By MIKE CLIFFORD, Public News Service
NEW YORK - A new, nonpartisan group is launching an effort today to mobilize Long Island's African-American, Latino and working-class voters in time for the November elections. The effort is being billed as a "month of actions."
Daniel Altschuler says the group he coordinates, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, was created to make public officials more accountable to communities of color - especially in Suffolk County.
"What we're focusing on is getting out the vote in communities that have for too long been neglected by elected officials. That would be African-American communities, immigrant communities and working-class communities, more generally."
The 2008 killing of Ecuadorian immigrant Marcello Lucero was one indicator, Altschuler says, of how anti-immigrant sentiments and policies need to be addressed on Long Island.
While black and Latino voters don't always size up issues the same way, Altschuler says there are a number of factors at play which should make them formidable political allies in Suffolk County.
"Foreclosure is an issue in both of these communities. Hate crimes and discrimination. These are issues that affect both African-American, Latinos, as well as other communities of color - and these are issues that we can really use as common ground, and move together from a position of strength."
The Long Island Civic Engagement Table and several other grassroots organization will detail their voter-mobilization efforts at a news conference at noon today at Ross Park in Brentwood.