Long Island Press: Advocates Urge Minorities to Vote on Election Day

Advocates Urge Minorities to Vote on Election Day

By Rashed Mian on October 31, 2013 [Original article here]

Community organizers armed with clipboards and Tootsie Rolls impressed upon minority voters the importance of casting their ballots during an outreach effort at the Rosa Parks Hempstead Transit Center Thursday, greeting straphangers with candy and asking them to pledge to vote Nov. 5.

Organizers chose levity over earth-shattering repercussions if votes aren’t cast by donning spooky masks and comical hats for Halloween. Still, they tried not to downplay the significance of casting a ballot on Election day, which is less than a week away.

“We have a chance to make a difference this year,” said Diane Goins, whose group New York Communities for Change also works with the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, which spearheaded the event. “We will have a seat at the table and our voices will be heard.”

The group of about a dozen chanted “Trick or vote!” and “The people united will never be defeated!” outside the bustling transit center as commuters on the bus line looked on.

Daniel Altschuler of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table said the afternoon event was part of a broader outreach effort to engage minority voters in areas dominated by low and middle-income residents, such as Hempstead, Elmont, Brentwood, Central Islip and Gordon Heights. They hope to collect at least 10,000 signatures and to engage 25,000 residents before the day’s over.

“We haven’t been respected yet,” Goins said of low-income residents. Many in her community are concerned about affordable housing, jobs, cuts to children services and foreclosures, she said.

James Boone of Hempstead was one of the first to take the pledge, but said he makes sure to get to the polls every year.

“When you go out and vote you’re able to change things,” he said. “I always vote.”

The 30-year-old Hempstead resident said he’s concerned about the amount people who are either homeless or living in shelters.

“You have to know who you’re voting for,” Boone said.

Organizers don’t try to influence voters decisions by telling them who to vote for, Goins noted, adding that they should educate themselves about each and every candidate on the ballot.

Minority organizations have registered more than 11,000 voters this year. They plan on going door-to-door from now until Election Day to inform people about their polling sites and to secure more pledges.

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The Korea Times: 낫소카운티장 후보 토론회…수오지만 참석

낫소카운티장 후보 토론회…수오지만 참석

입력일자: 2013-10-25 (금) [여기에 원래의 문서]

11월 본선거에서 실시되는 낫소카운티장 후보자 토론회가 24일 롱아일랜드 에버그린 차터스쿨 강당에서 열렸다. 이날 토론회에는 에드워드 망가노(공화) 현 낫소카운티장이 불참한 가운데 토마스 수오지 민주당 후보만 참석해 실업, 주택, 세금 문제 등을 주제로 진행됐다. 시민참여센터와 그레잇넥 주민회가 한인 커뮤니티를 대표해 참석해 ‘번역 및 통역서비스를 정착시킬 방법’에 대해 질의했다. 수오지(오른쪽) 후보가 질의에 답하고 있다.<조진우 기자>

Copyright ⓒ koreatimes.com All rights reserved.

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Long Island Wins: Historic Nassau County Executive Candidate Forum Addresses Issues in County's Diverse Communities

Historic Nassau County Executive Candidate Forum Addresses Issues In County’s Diverse Communities

by Kevin Fung - Online Editor [Original article here]

Note: Neither Long Island Wins, nor any of the hosts or participating organizations in this forum are endorsing any of the candidates.

More than 300 community members gathered at the Circulo de la Hispanidad in Hempstead for “Growing a Diverse Long Island,” a historic candidate forum for Nassau County Executive. For the first time ever, candidates for County Executive had a platform to address the issues concerning the County’s working-class communities of color.

Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi fielded questions directly from community members representing a wide array of grassroots organizations in Nassau County. Republican candidate Ed Mangano was invited repeatedly, but did not attend.

“Tonight is a historic night,” said Eliana Lopez, moderator for the forum and editor-in-chief of Noticia, Long Island’s Spanish language newspaper. “This is the first forum for Nassau County Executive to be held in a majority African-American and Latino community.”

“It’s about time,” Lopez added, which was followed by a round of applause by the hundreds in attendance.

