Democratic Debates Tonight and Tomorrow Night!

Tonight ten candidates will make their case to voters as they hit the debate stage in Miami. According to NBC, they will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups. There will be no opening statements, but they will have a chance to deliver closing remarks. The debates will air at 9 p.m. on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. The second debate, between ten more candidates, is Thursday.

Are you watching tonight and tomorrow?

Here are some locations to watch with other Dems: https://www.facebook.com/pg/sdnyc/events/

2019 Primary: Vote Melinda Katz

For the Tuesday, June 25 Democratic Primary SDNYC members voted to endorse Melinda Katz to be the Democratic Nominee for Queens District Attorney. SDNYC has endorsed Katz in previous races, beginning when she ran for Assembly against the establishment party candidate. In every race since, Katz has asked for our support, and showed through her actions why we should support her. We have endorsed her successful runs for Assembly, City Council and Queens Borough President, and she has always come through for our community.

From her first term in the Assembly, Melinda proudly sponsored and voted in favor of the Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act (SONDA), which made sexual orientation a protected class in the state of New York. She also voted in favor of making HIV status a protected disability, and was one of the deciding votes and a cosponsor of hate crimes legislation that included sexual orientation as one of the protected groups. As Borough President, Melinda secured funding for numerous LGBTQ+ organizations and allies in Queens, including the Queens LGBT Center, Ali Forney Center, Planned Parenthood of Queens, Queens LGBT Network, and AIDS Center of Queens County. This of course is a fraction of her overall record as a progressive legislator and Borough President.

Melinda has detailed plans for how she plans to reform the office after nearly three-decades with the same D.A. (all of which can be read at her website www.katz4da.com). She has pledged specifically for our community to:

  • Ensure LGBTQ+ victims and defendants alike are treated with respect and have their rights protected by her office and law enforcement.

  • Convene a LGBTQ+ Rights Advisory Board to address specific concerns of the LGBTQ community, including bullying, threats, and employment or housing discrimination.

  • Make hate crime prevention and prosecution a top priority.

  • Decline to prosecute sex workers and protect victims of human trafficking, while prosecuting human trafficking and sexual assault.

  • Ensure all defendants are identified by the pronouns they choose in court documents.

  • Advocate at the local, state, and federal level for the rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Diversify the District Attorney’s office so that it truly represents Queens and hire an LGBTQ+ liaison.

The District Attorney’s Office is one of the most important government institutions in our system. As an Assembly Member, Council Member and the Borough President, Melinda has built coalitions borough-wide, and has best the experience to run and belatedly bring a complex organization into the 21st Century.

Based on her record and policy proposals for our community, SDNYC members endorsed Melinda Katz for Queens D.A. this Tuesday.

This Week's Pride Events!

Yes, there are many events to attend this week, but first take a few minutes for progress.  

We have a real chance to get bills passed in Albany that will make walking down the street safer for Trans women of color, stop the use of condoms as evidence, and help victims of human trafficking.

With just a quick call you can help rid New York of the "Gay/Trans Panic" Defense, make it easier for LGBTQ New Yorkers to start a family, and get benefits veterans wrongly discharged for their sexual orientation or gender expression.

Click the links above and then start planning the rest of the week, as there is a lot going on!

TONIGHT:  New York City Council Pride Event!
TIME:  6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
WHERE:  The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
RSVP: Email pride2019@council.nyc.gov

Tonight join New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the Council LGBT Caucus for a Pride Celebration hosted by Tamron Hall, with special honorees and performances from the cast of The Prom and The Cher Show.  RSVP via the email above!

WEDNESDAY:  Pride Month Celebration co-hosted by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer
TIME:  5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
WHERE:  Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY 11424
RSVP: http://queensbp.org/rsvp

Join Queens Borough President and Councilmembers Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer for a special night honoring leaders in Queens with special performances!

SUNDAY, June 23: Street Co-Naming Ceremony in Honor of Adelaide Connaughton
TIME:  11 a.m.
WHERE:  71st Road and Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, NY

Please join Councilmember Karen Koslowitz on Sunday, June 23 as a street is dedicated in memory of  lifelong community activist, Adelaide Connaughton. Adelaide was a long time Democratic and LGBTQ political leader, a member of both our board and other organizations, and partner to SDNYC friend and community leader Lynn Schulman. 
 

Can SDNYC register 500 voters during Pride?
We've gotten voter registration forms in the hands of about 200 people thus far, but we have more to go to meet our goal to register 500 voters during PRIDE!

ONE BRONX PRIDE with SDNYC 
DATE:  Sunday, June 23  
LOCATIONS & RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1160308837484120
March and celebrate One Pride with SDNYC!

NOON:  WE MARCH! Look for the SDNYC banners and join us!  Details and location to come on the Facebook event!  It's a quick march, and we'll be working the crowd making sure everyone attending is registered to vote!  Afterwards, come to the Street Festival!

