Social Justice

Whenever one group is treated differently or denied protection under our laws, it undermines the foundation on which our country was built. Discrimination, whether against two people who love each other and want to marry, against a family whose only transgression is wanting to make a better life for their children in American, or against a religious institution seeking to locate near one of the most contested sites in the city, is patently un-American. The City Council should act as force against hate and intolerance, as well as fighting to bring those who live in the shadows more fully into our society.

Statement of Councilmember Brad Lander on the Westboro Baptist Church protests of Brooklyn synagogues

Statement of Councilmember Brad Lander on the Westboro Baptist Church protests of Brooklyn synagogues

October 7, 2010

On Monday, October 11th, a small, pathetic, vile cult from Kansas -- known as the Westboro Baptist Church -- plans to protest outside several synagogues and yeshivas in Kensington, Brooklyn. Read more »

Years Pass, But Question Remains: Is NYC Denying Welfare?

CityLimits
09/20/2010

The benefits rolls are far smaller and the mayor is quite different, but the debate over welfare in New York still revolves around whether eligible applicants are being turned away.

Study: Too few city contracts to minority, women biz

Crain's New York Business
09/07/2010

The city is failing to meet its goals for contracts awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses, according to a report to be released Wednesday by City Council members Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams, although city officials questioned the study's methodology.

The report, a draft of which was obtained by Crain's New York Business, argues that contracts awarded to companies owned by minorities or women amounted to only 1.6% of the $5.3 billion in city contracts handed out between July and December of 2009. Read more »

Minority Businesses Struggle to Secure City Contracts

New York Times
09/08/2010

Businesses owned by women and members of minorities still struggle to secure city contracts, despite nearly five years of legal mandates and targeted goals set by the city, says a new City Council report [pdf - see also below]. Read more »

Councilmembers Lander, Williams Release Report Highlighting Failure of City's Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Contracting Program to Meet Goals

Councilmembers Brad Lander and Jumaane D. Williams today released a report that shows that the City has failed to meet most of its goals for contracts awarded to Minority or Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).  They were joined by Councilmembers Letitia James, Darlene Mealy, Diana Reyna, and Debi Rose on the steps of City Hall today to address how the city has failed to meet most of its goals for the contracts awarded to Minority or Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs).

Read the coverage of the report in the New York Times and Crain's New York Business

Read more »

New York Communities Take on Foreclosures

The Nation
08/30/2010

New York's foreclosure problem has become a full-blown crisis.

In 2009, there were 50,000 foreclosures in the entire state and nearly half were in New York City. Now, over 265,000 mortgages are past due or in the foreclosure process. Foreclosures in the city were up 16 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year. Banks have provided little relief, making less than 12,000 permanent modifications throughout New York since May 2009.

Read more »

State and City Legislators Hold Press Conference to Announce Legislation That Holds Banks Accountable for Foreclosed Homes

Updated:  Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of the Nation, writes in support of our anti-foreclosure legislation!

 

Today, New York State Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, City Council Member Brad Lander and New York Communities for Change (NYCC) held a press conference with a coalition of State and City legislators to announce legislation that is aimed at holding banks responsible for foreclosed homes in New York. The proposed legislation emphasizes the importance of banks responsibly maintaining foreclosed homes if they cannot offer a viable mortgage modification to families in need.

Council Member Brad Lander said, “Too many banks are refusing to seriously engage in the broad range of programs made available to help homeowners, causing our communities and families to suffer as a result. It is time to ratchet up the pressure and make sure the banks take responsibility.” Read more »

Helping Kids Get Ready for the School Year

Thank you to everyone who made a donation through our office to Operation Backpack, a program run by Volunteers of America that provides backpacks filled with school supplies to children living in New York City's homeless shelters. Read more »

New York State Senate passes domestic workers' rights bill

Today I am very happy to be celebrating the New York State Senate’s passage of a domestic worker’s rights bill, the first law in the nation to guarantee fair working conditions to nannies and other homecare workers. These workers, mostly women, largely from immigrant communities, have for too long been a class of unseen, unrepresented workers in New York and have been virtually without recourse when their employers exploited or abused them. Read more »

Legislative Update: Responding to Arizona and Fighting for Juvenile Justice Reform

I'm pleased to let you know about two City Council resolutions that passed the Council at our meeting last Thursday.

Smarter, fairer funding for juvenile justice alternatives:  Right now, the State of New York essentially bribes the City to send young people who present little or no risk to public safety to juvenile jails (officially, "secure detention facilities") like Spofford - even when judges, the City, and prosecutors believe that treatment, rehabilitation, and alternatives programs would produce lower rates of recidivism and therefore a safer and better city.  The State pays half the cost of detention, but nothing for community-based alternatives. Councilmember Sara Gonzalez and I co-sponsored Resolution 201, which passed the City Council last week, calling upon New York State to develop a more equitable method of billing New York City for the placement of young offenders, so we can choose strategies that work best. State Senator Velmanette Montgomery is leading the effort to change the funding formula in Albany.

Just and comprehensive immigration reform
: When last week Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the harsh, mean-spirited, and likely unconstitutional new immigration law, the City Council moved quickly. We passed Resolution 162-A, sponsored by Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, which criticizes the new Arizona law, and calls on Congress and President Obama to pass a just, humane, and comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2010. All around the city, New Yorkers have been taking part in actions to decry the Arizona law and call attention to the need for immigration reform now.