“I’m very happy to be here tonight to talk to you about the future of Nassau County,” said Tom Suozzi, Democratic Candidate for County Executive. “We love Long Island. This is where our homes are, this is where our families are.”

One of the main issues facing immigrant communities on Long Island isSecure Communities, a federal program that has resulted in local police doubling as immigration agents. Because the majority of people deported under the program have either been convicted of minor offenses, such as traffic violations, or don’t have any criminal record at all, it has further damaged trust between immigrants and police.

“Police and government need to have a good relationship with the community, so that when something bad happens, you know you can go to the police and share information and be protected,” Suozzi said. “If you’re afraid of the police, then you stay underground.”

Suozzi mentioned that in his previous term as County Executive, he along with his police department and the federal government conducted an investigation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, because he suspected there were illegal raids being performed in the county.

“Our police are not here to work with immigration officials,” said Suozzi.

The forum Thursday night continued a dialogue that Long Island Wins, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table (LICET) and Noticia have begun fostering through their “Growing a Diverse Long Island” series of forums, which seek to bring the issues facing Long Island’s diverse communities to the forefront.

Long Island Wins and LICET hosted a similar forum in Gordon Heights in Suffolk County earlier in the week. The forums are part of an effort by Long Island Wins and our allies to increase civic participation throughout our diverse communities.

This year’s municipal elections will be critical for shaping the future of Long Island, be sure to get out and vote November 5.

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Public News Service: Latino & African-American Issues: Focus of LI Debate

Latino & African-American Issues: Focus of LI Debate

NEW YORK – The candidates for Nassau County executive face off tonight in a bilingual forum that will for the first time focus on issues impacting working-class communities of color. [Original article here]

Steve McFarland, the Nassau County organizer for the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, says it is historic that the candidates for the county's top job will be so focused on questions related to how they will strengthen and support diverse working-class communities on Long Island.

"What it says is, politicians are waking up and recognizing that the real engine of growth in Nassau County is working-class communities of color," McFarland says.

The latest polls show the incumbent, Republican Edward Mangano, in the lead over Democratic challenger Tom Suozzi. The forum kicks off at 7:30 p.m. in Hempstead.

Alexandra Sanjuan with Make the Road New York says working-class people of color on Long Island want to hear candidates speak to their concerns about affordable housing and fair wages.

"But the problem is a lot of people in Nassau (County) are working overtime, and they are not getting paid the right wage for their overtime wages, you know," she says.

Sanjuan agrees that the 15 percent growth in the African American population in Nassau County and the 48 percent jump in Latinos over the past decade is a big factor driving politicians to pay more attention to working-class issues on Long Island.

"They really didn't look at the Hispanic communities before,” she says. “And now it's a huge percentage in Nassau, places like Hempstead, Westbury, Hicksville, Freeport, they've got a really growing-up community there."

Tonight's forum is co-sponsored by Long Island Wins, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table and Noticia.

Copyright © 2013 Public News Service


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Long Island Wins: Candidates for Suffolk Legislature and Brookhaven Supervisor Address Issues Facing Community

Candidates for Suffolk Legislature and Brookhaven Supervisor Address Issues Facing Community

by Kevin Fung - Online Editor [Original article here]

Note: Neither Long Island Wins, nor any of the hosts or participating organizations in this forum are endorsing any of the candidates.

Last night, the candidates for Brookhaven Town Supervisor and Suffolk County Legislature’s 7th District joined Long Island Wins, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table and more than 100 community members at the historic Gordon Heights Fire House for an interactive candidate forum to discuss key issues facing Suffolk County’s diverse communities.

Issues discussed included job creation, the foreclosure crisis, language access, and the relationship between police and immigration enforcement. In recent years, areas of Brookhaven have been known as anti-immigrant hot spots. This forum indicated continued progress towards shedding that legacy.

“Tonight is a special night,” said James Freeman, president of the Greater Gordon Heights Civic Association and moderator for the candidate forum. “This is the only forum this year where the candidates will focus on their proposals to empower our diverse communities.”

Reflecting the diversity of Suffolk County’s diverse communities, the forum offered simultaneous Spanish interpretation for those with limited English proficiency.

