African-American and Latino Leaders Rally to Mobilize Low-Income Suffolk County Voters

Leaders of Long Island Community Organizations To Launch a Month of Action to Get Out the Vote

What: Press Conference to launch month of action leading up to the November election

Where: Ross Park, Brentwood.  On Brentwood Road, between Suffolk Ave. and 2nd Ave (where the buses stop).  Parking available opposite the park or in the shopping center just next to the park.

When: Thursday, October 13, Noon

October 12, 2011

For Immediate Release

Excuse cross-posting

Contacts:

Daniel Altschuler, Long Island Civic Engagement Table: 917-494-5922  

Ana María Archila, Make the Road New York: 917-330-5337

Luis Valenzuela, Long Island Immigrant Alliance: 631-603-4266  

African-American and Latino Long Islanders Rally to Mobilize Low-Income Suffolk County Voters:

Leaders of Long Island Community Organizations To Launch a Month of Action to Get Out the Vote

What: Press Conference to launch month of action leading up to the November election

Where: Ross Park, Brentwood.  On Brentwood Road, between Suffolk Ave. and 2nd Ave (where the buses stop).  Parking available opposite the park or in the shopping center just next to the park.

When: Thursday, October 13, Noon

This Thursday, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table (LICET), a coalition of grassroots community organizations, will hold a press conference at Ross Park in Brentwood to launch a month of action to mobilize low-income voters for the upcoming county and township elections. 

In 2008, the killing of Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who lost his life in a violent hate crime, put Suffolk County in the national spotlight as a bedrock of anti-immigrant politics. Since then, hate crimes and discrimination have continued, and working people of color have suffered tremendously from economic crisis.

Fear and economic insecurity continue to reign in immigrant, African-American, and low-income communities in Suffolk County. Yet, while issues like foreclosure, unemployment, low-wages, and school and service cuts are most important to voters, many elected officials have remained largely unresponsive to these communities’ needs, instead focusing their energy on promoting anti-immigrant policies.

Three years after the Lucero killing, Latino and African American Suffolk County residents are coming together to launch a non-partisan voter education and mobilization effort to ensure that the new County and Town governments recognize the contributions of working class communities of color and focus on the issues that affect them. They are joining the effort by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table—a new non-partisan initiative led by New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York, Long Island Immigrant Alliance, and CARECEN—to spur civic participation and foster greater accountability.

Harold Watzkin, a member of New York Communities for Change, is joining LICET’s efforts because: “There are too many foreclosures in our communities and too few services being offered to our struggling neighbors. Our vote is our voice. The community needs to get out and vote if we really want to see politicians pay attention to the needs of Central Islip.”

María Magdalena Flores, a member of Make the Road New York, added, “Our communities have suffered too much from hate crimes, discrimination, and the irresponsibility of certain politicians in Suffolk County.  Now is the time to go to the polls to vote in numbers so that they listen to and respect us.”

At Thursday’s press conference, speakers from various community organizations will unveil a month of extensive canvasses and get-out-the-vote efforts in low-income Suffolk communities to mobilize thousands of voters to come out on Election Day and participate more fully in our democracy. 

Through CARECEN’s work, LICET will also expand the voter base by helping legal permanent residents complete their naturalization process. As Pat Young, CARECEN’s program director and LIIA Board member, explained: “CARECEN is working to turn immigrants into the most vital opponents of hate mongers—informed and voting United States citizens. Suffolk officials who try to win votes by scapegoating immigrants will be held accountable by new citizens anxious to move the county forward and help it emerge from its climate of fear.”


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