Prayer
O God, when I have food, help me to remember the hungry; When I have work, help me to remember the jobless; When I have a home, help me to remember those who have no home at all; When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer, And remembering, help me to destroy my complacency; bestir my compassion, and be concerned enough to help; By word and deed, those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.
Some information in this article was obtained from www.history.com
America's Choice Again: President Barack Obama Secures 2nd Term;
By CAW Editors
In his victory speech, following his re-election for a second term, President Barack said: "Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people…" And boy, those words sure are true... read more
Four more years: the best is yet to come!Obama Election Speech: by The Associated Press
President Barack Obama's speech in Chicago after his re-election Tuesday night, as transcribed by Roll Call:
Thank you so much. Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward. It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people ... read more
Caribbean-Americans in the Tri-State Area Hit Hard By Superstorm Sandy
By Vandell Park
Early reports on the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy reveal that it has severely affected Caribbean people living across the Tri-State area. According to information reaching Caribbean American Weekly (CAW), those most affected by the storm live in Far Rockaway, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Newark, New Jersey, and Brooklyn to a lesser extent. Those who live in Far Rockaway had to be evacuated completely and are still in makeshift shelters, while some are staying with relatives, friends and at hotels.
It is yet to be confirmed if there are any causalities among Caribbean-americans as a direct result of the storm. Meanwhile, there are reports of damages to homes and vehicles, along with the hundreds that are without power. One resident from Far Rockaway speaking with CAW share her experience: "Me never see anything like this before. Me and my husband na been want left our home, but we decided at the last minute, and when we went back, it was good that we left because the sea water batter our home, we probably would not have made it." Another resident of Massapequa, Long Island said: "We are stuck and can't go anywhere. There is no transportation, no power and little food. I have two visitors from Albany who are still with us and have to wait on the clearing of traffic and the railroad to get out."
The direct impact of the storm on Caribbean immigrants is in the areas of transportation, prohibiting hundreds from going to work, and power outages. Many Brooklyn residents who work in Manhattan, the Bronx and New Jersey, are still stranded due to the suspension of trains out of Brooklyn as a result of the flooding of train tunnels across the East River and the Hudson River. On Wednesday, many were car pooling to Manhattan, while some took taxis to work. Avril Hamilton, a Home Health Aide worker says: "It is difficult for us who work for next to nothing to be losing so many days off of work. This will set us back financially with the meeting of our obligations for this month. No one is going to compensate us for these days that we missed from work, and it is very tough on us to pay our bills." Burnell Dejonge, a taxi driver from Brooklyn also shared his concerns: "This is much more than we bargain for. The place is like a ghost town, you are hardly seeing people on the roads. And now this next problem of not getting gas to fill your tanks to work…its crippling us, the small man…. but we just have to thank God that we are alive and things will soon get back to normal."
On Thursday the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy hit the Caribbean community in New York State in another essential service area—that of shortage of gas at the pumps. Many could be seen lined up at pumps with bottles to secure whatever gas they can before they are left stranded. Many of the grocery stores were also operating with minimal supplies.
As is known, many Caribbean nationals are dependent upon the mom and pop shops and small restaurants to survive financially, and these sectors are currently on a wait-and-see basis since many of its consumers are affected by the storm.
City officials are still assessing the extent of the damage caused by hurricane Sandy. Mayor Bloomberg in his latest press briefing assured residents of NYC's five boroughs that his administration is working in cooperation with Governor Cuomo's office to ensure power is restored and that the transportation system is up and running. Bus services across the city are in operation with limited service. The LIRR service is operating on a limited service basis as well. Life is slowly crawling back to normalcy.
From Crisis to Confidence:
Providing a Roadmap at the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office's Family Justice Center
By Hon. Charles J. Hynes, Kings County District Attorney
Early one morning in March 2011, Rose (not her real name) went to a community-based agency, which was connected with our Family Justice Center (FJC) for help. Her husband had strangled her the previous night and was arrested. Luckily, she was seen by a community advocate who spoke her language (Haitian Creole) and who had recently attended one of our trainings on identifying strangulation victims and the new strangulation laws... Click here to read full story
Plus, ca change, plus la meme
(The more things change, the more they remain the same.)
