WCP Story of the Week

THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY PRESS

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This week's stories...

2020 Census Update: September Surprise and Response Rates

With every American political cycle, there is an expectation that an event will occur and influence the outcome of an election. When the event occurs within a few weeks of an election, deliberately or by happenstance, it is known as an “October Surprise”. The death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, on September 18, 2020, is comparable to a “September Surprise”. According to the Court, Justice Ginsburg died of metastatic pancreatic cancer, at age 87. Born in Brooklyn, NY, she embraced “The Notorious R.B.G.” moniker. It was a reference to the late Brooklyn-born rapper, “The Notorious B.I.G.”, and her fiery dissenting opinions in 5-4 decisions written by the conservative wi

BLACK LIVES MATTER T-SHIRTS AND MASKS – WHO PROFITS?

I always smile when I see Black Lives Matter T-Shirts until I saw one gracing the grubby back of a white man who had on both a BLM T-Shirt and a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat. I started to either take a photo or start a conversation because I knew somebody would accuse me of making the combination up. Instead, I wondered where the man got the shirt/hat combo. Was he homeless and got the combo at a shelter? Was he visually impaired and didn’t understand the contradiction? Without starting a conversation, I was left to my imagination. It had me thinking about the production and distribution of BLM wearables and the profit stream they may be creating. You can find custom-designed sc

National Black Voter Day is NUL’s Answer to Voter Suppression, Misinformation, and Division

“Too many people struggled, suffered and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote. And we have come too far together to ever turn back. So we must not be silent. We must stand up, speak up and speak out. We must march to the polls like never before. We must come together and exercise our sacred right.” – Congressman John Lewis In April of 2019, the Associated Press released an analysis of census data and exit polling that reached a remarkable conclusion: the Black voter turnout rate in the 2012 presidential election exceeded the white rate for the first time in history. A census report in May confirmed the AP’s findings. Some researchers disputed the findi

Justice Ginsburg’s Death Could Prove Fatal to American Democracy

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – affectionately known as The Notorious R.B.G. (after the famous moniker of the late hip-hop star, The Notorious B.I.G.) – held on as long as she could while fiercely battling metastatic pancreatic cancer. At 87, the popular Supreme Court Justice had battled cancer and several other maladies, for some time. Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Echoing the sentiments of many, both inside and outside of the political spectrum acclaimed novelist Terry McMillan stated, “I was praying she could hold on.” The

SILENCE ABOVE HONOR

Part 2 of a 5-Part Series on the Lack of Accountability in Government in Mount Vernon The cornerstone of a government is the length to which it goes to protect the weakest and most vulnerable of its citizens. Often, that responsibility falls to a government’s law enforcement divisions. It’s a hard job, to be sure. And, it’s an important one. Because, if those charged with protecting us are actually harming us, the entire edifice of government comes crashing down. So, they have a monumental responsibility. What do we make of a government whose police department is out of control? What do we say about a government whose police department fails to protect the weakest and most vulnerable?

White Plains City Council Joins Mount Vernon in Support of “Cities for CEDAW” Campaign to Eliminate

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- (Sept. 8, 2020) UNA-USA Westchester Chapter is pleased to recognize the City of White Plains as the second city in the State to adopted a resolution supporting the “Cities for CEDAW” (C4C) campaign on September 8, 2020, joining Mount Vernon, the first city to adopt CEDAW on September 23, 2015. The monumental task of getting the Westchester County Board of Legislators and eventually the six cities of the county to get onboard was spearheaded by UNA Westchester President and former Mount Vernon City Council member, J. Yuhanna Edwards. Edwards is strongly urging other cities of Westchester, especially New Rochelle, Peekskill, Rye City and Yonkers, to follow Mount Vernon

IS THE ECONOMY REBOUNDING?

