Letters to the Editor

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

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

Letter to the Editor: Vote to defund Planned Parenthood was wrong


As a native Staten Islander, a young woman, and former patient of Planned Parenthood of NYC, I am deeply saddened by Congressman Grimm’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood. For years, as a young adult, I traveled from Staten Island to Manhattan to Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Center for my annual reproductive health screenings and low-cost birth control. I am not alone; countless Staten Islanders turn to Planned Parenthood for reproductive health services every year.
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Letter to the Editor: Unions are Good for New York


The recently released numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show a slight drop below 25 percent of workers unionized. While New York is still the most unionized state in the country, the BLS reminds us that union rates have slowly fallen.

Much of this decrease is likely due to job losses during this tough period. Consequentially, we continue to support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to invigorate the private sector through the state budget. New York is the best place to do business in the country and the state should help stimulate business development. We support Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposals where they help create private-sector jobs. It is even more important that newly created jobs pay a fair wage, provide for worker dignity and accept unionization.

We also recognize that excessive burdens placed on our hard-working teachers, police officers, firefighters and other public servants harms New York’s future. The pain of budget balancing should be shared by all, not placed solely on the backs of workers. New York’s union members are ready, as they always are, to do their part for their communities. Our state government should meet them halfway, and consider carefully potential consequences to working New Yorkers.

This letter appeared in the Journal News on February 8th, 2011.

The Department of Labor’s report can be found here.

Chairwoman of NYSYD’s Womens Caucus Publishes Letter to the Editor Regarding Arrival Staten Island Planned Parenthood


As a young woman born and raised on Staten Island, I am overjoyed at the arrival of Planned Parenthood of New York City to Staten Island

For years, as a young adult, I traveled to Manhattan to Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger Center for my annual reproductive health screenings and low-cost birth control…. Click here to read more

Stop The Hate: My Letter To The Editor Of The Queens Tribune


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From The Queens Tribune – Thursday October 29, 2009 Issue

To The Editor:

On October 17, hundreds of people gathered in College Point, Queens to share their disgust with the assault of Jack Price, an openly gay College Point resident.  I was one of those New Yorkers outraged that another citizen was brutally beaten to near death simply because of his sexual orientation. What was perhaps more outrageous was the disturbing revelation that was made at the rally.

Did you know that the majority of hate crimes are committed by young people under the age of 24? Think about that. Terrifying and true.

As the President of the New York State Young Democrats, an organization that represents this demographic of offenders, I feel that something must be done to address this issue. I call upon my local, state and federal elected officials to increase the amount of money allocated to tolerance and acceptance education. If we are going to reduce the amount of young people who commit hate crimes we must do so by doing a better job at educating our young people in love, tolerance and acceptance.

Let’s honor Jack Price by calling your elected officials and telling them that you demand an increase in funding for tolerance education.

Matthew Silverstein

New York State Young Democrats President & Bay Terrace Resident

MY Letter To The Editor – Allow Gays In Military


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Queens Chronicle – Thursday, September 10, 2009

Allow gays in military 
  

 Dear Editor: 

 On the campaign trail, President Obama spoke out against the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in our armed forces. Now, as commander in chief, the president has a chance to do something about it.

All qualified Americans should be able to serve openly in the military regardless of sexual orientation.Don’t ask, don’t tell is the only policy that mandates firing a person because of their sexual orientation. Nearly 13,000 service members have been discharged from the military since it was put in place. Of those, more than 800 have skills considered to be “mission-critical.”

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act would repeal don’t ask, don’t tell and allow all qualified Americans to serve openly regardless of sexual orientation. 

The time is now for President Obama to fulfill his campaign pledge to end this discriminatory law that prevents brave men and women from serving their country. It’s time for the president to partner with Congress to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act and get rid of don’t ask, don’t tell once and for all. 
   

Matthew Silverstein 
President, New York State Young Democrats