By Colin A. Moore
It is becoming increasingly clear that, we, in the civil rights community, are being forced to
re-litigate the civil right cases that we once considered settled. This became obvious a few
days ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to grant certiorari to two cases that seek to
challenge affirmative action in public universities -- Fisher v. University of Texas, and the
constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Nix v. Holder.
Abigal Fisher alleged that the University of Texas in Austin had discriminated against her on the basis of her race, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Normally, the U.S. Supreme Court only grants standing to plaintiffs who have suffered some "legal injury," but it decided to grant legal standing to the plaintiff, Abigal Fisher, even though the plaintiff had not suffered any legal injury, and, in fact, had graduated from another university in Texas, after having been rejected by the university in Austin. The U.S. Supreme Court granted her certiorari, even though the district court judge and the Fifth Circuit panel found that the admissions policy of the University of Texas met the constitutional standards articulated in Grutter v. Bollinger 539 U.S. 306(2003). In the Grutter case, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, writing for the majority, held that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in promoting student diversity. The court further held that a race-conscious admissions process that may favor "underrepresented minority groups," must take into account many other factors evaluated on an individual basis that did not amount to a quota system, which would have been unconstitutional under Regents of California v. Bakke.
It is feared that the conservative judges on the court, led by Justices Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy, would overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, and hold that the University of Texas' "plus system" was, in fact, a thinly veiled and unconstitutional quota system. In the case of Nix v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court has long held that "as reauthorized and amended by the 2006 congress, Section 5 preclearance requirements and coverage formula raise serious constitutional questions." See, for example, NWAustin Municipal Utility District No. 1 v. Holder, U.S. 193, 204 (2009), and Shelby County Alabama v. Holder. The court's rationale is that, although Section 5 was enacted pursuant of Congress's authority to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments by appropriate legislation, Section 5 drastically exceeds the ban on intentional racial discrimination imposed by those Reconstruction amendments. The court argued that the Section 5 preclearance regime as enacted in 1965, targeted a unique problem in areas where discrimination had been most flagrant. Faced with such dire and exceptional circumstances, the court upheld the 1965 amendment, which was a temporary five-year measure and was subsequently reauthorized in 1970, 1975, 1981 and 2006, even though the election data used to select the covered jurisdiction was 34 to 42 years old.
In particular, the court felt that the evils that the Section 5 process was meant to address, were no longer concentrated in the southern jurisdictions singled out for preclearance, and that some of the conditions that the court relied on in upholding Section 5 preclearance procedures have "unquestionably improved."
There is every indication that the 2006 reauthorization of the Section 5 preclearance provision would be declared unconstitutional by this court. The civil rights community must seek a congressional hearing on this matter,update the election data that has been traditionally used to justify Section 5 and amend the coverage provisions to include not only the southern states that implement discriminatory practices, but include the non-southern states that have a history of non-compliance. If the civil rights community does not act quickly to bring about an amendment to the 2006 reauthorization, and seek a new reauthorization bill, the U.S. Supreme Court would surely strike down the Section 5 preclearance provision.
A PEEP AT OBAMA'S 2016 DILEMMA
By Rock Hackshaw
For almost two years now, I have been writing columns telling you that Mitt Romney will handily lose
this upcoming presidential election. So I am moving beyond that now: it's a "fait accompli" in my book.
Romney is -and has always been- as horrible a candidate as any the republicans could have nominated.
There are much better presidential candidates in the Republican Party. Most of the good ones chose not
to run this time around.
This election has been over long before it even started; but you won't know this from the coverage on Fox News Network. I wonder what their pundits will say on election night after the polls close and the votes are counted in Obama's favor. Will they ever admit that their coverage and analysis has been shoddy, deceitful and specious? I guess not!
