The New York State Young Democrats, in conjunction with its Labor Caucus passes a resolution to vote No on the 2019 Constitutional Convention that threatens to gut protections for workers and labor unions across the state.
“As we see labor rights under attack across the nation, we cannot allow New York to open Pandora’s Box with a Constitutional Convention. Everything from pension protections to our workers’ compensation system, and even the right for public unions to collectively bargain, is directly at risk if a Convention is held,” said Rebecca Lamorte, Chair of the New York State Young Democrats Labor Caucus. “On November 7th, it is imperative Young Democrats get to the polls and vote NO on Prop 1, the Constitutional Convention.”
The Constitutional Convention wouldn’t have such potential for disaster for millions of New Yorkers, if it wasn’t for the simple fact that the entire process is controlled by well-funded New York City elites – lawyers, lobbyists, etc. who don’t typically have the best interests at heart. For laborers, there are several amendments that could hurt workers, including:
Prevailing rate on construction projects, collective bargaining, and care and benefits for injured workers
Pension and education funding
The right to organize
These are only 3 of MANY ways the amendments could gut protections for New York laborers. A few of the other areas to consider that will most likely be negatively impacted, include reproductive rights, environmental protections, and social justice. Vote no on Prop 1 for a New York Constitutional Convention. To see the full resolution, visit the NYSYD website.
“We stand with our workers and labor unions, and are shamed by our fellow Democrats who emphasized how important it was to stand with our laborers following the last election, but refuse to stand with them now and vote No on the Constitutional Convention,” said Patrick Jordan, President of the New York State Young Democrats. “It is the most blatant form of hypocrisy, and really shows where their priorities are….or in this case, aren’t.”
This past week the executive board unanimously approved the following resolution:
CONCERNING: The Referendum on the Authorization of the 2019 Constitutional Convention
WHEREAS, the New York State Young Democrats continue to support the efforts of labor unions throughout the State of New York, and
WHEREAS, provisions protecting pension funds, the workers’ compensation system, the right for public-sector unions to collectively bargain, and other policies that benefit labor unions and their members are inscribed in the Constitution of the State of New York, and
WHEREAS, a referendum on November 7, 2017 to authorize a Constitutional Convention in 2019 will entitle elected delegates to alter provisions in the Constitution of the State of New York, and
WHEREAS, the Constitutional Convention would expose all labor protections delineated in the Constitution of the State of New York to the risk of eradication from the Constitution, and
WHEREAS, organized labor has rallied against the authorization of a Constitutional Convention as one of its primary legislative initiatives,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the New York State Young Democrats and its members actively recommend and encourage a vote against the authorization of the Constitutional Convention.
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.