WCP Story of the Week

THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY PRESS

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This week's stories...

Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of the Nation

Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral. (New York Times) While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity. That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washing

In John Lewis’ Honor, Restore the Voting Rights Act

“Although the court did not deny that voter discrimination still exists, it gutted the most powerful tool this nation has ever had to stop discriminatory voting practices from becoming law. Those justices were never beaten or jailed for trying to register to vote. They have no friends who gave their lives for the right to vote. I want to say to them, Come and walk in my shoes.” – Congressman John Lewis, reacting to the U.S Supreme Court’s Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013 For those of us whose work is focused on racial justice and voting rights, the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby v. Holder, which gutted the Voting Rights Act felt like a punch to the gut. For John Lewis, it can onl

Focus On Judicial Candidate Verris Shako

The General Election this is November 3, 2020. There are three openings for Yonkers City Court Judge this year and Verris Shako would like you to cast one of those judicial votes for her. Verris has protected the rights of Yonkers residents. She has represented clients on matters involving criminal, family, and traffic law in Yonkers City Court as well as in many other courts in Westchester County. After years of practice, Verris started her own law practice in 2009. She has litigated felony matters to verdict as well as conducted trials in family court. Verris understands the law and the importance of giving both sides an opportunity to be heard before deciding on a case. She believe

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

I get an ache in my heart every time someone who learns that I am a Vietnam veteran, says “Thank you for your service.” Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. More than 50 years later, watching Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” set off my internal alarm bells, warning against African Americans blindly participating in U.S. foreign policy. Lee’s latest movie is an excellent commentary on some of the complexities of the Vietnam war for African Americans, which he boils down to a single line spoken by a central character: “We fought in an immoral war that wasn’t ours… for rights that wasn’t ours.” I am a big fan

Chef Jeff Joins Greyston’s Board of Directors

YONKERS, NY -- Greyston announced recently that Jeff Henderson, the nationally acclaimed chef, author, and motivational speaker, has joined its board of directors. Henderson’s remarkable personal story and experience in motivating others will enhance the board’s ability to guide Greyston in scaling its social justice mission in Southwest Yonkers and beyond. Greyston is a nonprofit social justice enterprise working to create job opportunities and provide services that enable self-sufficiency through the Open Hiring® business model. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Henderson is an ex-offender, having served nearly a decade in prison for dealing drugs. His personal and professi

The Fire, Again, This Time

In the third week of June, in the middle of the night, classic white racism struck again, burning a Klan-style cross in front of the house that was pushing the latest Black-liberation movement into their conservative, white-dominated town. No, this wasn’t the attack on Travon Brown’s family last week, in Marion, Virginia. It was 59 years earlier, far from the old Confederacy, when my 8-year-old self was awakened to a neighborhood panic. A fiery cross was burning in front of our friends’ house, no further from my bed than one set of football goalposts from the other. Our dead-end street was an enclave of artists and left-activists, mostly Jewish. Other residents of Rye, New York – then a

Chuck D Continues to Speak Truth to Power

Great art will always stand the test of time. In the summer of 1989, Public Enemy released the most poignant protest song in hip-hop history in “Fight the Power” for Spike Lee‘s gut-wrenching film, Do the Right Thing. Thirty-one years later, the song speaks to a new generation of activists inspired by the killings of unarmed Black people such as Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks. During the 2020 BET Awards, which took place virtually during the last Sunday of Black Music Month, Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” which featured new verses from Nas, The Roots, Rapsody, Jahi, and YG, served as the opening performance for the show, which presented numerous instance

Dodgers take a stand against racial injustice

Ten Los Angeles Dodgers players have spoken out against racial injustice in a video released July 16 and committed to use their platforms to amplify the voices of Los Angeles social justice organizations. “For centuries, the Black community has lived in a different America,” pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. “Instead of addressing racism, inequality, and injustice, many of us simply look away. “Silence is no longer an option. I’m fighting for my teammates, their families, and their communities.” The other Dodgers speaking on the video were Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, Kike Hernandez, Gavin Lux, Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, Ross Stripling, Justin Turner and Alex Wood. The players said they

Adding Fuel to the Fire of Our Pandemics

Nero, the Roman Emperor who legendarily fiddled while Rome burned is a symbol for an irresponsible, ineffective, and callous leader who shows indifference to people in crisis. The great Rome fire took place in the first century AD. The fiddle wasn’t invented until the eleventh century, so it is unlikely that the hedonistic emperor played the fiddle while his city was burning. More likely, he was engaged in some trivial or sybaritic act, regardless of the crisis. Our 45th President puts Nero to shame. Our country is burning, with COVID cases rising, racial tensions rising. The President is pouring fuel on an already-flaming fire with his callous indifference, ineffective leadership, and

Mount Vernon Resident Confirmed by NYS Senate as a Court of Claims Judge

ALBANY, NY -- Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced today that Adrian Armstrong of the City of Mt. Vernon has been confirmed by the State Senate as a Judge for the NYS Court of Claims. “I am proud that Westchester resident Adrian Armstrong was confirmed by the full NYS Senate, under my leadership. I congratulate Mr. Armstrong and I wish him well as a Judge for the Court of Claims,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. Armstrong has been a Judge for Mt. Vernon City Court since 2015, where he arraigned felonies and handled misdemeanors and lesser offenses as well as civil lawsuits of up to $15,000. Judge Armstrong runs an adolescent diversion part “problem so

Feeding Westchester and Ridgeway Alliance Church to Host Weekly Fresh Produce Distributions

YONKERS, NY -– July 16, 2020 – Yonkers City Councilwoman Tasha Diaz will join Feeding Westchester and Ridgeway Alliance Church to host a weekly Fresh Produce Distribution to the South Yonkers community. The church and organization will be bringing in 10,000 pounds of fresh produce tomorrow to give out to those in need throughout the area. This program will occur every Friday until August 28. CDC Guidelines will be strictly enforced.

