From the White House to the jail house – a busy week!

From the White House to the jail house – a busy week!

Lander and activists block traffic at the Brooklyn Bridge

This summer has been one of the busiest periods in my time on the City Council. While working to pass landmark legislation in the Council and protect our community institutions in the district

I had a number of exceptional experiences this week that I wanted to share with you.

The Champion of Change awards
On Tuesday, I was invited to the White House to receive a “Champion of Change” award for our Participatory Budgeting program. Over the last two years, our community has been changing the way people think about the relationship between government and citizens. It is great to see the White House taking notice.

This award is an honor, but I know it is really our big team of volunteers which deserves the recognition. The whole point of Participatory Budgeting is to involve more people in these decisions – and it is only successful because the community has embraced it. Read more about the real champions of change on my blog.

Sitting down for our hospital
Only one day after being honored at the White House, I was sitting in a jail cell. I was arrested for blocking traffic at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge with nurses and staff from Long Island College Hospital (LICH) and community activists. The decision to risk arrest for what is right is not something I take lightly. So why get arrested?

Despite court orders to keep it open, SUNY has been working to close LICH, a much used and much needed community hospital. We were willing to risk arrest because we need to draw attention to the hospital's plight. We were willing to risk arrest because this closure is both unlawful and disgraceful. This fight for LICH is imperative, and the time has come for civil disobedience.

Time to end racial profiling in NYC
On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the Community Safety Act. The vote to override the veto will come in August. The legislation, which I am a lead cosponsor of, would bar racial profiling and other bias-based profiling and create an inspector general for the NYPD.

I look forward to voting with my colleagues to overturn Mayor Bloomberg’s veto and make this legislation law.

I am cosponsoring these bills because the numbers speak for themselves. Under the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk program the number stops grew from 97,296 stops in 2002 to 685,724 stops in 2011. Nearly 90% of those stopped are Black and Latino. The death of Trayvon Martin still fresh in our minds; it is clear how dangerous racial profiling can be.

We are working with Hip Hop artist and activist Talib Kweli (who grew up in Park Slope) on this campaign to end racial profiling in New York. Sign the petition here.

Giving the city a tour of our backyard
Earlier this week, I took NY1 host Errol Louis on a tour of our City Council district as part of his series profiling districts around the City. From the Gowanus canal to Prospect Park to Church Avenue, I had a great time showing him around our diverse neighborhoods. You can tune into NY1 tonight at 7 or 10 PM to see the 39th Council district on Road to City Hall.


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