Newsday: LI groups seek out voter registration

LI groups seek out voter registration

Long Island advocacy groups and activists gathered in Brentwood to mark National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 22, 2015. They announced that more than 2,000 voter registration forms have been collected throughout the summer and that they'll work to sign up more unregistered eligible voters in immigrant and minority communities before the Oct. 9 deadline. 

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Long Island Wins: Touré Beats Cross with Record Turnout for Special Election

Touré Beats Cross with Record Turnout for Special Election

 October 29, 2014 by Christian Bonawandt [Original article here]

Maribel Touré will finally take her seat on the Hempstead School Board after defeating opponent Betty Cross in a victory that saw her earn almost twice the votes of the latter.

Touré won with 1275 votes to Cross’ 764. The win makes her the first Latino to sit on the school board despite Latinos comprising almost 60 percent of the school district.

“People are going to start to see a light ahead,” Touré told Newsday.

Steve McFarland, coordinator for the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, called Touré’s victory a great sign, but said the real story is the record level of voter turnout. More than 2,000 people voted on Tuesday—double that of the previous election in May.

To have “1,000 new people involved in the process” was “inspiring,” McFarland said.

Tuesday’s special election was ordered by New York State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. in response to a complaint filed by Touré accusing Cross of election fraud and voter coercion during the May 20 vote. He also removed Cross from the board in August, though she was not barred from running again in the special election.

The election was overseen by monitors from the state attorney general’s office.

The term for Touré seat ends June 30.

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Newsday: Immigrants to Mangano, county agencies: Speak our languages

Immigrants to Mangano, county agencies: Speak our languages

 October 1, 2014 By VÍCTOR MANUEL RAMOS [Original article here]

 More than two dozen immigrants and their advocates arrived on the doorstep of Nassau County's seat of government in Mineola Wednesday, asking Executive Edward Mangano to ensure that county agencies offer services in the native languages of most residents.

 Members of the language-advocacy coalition pressed the administration to deliver on executive orders 67 and 72 from 2013, in which Mangano required departments to translate vital documents into six languages other than English and provide "competent interpretation services."

 "Ed Mangano made a promise to the county's 130,000 limited-English-proficiency residents that regardless of the language they speak they would be protected and receive equal access," said Cheryl Keshner of the Empire Justice Center, a nonprofit group that operates statewide and focuses on the legal rights of poor and disabled people. Mangano, she said, "has broken his promise."

 Administration officials said there has been progress, with police and social service departments providing translation and interpretation, and other offices working toward the goal of language help in Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, Persian, Korean and Creole.

 "We have a language-access policy that's in place, that continues to develop each day and with each additional agency," said Brian Nevin, Mangano's spokesman.

 Nevin and Herb Flores, the county's deputy director of minority affairs, had to respond to a group of about 20 people who insisted on delivering signed cards expressing support for a multilingual Nassau County. Nevin later said 53 of 144 cards were from Nassau residents.

 When Flores said "the process has been started," Senen Vasquez, a Westbury resident, told of how she recently had to jump through hoops to get language help in applying for Medicaid at a social services office.

 "They may have bilingual people, but they are no help," she said in Spanish. "They didn't want to see me, they didn't want to receive me, they didn't even want to listen." Advocates and county officials agreed to schedule a meeting later this month.

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Newsday: Immigration rally demands language services

Immigration rally demands language services

Two dozen-plus immigrants and advocates called for better language-access services during a rally on Oct. 1, 2014 in Mineola, demanding that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano's office comply with last year's executive order that guarantees such services to county residents with limited English proficiency. 

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El Diario: Dan empujón final para registrar votantes hispanos en NYC

Dan empujón final para registrar votantes hispanos en NYC

Grupos pro inmigrantes realizan una campaña como parte de la celebración del “Día de Registro de Votantes”
Septiembre 24, 2014 By JUAN MATOSSIAN [Original article here]

 Nueva York – Grupos que representan a las comunidades latina, caribeña, árabe y asiática están enviando voluntarios y organizando actos en los cinco condados de la ciudad y en Long Island, con el fin de registrar al mayor número posible de nuevos votantes, como parte de la celebración “Día de Registro de Votantes”.