Mitt Romney is a political socio-path. With ease, he calmly and coolly moves from one position to another -while dealing with the same issue- in almost no time flat. All the while he shows no concern for his flipping and flopping. Relative to politics he appears to hold no core values. He can stop on a dime and change his previous position without any sort of guilt or responsibility. He seems to maintain no compunction for lying and contradicting. He recently stated that he would hold on to certain aspects of "Obamacare", after repeating hundreds of times over that it will be the first thing he repeals on day one of his presidency. After two years of campaigning to the contrary, he now claims that there are some redeeming qualities/ value to the 2008 health care reform, which he will maintain. WOW!!!!!!!
And yet, we shouldn't be too surprised given the man's track record of flip-flopping. From pro-choice to pro life; from same sex marriage to gay rights; from Romney-care to Obama-care; from gun-control to gun-ownership-rights; you name the issue and Mitt Romney has taken at least two sides at some point in his political career: voters know this. Most astute voters will see him as being dishonest and insincere. It will cost him big time on Election Day.
I have said it umpteen times now: Barack Obama will win this election. And it wouldn't even be close: see my previous columns in the archives of Room Eight New York Politics (www.r8ny.com). And by close, I mean like in 1960, 1976, 1980, 2000 or 2004. In 1960 John F. Kennedy barely defeated Richard Nixon. Rumor has it that the mayor of Chicago (Daly/Democrat) resorted to chicanery in order to deliver the votes for an Illinois victory. Some of these voters are rumored to have been dead residents of a few Chicago cemeteries. In 1976 Jerry Ford was closer to defeating Jimmy Carter than Dems would care to admit. In 2000, Al Gore would have become president had he carried his home state (Tennessee); and don't forget he won the popular vote overall. In 2004, John Kerry wins the presidency with a victory in Ohio. This time around, I expect Obama to build on his Electoral College number of 2008. Romney is even worse than McCain as a republican challenger (and McCain was horrible). It's not going to be a blowout/ wipeout a la Reagan v. Mondale of 1984; the results will probably be closer to Bush 1 v. Dukakis in 1988. Either way it will be a handy victory for Obama.
I am anticipating a big problem for Barack Obama after he wins re-election: who does he support in the 2016 presidential primaries? Will it be his loyal vice-president (Joe Biden)? Or will it be his competent secretary of state (Hilary Clinton)?
Look; Bill Clinton didn't deliver that profound convention speech last week for free. What I know of this political animal leads me to conclude that he wants reciprocity for coming to Obama's aid at the convention. I expect that he will put tremendous pressure on Obama to endorse Hilary Clinton very early in the selective process; once she decides to run. Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton has ever recovered from the stunning defeat at the hands of Barack Obama in the last presidential primaries. There is only one cure from that heartbreak: a victory in 2016. But does it mean that Barack Obama will throw Joe Biden under the bus by endorsing her over him? I don't think so; and yet I am going to offer democrats a way out of this potential dilemma. It can also prevent a messy and tumultuous presidential primary.
Arrange a ticket whereby Biden runs for president in 2016, with Hilary Clinton as his veep. Let Biden swear on his integrity and good name, to one four year term, then he resigns and gives Hilary her shot in 2020. She will still be making history by becoming the first female vice-president of the USA (once they are victorious). The way demographics are changing in this country -and given the current state of the Republican Party- it is easy to visualize a Biden/ Clinton victory.
Such an arrangement might not appear to be feasible to those with limited vision, but it can be done if President Obama, Bill Clinton, and other party leaders start working behind the scenes very early to avoid a messy primary.
Stay tuned-in folks.
NYPD Blocks "Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk" Contingent from West Indian Day Parade
Stop Mass Incarceration Network
(New York Amsterdam News) Monday, the Stop Mass Incarceration Network distributed thousands of bright orange and yellow whistles to parade viewers and marchers heralding a new and more widespread wave of public protest of the NYPD police of stop-and-frisk beginning Thursday, September 13.
