Don't Let Albany Legislators Cram Plastic Bags Down NYC's Throat (and Trees, Storm Drains & Landfills)

Statement by Council Member Brad Lander on efforts by Albany legislators to overturn NYC's plastic bag law (which will go into effect on February 15th, 2017):

"With Trump and the GOP Congress rolling back climate protections and bullying cities, it would be shameful for Albany to join them. Don't they have more important work to do?

New York State legislators who care about the environment must defend the right of localities to advance effective, forward-looking environmental policy. Read more »

For our kids, and our democracy too: great & diverse Kindergarten & Pre-K choices

Few things matter more for our kids’ life-chances than getting a great start in their education. That’s why we’ve worked so hard in NYC to expand pre-Kindergarten, and to make sure families have strong public school options.

 And few things matter more for our democracy than bringing kids together, across lines of race & class, to learn, play, and work together. That’s why I’ve been working hard with advocates, educators, and colleagues to fight school segregation and promote more diverse schools. Read more »

Get Organized BK Upcoming Actions, Updates, Next Meeting 1.16.17

I hope you were able to enjoy some time with friends and families over the holidays, and that you are ready to gear up for the fights ahead in 2017. With the New Year, we hope to ring in a new era for resistance and organizing.

As a reminder, our next #GetOrganizedBK meeting will be on Monday, January 16th at 7 PM at Congregation Beth Elohim. That’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so we’ll have a few reflections first, before splitting into working groups again. We’re pretty sure this is how he’d want us to spend it. Below, we’ve shared some updates and requests from #GetOrganizedBk in addition to some great events coming up over the next several days.

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That's how the light gets in

Wednesday was the shortest -- and the darkest -- day of the year. 

Over the past few weeks, we've been dealing with a lot of darkness. Terrorist attacks in Berlin and Ankara. The brutal tragedy in Aleppo. Here at home, reasons to fear that many of our deepest values -- justice, tolerance, inclusion, sustainability, peace -- will be under threat in the days ahead. 
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2016 Highlights

Despite the darkness of recent weeks & the challenges we face in the year ahead, we have a lot to be proud of, in what we have accomplished as a community in 2016. We're pleased to offer some of the highlights of our work together over the past year. Read more »

Before a vacation, a fair work week

My family and I are headed out on vacation next week. I don’t know about you, but at this moment, I sure need one.

Before we leave, though, it’s worth taking a minute to think about workers whose jobs don’t provide even enough stability to know whether, when, or how much they’ll be working from week-to-week.

Without a stable work schedule, who can build a stable life, pay the rent, arrange child care, or go to school? Much less save up for presents, buy new clothes for the kids, or go on a real vacation.

Unfortunately, unpredictable schedules are all-too-common, especially for poor New Yorkers. A new report from the Community Service Society (“Unpredictable: How Unpredictable Schedules Keep Low-Income New Yorkers from Getting Ahead”) highlights how NYC’s low-wage retail and restaurant workers suffer from abusive scheduling that exacerbates economic hardship. The CSS study shows that: Read more »

Darryl King, 1948-2016

Somehow, he did not let bitterness destroy him. Despite brutal injustice and suffering – 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit – Darryl King kept his spirit, his smile, his will to change the systems that wronged him and many others, and an earnest desire to do good in people’s lives. 

Darryl was born in Brooklyn in 1948, drafted in 1967, and served two years in the U.S. Army. Not long after being honorably discharged – down on his luck, without a job, having fallen into drug use – he was wrongfully arrested and convicted for a murder he did not commit. Read more »

From Freezing Rain to “Giraffe Power.” #GetOrganizedBK next Tuesday 12/20

The news continues to be as dark and cold as the days. A climate denier to head the EPA. A fast-food CEO who opposes workers’ rights to lead the Department of Labor. Evidence that Russia successfully influenced the election through cyber-spying to elect Trump, sow chaos, and undermine faith in democracy – followed by Trump’s nomination of an oil executive with no diplomatic experience and a disturbingly close relationship with Putin for Secretary of State.

What does it mean? It means we can’t let up.

So, we’re getting together again next Tuesday evening, 12/20 at 7 p.m. for our next #GetOrganizedBK meeting. Please RSVP here.

In the midst of so much darkness, your activism continues to offer much-needed points of light. Over just the past few days: Read more »

2 Upcoming Actions: Standing Together Against Hate in Grand Central, and Ft. Hamilton Stations

From a hate-driven attack on an MTA worker in Grand Central Station, to anti-Islamic graffiti at the Ft. Hamilton subway station in Kensington, to so many heartbreaking instances over the last few weeks, we’ve seen an unacceptable and frightening rise in hate crimes, both citywide and right here in Brooklyn.

This Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, #GetOrganizedBK members are holding two actions to show that our community stands together against hatred and Islamophobia. Join for one or both of these events to say “Not in our city!” and “Not in our neighborhood!”

Sunday Afternoon:
“Not In Our City!” Vigil
Grand Central Station (main concourse)
Sunday, December 11 from 3-4 PM
A great action to join right after the Kids Speak out March in Central Park!

Monday Morning:
“Not in our Neighborhood!” Subway Rally
Monday, December 12 at 7:30 AM
Reeve Place Entrance to Ft. Hamilton subway stop.
Send neighbors off to work with messages letting them know we will not stand for hate, and our neighborhood is for ALL of us.  Read more »

Two bits of inspiration & some next steps for #GetOrganizedBK

Every day seems to include some new darkness (and not only because the days are still getting shorter). So far this week we’ve seen the nomination of a climate-denier to be the EPA Administrator, a segregation-denier for HUD Secretary, a violent attack on a DC pizza restaurant based on right-wing fake news, and a continued stream of hate crimes in NYC.

So I’m feeling the need for some small but bright spots of inspiration. Here are two:

*** Standing Against Islamophobia in Grand Central Station: This past Sunday, some of our very own #GetOrganizedBK actvists (led by Ben Wides and joined by two dozen others, who got started at our meeting last Thursday) organized an impromptu vigil in Grand Central Station, responding to the hateful attack on Muslim Baruch College student, Yasmin Seweid. They got some great press coverage, and made clear that we will not tolerate hate crimes. Thanks for standing up to say #NotInOurCity. Check out this video clip of their beautiful action.

***City Council Passes a Resolution Affirming NYCs Status as Sanctuary City: On Tuesday, the City Council (of this historically immigrant city) overwhelmingly passed a resolution affirming that despite President-elect Donald Trump's senseless (and probably unconstitutional) threats, NYC will remain a sanctuary city for our immigrant residents. I was proud to co-sponsor the resolution, along with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Immigration Chair Carlos Menchaca (who many of you met last Thursday). Right afterward, Carlos went up to Trump Tower to deliver the resolution to the President-elect.

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