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.

Elected Officials Call for a Halt to Senior Home Eviction

BROOKLYN, NY – Councilmember Brad Lander, Assemblymember Joan Millman, and Assemblymember James Brennan released the following statement today in response to a plan to close the Prospect Park Residence, an assisted living facility in Park Slope with over 100 elderly residents:

“To throw our elderly neighbors out on the street is cruel, heartless, and unacceptable. The owner, Haysha Deitsch, must withdraw his plan and allow these seniors to stay in their homes.

“There is already a shortage of senior housing in our city—where does he expect them to go? Read more »

A progressive City Council gets to work

Four years ago, after my election to the City Council, I joined Melissa Mark-Viverito and nine of our colleagues to form the Council’s first ever Progressive Caucus. I am proud of what we were able to accomplish during that term – banning discriminatory policing, extending paid sick days to more New York workers – but we always knew that the Caucus would be more powerful if it had more members.

Photo credit: William Alatriste, New York City Council

Thanks to a big election, smart organizing, and a lot of help from New York progressives like you, that day has come.

A little over a year ago, several Caucus members and I formed Progressive NYC, in the hopes that we could help elect some progressive candidates to the Council and grow our ranks. Our goals seemed ambitious at the time, but we thought that if we elected 5 or 6 more progressives, to add to the Progressive Caucus’ 11 members, we could ensure that progressives had a seat at the table when forming the new Council, setting priorities, and choosing a Speaker.

So we marshalled volunteers and hosted house parties for a slate of fresh-faced community activists from neighborhoods like Bushwick, Far Rockaway, and the Bronx, who were ready to make an impact at City Hall. And as you know by now, we far surpassed our original goal, and have had a transformative impact on New York City government. We have doubled the size of the Progressive Caucus and played a role in electing Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Melissa Mark-Viverito as the new Speaker. Read more »

Council Passes Legislation to Track and Reduce New York City Poverty

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the City Council passed legislation requiring the mayor to annually report on poverty in New York City, assess the effectiveness of anti-poverty policies, and lay out plans to reduce poverty going forward. Following an election where New York City’s startling inequality took center stage, the legislation creates a regular mechanism to assess the inequalities across the city and reduce poverty. Read more »

A Flood of Compassion … But Not Much Justice

By Lisa Cowan (Red Hook Initiative) and Brad Lander (New York City Council)

One year ago, Hurricane Sandy darkened the skyline and changed the lives of so many of our neighbors.  This week’s anniversary calls to mind the crowds who waited for food and supplies in Red Hook, the cars full of baked ziti and batteries dispatched to Coney Island, Staten Island, and the Rockaways, the gas station lines, and the rows upon rows of cots for hundreds of evacuees at the Park Slope Armory (and so many other places). Read more »

Remembering Sammy Cohen-Eckstein

I'll be honest. I wasn’t sure I could attend the Park Slope Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assembly on Thursday night. Like so many friends and neighbors, I was still shaken in the hours after the funeral for Sammy Cohen-Eckstein, who was hit by a van on Prospect Park West on Tuesday. It feels like our whole community was punched in the gut.

No words are going to help us comprehend this tragedy. But I wanted to share a little of what I’ve been thinking. Read more »

A big week at City Hall

It’s been an exciting week at City Hall, and I wanted to let you know some of what we’ve been up to.

Community Safety Act
Yesterday, we had a momentous vote to overturn Mayor Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act. This legislation, of which I am a lead co-sponsor (along with my friend and colleague, Council Member Jumaane Williams), will create an NYPD Inspector General (just plain good government) and strengthen the City’s ban on discriminatory policing. The stronger ban will be truly enforceable and will cover all New Yorkers, including LGBTQ residents, immigrants, and the homeless. Read more »

Thursday morning, 3 a.m. (12 hours to the override vote)

Four years ago this month, I wrote many of you my first “Early morning, 3 a.m.” email. I was up late in Foley Square, as part of an interfaith vigil against homelessness. I was restless, and angry at the crisis of homelessness (though at the time, there were 12,000 fewer homeless New Yorkers than there are tonight). But I was also hopeful. I wrote again at 3 a.m. on the night before the 2009 election, one more time restless but hopeful, that we might be able to do a little good. Read more »

How The NYPD Monitor And Likely IG Will Handle Stop-and-Frisk

Wall Street Journal
08/14/2013

If the New York City Council overrides Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of a bill to create an inspector general for the Police Department next week, that person is unlikely to be involved, at least initially, in overseeing the city’s stop-and-frisk policy because a federal monitor will be handling that issue, one of the bill’s chief sponsors said. Read more »

Community Safety Act sponsors say City Council bills still needed despite stop and frisk ruling

Metro US
08/12/2013

Councilman Brad Lander, who spearheaded two controversial NYPD-related City Council bills along with Councilman Jumaane Williams lauded today’s court decision ruling stop and frisk unconstitutional but said the City Council bills are still very much needed.

The bills would institute broader and more stringer regulations against biased-based profiling and install an Inspector General with sweeping oversight over the NYPD. Read more »