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Author: Seamus Campbell

Times Union Letter to the Editor by Seamus Campbell

NYSYD Statement on Delgado

For Immediate Release

Contact Person: Jovan C. Richards, NYSYD President
JRichards@nysyd.org

New York – (May 3, 2022) – Governor Kathy Hochul has appointed Congressman Antonio Delgado as her Lieutenant Governor and the New York State Democratic Party has appointed him as the party’s nominee in the upcoming primary. The Congressman will serve for the remainder of the year and will run on the statewide ticket with Governor Hochul, Attorney General James, Comptroller DiNapoli, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“Lieutenant Governor Delgado is a great choice and we congratulate him on his appointment. The Congressman has been a friend to young professionals, students, and the Young Democrats since he was elected to Congress. We happily invite the former Congressman to meet with us at his convenience, and we look forward to the opportunity of working together during his current and possibly future term of LG,” says Jovan C. Richards, President of the New York State Young Democrats.

Lieutenant Governor Delgado is an Afro-Latino, Rhodes scholar, dedicated family man, and the first person of color to represent the Hudson Valley and upstate New York in Congress. Delgado was first elected to Congress in 2018 and has served the 19th Congressional District since.

NYSYD Statement on Roe

For Immediate Release

Contact Person: Jovan C. Richards, NYSYD President
JRichards@nysyd.org

New York – (May 3, 2022) – If reports of the leaked Supreme Court Opinion draft obtained by Politico are true, the Supreme Court of the United States is aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would eliminate the right to choose and decimate the ability to have safe and secure reproductive procedures in this country.

This decision will likely have seismic repercussions for not only reproductive healthcare but also the potential to overturn other decisions by the Supreme Court enshrining civil liberties not afforded by the United States Constitution.

The pending decision is just the latest example of the effects of a twice impeached former president, Senator McConnell, and the Republican Party’s blatant disrespect for democracy, and the health and safety of the American people. Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett sit in seats they have no right to occupy. Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Brett Kavanagh take away rights they have no business having an opinion on.

Despite this horrific decision, abortions will not stop! New York will continue to defend reproductive rights at all costs. Governor Kathy Hochul has promised that for anyone seeking access to care “our state will welcome you with open arms.” We echo our Governor’s sentiments, but we know not everyone will have the means to travel or move to New York, which is why it is important for the United States Senate to vote to codify Roe immediately and send it to the President’s desk for his signature. The House of Representatives has done its duty, and we call on our friend U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to assemble his caucus and bring this important matter to a vote as soon as possible. We fear that in states without sane leadership that lack the same respect for human rights, abortion will continue despite these pointless GOP restrictions, potentially resulting in the deaths or injury of thousands of women.

“This is a prime example as to why elections have consequences. For too long, we have fought for women, trans men, and non-binary individuals to have the right to make their own choices with their bodies, but now the Republican-controlled court has begun to eliminate that possibility. Young people, young Democrats, and the New York State Young Democrats, in particular, will not stand for this. We will continue to fight for the right to safe reproductive care, and to ensure New Yorkers maintain their fundamental right to their bodily autonomy.” says NYSYD President Jovan C. Richards.

New Yorkers are fortunate to have leaders like Governor Hochul, Attorney General Tish James, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes at the helm defending New Yorkers against the caveman mentality that is sweeping other states’ capitals. NYSYD joins our state’s leaders and our national partners at the Young Democrats of America to prepare to fight the good fight for New Yorkers and Americans alike.

“This is not how generations of fighting for responsible access ends. This is how the fight finds its second wind and creates a larger movement this world has yet to experience,” claims Richards.

New York-Based Resources & Worthy Causes to Invest In

Planned Parenthood
Center for Reproductive Rights
The Lilith Fund

January 6th – One Year Later

Today marks one year since a violent mob attempted to prevent the peaceful transfer of power in our nation’s capital. The events of that day are a stain on history- from the explosives found near Congress, to the tragic deaths of Capitol Police officers in the line of duty, to the display of hate symbols in our Capitol.

What was also a stain was when the dust settled, New York Representatives Chris Jacobs, Nicole Malliotakis, Elise Stefanik, and Lee Zeldin betrayed their oath to the Constitution by refusing to certify legitimate electoral votes. New Yorkers still remember this. The NYSYD, and millions of other New Yorkers, implore the House Sedition Caucus to follow the example of Congressman Rice of South Carolina, who admitted that there was no reason to not certify the 2020 election and expressed regret for his vote.

Young Democrats in the News: Tirade about town’s marijuana policy goes viral on TikTok

The Albany Times Union reports on video of Orange County Young Democrats President Zachary Constantine speaking at a Goshen Town Board meeting about their plans to ban the sale of cannabis going viral on TikTok.

@zacharyconstantine

Local board meetings in Upstate NY are fun. You should go sometime. ##NY ##NewYork ##legalizeit ##speakup ##government ##politics

♬ original sound – Zak

Young Democrats in the News: NYSYD President Jovan Richards on MetroFocus

Check out NYSYD President Jovan Richards on PBS’s MetroFocus discussing local politics with The City‘s Alyssa Katz and former NYC Board of Elections President JC Polanco.