Their message "No one will be stopped-and-frisked in silence," was cheered. Thousands of photos were snapped of their banner "Blow the Whistle on Stop-and-Frisk Thursday Sept. 13."
But one group did not like the contingent's message, and blocked them from entering the parade, then encircling them with hundreds of armed officers. The NYPD, despite the group's authorization from the West Indian Day Parade Association to participate in the parade, refused the contingent admittance at several times and places along the route. At one point, after they were directed to their place in the march, police pushed the contingent out of the march and onto a side street ... read more
Old Wine in New Bottles or New Wine in New Bottles?
Interview with Tom Bailey, president of WIADCA
By Colin A. Moore
CM: First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your recent election as president of WIADCA.
TB: Thank you very much Collin.
CM: Inquiring minds would like to know--what was the reason for the change in officers and the change in the board of directors?
TB: Well I guess, as was indicated by the then outgoing president, she was about to move on to other things in life and she decided to give it up quite abruptly, … we lost our executive director and also our first vice president that created a deep hole in the administration... read more
50 Years and still counting-Happy Birthday, Jamaica
By Colin A. Moore
"This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
this earth of majesty,
this precious stone set in the silver sea,
this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Jamaica"
["paraphrase of Richard II Act 2, Scene 1"]
I must begin this article with a disclaimer. I am not an impartial, unbiased objective, disinterested observer of the Jamaican scene. I am an emotional, unapologetic and passionate admirer of all things Jamaican. That is why I began this article with Shakespeare's rousing and patriotic tribute to England. I am sure that Shakespeare would forgive me for this act of plagiarism. But I do believe that Jamaica is indeed "a royal throne of kings, a sceptered isle, a precious stone set in the turquoise sea, a blessed plot of earth." ...read more
National Caribbean American Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill a Success
By Ehren Guzman
The 14th Annual Caribbean-American Legislative Forum was potently initiated by Hulbert James, Chair of the Caribbean-American Complete Count Committee, stating how Caribbean-Americans are underrepresented as a significant demographic in American policy development and official population survey records. James' proclamation was expounded upon when Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-9), Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) and Rep. Charles Rangel (NY-15) complemented the forum's discourse by providing profound contributions to the discussion with particular emphasis on the motif of inequitable representation of Caribbean-Americans in politics.
The next speakers were H.E. Ambassador Neil Parsan, Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago to the United States of America and Mexico, and the Honorable Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce of Jamaica, whose discussions focused on the economic challenges that the Caribbean region currently experiences. Among the obstacles the Caribbean faces, the most immediate are a general lack of education, archaic infrastructure, internal political divisions and trade legislation.
Each speaker proposed a similar agenda that focused on public and private sector development as well as trade financing as a means of expediting economic growth in the region. As the speakers concluded, Dr. Parsan's left the audience with the clear message that economic reform in the Caribbean must be, "a delicate balance of diplomacy and pragmatism."
After a short break, the forum moved to the Russell Senate Building where Claire O'Rourke and Libby Whitebeck, a few of Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) staff members, accentuated the senator's foreign policy and small business initiatives relative to Louisiana's high Caribbean population.
Lastly, event participants proceeded into the Gold Room for the final portion of the forum's discussions. Initiating the dialogue, Congresswoman Donna Christian-Christensen (Virgin Islands) advocated for active participation in the upcoming presidential election as a means of Caribbean-Americans taking the first step to equitable representation in politics.
As the forum came to a close, Dr. Claire A. Nelson, founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, passionately and succinctly echoed the message of the forum that business development and progressive economics, combined with political engagement, are imperative in order to precipitate Caribbean-American representation and legislative reform.
