Director’s Blog :

February 19th is a significant date for the Japanese American community. On this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which gave the U.S. Army the authority to remove civilians from the military zones established in Washington, Oregon, and California during WWII. This led to the forced removal and incarceration of some 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, who had to abandon their jobs, their homes, and their lives to be sent to one of ten concentration camps scattered in desolate, remote regions of the country.

No Japanese Americans were ever charged, much less convicted, of espionage or sabotage against the United States. Yet they were targeted, rounded up, and imprisoned for years, simply for having the “face of the enemy.”

Every February, the Japanese American community commemorates Executive Order 9066 as a reminder of the impact the incarceration experience has had on our families, our community, and our country. It is an opportunity to educate others on the fragility of civil liberties in times of crisis, and the importance of remaining vigilant in protecting the rights and freedoms of all.

For information on 2021 Day of Remembrance events held throughout the country, please click here

https://actionnetwork.org/forms/a5fc6f10c1265d0c28549f9208d0935d?source=direct_link&

We are all very much looking forward to welcoming you to the 2021 Virtual Westchester Social Forum Series!  The 2021 Virtual Westchester Social Forum will take place every Wednesday evening in March 2021 and will cover a topic that is part of the progressive platform for this year in this time of pandemic.  Visit https://www.westchestersocialforum.org/ for workshop details and to register for the Zoom link:

On February 16th, the People’s Campaign for Parole Justice, a statewide, grassroots coalition, will hold a special Advocacy Day in honor of Black History Month. The theme of the day, “Parole Justice is Racial Justice” will highlight the continued harm communities of color face from systems designed to operate through violent policy, structure, and culture to oppress and criminalize Black and brown people, families and communities.

The People’s Campaign for Parole Justice fights for fair and meaningful release opportunities for incarcerated people in NYS prisons with the primary goals of the campaign centered around decarceration and family reunification. Through the passage of the Elder Parole and Fair + Timely Parole bills, these two, transformative parole reform bills will collectively ensure that every person in NY State prison has a fair and meaningful opportunity to return home during the course of their incarceration. They will prevent aging, sickness, and death in prisons, reunite families and communities, and help to uproot NY’s racist criminal legal system.

Join us on February 16th to gather in community, meet with legislators, and promote the Elder and Fair and Timely Parole Bills. 

RSVP to attend at bit.ly/feb-16-advocacy-day.

Noel Casey 
Westchester/Hudson Valley Community Organizer 
Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP Campaign
914-619-6142 
Pronouns: she, her, hers

Please register here for Sunday, February 21st at 3pm: https://horowitzresearch.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pwXYHl_KRTiW39sWPJkzYg

 

Dear Nada,
 
Following up from our conversation, I would appreciate your forwarding this summary to potentially interested people / organizations. Thank you.
 
I am on the Steering Committee of the Clean Water is Good for Business campaign, run by the American Sustainable Business Council and four state affiliates. The objective is to build a coalition of businesses and business associations to take action to clean up and preserve the Delaware River watershed, a water source for most of Westchester County and 50% of NYC. As the watershed faces numerous threats, we are recruiting business owners / leaders who care about clean water to become signatories to be part of the growing business support for these efforts. The collective voice of business has a significant impact on gaining support for policy and green stormwater infrastructure solutions to ensure clean water and protect our health. On the campaign webpage, you can download a short paper and add your voice by signing on to the clean water principles. I have attached a 2-page summary document as well. 
 
The New York Sustainable Business Council has coordinated business support on many fronts. Examples: They have been leaders in banning / regulating persistent toxic chemicals such as PFAS in places where they have the most impact on water quality. As COVID-19 has magnified existing challenges to water systems and demand for clean water, they led creation of recommendations as part of a larger guide for reopening our economy at state and local levels. As business support grows in Westchester and NYC, they will have more power to protect our water. 
 
We are happy to provide education and answer any questions. Again, the information and sign on opportunity is on the campaign page
 
Thanks so much and best wishes,
Camille

=============================
Camille L. Cannistraci
CLC Consulting LLC
914-340-4275
linkedin.com/in/camillecannistraci
camillelcannistraci.com

Harry is a WESPAC member and the coordinator of the local chapter of JVP.  Thank you, Congressmember Bowman, for your leadership on this.  To date, Israel has vaccinated 33% of its population (over 3 million people) but has not provided vaccinations to the 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.  Under international pressure, the Israeli authorities have agreed to release 5,000 doses of the vaccine to frontline Palestinian health workers only. 

 
Such an expression of commitment from Congressmember Bowman to the inherent equality of Palestinians is unprecedented coming from a member of Congress representing our districts here in Westchester County.  Thank you, Congressmember Bowman:

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Harry Soloway <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 1:36 PM

Friends –
 
In a letter to the Israeli Consulate today, Jamaal Bowman took a strong and thoughtful stand on ensuring that Palestinians receive the Covid vaccine. You can read the letter here: 
 
 
JVP Action is asking that as many constituents as possible either email Jamaal’s office or telephone directly at 202 225 2464 to thank the Congressman for taking a strong humanitarian position.
 