One of the biggest issues facing the immigrant community on Long Island is the lack of trust between them and the police. With policies such asSecure Communities further eroding that trust, it’s essential that this disconnect be addressed going forward.

“In a world where we have a great deal of crime, a growing gang problem and a growing drug problem, I believe we need to focus our efforts on that, not going after undocumented immigrants,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

“I don’t believe that the police should become immigration officials,” said Vivian Viloria-Fisher, candidate for Brookhaven Town Supervisor. “I saw the suffering that happened because of that when people were afraid to go to the police because they were not documented, and so they became victims twice. I don’t want to see that happen again.”

“The last thing we can afford is having our police department going after people that haven’t committed any real crimes,” said Rob Calarco, Suffolk County Legislator for the 7th District. “Our police officers have enough to do, they don’t need to enforce federal laws.”

Certain areas in the town of Brookhaven have gained a reputation as being anti-immigrant, culminating in the 2008 murder of Ecuadorian immigrant and Patchogue resident Marcelo Lucero. The community members that took part in the forum had the opportunity to stand face-to-face with the candidates and have their concerns regarding diversity addressed.

“As a legislator, I wrote a resolution to name the second week of November, Marcelo Lucero week,” said Romaine. “I want to demonstrate that we’re a town that accepts everyone.”

“We started the Play for Peace Soccer Tournament, which is an opportunity for people to interact,” said Calarco. “What people find when they interact with each other is that they’re not so different.”

“When we embrace the culture of all of our people, we make all of us richer,” said Viloria-Fisher.

This year’s municipal elections will be critical for shaping the future of Long Island and our diverse communities. Be sure to get out and vote November 5.

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Newsday: Brookhaven supervisor hopefuls to speak at Gordon Heights forum

Brookhaven supervisor hopefuls to speak at Gordon Heights forum

Tuesday October 22, 2013 2:55 PM By Carl MacGowan [Original article here]

The candidates for Brookhaven Town supervisor are expected to appear tonight at a bilingual candidates forum in Gordon Heights.

A forum spokesman said Supervisor Edward P. Romaine, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger, former county legislator Vivian Viloria-Fisher, have confirmed they will take part in the 7 p.m. debate, at the Gordon Heights Fire House, 23 Hawkins Ave.

The event is hosted by Gordon Heights civic groups and immigrant advocacy organizations, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table and Long Island Wins.

A bilingual interpreter will provide translations of the debate, which can be heard through headphones. Dozens of headphones will be available, said Long Island Civic Engagement Table spokesman Daniel Altschuler.

Questions for the candidates will be posed by civic leaders, he said.

County Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue), who is running for re-election in the 7th Legislative District, also is scheduled to appear. His Republican opponent, John Halverson, had not responded to messages inviting him to participate, Altschuler said.

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Patchogue Patch: Candidates Facing Off In Medford On Diversity Issues Tuesday

Candidates Facing Off In Medford On Diversity Issues Tuesday

Debate featuring Brookhaven Town Supervisor and Suffolk County Seventh District candidates.

A bilingual candidate forum on diversity featuring Brookhaven Town Supervisor and Suffolk County Legislator Seventh District candidates is taking place Tuesday at the Gordon Heights Fire House, 23 Hawkins Ave. in the Medford section of Gordon Heights at 7 p.m.

The event, hosted by The Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Wins and Gordon Heights civic groups will feature Supervisor candidates incumbent Ed Romaine (R-Moriches) and Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D-Setauket), and at least incumbent Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue) from the seventh district race. Calarco's challenger, John Halverson (R-Patchogue) is listed as invited in the organization's announcement but not yet confirmed.

The candidates will be taking questions from Suffolk County organizations, and will feature simultaneous interpretation. The debate is planned to cover how the candidates will strengthen and support diverse communities in Suffolk County, the economy and social policy, the announcement said.

What diversity topics do you think need to be discussed for the upcoming elections? Talk about it in the comments section below this post.