 La fecha límite para registrarse y poder votar en las próximas elecciones del 4 de noviembre es el 10 de octubre.

 Los grupos pro inmigrantes neoyorquinos están enfatizando que registrarse es fundamental para lograr elegir en las próximas elecciones federales y estatales a representantes que apoyen medidas como la reforma migratoria y el New York DREAM Act.

 “En estos meses antes de las elecciones de noviembre, nuestras comunidades han experimentado una decepción tras otra – desde las pasividad del Congreso ante la reforma migratoria hasta el presidente Obama retrasando una acción ejecutiva”, dijo Steven Choi, director ejecutivo de New York Immigration Coalition. “Queremos enfatizar que, como ha ocurrido en pasada elecciones, el voto inmigrante va a ser decisivo”, agregó.

 “Es especialmente importante que lleguemos a comunidades de inmigrantes que sean elegibles para votar, pero que aún no se hayan registrado, y que continuemos educando a los votantes sobre la importancia de conocer a los políticos que se presentan en su área y las ideas que defienden”, señaló Valeria Treves, directora de New Immigrant Community Empowerment, una organización con base en Queens.

 En Long Island cada vez crece más la comunidad inmigrante y varias contiendas electorales, especialmente por el Senado Estatal, se presentan muy disputadas y su devenir será básico para el futuro del DREAM Act en el estado de Nueva York. Por ello, muchos grupos pro inmigrantes también se unieron allí para registrar a votantes.

 “Estamos registrando para votar en Long Island a más votantes de color y a nuevos ciudadanos estadounidenses que nunca”, aseguró Janeth Niebla-Galaviz, organizadora para el condado de Suffolk de Long Island Civic Engagement Table. “Hemos registrado ya a más de 2,500 nuevos votantes y estamos llamando a más de 20,000 puertas”.

 La fecha límite para registrarse en persona en la oficina de la Junta de Elecciones de su condado o en cualquier otra agencia del estado sujeta al programa de registro es el 10 de octubre.

 Para registrarse por correo, la fecha del matasellos de su solicitud no puede ser posterior al 10 de octubre y debe de ser recibida en las oficinas de la Junta de Elecciones antes del 15 de octubre.

 El formulario de registro en inglés y en español y la lista de las direcciones de las oficinas para registrarse en cada condado se pueden encontrar en o llamando al 1-800-FOR-VOTE

 – Fuente: Junta de Elecciones del Estado de Nueva York

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Long Island Wins: Organizations Step up for National Voter Registration Day

Organizations Step up for National Voter Registration Day

 September 24, 2014 by Christian Bonawandt [Original article here]

 More than a dozen advocacy and civic organizations gathered in Brentwood on Tuesday to raise awareness for National Voter Registration Day and help citizens register to vote.

 The meeting was organized by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table (LICET). The deadline for voter registration is October 10.

 “As a registered voter, I’m proud to be here today, knocking on doors and registering voters,” said Janeth Farfán, a member of Make the Road New York, speaking through a translator. “It’s tough work, but it’s needed. What it means is, we are registering voters for better schools, and better college opportunities for our DREAMers.”

 Christina Romero, an intern at SEPA Mujer, said voting is the only way local communities like those on Long Island are part of the national conversation. “It is the first step to creating political change. It is our civic responsibility to register to vote. It is the only way we can tell our elected officials how we feel about homeland security, health care, public education, social security, and other important issues like immigration reform,” she said.

 Speaking specifically to Hispanic voters, George Siberón of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association, said not to underestimate how much power a voter has at the polls—especially at the local level. Using Hempstead as an example, he noted that there are more than 4,000 registered Hispanic voters, yet very few typically turn out to vote.

 “In a village where it takes 600 votes to win a school board election and 1,600 to win a mayoral race… it doesn’t make sense,” he said.

 According to Steve McFarland, coordinator at LICET, his organization had set a goal of 2,500 new voters by Oct, 10. To date, they have already registered 3,000.

