Archive for the 'action alerts' Category Page 3 of 3

NYC Department of Homeless Services: Stop discrimination against domestic partners!

The NYC Department of Homeless Services is riddled with ineffective and discriminatory practices that wind up doing homeless people a lot of harm; this is just one of them. Take a few seconds to send the DHS a postcard calling for them to stop demanding an unfairly high burden of proof of domestic partners who are seeking to enter shelters together, as a family. Because this proof is very difficult to provide, homeless couples who are not married are often forced to choose between staying together on the streets, and being split up in shelters. Here’s the link from the LGBT Center in NYC.

not all rainbow balloons and frolicking gay boys

Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things. But below is a press release from the Audre Lorde Project, an organization for queer people of color in NYC, that addresses a far less joyful and celebratory incident that occurred at Sunday’s Pride march. It’s a good reminder that, despite the raucous celebrations and flamboyant displays that take over Manhattan for a day or two, we queers are still targets, some of us more than others.

Pride Celebration Marred By NYPD

Youth of Color Arrested While Participating in Annual LGBT Pride Parade

New York City, NY, June 26, 2006: The annual Heritage of Pride Parade celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities in New York City was marred this year by the unjust arrests of two young marchers.

At approximately 2:30 in the afternoon, while marching with Manhattan Pride Parade People of Color contingent two young people of color were arrested as they sought to re-enter the parade. The two young people had left the parade briefly and when they attempted to return they were placed under arrest by the NYPD. Marshals with the People of Color contingent repeatedly informed the police that the two young people were with the contingent and asked why they were being arrested. The police refused to respond. Witnesses stated that the police used unnecessary force when arresting the two young people. Kris Hayashi, Executive Director of the Audre Lorde Project, witnessed the incident. Hayashi states, “I observed the police brutally throwing one of the young people into the police van. This incident of unnecessary, unjust arrest is part of an ongoing pattern of harassment and brutality by the NYPD towards communities of color and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming people of color in this city. We must hold the NYPD accountable.”

The two young people were taken to the 6th precinct where the younger of the two was released while the 19 year old was held at the 6th precinct with a charge of disorderly conduct. Despite pressure from elected officials and community leaders to release the 19 year-old the young person was held overnight at Central Booking and to date has not been released.

Concerned community members and the Audre Lorde Project called a press conference the day of the parade at 9:30 PM in front of the 6th Precinct. Representatives of the Audre Lorde Project, Maua Flowers Institute, and
FIERCE spoke at the press conference, which was attended by 50 community members. Speakers called for the young person’s immediate release, for the charges to be dropped, for the NYPD to be held accountable for harassment and brutality, and for the community to stand up against ongoing harassment and brutality towards our communities.

“In the wake of recent violence against the LGBT community, it is an outrage that the NYPD has responded with a message of more violence, sadly against a young person of color marching the annual peaceful LGBT Pride Parade, ” says Rickke Mananzala, Campaign Coordinator of FIERCE, an LGBT youth of color organizing project in New York City.

Community members packed the court the morning of Monday, June 26, calling for the young person’s immediate release and for the charges to be dropped.

The Audre Lorde Project (ALP) is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforimng (LGBTSTGNC) People of Color (POC) center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area.

ACTION ALERT: Trans Day of Action Denied Permit to March and Rally on 8th Avenue During NYC 2006 Pride!

(from TransJustice, a working group of the the Audre Lorde Project)

In the wake of growing violence against Trans and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) people, as evidenced by the brutal attack on renowned Singer and Drag Performer-Kevin Aviance, the New York City Police Department and the City of New York have chosen to deny TransJustice’s applications to march and rally on 8th Avenue during NYC’s pride celebrations. Trans Day of Action would have been used to commemorate the death of Amanda Milan, a 25 year-old African-American transgender woman, who was brutally murdered on June 20, 2000, in the middle of an intersection near Port Authority Bus Terminal as onlookers cheered. However, during a 2nd meeting with Manhattan South Police Precinct on June 19th, we were told that Trans and Gender Nonconforming people, as well as allies, will not be permitted to march through Midtown Manhattan. Now we have it in writing! We received a written denial shortly thereafter.

We need activists all over the country to do these things!

  1. Inundate the following people with emails, calls and/or faxes:
    • Mayor Bloomberg – Phone: 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC). Fax: 212 788-2460
    • Commissioner Ray Kelly – Email
    • Midtown South Precinct Community Affairs – Phone: (212) 239-9846
  2. Come to our 1pm press conference on Tuesday, June 20th on NYC City Hall steps.
  3. Alert elected officials and the press! Urge them to endorse the Trans Day of Action and attend the press conference.
  4. Come to our work session on Wednesday, June 21st @ 6pm. This meeting is being held in preparation for the June 23rd Trans Day of Action, and will take place at Housing Works – 320 West 13th Street on the 4th Floor.
  5. Be at Chelsea Park, in NYC, @ 2:30pm on Friday, June 23rd for the Trans Day of Action Kick-off Rally. The park is located on West 28th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues.