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Newsday: Activists in Brentwood demand immigration reform

Activists in Brentwood demand immigration reform

Originally published: October 5, 2013 6:59 PM
Updated: October 5, 2013 8:45 PM
By Candice Ruud [Original article here]

As one after another white balloons drifted into the air at Ross Park in Brentwood on Saturday, the demand for a streamlined path to immigration grew louder: ahora (now).

It was the last scene in a two-hour immigration rally and march, one of 170 rallies across the country Saturday where pleas resounded for federal lawmakers to jump-start conversations about changes to U.S. immigration policy.

"We have waited too long to fix our broken immigration system," said Karina Claudio-Betancourt, rally organizer from Latino community advocacy group Make the Road New York. The goal of the Oct. 5 rallies was to reinvigorate the comprehensive immigration reform bill that stalled in the House of Representatives in June.

House Democrats unveiled an immigration bill Wednesday proposing an extended path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants illegally present, along with heightened border security. But immigration reform has been on the back burner since before the budget standoff.

"Immigrant communities, fed up with rising deportations and inaction in Washington and now a closed government, are marching today . . . to raise pressure on congressional Republican leadership to break the logjam and take action," Claudio-Betancourt said.

Written on the balloons were pleas to end deportation or the name of a friend or family member who had been deported. The balloons were released, said rally attendee Patricia Bernal, to remember those deported and families ripped apart as a result. She joined about 100 others at the march, many of them holding signs and chanting "Sí se puede! (Yes we can!)" and "The people, united, will never be defeated!" in Spanish and English.

Bernal, 47, of Bay Shore, came here 13 years ago from Peru with her family. While they are citizens now, she said she empathizes with the struggles of those trying to secure jobs and driver's licenses and keep their families together.

"They need the same opportunity as everybody else," she said.

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Newsday: Voter Registration Day draws thousands

Voter Registration Day draws thousands

A coalition of Long Island advocates in minority group communities Tuesday celebrated registering more than 9,000 voters this year as those groups marked National Voter Registration Day.

The two dozen or so advocates vowed to continue their push to bring thousands more into the voting rolls and to encourage them to vote in municipal elections, hoping the effort will bring attention to issues of concern among voters of color.

“We are now getting really revved up and the next thing we are going to do is educate ourselves and educate our voters on the candidates that are coming up,” said Diane Goins, a member of New York Communities for Change, an advocacy group on issues affecting low- and moderate-income families.

“We are demanding that they [elected officials] listen to us now, OK? We want jobs, not just promises,” Goins added. “We want affordable housing. We want people to stay in their homes ... and we don’t want them to cut any more services to the kids.”

Daniel Altschuler, coordinator of the Long Island Civic Engagement Table that unites several advocacy efforts, said the thousands of new voters include many immigrants that recently became citizens and young residents who turned voting age.

They are largely black and Latino residents from neighborhoods such as Freeport, Hempstead and Elmont in Nassau County, and Brentwood, Central Islip and Gordon Heights in Suffolk County.

The voter-participation campaign will reach out to those voters, Lucía Gómez Jiménez, director of advocacy group La Fuente, said. “This is not just about registering,” she said. “This is about turning out to vote, this is about exercising their capacity as registered voters to turn out to public hearings.”

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El Diario: Suffolk más tolerante con hispanos tras crimen de odio

Suffolk más tolerante con hispanos tras crimen de odio

El asesinato de Marcelo Lucero en Patchogue marcó un antes y un después en el condado, donde la violencia racial hacia los latinos no se denunciaba

Por: Zaira Cortés/EDLP PUBLICADO: Sep, 25, 2013 12:00 am EST [Artículo original aquí]

Nueva York — Cinco años después de que el inmigrante ecuatoriano Marcelo Lucero fuera asesinado por motivos raciales en PatchogueLong Island, el condado de Suffolk pasó de un estado de apatía a un creciente esfuerzo por lograr tolerancia entre comunidades.

Una de las medidas más esperanzadoras es una orden ejecutiva que entrará en vigencia el 14 de noviembre, que exigirá a todas las agencias del condado ofrecer servicios de traducción e interpretación a los más de 120,000 residentes que no dominan el inglés.

