Racial Justice :

WESPAC Foundation supports the work of the Anti-Racist Alliance which is the lead group in Westchester that explores the ongoing harm of institutionalized and systemic racism in our country today. We have honest discussions in a mixed group of how white privilege impacts both people of color and white folk in Westchester County in the form of excessive police force, access to quality education, employment and housing and many other areas. We listen to the range of experience that people of color have to endure in a society that continues to disproportionately benefit white people . For more information, visit antiracistalliance.com

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: 

Nada Khader, WESPAC – [email protected] (914) 449-6514

Andy Morrison, New Economy Project – [email protected] – (716) 308-2265

GROUPS URGE ALBANY TO PASS “NY PUBLIC BANKING ACT” THIS SESSION

Westchester, NY – Today, racial and economic justice groups from the NYS Community Equity Agenda coalition released a new analysis estimating that banks have exacted more than $1.6 billion in fees from New Yorkers since New York declared a state of emergency last March, and nearly $50 million in Westchester County. They stressed that banks’ overdraft fees, in particular, target low-income and Black and brown New Yorkers and push people out of mainstream banking. Banks exacted $1 billion in overdraft fees alone statewide since the start of the pandemic, according to the groups’ analysis.

“It’s outrageous that we continue to allow these banks that exploit our communities to hold our public dollars. A well functioning public bank is vital for the economic prosperity of our region,” said Nada Khader of WESPAC.  “We need a public banking institution that serves our community’s needs and that uses our public monies to invest in affordable housing, renewable energy and infrastructure development while also moving us towards racial equity and living wages.”

As has been widely reported, predatory overdraft fees disproportionately siphon money from low-income people and people of color, including those hardest hit by COVID-19. Just nine percent of all account holders pay 84 percent of the billions in overdraft fees that banks exact, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. These account holders typically carry low balances—averaging less than $350—and have relatively small monthly deposits.

“As New Yorkers struggled, banks smuggled massive sums in predatory fees out of hard hit communities of color,” said Andy Morrison of New Economy Project. “New York must divest from banks that exploited New Yorkers during the worst public health and economic crisis of our lifetimes, and get serious about public banking. We need Albany to pass the New York Public Banking Act this session.”

Community development credit unions and other local financial institutions across the state have come out in support of local public banks, which they say would partner with them to help grow, expand and diversify their loans and services statewide. These community development financial institutions, advocates said, do not charge overdraft and other fees that advocates say are unfair, extractive and disproportionately impact low-income Black, brown and immigrant communities.

The NY Public Banking Act (S1762A/A5782), a top priority for the Equity Agenda coalition, would pave the way for local governments to create their own publicly-owned financial institution that would hold municipal deposits and reinvest in cooperative and community-led economic development, including permanently-affordable housing, small and worker-owned businesses and other community needs. The legislation has been co-sponsored by 21 State Senators and 44 Assemblymembers, including Westchester’s Shelley Mayer, Jamaal Bailey, Alessandra Biaggi, Chris Burdick, and Sandy Galef.

To assess the amount of bank fees charged in New York, the coalition examined quarterly Consolidated Reports of Condition and Income that banks are required to file by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). Banks report only the total amount in fees charged to all customers. The coalition estimated the amount of fees charged to New Yorkers based on each bank’s share of deposits in New York, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation‘s Summary of Deposits Annual Survey.   

 

We are receiving fabulous feedback from this very informative panel discussion yesterday regarding “Advancing Restorative Justice in Westchester County.”  You can watch the full recording here: https://youtu.be/MqemoUpdebQ

Longmont Public Safety utilizes restorative principles and practices to address many of the crime, social and health issues in their community. They utilize these principles and practices when responding to circumstances in which people are struggling with their mental health, addiction, disorder-related issues, crime and more. Police Chief Butler, long ago, disconnected Longmont Public Safety from the criminal justice system as they connected more with their community. Chief Butler transformed the culture of his department so that police officers prefer to divert individuals out of the traditional criminal justice system into restorative processes.
 
G. Jeannie Lopez, Bureau Chief, District Attorney Kings County works in the Red Hook Community Justice Center in Brooklyn. The winner of multiple national awards for innovation, the Red Hook Justice Center houses a courtroom in which a single judge hears cases that under ordinary circumstances would go to three different courts­Civil, Family, and Criminal. An independent evaluation found the Justice Center significantly reduced recidivism and the number of people receiving jail sentences while enhancing public confidence in government. She works with their innovative programs, focused on healing and community restoration rather than punishment.

 Jill Sternberg, co-founder of Restorative Justice Westchester, is working with this new network to bring more restorative Justice to Westchester. As a school-based restorative justice coordinator, Jill supports schools to become restorative places of learning that empower everyone in the educational community, from parents and students to principals and school resource officers.
 
Registration to attend the Zoom required here
Wednesday, June 2nd at 12 noon EDT via Zoom.  All are welcome.  Free and open to the public.

1.  We need to ask our congressional representatives and New York Senators to urgently make a public statement urging the State Department and the Biden Administration to pressure the Israeli government to stop the bombing of Gaza and end the removal of families from their homes in Sheik Jarrar and Silwan.
 
2. We need to ask our electeds to co-sponsor  Betty McCollum’s bill HR 2590, Defending The Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation.  This bill would prohibit Israel from using U.S. taxpayer dollars on the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention; to support the seizure and destruction of Palestinian property and homes in violation of international humanitarian law; or on any support or assistance for Israel’s unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory in violation of international humanitarian law. (In the case of Jamaal Bowman in district 16, please call his office and thank him for co-sponsoring.)
 
3. Call House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks and demand that he place a hold on weapons to Israel at (202) 225-5021.

Good morning, all!

 
WESPAC has partnered with CURE for this important book reading of CASTE this Spring.  All details below:

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Nicole Alifante <[email protected]>
 
Your organization has partnered with us and five libraries (Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) for our virtual visit by Isabel Wilkerson, pulitzer prize winning author of CASTE, on April 25th
In addition to Ms. Wilkereson’s virtual visit we will have four facilitated zoom conversations about CASTE. 
 
Partnering entails ANY of these Actions: 
  • READ the book with some of your organization’s members
  • AMPLIFY our event through your networks
  • REGISTER for the event on April 25th with Ms. WIlkerson (Ms. Wilkerson will ONLY be at the 4/25 event) 
  • JOIN us for any of the four discussions on 4/8, 4/17, 4/28 and 5/3. (same registration link as above) 
 
We want to let our county neighbors know that dissecting the social construct of race and caste in America is an urgent conversation that we should all make space for together. Feel free to contact me with any questions. 
 
Warmest Regards, 
 
Nicole Alifante 
 
— Nicole Alifante 
Founder/President, CURE, Inc.
917-312-9930

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

 

GARE Presenters

https://youtu.be/Cm0DIKWZwtQ

On December 15, we will launch the Justice Roadmap 2021 to call for bold legislative change to decarcerate jails, prisons and immigrant detention centers and address the harms of the criminal legal and immigration systems. 

Join us to demand that New York dismantle systems that criminalize, incarcerate and deport our communities and build a world where all of us can thrive