A rally on Tuesday increased the public pressure on Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD following a series of recent controversies over police tactics.
Occupy Wall Street protesters have issued a joint call with members of New York City's black, Latino and Muslim communities for New York City's police commissioner to resign.
A rally on Tuesday increased the public pressure on Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD following a series of recent controversies over the policing of Occupy protests, surveillance of Muslim communities and the use of stop-and-frisk powers.
The rally was inspired by Saturday's mass arrest of at least 73 Occupy protesters in lower Manhattan. Many Occupiers have described the evening as one of the most violent police crackdowns since the movement began in September.
Occupy's response to the weekend's events was to call on communities who have also expressed frustration with NYPD policies and tactics. A further rally and mass action is planned for Saturday.
Tuesday's event began with a silent march from Foley Square to the NYPD's headquarters at One Police Plaza.
Roughly 100 activists walked with their hands bound behind their backs in flex cuffs, many with tape over their mouths. At the front of the march demonstrators held a large banner that read "Kelly must resign." In a demonstration that was equal parts somber and emotional, activists denounced the department as violent and racially biased.
After arriving at NYPD headquarters, juvenile justice activist Chino Hardin told the rally: "Real community safety does not begin with NYPD. It begins with the community. You wanna know how to keep us safe? Ask us!" A convicted felon, Hardin now works with the Center for New Leadership, an organization run by formerly incarcerated individuals.
Hardin targeted the department's widespread use of stop, question and frisk tactics. The controversial searches have increased over 600% in the last 10 years. Commissioner Kelly and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg say the stops keep weapons off the streets and save the lives of young men of color.
Critics say the practice is an institutionalized violation of fourth amendment rights that yields marginal results while disproportionately impacting the very group the mayor and commissioner say it protects.
"Yeah, I'm angry," Hardin added. "I'm angry because every time I look around there's a black or Latino boy or girl being illegally searched. Every time I turn on the news you portray us to be animals."
Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, has been a vocal critic of the NYPD's recently-exposed practice of monitoring Muslim Americans based on religion. Sarsour called on Occupy Wall Street's supporters to, "stand up and say no. Stop spying and harassing and intimidating the Muslim community for being Muslim."
"I commit myself and our community to the Occupy Wall Street movement and look for your solidarity with our community," she said.
In the days that have followed Saturday's crackdown, an increasing number of allegations of serious police abuse have surfaced. Occupiers are quick to add, however, that their experiences pale in comparison to the lives of individuals living in low-income communities and and communities of color.
Addressing the crowd on Tuesday, Occupier Jennifer Waler, who was arrested on Saturday, said a police officer threatened to Tase her and take her to a psychiatric ward because she was singing in her jail cell.
"Yes, on Saturday the police were brutal," Waller said. "This is just the tip of the iceberg."
"In Harlem they beat and arrest people just for walking down the street. In the Bronx they shoot people point blank in their own bathroom," she added, referring to the police shooting of unarmed 19 year-old Ramarley Graham in February.
"The NYPD surveils, targets and entraps Muslim people, creating convoluted schemes to legitimize the war on terror through racist policing, and they never ever pay a price," she went on to say.
Occupier Jose Whelan, agreed that the issue of police violence extends beyond the treatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters. On Saturday night, Whelan's arrest drew attention from around the country, as photos showed a massive crack in glass door that a police officer threw him into.
Whelan was arrested for disorderly conduct while standing on a public sidewalk in an incident witnessed by the Guardian. He was punched in the face multiple times. It came without warning, Whelan said.
"They just grabbed me and started punching me. Nothing like, 'You're under arrest.' Nothing like, 'Put your hands behind your back'."
Whelan sees the opposition to police violence described at Tuesday's event as an interconnected struggle that predates Occupy Wall Street by generations.
"The work we've been doing for a long time in Occupy is really trying to connect to the groups who've been doing it for a really long time. There's community organizations here that have been doing it for 30 years, tirelessly, in the communities that are much more strongly effected, that don't have a team of cameras and a team of jail support and a team of lawyers behind them when this stuff happens. And this stuff happens every single night in New York City.