On the Friday before Labor Day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly report, The Employment Situation. It reported good news – the unemployment rate dropped to 8.4 percent, higher than in February before the pandemic hit. We added 1.4 million jobs last month, the highest gain since the corona recession began. But while this is progress, it is no cause for celebration. The Black unemployment rate remains double-digit and has not dropped as rapidly as either the overall rate or the white rate, 7.3 percent. Eleven million fewer people held jobs in August than in March. And the “rebound” is not spread evenly across populations. The top 10 percent have already recovered. Th

Keep Politics Out of the Coronavirus Vaccine Approval Process

Maintaining the American public’s trust in the FDA is vital. If the agency’s credibility is lost because of real or perceived interference, people will not rely on the agency’s safety warnings. Erosion of public trust will leave consumers and patients doubting our recommendations, less likely to enroll in clinical studies or to use FDA-regulated products when they should to maintain or improve their health. This is problematic under normal circumstances but especially if we are to ultimately overcome COVID-19. Protecting the FDA’s independence is essential if we are to do the best possible job of protecting public health and saving lives. -- Senior FDA executives Patrizia Cavazzoni, Peter Ma

2020 Census Update: Two Strikes and Response Rates

By A. Kelli Higgs, Esq. Recent court rulings regarding the 2020 Census can be likened to a baseball game. The U.S. Department of Commerce is at bat on behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau. The opposing team covering the field is comprised of mayors of cities, civil rights organizations, and advocacy groups. Fans in the stands were replaced by cardboard cutouts due to COVID-19. First swing, strike one. On September 5, 2020 a federal court in California issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Commerce Department. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ordered the Census Bureau to temporarily stop “winding down or altering any Census field operations.” The decision was based the irreparabl

GUILTY BYSTANDERS

Part 1 of a 5-Part Series on the Lack of Accountability in Government in Mount Vernon By Hon. Andre Wallace Former Mayor, City of Mount Vernon A lot has happened since I last sat down to write an article like this. It is important that we take time to critically look at topics, particularly ones that impact our lives and our institutions. In this series, we’re going to tackle the lack of accountability in Mount Vernon’s government and the different ways that affects our lives using real-world examples. Let’s start with the one that’s grabbing the headlines right now: the sentencing of former Mount Vernon Corporation Counsel Lawrence Porcari to prison for participating in a criminal scheme t

NYS Announces More Than $100 Million in Additional Assistance for September

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced more than $100 million in additional emergency food assistance to help New Yorkers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic avoid food insecurity. About 700,000 low-income individuals and families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive additional food benefits this month to bring them up to the maximum allowable amount for September. “As the unprecedented global pandemic continues to strain households throughout the state, we must make every effort possible to prevent families from falling into food insecurity,” said OTDA Commissioner Mike Hein. “These additional

Dry Your Tears

Letter To Self, Dry Your Tears By Jewel F. Williams With the news of the death of Chadwick Boseman on August 28th I shed tears. I shed tears not only for the far too early loss of this extremely gifted actor, who was only 43 years young, I also shed tears for so many, many more. I shed them for my uncle, Lindsay Williams who lived in Roanoke, VA and died in January, for I lost my only uncle who was such a gentle hearted and humble man and was such a huge part of my life. I shed tears for a good friend and fraternity brother, Jeffrey Ross of Mount Vernon, NY who also passed too early two days earlier on August 26th. I also shed tears for all those who have died unnecessarily since the unc

COMMUNITY CALENDAR

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED For just one to two hours per week, you can make a huge difference in the life of a child. JCY - Westchester Community Partners, a Division of the Family Service Society of Yonkers (JCY-WCP) is running eTutoring programs online to help children with their remote assignments during the 2020-21 school year. The programs match caring mentors with students on a one-to-one basis to help them with their assignments during the pandemic. For more information, please contact Madeline Finesmith at mfinesmith@jcy-wcp.com TUESDAYS IN SEPTEMBER Visit the Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library’s website: http://www.portchester-ryebrooklibrary.org, on Tuesdays, September 22nd & 29th;