Caribbean Americans Celebrate 7th Annual Caribbean Heritage Month
By Vandell M. Park
Participants of the 7th annual Caribbean American Heritage Month celebration hosted by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), on Thursday, June 21, 2012, are determined to make a difference individually as well as collectively in their respective business communities and communal structures here in the United States, in particular, in Brooklyn and in the tri-state area and in their native countries. Keynote speaker, Lowell Hawthorne, president/CEO of Golden Krust, made the observation: "President Obama once said 'change is brought about when ordinary people do extraordinary things.' Note, he did not refer to Hollywood stars or the one- percent earners in this country. Ordinary people like you and I can have a lasting impact on this generation and generations to come.
Today marks a very important milestone in your organization, in your personal lives. This achievement is not a destination. Your work has just begun. Those of you who are actively participating today are here because you want to make a difference. You want to advance yourself or your organization to the next level. You are here because you believe greater is ahead."
The savvy businessman recounting his journey to where he is today as president/CEO of a thriving multi-million corporation operating in nine states with seven thousand supermarkets and club stores, and producing some 400 Jamaican patties every minute, says it was due to inspiration but also much perspiration. Mr. Hawthorne said that two secrets to his company's success are investing in education, providing young men and women with an opportunity to realize their dreams, and the vision to take risk: "Education is the only wealth that cannot be robbed. It is the key that transforms lives in all sectors of society. Golden Krust believes that a mind is a terrible thing to waste and that a positive community is everybody's business....in relation to business, if you insulate yourself from risk, you run the risk of insulating yourself from success…. The current economic climate has not made it easier, but do not let it suppress your dreams and your desire to build an organization that advances the causes for humanity."
President of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Roy Hastick, in his remarks, also called on members of CACCI and the wider Caribbean community present, to strive for unity among each other and to continue developing entrepreneurs who will carry on the Caribbean legacy here in the United States. He noted that while Caribbean Americans are thanked for their contribution towards fellow Caribbean nationals in the various areas of education, business and community development, there must be no failure to acknowledge the contributions of others: "It is important to thank non-Caribbean individuals who made things possible for the Caribbean people. Without their efforts and contributions many of us would not have made it to where we are. We must also look at the changing times and realize that we have a responsibility to ourselves and our younger generation to lay solid foundations that will pave paths of success both in business and otherwise."
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilmember Matheu Eugene were among other city officials who made brief remarks. The official ceremony culminated with the presentation of citations to five Caribbean nationals for their stellar contributions in fostering the Caribbean cause here in the United States. Dr. Yvonne Graham, associate commissioner, New York State Department of Health, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the city of New York; Ms. Collette Burnett, president/CEO, Superwings, was presented with the Entrepreneur Award for success in expanding her business; Reverend Terry Lee, president/CEO, Community Concern Network, the Community Service Award for consistent service to the community; Mr. Colin Moore, editor in chief, The Immigrants Journal, the Community Service Award for his unrelenting service to, and representation of, the Caribbean Community and Mr. Vaughn Toney, president/CEO, Friends of Crown Heights Educational Service, for his provision of daycare and early childhood facilities in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The celebration included a symposium on Mobilizing the Dream, Sustaining and Expanding Economic Growth for the Caribbean American Diaspora; the screening of two short films produced by Caribbean nationals, an evening of food tasting from Caribbean American restaurants and cultural presentations.
A Citadel of Hope in a Challenging Age
By Vandell M. Park
In a world filled with untold uncertainties,
where nuclear threats
demand sanctions and where once>
formidable economies are collapsing,
and basic necessities seem out of
reach for the ordinary man and
woman, governments are challenged
and forced out of power by way of
protests from their subjects. In a world
where politics takes precedent over
the welfare of people, where the social
ills of society encompasses both the rich
and the poor, the young and the old, the
non-God fearing and the seemingly spiritual
giants, where men and women irrespective
of financial, academic or social
status are caving in to the pressures of
life itself, there stands in the heart of one
of the world's most challenging cities,
Brooklyn, New York, a citadel of hope,
the Advent Gospel Ministry.