Economic and Social Justice -
According to the stock market, the U.K. economy is in a boom. Not just any old boom, but a historic one. On 28 October 2013, the FTSE 100 index hit 6,734, breaching the level achieved at the height of the economic boom before the 2008 global financial crisis (that was 6,730, recorded in October 2007).
Since then, it has had ups and downs, but on Feb. 21, 2014 the FTSE 100 climbed to a new height of 6,838. At this rate, it may soon surpass the highest ever level reached since the index...
Ha-Joon Chang | The Guardian 01 Mar 2014 Hits:342 ESJ Articles
Last year, America placed next to last in a ranking of child well-being in 35 developed countries, barely beating out Romania. A recent report by the Children's Defense Fund helps explain how the US earned that distinction. According to the report, 1-in-5 American children live in relative poverty. Close to half of poverty-stricken kids live in extreme poverty, which means their families earn less than half the poverty level of $11, 746 per year for a family of four.
Since the Great Recession began in 2009, there's been a 73 percent jump in...
Tana Ganeva | AlterNet 20 Feb 2014 Hits:2380 ESJ Articles
All eyes are on Chattanooga, Tenn. as 1,500 Volkswagen workers file into voting booths this week to determine whether they will be represented by the United Auto Workers.
Unlike most U.S.-based employers, Volkswagen has remained neutral on the question of unionization, in part hoping that its workers could then legally form a works council like other VW workers around the world. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) and U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are trying to convince the workers to vote no, and some local elected officials are now threatening to yank...
Lane Windham | Facing South 14 Feb 2014 Hits:184 ESJ Articles
In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.
As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that...
Nelson D Schwartz | New York Times 04 Feb 2014 Hits:248 ESJ Articles
You'd think debate on the merits of raising the minimum wage would have been settled long ago. After all, it's been around for 75 years in the United States, and it's been examined in countless academic and professional studies.
But the rhetoric rages on after President Barack Obama last week urged Congress to "give America a raise" by hiking the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25. And again when Gov. Pat Quinn advocated a raise in Illinois to $10 an hour from $8.25 during his State of the...
Gregory Karp | Chicago Tribune 02 Feb 2014 Hits:160 ESJ Articles
Where have all the Democrats gone?
It’s hard to imagine a better gift falling into their laps: Republicans have just thrown 1.3 million unemployed Americans out into the cold and are prepared to cut off 3.6 million others who are out of work. At a time when the long-term unemployment rate remains near its highest level since the Great Depression and there are three job-seekers for every opening, this seems unusually cruel.
And this tops a full list of similar gestures: curtailing preschool for poor kids; cutting nutrition assistance for pregnant women and...
Dana Millbank | The Washington Post 07 Jan 2014 Hits:321 ESJ Articles
In yet another constitutional rejection of mandatory drug testing, a federal judge this week struck down Florida’s program to require drug testing of all applicants for public assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The ruling makes permanent an earlier ruling that blocked the program, and reinforces many other court rulings that drug tests targeting particular populations are unconstitutional if they are not specifically tailored to protect public safety or another state interest.
In this case, U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven rejected the notion that there is any...
Nicole Flatow | ThinkProgress 07 Jan 2014 Hits:292 ESJ Articles
For many years the American Right -- and many of the most powerful elements of corporate and Wall Street elite -- have conducted a war on public employees.
Their campaign has taken many forms. They have tried to slash the number of public sector jobs, cut the pay and benefits of public sector workers, and do away with public employee rights to collective bargaining. They have discredited the value of the work performed by public employees -- like teachers, police and firefighters -- going so far as to argue that "real...
Robert Creamer | Huffington Post 09 Dec 2013 Hits:377 ESJ Articles
Barbie Izquierdo, a low-income mother of two small children, is a member of Witnesses to Hunger, a Philadelphia group of moms dedicated to ending hunger and poverty for their children and for families nationwide. About a month ago while she was waiting in line at a supermarket, she overheard two families trying to make purchases with their food stamps debit card. A computer glitch had temporarily shut down the system; these families and their children of all ages had to leave the store empty-handed. Barbie had to be a witness...
Deborah Weinstein | Huffington Post 26 Nov 2013 Hits:338 ESJ Articles
Authors of new report warn food donations not enough as six million threatened with worsened hunger
'Tis the season to give, the saying goes.