Other organizations present at the rally include Long Island Wins, Planned Parenthood, Parent Leadership Initiative, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Alliance for Quality Education, Haitian American Political Action Committee, Every Child Matters - Long Island, American Muslim Voter Club, and New York Communities for Change.

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Noticia: Campaña para registrar votantes continúa en Long Island y NY

Campaña para registrar votantes continúa en Long Island y NY

Fecha límite para registrarse es el 10 de octubre

 Redacción | 9/24/2014 [Original article here]

A cinco semanas de las elecciones generales del 4 de noviembre, jóvenes y adultos continúan recorriendo las calles de Long Island y la ciudad de Nueva York, en busca de personas que deseen registrarse para votar, y puedan participar de los próximos sufragios.

 Una coalición de organizaciones comunitarias vienen realizando esta labor desde agosto, con la intención de promover el voto en la comunidad inmigrante, y registrar la mayor cantidad de personas, principalmente de comunidades minoritarias, como la hispana y la afroamericana, para que tengan una mayor participación en las próximas elecciones.

 En Long Island, el objetivo era registrar a 3,000 personas, cantidad que ha sido superada, según Steve McFarland de la Mesa Cívica de Long Island. La idea es continuar registrando votantes hasta el 10 de octubre, fecha límite para poder registrarse, dijo McFarland.

 Este martes 23, durante el Día Nacional de Registración de Votantes, realizada en todo el país, miembros de varios grupos comunitarios se reunieron en el local de la organización Se Hace Camino Nueva York, en Brentwood, para recordar la importancia del voto.

 Marcy Suárez, líder juvenil de Se Hace Camino Nueva York, en Long Island, contó que en agosto, un grupo de jóvenes de Brooklyn, Queens y Long Island, recorrieron varios vecindarios de Nassau y Suffolk, registrando votantes. Durante este proceso, dijo Suárez, se lograron registrar unas 200 personas, de las cuales 60 serían hispanas.

 “Ha sido un arduo trabajo, que hemos realizado para incrementar la participación de nuestra gente inmigrante y de color en nuestras comunidades porque sabemos que eso es lo que hace el cambio y hace el poder en nuestras comunidades”, comentó Suárez.

Escucha a Marcy Suárez:

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Newsday: Advocates tap LI's diverse communities on National Voter Registration Day

Advocates tap LI's diverse communities on National Voter Registration Day

 September 23, 2014 By VÍCTOR MANUEL RAMOS [Original article here]

 Members of a coalition of about 20 advocacy groups stressed the importance of registering voters in Long Island's diverse neighborhoods as they work toward an Oct. 10 deadline for adding to the counties' rolls.

 The Brentwood event -- part announcement, part pep rally -- was one of Tuesday's initiatives on National Voter Registration Day, a campaign that spawned its #celebrateNVRD social media hashtag and involved about 2,000 groups across the country.

 "The face of Long Island is changing, the immigrant population has grown and voters of color are making our voices heard louder and louder," said Steve McFarland, coordinator of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table.

 A handful of advocates also hit the pavement, approaching people on Brentwood Road around noontime. At nearby Ross Park, they found James William Smith, a Jamaica native living in Brentwood who told them he had never registered in his 73 years of life.

 Denise Pearce, a Central Islip resident with the advocacy group Make the Road New York, lectured Smith about his duties and told him he needs to be an example to younger citizens. He signed up on the spot.

 "We have to show the young ones," she told him.

 "If we don't stand, they'll never do it," Smith conceded.

 Pearce said she's registered more than 80 voters over the last several months, as one of squadrons of volunteers knocking on doors in communities such as Brentwood, Central Islip, Hempstead, Uniondale and Westbury. The effort has yielded about 3,000 new voters this year on Long Island, McFarland said.

 Group leaders representing Hispanics, Haitians, Muslims, women's and reproductive rights, and working families cited a list of issues, from raising the minimum wage, to improving schools or fighting for immigration reform, and seeking equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

 Polly Henry, an Amityville resident with the Child Care Council of Suffolk's Parent Leadership Initiative, said it is up to each person to empower their communities.