NYS Board of Elections Launches Online Application for Absentee Ballots

The New York State Board of Elections has launched an online Absentee Ballot Application Portal, through which registered voters can apply now for an absentee ballot. The Portal can be found at https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/. Voters may click through the web form to request an absentee ballot, which will be sent to them in the mail. Voters may vote by absentee ballot for several reasons including temporary illness -- which includes being unable to appear at the polls due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19. Remember, besides the new online portal, you also may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways: • By sending an

Lawlessness and Disorder: America’s Mistreatment of Its Black Citizens

When a seventeen-year-old white boy walks down the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, with a loaded automatic weapon, he is cheered and thanked by the police and offered a water bottle. No matter that he’d killed two people and wounded another. His attorney says it was self-defense, and Kenosha Sherriff Miskinis said the shootings would not have happened had those killed not broken curfew. Later he “clarified” his remarks, but his callousness was frighteningly evident. Speeches at the Republican National Convention painted a wildly inaccurate picture of the Democratic Biden/Harris ticket. It would not be “safe,” said VP Mike Pence. There will be lawlessness, violence, and destruction, said

Death of Chadwick Boseman Puts Focus on Colon Cancer and African Americans

The death of actor Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer at age 43 has brought new attention on the disease and how it disproportionately impacts African Americans. Boseman was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at 38. It later advanced to stage 4. Boseman was filming movies that included completing his own stunts while undergoing cancer treatment that included chemotherapy. The actor died on August 30. His death caught many who worked closely with him by surprise. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in America. It is the second most common cause of death related to the disease. African Americans are disproportionately impacted with a 20 percent greater ra

Community Wide Action Day Honoring Memory of Those Lost on Sept. 11 to Focus on Addressing Local Cov

(White Plains, NY) – In honor of those whose lives were lost or forever changed by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Westchester County Executive George Latimer will join with Volunteer New York! to host the 10th annual “9/11: Serve + Remember.” Volunteer opportunities will be available Today, September 1, through Friday, September 11 with a major focus on a special #911day Covid-19 Relief Healthy Food Drive initiative throughout Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. This community-wide action event is sponsored by Robison Oil. Latimer said: “Food insecurity has always been a serious concern here in Westchester. Due to Covid-19 and its deleterious impact on our community, the issue has r

Attorney General James Vows to Defend Executive Order on Tax Lien Sales

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today issued the following statement regarding yesterday’s executive order barring any tax or sewer lien sales by local governments: “Protecting the rights of homeowners and tenants during the COVID pandemic has been a major priority of the state, especially as Americans deal with rising economic insecurity. Since the start of the pandemic, New York has issued executive orders protecting homeowners and tenants from eviction, foreclosure, or termination by utility companies. Still, lien enforcement by local governments poses yet another threat to homeowners. That’s why, at my urging, the governor issued an executive order stopping any local

Black households earned 61 cents for every dollar of White median incomes

The August 23 police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, WI, triggered yet another round of community protests and national news coverage of a Black man. A series of multiple gunshots fired by a local police officer, were not fatal for 29-year old Jacob Blake; but may have permanently paralyzed him from the waist down. Days later on August 28, the National Action Network served as a major organizer for a Commitment March, rededicating the yet unaddressed dreams of the historic 1963 March on Washington. Assembled again at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial, the day’s speakers spanned nationally-known leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and Attorney Ben Crump to the f

EARLY VOTING DATES FOR GENERAL ELECTION

The Westchester County Board of Elections has announced the times and locations for early voting for this fall’s general election. The early voting period is October 24 through November 1. Registered voters voting early may cast their ballots at ANY of the seventeen (17) designated early voting locations. On Election Day, voters must vote at their assigned polling sites. Early Voting Times: Saturday, October 24: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, October 25: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, October 26: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 27: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 28: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday, October 29: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday, October 30: 8 a.m. – 4 p

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