Yet all of the charitable food donations in the United States this year combined would not make a dent in proposed cuts to food subsidy programs that threaten at least six million people with worsened hunger.
So said researchers with the Bread for the World Institute in an interview with The Guardian published Monday.
“Virtually every church, synagogue and mosque in the country is now gathering up food and distributing,...
Sarah Lazare | Common Dreams 26 Nov 2013 Hits:375 ESJ Articles
A key dispute in the TPP negotiations is the patents on pharmaceutical drugs and medical procedures. Long patents inflate the profits of the pharmaceutical industry by not allowing less expensive generic drugs on the market. This means that people around the world will not be able to afford critical, often life-saving, drugs and medical procedures. It also means that countries like Japan, Australia and New Zealand that have national health care systems will see the cost of healthcare rise to a breaking point, undermining some of the best health systems...
Staff | Truthout 25 Nov 2013 Hits:458 ESJ Articles
This piece is a follow-up to Linda's first post, "This Is Why Poor People's Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense":
At this point, enough people are asking that I will tell you about myself, because I am getting a lot of the same questions. I was raised middle class, by a factory worker and a teacher. They are my grandparents, and they are Mom and Dad. But I was given to them after I had lived with an overwhelmed mother and a father away in the Navy, and Mom has always been...
Linda Tirado | Huffington Post 25 Nov 2013 Hits:2073 ESJ Articles
The Senate passed historic gay rights legislation Thursday to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace, another victory for the gay rights movement that has been gaining favor in the courts and electoral politics.
Senators voted 64 to 32 to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The vote marked the first time lawmakers had approved legislation to advance gay rights since repealing the military’s ban on gay men and lesbians in uniform in late 2010 and came two days after Illinois became the 15th state to legalize same-sex...
Ed O'Keefe | Washington Post 07 Nov 2013 Hits:486 ESJ Articles
Does it make any difference that families receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps) will have less to spend on food this month? Starting November 1, a family of four will lose $36 per month; or $29 for a three-person family. The loss of $30-$36 per month is a big deal to families living right on the edge. Even before this month's reduction, families often ran out of food. We know this not only from the people that run food banks and food pantries, who see longer lines at the end of...
Deborah Weinstein | Huffington Post 06 Nov 2013 Hits:631 ESJ Articles
After more than 200 advocates of the "Robin Hood tax" marched up Constitution Ave. here today to the Longworth House Office Building, lawmakers heard the vice president of the European Parliament, Ani Podimata, describe a solution for raising hundreds of billions of dollars a year - a tiny tax on financial speculation now being implemented across Europe.
The financial transaction tax amounts to only fractions of a penny on the dollar value of every stock, bond and derivatives trade - five cents per $100. Estimates of its potential return to the...
John Wojcik | People's World 05 Nov 2013 Hits:526 ESJ Articles
Funding extension for SNAP allowed to expire as lawmakers weigh further cuts to the program for families in need
U.S. lawmakers will allow the essential food aid program Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to lose $5 billion in funding when a stimulus boost ends on Friday.
The massive blow to the program means that the roughly 47 million people with food stamp assistance—that's one in every seven Americans, 49 percent of whom are children—will have their monthly assistance gouged.
As Colorlines reports, "The total cuts will amount to about a five percent reduction...
Jacob Chamberlain | Common Dreams 03 Nov 2013 Hits:403 ESJ Articles
Research shows the much-maligned aid to the poor buys broad economic and public health gains.
In September, just two days after a Census Bureau report showed that food stamps helped keep 4 million Americans out of poverty last year, the US House of Representatives approved a $39 billion cut to the program (known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) over the next decade.
The House proposal, now being negotiated along with smaller, yet still significant, Senate cuts of $4 billion, would result in 3.8 million people being removed from food stamps in 2014,...
Christopher D. Cook | Mother Jones 01 Nov 2013 Hits:477 ESJ Articles
As a member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, I am more than aware that a $17 trillion dollar national debt and a $700 billion deficit are serious problems that must be addressed.
But I am also aware that real unemployment is close to 14 percent, that tens of millions of Americans are working for horrendously low wages, that more Americans are now living in poverty than ever before and that wealth and income inequality in the United States is now greater than in any other major country -- with the...