NYSYD Denounces Sen. Borrello’s Anti-Disabled Comments Senator Says Automatic Voter Registration Will Expand Voting Rights for Persons Who Lack the Cognitive Skills to Understand the Electoral Process

The New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) condemn the anti-disabled and ableist remarks made by newly-elected State Senator George Borrello (R-57) on the first full day of the 2020 legislative session, Thursday, January 9, 2020, during a floor debate regarding a bill to enact automatic voter registration (AVR) when he said that the bill would enfranchise people with cognitive disabilities who, he claims, lack the requisite skills to understand how to vote.

The bill, if enacted, will automatically register people to vote after they fill-out paperwork with certain New York State government agencies – most notably the Department of Motor Vehicles. Currently, when a person goes to a DMV office to get a license, permit, or other state identification, they can check a box to indicate that they wish to have their information forwarded to the New York State Board of Elections (BOE) so that they will be added to the voter rolls. The AVR bill would do the opposite: the person would have to check a box to actively opt-out of their information being sent to the BOE. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the states that have enacted AVR have seen the rates of voter registration rise to be as much as 94%. Furthermore, The Nation reports that as a result of its AVR law, Oregon saw a 4% increase in voter turnout from 2012 to 2016.

While explaining his plans to vote against the AVR bill Sen. Borrello finished his remarks by saying:

This [bill] is [also] about registering people who have come into government to collect benefits, [and] to, perhaps, address mental health issues they may have. Those are the folks who are automatically be registered – people who may not even understand the impact of voting. It’s about influencing people who, otherwise, should not understand and will not understand. I find that really abhorrent. So, I will be voting ‘no’ on this.

“It is quite a feat to show yourself to be ableist on your first day at a new job,” said NYSYD and Young Democrats of America Disability Issues Caucus Chair Seamus Campbell. “Senator Borrello literally said people with mental illness and cognitive disabilities are too dumb or unbalanced to vote. He should be ashamed of himself. Borrello thinks that people with disabilities lack the ability to learn about the role and importance of democracy and how to do the necessary research about the issues and candidates on the ballot. As a person who has dealt with clinical depression for his entire adult life, I am both shocked and disgusted that to learn that he honestly thinks that my condition is in any way a barrier to being an informed citizen and active voter. The fact that I have not missed a single election – primary, general, run-off, or special – in over 5 years should be proof that his beliefs are just plain wrong.”

Under New York State Law, any United States citizen, a resident of New York State for at least 30 days, and over the age of 18, and is not currently serving time for a felony conviction can register to vote. Furthermore, the only persons empowered to remove a person’s voting rights due to mental capacity is a judge.

Said Paolo Cremidis, NYSYD Rural Caucus Chair, “George Borrello is peddling fear for the sake of peddling fear. I am troubled by the fact that he is targeting folks to exclude via automatic voter registration. The issue of mental health is not something that we can joke about. He needs to apologize for his comments to his constituents and to our broader Upstate New York community. Making comments like these do not do anything to help represent Upstate.”

“It’s disappointing to see our representation in Albany speaking out against legislation that will strengthen democracy in New York State,” said Frank Besse, Chautauqua County Young Democrats President. “Not only does Mr. Borrello position himself in opposition to empowering the people of our state he does so in a way that incites baseless fears and offends common decency.”

“It makes total sense that Senator Borrello would say this in 2020 of all years,” said NYSYD President Patrick Jordan. “The GOP in New York knows that with Trump on the top of the ballot this year, they are vulnerable because there will be an even bigger surge in voter turnout than we saw in 2018. So, their only recourse to save themselves electorally is to add more barriers so that people cannot or will not go to the polls in November. The New York State Young Democrats just found yet another reason to mobilize this year against Republicans up and down the ballot and we have added a new candidate we’re targetting: George Borrello.”

The New York State Young Democrats call on Senator George Borrello to apologize immediately for his statements. NYSYD plans to organize and mobilize its members so that 2020 will be the only year Borrello spends in Albany.

To view Senator George Borrello’s floor remarks in their entirety, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuxWppCmy30.

In The News: Website standards ensure access for all Times Union Letter to the Editor by Seamus Campbell

Check out Young Democrats of America Disability Issues Caucus Chair Seamus Campbell’s letter to the editor in the Albany Times Union about the legal need for accessible college websites and the recent changes to YDA rules requiring Section 508 compliance.

When reading the article “Lawsuits target colleges over access to websites,” Dec. 5, I was troubled to hear that the defendants find the case to be frivolous when, they, in fact, did not create their websites using proper web standards and are, in fact, violating federal law.

When the HTML format was created more than 20 years ago, the World Wide Web’s creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, wanted to ensure the web was accessible to everyone. For that reason, things like labels for form items and alternative text for images (which read out descriptions of different elements within a web page to those using assistive technologies like screen readers) are required in order to have valid HTML code, according to the standards set by the W3C – the governing body on web standards.

Furthermore, practically every college in the United States is required to have accessible websites because, under the Rehabilitation Act, any institution that receives any sort of federal funding must provide accommodations to students or prospective students with disabilities. Section 508 of that law is what sets those federal standards, and the website for it is a good resource for people to see what is required of them to create accessible digital content.

In the Young Democrats of America, because we believe our members should have access to the information we disseminate, regardless of disability, we recently passed rules changes to require all of our communications to follow Section 508 guidelines and it is my hope that other institutions will do the same.

Seamus Campbell
New York City
Chair, Young Democrats of America Disability Issues Caucus