 "We can be that voice for our children by registering and casting our votes," said Henry, 57, a naturalized citizen from Jamaica. "So often we feel disenfranchised but we did that to ourselves by not voting."

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Newsday: Sheriffs' orders: Curtail immigrant detentions

Sheriffs' orders: Curtail immigrant detentions

September 17, 2014 By VÍCTOR MANUEL RAMOS [Original article here]

 Sheriff's departments in both Long Island counties said they no longer will hold in jail immigrants who are flagged for deportation unless federal officials produce warrants, curtailing participation in a controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement program known as Secure Communities.

 Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco, in a memorandum last week to all personnel, said the agency "is NOT to hold an inmate solely on an ICE detainer" unless the federal agency presents his office with a warrant from a judge.

 The switch from routine detention of immigrants in the country illegally who have been arrested puts Nassau and Suffolk among more than 200 jurisdictions nationwide, as tracked by advocates, that have withdrawn at least in part from the program. Since 2009, more than 369,000 immigrants have been deported or have voluntarily returned to their countries under Secure Communities.

 Suffolk and Nassau had led the state, outside of New York City, for the number of immigrants expelled from the United States under the program, according to ICE figures.

 As of July 31, ICE had sent 781 immigrants from Suffolk and 499 immigrants from Nassau back to their homelands since both counties joined the program in February 2011.

 The local policy changes follow federal court decisions in Oregon and Pennsylvania cases where detention requests lodged by ICE were found to violate the constitutional right not to be held without probable cause and were deemed not to be mandatory, civil rights advocates and law enforcement officials said.

 Secure Communities was set up as an information-sharing partnership between ICE and the FBI to identify what are described as "criminal aliens" through fingerprint checks. When an immigrant who has been arrested is flagged for potential deportation in the databases, either because of criminal history or immigration violations, ICE asks local jails to detain that person for its agents.

 Lou Martinez, ICE's spokesman with the New York field office, did not comment on the Long Island departments' actions. In a statement, he said the agency "works cooperatively with law enforcement partners throughout New York as the agency seeks to enforce its priorities by identifying and removing convicted criminals and others who are public safety threats."

 Members of a coalition of advocacy groups that includes Make the Road New York, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Long Island Civic Engagement Table hailed the changes, particularly in Suffolk, as a victory for immigrants.

 The massive detention system violates American values, they said, and has fostered fear among immigrants and hindered cooperation with law enforcement.

 "Holding on to someone for even a minute without a judicial warrant or a finding of probable cause that they have done something criminal is unconstitutional," said Amol Sinha, director of the Suffolk Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "We had heard stories of people detained from two days to three weeks without any finding that they had done anything wrong, simply so that the federal government could investigate."

 It was not clear how many inmates have been released under the new rules, because the counties don't keep track. DeMarco, in an interview, said 114 immigrants were among inmates at the county jail Friday who had been flagged for detention and would be released if no warrants were issued by federal magistrates or other judges.

 DeMarco said he reached his decision after asking the Suffolk County attorney's office to review the recent federal court cases. He described the change as a "good government" measure to comply with the law and protect taxpayers from lawsuits. Those charged with serious crimes still will be held under the terms of their cases, he said.

 "I don't want to open up the county taxpayers to any liability," DeMarco said. "The bottom line is, the worst criminals out there, like those who commit murder or other violent offenses, won't be let go by judges anyway. Serious crimes and violent felonies, those people are going upstate anyway."

 Michael R. Golio, a captain with the Nassau County Sheriff's Department, said in a written statement that the agency "amended its procedures" on detention to require a warrant for arrest or deportation from ICE or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 "The Sheriff's Department is aware of the recent federal court decisions issued in other states regarding this matter and we believe that our amended procedures are in full accord with the applicable legal authority on this issue," Golio's statement said.

 Suffolk's policy change "will not only prevent a torrent of unjustified deportation," said Peter Markowitz, a law professor and head of the immigration justice clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in Manhattan, "but just as importantly will promote a healthy relationship between immigrant communities and Suffolk County law enforcement, and that's going to make everyone safer."

 Markowitz and other advocates, however, were not convinced that Nassau's change would make a difference, because the county will continue to accept administrative warrants, typically issued by ICE field office directors instead of a judge.