AG James Orders Companies to Stop Online Sale of E-Cigarettes to Minors and New Yorkers

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James’ office ordered Cloud X Vapes, HQD Tech USA, and PodVapes to immediately cease and desist illegally selling vaping products online to consumers in New York. These companies illegally sold vaping products online through their websites to New York consumers — a violation of New York state law. In addition, they illegally sold products to minors, offering flavored nicotine vaping products, including cotton candy, pineapple mist, green apple, and others. “Candy and fruit flavored vaping products exist to reel teens into the dangerous habit of smoking, which is why New York banned them,” said Attorney General James. “It is shameful that these companies a

Westchester County Creates Working Group to Assist Local School Districts with Reopening Transition

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Westchester County Government has worked closely with local school districts across the County to provide assistance and public health support to protect our schools, teachers, staff and most importantly our students. In order to create a more streamlined process as Westchester County School Districts prepare for the fall, the County has established a working group designed to further provide information and support around the areas of public health, emergency preparedness and response. The goal of the task force is to help create a more efficient way to provide feedback for common issues that may arise such as: the bulk

CFPB Gives a Green Light to Predatory Payday Lenders Ability-to-Repay Stripped from Regulation

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc throughout the country, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently took an ill-advised and untimely action. On July 7, the agency gutted its own 2017 payday rule that required lenders to first determine whether a consumer could afford to repay the high-cost loan. This regulatory reversal represents a financial favor to payday and car-title lenders, and certain harm to consumers who are just a few hundred dollars short for their monthly expenses. In very real and measurable ways, the agency created to protect consumers gave a green light to predatory lenders to continue to prey upon the nation’s poorest and most vulnerable consumers. “There

LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES

The Honorable Letitia James Attorney General for the State of New York The Capital Albany, New York. 12224-03421 Dear Attorney General James: A wave of change is making its way through our country bringing with it a fundamental re-evaluation of our institutions and culture. This is a monumental moment, and it is a long time coming. It is a change that will cause communities to look deeply into the economic, social, and political structures that have oppressed, marginalized, and stigmatized vast numbers of citizens around the world. Recent legislation allows police to finally be held accountable for acts of brutality and murder. The voices of those directly affected by this violence

Former Greenburgh Resident Henri A. LeGendre Passes

Henri Arthur LeGendre, born July 11, 1924 in New York, NY, in Harlem Hospital. He was the first born child of eleven children to his parents, Leopold Nathaniel (a Civil Engineer) and Claudene Francis (a Nurse) LeGendre, natives of Trinidad, W.I . As a child of the Great Depression, LeGendre was motivated to work hard and work smart. From a young age, Henri was actively involved in his community as a member and an acolyte of St. Phillips Church, Boy Scouts, and in school as an athlete running track (hurdles) At the age of 18, after graduating from Dewitt Clinton High School, Bronx, NY, he enlisted in the New York National Guard’s 15th Regiment and was stationed at Camp Smith in Peekskill, NY

Our Children’s Lives are too Precious to Risk Reopening Schools Without a Safety Plan

“Common sense and intelligence can still determine what we do, even in this crazy environment. We’re not going to use our children as guinea pigs.” – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Of the many questions the deadly coronavirus pandemic has forced the nation to confront, the question of whether to reopen schools is one of the toughest. Experts agree that the shutdown is widening the racial achievement gap. Black parents are far more likely to work in jobs that can’t be done from home, so they’re less available to supervise at-home learning. More than a third of low-income households with school-age children don’t have high-speed internet access, compared to just 6% of affluent households. O

The Enemy Within

At least six Black children were killed during the Fourth of You Lie weekend. They weren’t doing anything wrong, just attending a community picnic, or going to visit a grandmother, or riding in a car with her mom. One of the children, Secoriea Turner, 8, was an Atlantan, and the day after the killing, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, emotionally addressed the killers, “You shot and killed a baby,” she said. “This random wild, wild West, shoot ‘em up because you can, it has got to stop. It has to stop.” She went on to say, “Enough is enough. You can’t blame this on a police officer. You can’t say this is about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying weapons who shot up a ca

NYS Coronavirus Update: A Message to Partiers in NYC -- Setting Up Testing Sites in Georgia -- Over

(Published 7/20/20) Over the weekend we saw photos and videos of New York City residents gathering and drinking in large crowds, without socially distancing and without wearing masks, in Astoria and on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. That’s not New York Tough and it definitely isn’t New York Smart. The virus is still out there and it’s a threat. Even if you are in your twenties, you can get sick and you can get other people sick. So my message to partiers is simple: Knock it off and don’t be stupid. Here’s what else you need to know tonight: 1. New York City entered Phase 4 today but without indoor activity. At this point, additional indoor activity at malls, restaurants or cultural

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