Brooklyn, New York – With Confederate monuments being taken down all over the country, it’s time New York became one of the many states to remove their public Confederate monuments. In Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, prominent political figures have called on the U.S. Army to rename two streets named after Confederate Army generals, Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson.
Arguments for these changes are not just because these generals were traitors to the United States of America for joining the Confederacy, but more importantly these individuals fought in favor of slavery and the subjugation of African-Americans. New York State Young Democrats and Brooklyn Young Democrats agree that these memorializations should be removed as soon as possible.
“With Confederate memorializations being removed throughout the country, it is time that New York City, a leader in progress, continues to show that we won’t back down to the regressive and hateful Alt-Right that is threatening the very foundation of our great nation,” said Justin Westbrook-Lowery on behalf of New York State Young Democrats. “NYSYD supports the efforts of our local representatives in making these changes, and will continue to work with them to progress forward.”
The Department of Defense has denied requests to change the streets’ names, citing the current policy includes naming military streets, “for a soldier who holds a place of significance in our military history. The great generals of the Civil War, Union and Confederate, are an inextricable part of our military history.” Despite denying the request, leaders will continue to urge the Army to change its mind, and will also explore legislative possibilities. It’s worth noting, there are 10 other military bases in the country, all located in Confederate states, that are still named after Confederate officers.
“Brooklyn Young Democrats applauds the efforts of Congressmembers Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries, Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo to advocate the renaming of Confederate streets in Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton. The Department of Defense’s decision not to rename the streets is defenseless,” said Brooklyn Young Democrats President John Wasserman. “These individuals have no place in our diverse and progressive borough. Military base or not – these individuals ought not to have the high honor of a street bearing their name. Brooklyn Young Democrats will continue to advocate for their removal and condemnation. We are a nation that must celebrate those who strive for genuine equality and individuals who move us forward towards a more perfect Union.”
Dallas, Texas — This past weekend, young Democrats from all over the country came together at the biennial Young Democrats of America (YDA) Convention in Dallas, Texas. It was a weekend to celebrate the collaborative power of the youth arm of the Democratic Party, but also unite under a banner of resistance. For New York and Washington state, that meant passing a resolution demanding the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) of the New York State Senate and the self-identified Independent Democrat in the Washington State Senate rejoin the mainline Democratic conferences to which they were elected.
Sponsored by the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) and the Young Democrats of Washington (YDWA), the resolution was passed in conjunction to the 2017-2019 YDA Platform which specifically calls for, “the reunification of Democratic caucuses and factions within state legislatures and localities in the United States to prevent rogue factions from denying Democrats the majority in these legislative bodies and preventing progressive legislation from being passed by these bodies.”
“I am proud of the Young Democrats of America for condemning the actions of the, ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ Democrats who actively betray our progressive values in order to gain favor and power with the Republican Party,” said NYSYD President Patrick Jordan. “YDA is one of two national organizations to condemn these breakaway Democrats, and it’s going to take working with Democrats across our great nation to ensure we unite our party and fight to stem the tide of this regressive administration.”
“The Young Democrats of Washington were happy to join the New York State Young Democrats to voice opposition to Democrats who choose individual power over representing the people that elected them,” said YDWA President LaKecia Farmer. “We have a chance this year in Washington to regain the majority in our State Legislature, and we look forward to helping New York do the same.”
Young Democrats of America, the official youth arm of the Democratic National Committee, now joins the chorus of elected officials, unions, activists, and DNC members calling on the IDC and its Washington State counterpart so progressive legislation can be sent to their respective governors’ desks for signatures.
While our President and other leaders of our nation did not provide the kind of guidance and condemnation we deserved in the aftermath of Charlottesville, the New York State Young Democrats condemns these actions wholeheartedly. We will not back down to White Nationalist, Neo-Nazis. We will not stop supporting our brothers and sisters of color, and we will NEVER stop fighting to stem to tide of racism, bigotry, and hate. We will resist.
