THE NEW YORK STATE BLACK, PUERTO RICAN, HISPANIC, AND ASIAN LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS
PRESS CONTACT: Nantasha Williams
Office: (518) 455-5327
For Immediate Release: May 22 2013
Civil Rights: Post Obama Conversation
The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus Host a Forum on Civil Rights
ALBANY, — With the first Black president- President Barack H. Obama- in the beginning of his second term, the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus presented a thought-provoking conversation about the past successes and future struggles of the civil rights movement on Wednesday, May 22.
The panelists included Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO & Executive Director of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Dr. Alice Green, Executive Director of The Center for Law and Justice; Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, Chairman of the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Taskforce; Lucia Gomez-Jimenez, Executive Director of La Fuente, and Alphonso David, who serves as Deputy Secretary and Counsel of Civil Rights for Governor Andrew Cuomo. The discussion was moderated by Dr. John Flateau, Co-founder of the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College (CUNY). The audience of invited community leaders, students, elected officials, advocates, and the general public participated in a dialogue that will assist the Caucus in a plan of action for the future.
“Obviously the fact that America has elected a President who is a person of color indicates that we have made great strides as a society. Yet we have a long ways to go before we can claim that our civil rights efforts are completely victorious. There are great disparities particular in education and health care that have to be addressed” said Assemblyman Karim Camara, Chairman of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. “The time has come for us to come together and initiate a strategy for change among the poorest of our New Yorkers. Minorities still face a severe disadvantage in this country and we must continue the fight to give everyone a chance at the American Dream.”
“Civil rights are of paramount importance to all people, and what unites everyone in the United States. Included in these rights is to promote and ensure that all people, regardless of age, race or ethnicity have equal access and opportunity to participate in health care and human service programs without discrimination.” -Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, Chairman of the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force
“Its an important moment in history when immigration reform, is the civil rights issue for our generation is being discussed to reflect on how far we have come and commit to re-energizing the movement with inclusion” said Lucia Gomez-Jimenez, Executive Director of La Fuente. “We must return to the basics of empowering and engaging communities towards making the changes that we so desperately need”.
“The civil rights movement was and is about more than human rights. It is about true economic equity that ensures equal opportunity and access to healthcare, education, and income leading to the achievement of the American Dream for all.” – Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
“On behalf of Governor Cuomo we thank the Caucus for hosting this forum on such a critical issue” said Alphonso David, Deputy Secretary of Civil Rights for Governor Andrew Cuomo. ” Civil Rights are essential to the State of New York and we are committed to ensuring all New Yorkers have equal protection under the law”.
“It was a pleasure moderating such a dynamic panel that fostered much needed conversation on the current issues of civil rights faced by minorities in New York State, civil rights is still an inherent problem for communities of color and we must continue to spark such conversations and create solutions to rectify these issues” – Dr. John Flateau, Co-founder of the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College (CUNY)
“We believe that minority and low-income New Yorkers are at a critical junction today,” said Nicole Jordan, Executive Director of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. “In order for Black and Latino communities to reach their full potential, we need to create comprehensive and inclusive legislation that brings us together. This forum allows us to bring together the brightest minds equipped with the knowledge and passion to build on our successes, but also to learn from our struggles.
This event was said to be the first in a series to address core civil rights issues and policies impacting communities of color. The next event will be held in the Fall of 2013 in New York City and is said to focus completely on education, with forums addressing immigration, health, economics, gun control and the justice system to follow. The Caucus also continues to tackle minority issues impacting minority communities through its annual “People’s Budget”, an analysis of the Governor’s Executive Budget and its effects on poor, low-income, and middle class New Yorkers and communities of color.