"Observamos en las autoridades una mayor disposición al diálogo", apuntó Daniel Altschuler, presidente de la Mesa Cívica de Long Island. "Una policía que habla español facilita la denuncia. En el pasado era un recurso limitado, en ocasiones inexistente, para la comunidad latina".

La próxima promoción de uniformados contará con un 10% de miembros con el nuevo título Oficial de Policía que Habla Español (Spanish-speaking Police Officer).

Mas fácil denunciar crímenes de odio

No es la única medida que se ha aplicado en una comunidad traumatizada por la violencia racial. En sus 21 meses de administración, el ejecutivo del condado, Steve Bellone ha intentadoestablecer políticas y acuerdos que conduzcan a un clima de tolerancia y respeto entre las comunidades.

Por ejemplo, el Departamento de Policía de Suffolk simplificó el proceso de denuncia en casos de delitos de crimen racial, siguiendo las normas y supervisión del Departamento de Justicia del estado.

"El nuevo método impide que la Policía tipifique como delito menor un crimen que amerita clasificación como de tipo racial", comentó Luís Montes, vocero del ejecutivo de Suffolk.

El viernes pasado, Steven Bellone proclamó la "Semana de Bienvenidos al Condado de Suffolk", con el propósito de promover el respeto y la cooperación entre recién llegados y antiguas familias en Long Island.

Las organizaciones Long Island Wins y Primera Persona Americana, coordinadoras de la iniciativa, presentaron nueve cortometrajes con el tema "¿Cuál es tú historia?", que exploran narraciones personales de inmigrantes sobre cómo la gente los acogió y cómo esto cambió sus vidas.

"Estamos intentando crear un lugar donde reconocemos que nuestra diversidad contribuye a una cultura más firme y a una economía más prospera", indicó Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, directora ejecutiva de Long Island Wins.

El ecuatoriano Margarito Mayorga, un trabajador de la construcción que reside en el área por dos décadas, dijo sentirse hoy "más seguro y confiado" que antes.

"Patchogue no es una ciudad totalmente libre de acoso y burla hacia los hispanos, pero definitivamente se percibe mayor respeto", expresó Mayorga, quien opinó que el asesinato de Lucero fue "un parte aguas" para la creciente comunidad ecuatoriana del área.

¿Quién fue Marcelo Lucero?

Lucero, de 37 años, fue atacado violentamente el 8 de noviembre de 2008, por siete adolescentes en las inmediaciones de la estación de tren.

Joselo Lucero, hermano de Marcelo, expresó que la tragedia destapó un clima antiinmigrante que, para entonces, no era una situación nueva para la comunidad latina.

"Denuncias de agresiones por motivos raciales, ocurridas antes del caso de mi hermano, fueron demeritadas por autoridades desinteresadas en las comunidades de color", destacó Lucero. "Las víctimas guardaron silencio ante el temor y la desconfianza en una Policía incapaz de comunicarse en español".

Clima de intolerancia hacia los latinos en Suffolk

En 2009, un estudio de la organización Southern Poverty Law Center, que vigila a grupos de odio, advirtió que las declaraciones de funcionarios y autoridades fomentaban la hostilidad hacia los inmigrantes.

El Fondo Puertorriqueño para la Defensa Legal de la Educación (Latino Justice PRLDEF) añadió que las políticas antinmigrantes del antiguo ejecutivo del condado, Steve Levy, contribuyeron a crear un clima de intolerancia hacia los latinos.

El Departamento de Justicia confirmó las alegaciones de activistas y líderes comunitarios, en una carta de 28 páginas que exigía mejoras en los procedimientos de investigación de los crímenes de odio en Suffolk, acusando a la Policía de no indagar informes previos de ataques.

El Departamento de Justicia encontró que en el caso de Lucero, la Policía citó a varios jóvenes acusados de participar en el asesinato, por disparar a un hispano con una pistola de aire comprimido horas antes del ataque. El informe policial tipificó entonces el incidente como un disturbio, cuando según la legislación actual sería un ataque racial.

"Es inaceptable que el asesinato de un joven atrajera la atención nacional a una situación que muchas veces advertimos, pero que nadie escuchó", dijo Mayorga.

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