Brooklyn Young Democrats Women’s Caucus Launch Speakers (left to right) Monique Chandler-Waterman, Latrice Walker, Christina Das, Diana Richardson, Keshia L. Adams, Steph Wheaton, Tremaine Wright, and Pamela Harris
Wednesday, July 26, 2017, marked a monumental evening for Brooklyn Young Democrats (BYD) with the official launch of their Women’s Caucus. Co-chaired by BYD’s Executive Vice President, Christina Das, and one of their newest members and community advocates, Keshia L. Adams, the caucus aims to strengthen community ties between women of Brooklyn, as well as empower more young women, with an emphasis on women of color, to run for office. Joined by eight of Brooklyn’s leading ladies, including Assemblywoman Latrice Walker of the 55th District, Caroline Piela-Cohen, Attorney & Community Advocate, Monique Chandler-Waterman, Executive Director of East Flatbush Village, and Assemblywoman Pamela Harris of the 46th District to name a few, this was an inspirational night for 60 young women of Brooklyn.
“There is a real issue when women make up over half the nation’s population, yet we hold less than one-third of elected offices,” BYD’s EVP Christina Das, a proud first generation Indian American said, “It’s a tragedy.”
In fact, in a city where women outnumber men by approximately 400,000, New York City still has a strong disparity of female to male elected officials. Sadly, only twenty-five percent of City Council members are women (13 out of 51 members), with four of them term-limited in 2017. Even with initiatives like 21 in ‘21, there is still tremendous opportunity for women to get more involved. Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright of the 56th District said, “it’s not only important to empower young women to run for office, but also build a strong community of women that will be there to support and uplift one another.”
Assemblywoman Pamela Harris of the 46th District echoed these sentiments speaking about her background as a former corrections officer and a survivor of sexual assault, “We need to advocate for women and speak up for ourselves. We need to educate ourselves on the discrimination that occurs daily, and not allow it.”
In Brooklyn particularly, a borough where the majority of small businesses are owned by women, there is an even greater divide of women-electeds holding office. Even with the increase in women running for office throughout the city, there are still far too few elected women. In fact, less than twenty-five percent of local offices are run by women, with the amount of women of color in those positions even less.
As a first generation native of Crown Heights, Brooklyn of West Indian descent, Assemblywoman Diana Richardson of the 43rd District spoke about gentrification, and emphasized the importance of women of color to put themselves out there to prevent products of gentrification from further under-representing the already marginalized. “It’s all about the rent,” she says, “and it’s vitally important that women educate themselves as renters and as homeowners in order to maintain their culture and values.”
So how can women get involved in their local politics? District Leader Tori Burhans Kelly of the 49th District encourages women to go to their District Leader and ask about how to get elected for local positions like county committee or community board. Other ways to get involved in your communities include joining a Brooklyn Democratic Club.There are seventeen clubhouses throughout Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Young Democrats that serve each community. These clubs will assist you in getting on the ballot and dial you into the issues that matter most to your community. There are also an abundance of nonprofit agencies working tirelessly to advocate and support your communities, like East Flatbush Village, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit committed to providing support and information to indigent populations.
“With so many different ways for women to get involved, now is the time to use these resources and come together as a community,” Christina Das said. “Now is the time to resist!”
With over 60 new and existing members of Brooklyn Young Democrats attending Wednesday’s event, Christina and Keshia are already channeling this momentum to propel the Women’s Caucus forward, and will be partnering with one of the night’s speakers, Amy Bettys from #GetOrganizedBK‘s Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights, and with Eleanor’s Legacy to organize a Civics and Campaign Workshop, as well as a session on Campaign Fundraising.
To join Brooklyn Young Democrats and be part of the Women’s Caucus, please visit their site at https://www.bkyoungdemocrats.com/, or email Christina and Keshia directly at Brooklynyds@gmail.com. You can also get involved with the New York State Young Democrats’ Women’s Caucus by following them on Facebook or by reaching out to the Caucus Chair, Veronica Aveis at Veronicaaveis@gmail.com.
Check out New York State Young Democrats President Patrick Jordan, alongside Council of Presidents Chair and state committeeman John Midwood and Rural Caucus Chair Paolo Cremidis, speaking on a young democrats panel at the New York State Democrat State Committee meeting in Albany, NY on July 26, 2017 discussing the planned growth of the organization over the next 2 years.