In your communication with Jamaal’s office, you may choose to include the following points:
 
  • Identify yourself as a constituent.  For Jewish members, identify as a Jewish constituent on the call 
  • Thanking him for making it clear that Israel has an obligation under international law to provide the vaccine to Palestinians and that this is a result of the horrible occupation that harms Palestinians daily 
  • Saying that we are grateful that he is going to hold the Israeli government accountable and we do not want our tax dollars going to fund Israeli apartheid 
 
One final request, as much as it is possible, please let me know how many calls and/or emails are being made.  
 
Thanks.
 
Harry
 

ACTION ALERT! Please call Governor Cuomo 877-235-6537
Tell Governor Cuomo to Ban Spreading Oil & Gas Waste on Roads in New York!
 
Winter warning! New Yorkers could be driving on toxic, radioactive oil & gas waste. An analysis released in December 2020 showed that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation allows the spreading of oil & gas industry waste on roads for deicing and dust suppression. This toxic waste can contain hundreds of carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene, heavy metals and radioactive contaminants. There have been 119 approvals for road spreading issued by the DEC in Central and Western New York, threatening our water, health, and environment.

New Yorkers applaud as the NYC pension funds, led by Comptroller Stringer and Mayor de Blasio, begin to dump $4 billion invested in Exxon and other Oil & Gas corporations in a historic win for climate action

New York — Today, New York City’s largest pension funds voted to initiate full fossil fuel divestment, selling off an estimated $4 billion of holdings in fossil fuel corporations, such as ExxonMobil. New York City’s announcement fulfills its commitment to divest from fossil fuels. The city’s pension funds, valued at $239 billion are the largest municipal pension funds to divest globally.

“New York City has set a new bar for climate finance action. Today’s landmark action marks a bad day for Big Oil and a good day for the City’s pension systems and our planet. By taking billions out of the companies that own and profit off of fossil fuels, New York City is playing an enormous role in moving the financial industry towards a greener future,” said Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org.

New York City’s divestment commitment, made in 2018, inspired further action worldwide. It was followed by commitments from many other large funds, including the City of London, the Norwegian Sovereign Fund, and the New York State Common Retirement Fund. Today’s announcement confirms the City’s commitment to divest from fossil fuels within five years.

“My family lost everything to hurricane Sandy, a climate disaster. I am so happy now to see the pension funds dump billions of dollars of investments in the likes of Exxon. We worked hard to get to this moment. Our movement is rising!” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change.

“Thanks to the Comptroller, Mayor, Trustees and eight years of grassroots activism, we are finally turning the tide against the inertia of business as usual and the funding of our own demise, giving concrete hope for a more sustainable future. May this move inspire other leaders to urgently follow suit,” said Lyna Hinkel, Founder, 350NYC.

Fossil fuel corporations are seen as an increasingly bad risk for portfolio managers and have underperformed financial markets for years.

“New York is a beacon of real climate leadership, as our City’s pension funds divest over $4 billion from climate criminals like ExxonMobil,” said Lindsay Meiman, 350.org Communications Manager and lifelong New Yorker. “We are re-engineering resilience, and if New York can do it, every single pension, university, bank, and insurer can cut ties with fossil fuels too.”

The pension fund trustees vote follows previous action to hire consultants to advise the city on divestment (2018 – 2020), prepare a divestment study (2020), and ongoing fiduciary review. 

“It is right and just that, in the midst of the deadly pandemic, our beloved NYC is choosing life over death and acting on its commitment to divest the pension funds from fossil fuel investments,” said Marilyn Vasta, for Peoples Climate Movement NY. “For too long we have financially supported the polluters that harm us; it is time to make polluters pay as we invest in a just transition to renewable energy. Although it has taken almost a decade, from small living room meetings to a city-wide cry for divestment, the Peoples Climate Movement-NY proudly stands today with Comptroller Stringer and Mayor de Blasio, and applaud them for taking this positive step towards a fossil free future.”

Divestment has exploded over the past decade from a symbolic action by small college endowments into a worldwide movement that has led to over $14 trillion worth of investment funds divesting or committing to divest from the oil, gas or coal industries. 

In order to fulfill the Paris climate agreement’s goals of staving off catastrophic climate change, all major finance of fossil fuels and deforestation must end by 2030. 

“Humanity is engaged in an epic battle to save the planet for future generations.The enemy is fossil fuels, and every step that works toward shutting them down is critical. Kudos to NYC for doing its part,” said Jordan Dale with the #DivestNY coalition and 350NJ-Rockland.

Members of the #DivestNY coalition, Comptroller Stringer, and pension fund trustees will view and join tomorrow’s daily briefing held by Mayor de Blasio to detail the announcement and celebrate. The briefing can be viewed live at www.nyc.gov. It is scheduled for 10 am EST.