Now is the time to act. We call on ALL social justice activists to join us in showing the New York City Police Department that we will not be intimidated!

Historically, 8th Avenue has been regarded as the place that several LGBT and HIV organizations as well as LGBT nightclubs have called home. TransJustice selected this 8th Ave route to call attention to innumerable members of our communities that work, reside, play, as well as access supportive services, right in the heart of Midtown.

On June 23rd, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color and their allies will rally and march against police brutality, to oppose the racist and xenophobic immigration policies of the Bush Administration, to show our outrage at the lack of access to living wage employment, adequate affordable housing, quality education, basic healthcare for our communities, and to demand an end to the devastating impacts of US imperialism (the so-called “war on terrorism”) being waged against people at home and abroad.

Ultimately, TransJustice sees the denial of the march route and permits as part of the ongoing plan of the Bloomberg Administration to repress the progressive political movements of NYC. Now more than ever,
TransJustice calls on all social justice activists from the communities of color, lesbian, gay, bi, two spirit and trans movements, immigrant rights organizations, youth and student groups, trade unions and workers organizations, religious communities and HIV/ AIDS and social service agencies to endorse, build contingents and to help fight for the right to march on 8th Avenue on June 23rd.

ACTION ALERT: Father’s Day Sleep-Out in protest of landlords’ abuses

Picture the Homeless is an amazing organization here in NYC that was founded by, is led by, and organizes homeless people in the struggle for civil rights, housing and economic justice. Tonight, they’re having a sleep-out in front of a block of abandoned buildings in East Harlem. (Perhaps a certain East Harlem resident might find time to stop by?) These buildings, like many others in NYC, are left vacant by developers who are waiting for the right opportunity to make a whole lot of money off of the properties; in the meantime, there’s a tremendous housing crisis in New York City, with thousands of adults and children left homeless. Instead of letting abandoned buildings rot until developers are prepared to convert them into luxury condos or other unaffordable housing for huge profits, as most often happens, couldn’t these buildings be converted into affordable housing for homeless and low-income New Yorkers? Picture the Homeless is demanding an answer to that question, and calling for that answer to be a resounding “Yes!” in favor of economic justice and housing as a human right guaranteed to all people.

Below is the text of the press release from Picture the Homeless, which includes details on the event. Allies are welcomed and encouraged to join PTH members and staff for the action – stop by for a while, or bring your sleeping bag and sleep on the street in protest of the private interests and city policies that allow homelessness and displacement to continue unabated.


Homeless dads and allies stand united against city’s shelter and housing policies

New York, NY—Eric Sessoms, a father of two, had been homeless for five years. Living on the street he wished and dreamed of his own apartment that he could share with his two children. Currently living in an SRO (single-room occupancy) in Harlem, Eric is finishing his last year of college and is searching in vain for an affordable house for his family.

“An SRO is for single people,” Eric says. “I want my children with me, but there’s nowhere to go. There are abandoned buildings all over this neighborhood; but when they get developed, they are turned into luxury condominiums.”

Three blocks away from his SRO, on 125th Street, the heart of Harlem’s economic development, stands an entire block of abandoned properties. “These buildings have been in this condition since I was twenty; and I’m now forty. I want to know how landlords are allowed to keep a building abandoned and in poor condition for two decades without the City demanding that they be reconstructed to meet the needs of the community.”

This Father’s Day, Eric will be taking a stand with other fathers and allies, to focus on this issue, and expose the landlords whom the city allows to warehouse buildings. They will be targeting Jeff Sutton, of Wharton Realty, a high-profile property owner who owns the buildings at 125th and Lenox. One of the city’s largest developers, and a George W. Bush campaign contributor, Sutton recently brokered such deals as the 30,000-square-foot Apple retail location on Fifth Avenue and the Howard Johnson building in Times Square. Sutton did not respond to numerous requests for meetings.

Providing shelter for one person costs the city $10K-$15K a year. “Why can’t these funds be re-allocated to developing actual affordable housing?” Eric asks.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has also decided to join Eric in his stand against these injustices. Stringer and his office are planning a comprehensive count of abandoned buildings in Manhattan, collaborating with Picture the Homeless, an organization that Eric helps to lead and represent.

“After suffering years of administrative abandonment,” Eric says, “I am now standing up for my children and the next generations, so they won’t be deprived of a basic human right: housing.”

WHO: Homeless fathers and allies

WHAT: “Sleep-Out” to protest city’s housing policies and landlords’ lack of accountability

WHERE: Harlem, NYC. Press rendezvous outside the State Office Building at 163 W. 125th, between Lenox and 7th Ave. Look for event press coordinators with red armbands.

WHEN: Monday, June 19th, at 8PM.