The Executive Board of the New York State Young Democrats is proud to endorse the Young Democrats Forward Slate of candidates for the upcoming Young Democrats of America Convention in Dallas. The YD Forward candidates are strong, passionate, and experienced leaders that will continue to embolden young progressives into taking action wherever they are from. From promoting young candidates running for office, to strengthening relationships between the caucuses and their DNC counterparts for continued issue advocacy, the slate will empower state chapters with the resources and training to ensure progressive values are the future of this country. We look forward to working with them in the years to come.
For more information on the YD Forward platform, please visit: https://www.ydforward.com/
The LGBTQ community in NYS is vibrant, resilient, and worth celebrating, especially in the Hudson Valley region. Last month was LGBTQ Pride Month, and across the Hudson Valley people experienced two annual pride celebrations, one in Hudson, the other in New Paltz. The recently formed Columbia County Young Democrats (CCYD) proudly marched alongside other local Democrats at the parade in Hudson. Though this was Hudson’s first parade with a Republican occupying the White House, this year’s parade did have a different feel to it.
The Democratic contingency in the parade was the largest I have ever seen. Marching with the Young Dems were the Hudson Democrats, Columbia County Democratic Committee, and the Greene County Democratic Committee as well as four of the candidates running for the congressional seat in NY-19.
The crowd in Hudson was, to say the least, happy to see us, especially us Young Democrats. We had just received our new CCYD banner and it was our first time ever having an identifiable presence at a public event. The streets of Hudson were packed, largely with Democrats of course. The entire city was ecstatic to see us.
As CCYD walked down the seven long blocks of Warren Street, we were greeted with cheers fueled by hope and excitement. Several people looked surprised, but happy to see that we even existed. This was Hudson’s first pride parade since the election, and you could tell that the City of Hudson had a heightened sense of awareness and urgency surrounding the current political climate. The way the crowd cheered on Democrats was something I have never seen before in Hudson. The residents in the parade and around the route knew that we were the leaders actively working to change the local political landscape, and for that they were grateful.
For many LGBTQ New Yorkers, the battle towards liberation and justice is just beginning. Rural LGBTQ New Yorkers, many of whom are not protected by the laws of larger neighboring cities, are even further away from full equality. Three crucial pieces of legislation have repeatedly failed to pass in the NYS Assembly and Senate. The Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would add gender identity and expression as a protected class in the state’s human rights and hate crimes laws. The Healthy Teens Act which would establish an age-appropriate sex education grant program for schools throughout NYS. And lastly, the Child-Parent Security Act, which recognizes the legitimacy of children born through assisted reproductive technology and legalizes surrogate parenting contracts. These are just a few examples to show that the fight for LGBTQ equality, even in NYS, is far from finished.
Marching in a parade may not seem revolutionary, but for the small-town communities in the Hudson Valley, it continues to be an important act of celebration. In rural NYS, LGBTQ people are in need of local political champions that will bring their voices to the table. CCYD is working tirelessly to ensure that every local office across the county is filled with progressive leaders who uplift, affirm, and fight for the LGBTQ community. It is our hope, that through the efforts of our rural young Democratic chapters, we can elect new Democrats, pass critical LGBTQ legislation in Albany, and finally have NYS model what LGBTQ justice and liberation looks like.
WHEREAS, a vacancy exists in the office of Downstate Vice President of the New York State Young Democrats;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, PATRICK JORDAN, President of the New York State Young Democrats, pursuant to Article V, Section 7 of the New York State Young Democrats Constitution, do hereby order and proclaim that an election for Downstate Vice President for the unexpired term be held on the sixteenth day of July, two thousand seventeen and that such election to be conducted in the manner prescribed by said section the New York State Young Democrats Constitution with the Presidents of the chapters of the Downstate Region of the New York State Young Democrats serving as the designated electors and that all perspective candidates shall apply no later than the Ninth day of July, two thousand seventeen.
GIVEN under my hand in the City of New York, Borough of Queens this twelfth day of June in the year two thousand seventeen.
In light of recent events the New York State Young Democrats are taking the necessary actions to remove the person from all levels of the organization. NYSYD unequivocally condemns any such heinous crimes and/or actions. NYSYD believes that those charged with these crimes are entitled to their day in court, but that those convicted should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.