Sen. Bernie Sanders | The Huffington Post 28 Oct 2013 Hits:567 ESJ Articles
Last time I checked, we aren't forced to sit in the back of the bus, and we aren't drinking from separate water fountains. So why in the world would we, the Black community and other minorities, tolerate such blatant disrespect as what corporate America has shown us? As the recently reported incidents of profiling, interrogation and detainment of customers at Barneys and Macy's have showcased, large entities from the private sector not only blatantly discriminate against us, they also establish a practice of criminalizing entire groups of people. But it...
Rev. Al Sharpton | Huffington Post 28 Oct 2013 Hits:358 ESJ Articles
It’s early on Friday morning and the union hall is packed with people waiting to see Bernie Sanders. Mostly gray-haired retirees fill the first few rows while unionists, college students and activists, including some veterans of the Occupy movement, are scattered toward the back of the modestly-sized room. They’re here for a town hall meeting that’s been billed “The Fight for Economic Justice.”
When the Vermont Senator arrives a bit later than advertised, the crowd at Communications Workers of America Local 3204’s headquarters in Atlanta greets the 72-year old independent with...
Cole Strangler | In These Times 23 Oct 2013 Hits:759 ESJ Articles
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is shifting the focus of the shutdown debate onto seniors in a new attack that hammers more than 60 House Republicans for "throw[ing] our seniors under the bus."
In a release obtained first by The Hill, the DCCC highlights a portion of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) proposal to end the shutdown, which he outlined in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal this week, that includes reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Ryan called entitlement spending "the nation's biggest challenge" in his op-ed.
In one release, targeting...
Alexandra Jaffe | The Hill 10 Oct 2013 Hits:661 ESJ Articles
In a rally on Thursday, Congress’s left flank linked arms against using safety-net programs as bargaining chips.
As Republicans hold the government hostage and threaten to wreak economic havoc with the…
After years of protests, numerous failed Congressional bills and dozens of lawsuits, black farmers began receiving payment for their grievances last week. Nearly three years ago President Obama signed the…
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes in June 2011, no one needed a Richter scale to know it was a Big One. In…
In 1934, as U.S. banks were dropping like flies, Congress approved the Federal Credit Union Act that gave federal backing—and nonprofit status—to cooperatives to fill the void left by the…
On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct professor who had taught French at Duquesne University for 25 years, passed away at the age of 83. She died as the…
At a time of great political division in our country President Obama has found a remarkable way to unite Americans of all political persuasions -- conservatives, progressives and moderates. With…
With all the attention on President Barack Obama’s primetime Syria address, there has been little or no mention of another primetime televised presidential address on another urgent national crisis exactly…
I've worked at fast-food restaurants in North Carolina for the past 15 years. I've spent more hours at Church's Chicken, McDonald's and now Burger King than I can remember. I work hard – I never miss a…
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that they would treat legal same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual marriages for federal tax purposes.
The new policy, which comes…
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PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Listen to our coalition partners at National Nurses United (NNU) speak on the Robin Hood Tax campaign. Bill Gallagher, the Robin Hood Tax Campaign Coordinator for NNU, and Sheilah Garland Political Organizer for Illinois and Missouri with NNOC/NNU,...
Listen to Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works and PDA coalition partner, discuss the upcoming battle to protect our Social Security and how we are putting the attackers on the defensive.
Listen to guest Zachary Schechter-Steinberg, the Senior Economic Advisor for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, discuss the push for a Chained CPI regarding Social Security. Included is the conversation: how to put...
Listen to the call for updates on the Trans Pacific Partnership, Robin Hood Tax, Equal Rights Amendment, and other campaigns this team is working on. Also there are state reports and local actions.
Guest speaker, Trey Hawkins, Vice Presdient of Political Affairs at Credit Union National Association, Inc. (CUNA) speaks with us about the difference between banks and credit unions, as well as why and how US credit unions are coming under...
Discussion in relation to recommending the endorsement of the American Jobs Act of 2013, HR 2821, introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D) (FL-24), what actions we will be taking to head off Fast Track of the Trans Pacific Partnership, plus,...