Inspiration in every act of resistance
After President Trump’s bizarre press conference on Thursday, I’m in need of a new dose of inspiration and action.
Trump promised to push forward with plans to bar immigrants and refugees and to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Amidst many attacks on the press, he angrily ignored the respectful-to-a-fault question of an Orthodox Jewish reporter from Brooklyn who simply asked about the spike in anti-Semitic incidents (like the two our #NotInOurCity working group highlighted in their most recent vigil). Meanwhile, the growing ICE raids are terrorizing immigrant families, despite the sanctuary our cities are working to offer.
Fortunately, inspiration and action are not hard to find.
Yesterday’s #DayWithoutImmigrants helped to remind us that immigration is our American identity. I was proud of so many local businesses who supported the actions of their workers (including Shelsky’s, Fletcher’s BBQ, Blue Ribbon, Al Di La, Tacos Branco, and hundreds more).
Earlier this week, the resistance had a major victory in the rejection of anti-labor fast-food CEO billionaire (and accused domestic abuser) Andrew Puzder to be Secretary of Labor. And workers in Brooklyn celebrated with a big win at Babeland, where workers and owners signed the first union contract at any “sex-toy” shop in the country (and don’t forget, they are part of Age-Friendly Park Slope as well).
On Wednesday, I had the privilege of joining 50 NYC high school activists organizing together through IntegrateNYC4me -- the student wing of the school integration movement (and a snapshot of what NYC looks like at its very best). Council Member Ritchie Torres and I joined them as they created action plans to address school assignment policies that result in segregation, resource inequity, restorative justice, and build relationships across difference.
You may have seen news reports about one of those tremendous young leaders. Hebh Jamal organized the city-wide student walkout to protest President Donald Trump’s policies last week, and also a recent rally against the Muslim ban in Foley Square. And she was featured in a New York Times feature in 2015 about young Muslims in America.
You can meet & hear from Hebh in person at our next #GetOrganizedBK full group meeting on February 27th. Our panel will focus on the threats that Betsy DeVos and the Trump regime pose for public education -- and what we can do about it. After the panel, as usual, the working groups will meet to continue the incredible organize work you are all doing.
In the meantime, we can’t slow down. Let’s keep building the momentum for resistance, for change, and for the values of compassion, justice, and equality that we so deeply share.
Four great events this weekend to keep the resistance going:
Saturday, February 18, 11 AM - 2 PM
Rally With Members of Congress to Save the Affordable Care Act
Gouverneur Health, 227 Madison Street, Manhattan
Join Reps. Nydia Velázquez and Hakeem Jeffries, other Members of Congress, health care providers, representatives from labor, patient advocacy groups and others to rally in support of the ACA. RSVP here.
Sunday, February 19, 12-4 PM at Times Square
Today, I Am A Muslim Too: A Day of Solidarity!
I hope you’ll join me on Sunday to stand in solidarity with American Muslims. There is no greater time than now to stand up for our Muslim brothers and sisters and in support of equality and tolerance. This event will feature community leaders like Russell Simmons, Imam Shamsi Ali, Rabbi Marc Schneier, Daisy Khan, Linda Sarsour -- and Brooklyn’s inspirational Debbie Almontaser, who has joined us for several #GetOrganizedBK meeting. RSVP here.
And while every week can seem like a year right now, here are a few events coming up over the next few weeks:
Monday, February 27, 6:45-9PM at Congregation Beth Elohim
Get Organized Brooklyn: Full Group Meeting
Our next full-group #GetOrganizedBK meeting in next Monday, February 27. We’ll kick-off at 6:45 PM with a panel about the recent threats to public education since the confirmation of Betsy DeVos. Then at 7:45 we will break down into working groups (more information here). Feel free to come for either part (or both). Please note, crowd numbers have been high! Get there early or watch the livestream or video for the panel/portion. RSVP here.
I’m also glad to report that at this meeting we will offer the first in a series of #GOBK Bystander Intervention Trainings taught by the Center for Anti-Violence Education (a long-standing community institution in our neighborhood). These trainings, which we hope will become a regular part of the meetings, will teach you how to respond to the increase of harassment and actual hate crimes seen in New York. The class will be offered during the second half of the meeting, but limited to 40 people. If you are interested in signing up, you can do so here. Spots will be assigned at random, and you’ll be notified via email with more details if chosen for the training. If you don’t get a spot this month, we hope to keep offering them at future meetings.
Friday, March 3, 7:30 PM at Union Hall
The Occasionalists Present: Eve of Destruction Live Karaoke for the Resistance
Support the ACLU & DRUM (and their Kensington Hate Free Zone)
A great way to rock out for a good cause. Join the Occasionalists, a Brooklyn-based band of multi-instrumentalists specializing in live karaoke gigs. That’s right -- it’s just like karaoke but you get a full-band to accompany you instead of a karaoke machine. Their last benefit was standing-room only, and supported Planned Parenthood & Make the Road NY. The March 3rd show will benefit the ACLU and DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving) … the organizers of the Kensington Hate Free Zone. RSVP here.
As usual, there are many more events & action opportunities via the #GetOrganizedBK Facebook group (now well over 5,000 people and growing).
See you in the streets (and in the schools, hospitals, places-of-worship, restaurants, and nightlife establishments of the resistance, too).