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.

It's not a crime to be who you are

Early Thursday morning, well past midnight, the New York City Council passed landmark legislation – known as the Community Safety Act – to establish long-needed independent oversight of the NYPD (an Inspector General) and to strengthen the City’s prohibition on bias-based profiling by the police. Read more »

NYC Council Passes Plans for New Police Oversight

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The most expansive plans in years to impose new oversight on the New York Police Department passed the City Council early Thursday, as lawmakers voted to create an outside watchdog and make it easier to bring racial profiling claims against the nation's largest police force.

Both passed with enough votes to override expected vetoes, marking an inflection point in the public debate and power dynamics that have set the balance between prioritizing safety and protecting civil liberties here.

Proponents see the legislation as a check on a police department that has come under scrutiny for its heavy use of a tactic known as stop and frisk and its extensive surveillance of Muslims, as disclosed in a series of stories by The Associated Press.

"New Yorkers know that we can keep our city safe from crime and terrorism without profiling our neighbors," Councilman Brad Lander, who spearheaded the measures with fellow Democratic Councilman Jumaane Williams, said at a packed and emotional meeting that began shortly before midnight and stretched into the early morning. Read more »

2 Bills on Police Oversight Advance Amid Objections From Bloomberg

New York Times

Shortly before a key vote on two policing bills in the City Council, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stood at Police Headquarters, flanked by Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, a dozen other law enforcement officials and Robert M. Morgenthau, the 93-year-old former Manhattan district attorney.

With the mayor playing a solemn M.C. for nearly an hour, each man spoke forcefully against the bills on Monday, warning of the dangers they would pose to the city — some invoking Al Qaeda, others the bad old days of rampant crime — and urging council members to vote no.

Their pleas went unheeded for now.

With the support of Speaker Christine C. Quinn, the Council overwhelmingly approved twin motions — each by a vote of 41 to 8 — to bypass a committee where the bills had stalled and bring them up for a full hearing and vote as early as Wednesday. Read more »

Statement on City Council Vote to Bring CSA to the Floor

Council Members Williams and Lander’s Statement Following City Council Vote to Bring Community Safety Act to the Floor

NEW YORK, NY, June 24, 2013: Council Members Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, jointly released the following statement following the City Council’s passage of a “Motion to Discharge” for the Community Safety Act (Intros 1079 and 1080), a package of bills to increase accountability for the NYPD and strengthen the City’s ban on police profiling to cover all New Yorkers. With the passing of the Motion to Discharge, the City Council will vote on the legislation later this week. Read more »

My protest paid off: Fast-food workers speak out

CNN Money

Eddie Guzman needed to work at least 20 hours a week to be eligible for welfare programs, such as food stamps and affordable housing. But his requests for more hours at the Brooklyn Burger King were met with deaf ears. Guzman's managers kept his working hours between 12 and 15 a week.

Tired of waiting, Guzman joined a protest and signed a petition in March advocating for more hours and better pay. Two weeks later, he was fired. He said his manager told him that signing the petition disrespected him.

One of the restaurant's managers, Imran Ali, said that Guzman was fired because he didn't give the store enough notice before not showing up for a shift.

"I didn't want to let them take advantage of me and not do anything about it," Guzman said. "I couldn't believe that I got fired just for that."

But community organizers and New York city council member Brad Lander went to the Burger King to ask for his job back.

"New York's fast food workers have courageously stood up for fair pay and treatment and I've been honored to stand with them," Lander said.

Within days, Guzman had his job back and was scheduled to work at least 20 hours per week.

"I wanted better for myself," he said. Read more »

Paid sick days for a million more New Yorkers

Taking a day off when you are sick. It is something that is easy to take for granted, but many low-wage New Yorkers have no paid sick days and even put their job at risk if they stay home sick without pay.

But soon that will be in the past. Today, I was honored to cast my vote on the floor of the New York City Council for the “Earned Sick Time Act,” which will extend paid sick days to nearly one million more New Yorkers.

This law will make our city a fairer, more compassionate place to live and work. Read more »

Response to Bloomberg Comments Politicizing Boston Attack

In a letter sent today, Council Members Brad Lander and Jumaane D. Williams called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reconsider comments he made at a Tuesday press conference that politicized the attacks at the Boston Marathon. The Council Members are sponsors of the Community Safety Act, a package of four bills that would protect New Yorkers from discriminatory policing and would create an Inspector General for the NYPD.

  Read more »

Brad Lander Joins Colleagues For Tax Equity Resolution

South Slope News

Last week, Council Member Brad Lander joined fellow Council Members Rosie Mendez, Jimmy Van Bramer, and Daniel Dromm in introducing the

Tax Equity Resolution, which calls on federal authorities to simplify the income tax filing process for same-sex married couples. Read more »

Lander and Williams Praise New Report from Dept of Investigation

Sponsors of NYPD Inspector General Bill: “DOI’s oversight and recommendations are helping improve an agency in need of change.”

BROOKLYN, NY - Today, Council Members Brad Lander and Jumaane D. Williams – co-sponsors of the bill to establish NYPD oversight at the NYC Department of Investigation – praised a new report from the Department of Investigation detailing misguided policies and recommending corrective action for the NYC Board of Elections. The DOI found that the BOE overstaffed a low-turnout election day in 2011, costing the City at least $2.4M in unnecessary personnel expenses.

The BOE fully staffed all election districts under the auspices of allowing poll workers to practice on the new electronic machines. DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn told the Daily News, “Fully staffing all polling sites in the face of such low voter turnout is a costly way to do training,” a position backed by her office’s report.

Council Member Brad Lander praised DOI’s report, remarking that, “It’s great to see the City’s DOI do a thorough study of a public agency, identify problems, and make concrete recommendations for changes in policy. I look forward to the NYPD benefiting from similar oversight, making for better policing and a safer New York.”

"As chair of the Council's Committee on Oversight and Investigations, I have first-hand knowledge of the great work that DOI does,” Council Member Jumaane D. Williams said. “They are uniquely capable of engaging in comprehensive oversight and advising on potential reforms that can improve City functions such as, thanks to this new report, the work of our Board of Elections. Almost every major agency enjoys this type of effective independent review; hopefully soon the NYPD will benefit from comparable oversight, strengthening its internal function and external image." Read more »