1 p.m. - 4 p.m.:  Visit our table at the One Bronx Pride Festival! Stay with us and help us send messages to elected officials, get folks to update their voter registration, and just chat politics!

HARLEM PRIDE with SDNYC 
DATE & TIME:  Saturday, June 29, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.  
LOCATION:  Twelfth Avenue and 135th Street, New York, NY
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/2296583460665683

It's the tenth anniversary of Harlem Pride!  Visit our table and help us send messages to elected officials, get folks to update their voter registration, and just chat politics!

NYC PRIDE MARCH with SDNYC 
DATE & TIME:  Sunday, June 30, 1 p.m.
LOCATION:  30th Street between Madison and Park Avenues
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/2392746734071875

Join SDNYC and special guests as we march in the spirit of Revolution & Evolution, 50 years after the Stonewall riots.  Wristbands are required, so RSVP to the Facebook event (or keep an eye out for future emails) for more details!

PS:  SDNYC Pride volunteers at tables and marches will receive the 2019 SDNYC tee.  We hope you'll be at an upcoming event to claim yours!

Tell Albany: 1. Walking While Trans isn't a crime. 2. Carrying a Condom isn't a crime. 3. Being a victim of human trafficking isn't a crime.

Yesterday:

BREAKING: our member spent a long day in Albany today talking to legislators about the #WalkingWhileTrans ban. On her way home tonight, she was harassed by NYPD’s Vice Squad for #WalkingWhileTrans. Same day, same issue. Video shows the undercover Vice cars after the incident pic.twitter.com/0MGHy4Y1Q1

— VOCAL-NY (@VOCALNewYork) June 13, 2019

At end of the video, you can hear the vice officer shout at her. Not captured in video: officers trying to entrap her into a “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” aka #WalkingWhileTrans charge, waiving her down to vehicle & repeatedly yelling sexually suggestive remarks

— VOCAL-NY (@VOCALNewYork) June 13, 2019

What was she wearing? Literally a VOCAL t-shirt. This is why we MUST pass @bradhoylman @AmyPaulin bill (S2253/A654) to repeal the #WalkingWhileTrans ban NOW! The existence of the ban encourages profiling & targeted state violence toward TGNC communities of color pic.twitter.com/2SNjz4OrX6

— VOCAL-NY (@VOCALNewYork) June 13, 2019

What this organizer and advocate experienced is all to common for trans women, especially trans women of color. That's why laws are needed to make meaningful change to the NY criminal legal system and help reduce the harm caused by our existing s.  There are bills in Albany that can do just that, and you can help!

With little time remaining in the session, let's make a push on these key bills:

  • Bills A00654/S02253 (Paulin/Hoylman) would repeal New York’s loitering for the purposes of prostitution law has been abused to the point, as seen above, where it is dangerous to be #WalkingWhileTrans.  In 2018, there were 152 #WalkingWhileTrans arrests: 49% Black, 42% Hispanic, & 7% white. These discriminatory arrests must stop now! 

  • Bills A5177/S728 (Walker/Montgomery)  eliminate possession of a single condom being used by law enforcement as a probable cause for arrest on the grounds of suspected prostitution. Safe sex shouldn't lead to a sentence!

  • Bills A06983/S04981(Gottfried/Ramos, Salazar) would expand the relief available to survivors of human trafficking who have criminal records for crimes their traffickers have compelled them to commit. Currently, New York State law only allows trafficking survivors to clear prostitution-related convictions from their records, although many are convicted of other types of offenses during the course of their trafficking. 

Three simple things you can do to help:

1.  Call your Assembly Member and Senator: 
Find their phone number here:  
 - Assembly  https://nyassembly.gov/mem/
 - Senate  https://www.nysenate.gov/senators-committees
(Not sure who represent you, find them here:  https://nyassembly.gov/mem/search/ or https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator)  
Voice your support and tell them:  "Current law unfairly targets LGBTQ people, especially trans women of color and victims of human trafficking. The following bills deserve a floor vote and your support:  A00654/S02253, A06983/S04981, and A5177/S728 "

2.  Call
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie:  518-455-3791

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins:  518-455-3791
The Speaker and Majority Leader determine what bills come to the floor.  Share the same script as above!

3.  Bring it to social media!
Sample tweet:  ".@NYSA_Majority & @NYSenDems  Current law unfairly targets LGBTQ people, especially trans women of color and victims of human trafficking. . The following bills deserve a floor vote and your support:  A00654/S02253, A06983/S04981, and A5177/S728 ."
Or retweet the below:
 

.@NYSA_Majority & @NYSenDems
There are current laws in New York that unfairly target LGBTQ people, especially trans women of color and victims of human trafficking.
The following bills deserve a floor vote and your support: A00654/S02253, A06983/S04981, and A5177/S728 .

— Stonewall Democrats (@SDNYC) June 13, 2019


2019 has been a monumental year for progress in New York.  While the legislative session might be ending, our work for a fairer, safer New York never ends.  Thank you for your help!