Founded May 15 2006, by Pastor Anthony O. James, this spiritual fortress and community refuge shines its rays of comfort, protection, shelter and love on all who would choose to bask in its warm glow. His mission statement: "To help others fulfill and demonstrate their true potential, spiritually, emotionally, socially, physically, financially and educationally, while maintaining discipline in love, friendship and unity in the site of God,is the hallmark of service one can pursue."
Pastor James, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, who has been in the ministry for over 15 years, is determined to help create positive change in today's society due to his love for people and strong desire to reach out to youths. While his primary focus is the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he believes that the methods Jesus used while on earth, that of embracing the holistic needs of humanity, must be the foundation of any ministry and he intends to follow that example. The pastor feels that the location of his ministry on 488 Rockaway Avenue in Brooklyn is strategically placed since it provides him with the opportunity to work with individuals from all walks of life within the surrounding community. Since the establishment of the ministry, it has touched thousands of lives through various programs. Every Saturday evening the ministry distributes food to the needy in collaboration with both the Mamre Seventh-day Adventist Church and the El B-naiRahael Jewish Food Outlet. Another project undertaken by Advent Gospel Ministry is its outreach program to youths within the immediate vicinity of Rockaway Avenue, as well as the Brownsville and Canarsie communities.
Pastor James admits that this aspect of his work is particularly challenging since a number of gang-related activities between the Bloods and the Crypts take place in these communities: "I believe that God loves these young people as well and I am dependent on Him to guide me in this particular ministry. I have been able to talk with individual members of both groups and so far they are listening to what I have to say to them. Once they are apart from the respective groups, they exhibit good qualities. While the challenge is great, God is greater and change in their behavior will be inevitable."
Advent Gospel Ministry conducts worship services on Saturdays from 10:00a.m. to 1:30p.m. with a lively half hour of praise and worship, and a youth program from 4:30p.m. to 6:00p.m. On Wednesdays the ministry conducts its hour of power prayer and praise session commencing at 7: 30p.m.
Slavery and the Law—A Call to End Racism
By Vandell M. Park
On May 9th 2012, participants of the New American Chamber of Commerce
(NACC) monthly clergy breakfast were treated to an eye-opening
documentary, "Slavery and the Law," produced by Kings County District Attorney
Charles J. Hynes. The documentary highlighted aspects of slavery and the various
laws that were enacted to ensure its permanence here in the United States, but it
also showed how people of color fought valiantly to end the brutal discrimination
and segregation that to this day still simmers between whites and blacks, despite
the mountain of progress that has been made to eradicate the scourge.
Delivering the feature address at the breakfast, District Attorney Hynes told the church leaders who were in attendance, that while the dark past of racism seems to have diminished and that today there is more diversity in the workplace and more tolerance among whites and African Americans, the issue of racism is still evident here in the United States. Hynes candidly declared: "Racism is still alive and still as vile as it has always been." His speech on racism was prompted by the content of his re-released book: Incident at Howard Beach, the story of the racially motivated killing of 23-year-old African American Michael Griffith in 1986, and a just-released documentary he produced entitled: Slavery and the Law.
To make his point about the incessant continuation of the racial divide more lucid, DA Hynes cited a recent incident of racism right here in Brooklyn. He stated: "Just last November in the Bayview section of Brooklyn where I live, at the Bayview Diner, an African American and white group were having breakfast; they were all from Fort Hamilton down the block and some racist ran through screaming at the white women for the audacity of sitting with African American men. When one of the African American men objected, he was stabbed."
Mr. Hynes, who prosecuted the racial killing case of Michael Griffith back in 1986, and ensured that the white perpetrators of that crime were jailed for their
Does Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law Let Killers Go Free?
by Danny Ramrattan
Public awareness of Florida's unfair and unreasonable "stand your ground" law has exponentially grown since the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin and the initial decision by the Florida police department not to arrest the shooter, George Zimmerman.