 Barrett Psareas, an immigration enforcement proponent who is vice president of the Nassau County Civic Association, said he is concerned about the changes leading to fewer deportations.

 "There's a duty of every government to protect your people, and they are not protecting us if they are not holding these individuals who committed crimes," Psareas said.

 Immigrant advocates have maintained that many immigrants were caught in a deportation net after being arrested over minor offenses, and were turned over to immigration agents before being convicted of any crimes.

 "This had to stop," said Carlos Reyes, 37, a Central Islip resident and member of Make the Road New York. "The community was afraid, and what ended up happening was that in many cases people were deported and families were separated over insignificant incidents."



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Noticia: Exigen educación de calidad en Hempstead

Exigen educación de calidad en Hempstead


Luego del fallo del Comisionado de Educación coalición promueve “El Programa Popular”
 By Eliana Lopez | 9/2/2014 [Original article here]

 Una coalición de organizaciones que ha venido trabajando para lograr reformas escolares en el Distrito Escolar de Hempstead, aprovechó la entrega anual de útiles escolares realizada por el Abba Leadership Center, en la Villa de Hempstead, para promover un plan para mejorar las escuelas de este distrito escolar denominado “El Programa Popular”. Entre las organizaciones que hacen parte de esta coalición están Comunidades por el Cambio NY, La Mesa Cívica de Long Island, y el Corredor Cuenta.

 Este evento se realizó a pocos días de darse a conocer la decisión del Comisionado de Educación del estado de Nueva York, John King, de invalidar los comicios realizados en mayo, luego de que se denunciaran irregularidades en las elecciones.

 Hablando en inglés y español, Delsy Sánchez, de Comunidades por el Cambio NY y madre de familia; y Dennis Jones, presidente de la Cámara de Comercio de Hempstead, dieron a conocer el llamado Programa Popular, un documento redactado a principios de este año durante reuniones comunitarias en las que la gente tuvo la oportunidad de expresar los cambios que querían ver en las escuelas del distrito.

 La idea de los líderes comunitarios es que la Junta Escolar de Hempstead adopte los principios de este plan, con el objetivo de mejorar su trabajo y los servicios del distrito escolar. Lucas Sánchez, de Comunidades por el Cambio NY, aseguró además que también se buscará que aquellas personas que se postulen para hacer parte de la Junta Escolar se comprometan con los principios del Programa Popular. “Todos los candidatos que vamos a auspiciar para la Junta Escolar están comprometidos con esta plataforma”, aseguró.

 Lamont Johnson, presidente de la Junta Escolar de Hempstead, se mostró receptivo a las exigencias de la comunidad y reconoció la gran presencia de latinos en el distrito escolar. “La mayoría de nuestra población es latina, así que ellos no son una minoría en nuestras escuelas. Como presidente estoy dispuesto a hacer comunicar sus necesidades”, indicó.

 En referencia a las nuevas elecciones que se tendrán que realizar para acatar el fallo emitido por el comisionado, Johnson indicó que planean pedirle a la Junta Electoral de Nassau que se encargue del proceso. “Vamos a hacer que la Junta Electoral de Nassau se encargue de las elecciones para que no hayan cuestionamientos”.

 El Programa Popular

  1. Supervisión comunitaria y transparencia en las finanzas: La comunidad debe estar activamente involucrada en el proceso de supervisión de la Junta Escolar. Asegurar que cada dólar que entra al distrito sea usado correctamente.
  2. Entrenamiento en diversidad cultural: Reconocer la diversidad que existe en el distrito escolar y promover programas sobre diversidad y entendimiento cultural tanto en el sector administrativo, como entre los estudiantes,profesores y padres de familia.
  3. Mejorar servicios bilingües: Cada estudiante y padre de familia merece tener una educación de alta calidad, por lo que se deben proveer clases de calidad para los estudiantes con inglés limitado y mejorar los servicios bilingües para los padres.
  4. Representación de padres, estudiantes y maestros: Cada uno merece que su voz sea escuchada en la toma de decisiones que los afectan directamente.



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