On February 26, 2012, Martin, a 17 year-old teenager, was returning home after purchasing some snacks when he was fatally shot by Zimmerman, a neighborhood crime-watch volunteer. The police declined to arrest Zimmerman because there was no evidence which contradicted Zimmerman's claim that he was acting in self-defense. But most observers cannot understand how a grown man carrying a gun could plausibly claim that he was acting in self-defense when killing a teenager armed with only some candy.
Florida's approach to self-defense is based on the "stand your ground" law, passed in 2005, which allows a person to use deadly force when they are in a rightful location and they feel reasonably threatened with serious harm. In most states, self-defense law requires an individual to retreat during a confrontation rather than respond to provocations. The idea was simply, if more people retreated, fewer people would be killed. But the Florida law emphatically opposes, stating a citizen has "no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground." A major problem with the "stand your ground" law is the subjective standard of whether the shooter's understanding of the situation was "reasonable." With the passing of Martin, Zimmerman is the only person able to talk to the police. Many times the person who is shot passes away and only one side of the story will be told and that is the defendant's side. Furthermore, the level of deference to the defendant is extremely high because once self-defense becomes an issue at trial the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Law enforcement has been extremely critical of the "stand your ground" law. Former Miami police chief John F. Timoney stated that "trying to control shootings by members of a well-trained and disciplined police department is a daunting enough task. Laws like "stand your ground" give citizens unfettered power and discretion with no accountability. It is a recipe for disaster."
Police officers are trained to de-escalate highly charged situations and use deadly force as a last resort. On the other hand, citizens have no such training and may act rashly based on emotions. To prescribe such a law which gives citizens such wide latitude in using deadly force is simply irresponsible by the legislature. One lesson that we must not forget is that as constituents we must be aware of the actions our representatives are taking. The "stand your ground" law was ill-fated from its inception and should never have been implemented. A tragedy should not have to occur before we open our eyes to these important issues.
The Importance of Filing a Notice of
Claim After a False Arrest
by John Benjamin & Louve Steele
Police misconduct does not always
involve a physical injury. If you
are a victim of false arrest, or if
you are unfairly targeted for arrest
through racial profiling, you may have a
damages claim against the City of New
York, the New York City PoliceDepartment and the offending officers.
False arrest is a claim of arrest without probable cause, i.e., the reasonable belief that you probably committed the crime or fit the description of the perpetrator the police are searching for. It's a rather light standard (contrasted against the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard needed for a criminal conviction), and it's often satisfied by a complaining witness or a grand jury indictment. If either of these exists, you do not have a claim for false arrest. If, however, you are exonerated of all charges, you may have a claim for harassment, unlawful false arrest, negligence, unlawful detainment, false imprisonment and violation of civil rights under applicable statutory law.
If you're held in police custody for more than overnight and then released after the charges are dismissed, chances are, an attorney will be willing to take your case and recover money for you. You must be mindful of the Notice of Claim requirement, as you must serve a Notice of Claim within 90 days. Taking a guilty plea also is an admission of probable cause, while taking an ACD, (Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal) is not and, therefore, preserves your right to sue for false arrest.
Immigrants also have the right to pursue a claim against the City of NY and the NYCPD without any ramifications from ICE. Do not worry about being deported if you are a victim of a wrongful act by the police department. Remember the following when approached by the police:
• Cooperate fully
• Produce your ID when asked
• If taken into custody, refrain from any verbal communication with the arresting officers
• After the determination of your criminal case, consult with an attorney about filing a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Board.
• Produce a copy of the certificate of deposition – proof of dismissal of your case
After providing a copy of the certificate of deposition, then the process of filing the Notice of Claim can begin. Figeroux & Associates is a full service law firm that specializes in these matters and will gladly assist the community with the unlawful practices of " Stop and Frisk" that is currently resulting in an alarming amount of arrests in targeted communities in New York City.