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MAHN Lawmakers May 31, 2019

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Speaker Johnson Lauds Monument Honoring Trans Activists

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) yesterday applauded Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray announcement that the next She Built NYC monument will honor pioneering transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

The two women were key leaders in the Stonewall Uprising that sparked the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. The proposed location for the monument is in Ruth Wittenberg Triangle, a prominent public space in the heart of neighborhood landmarks that were essential to LGBTQ history and advocacy, including the Stonewall Inn and St. Vincent’s Hospital.

The artwork will be funded as part of $10 million Mayor de Blasio allocated for the creation of new public artwork following the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers.

The Commission recommended addressing the general lack of diverse representation in the City’s collection of public art by expanding the collection to be more inclusive of the many communities that have lived in and contributed to New York City. DCLA has launched an open call for artists who want to be considered as designers for the monument honoring Johnson and Rivera, available here.

The announcement comes at the beginning of Pride Month, which this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The City expects 4 million visitors to celebrate WorldPride in New York City this year.

“I’m proud to honor these two trailblazers, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who changed the course of history for the LGBTQ community. Not only was their bravery felt in New York City, but their fight for equality inspired change across the nation and around the world. When people walk around this monument, they will be reminded of the courage of these women and of the need to keep fighting for equality for all,” said Johnson.

Powers, Ayala Unite Against Income Discrimination, Landlords Who Do Not Accept Housing Vouchers

City Council Member Diana Ayala
Council Member Diana Ayala
Council Member Keith Powers
Council Member Keith Powers

City Council members Keith Powers (D-Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, East Midtown, Midtown West, part of the UES) and Diana Ayala (D-East Harlem, The Bronx) yesterday alongside advocates rallied together to bring attention to a small but critical budget request—$410,000 to double the size of the Source of Income Unit at The City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR).

The source of income unit at CCHR offers support to New Yorkers with rental assistance vouchers who have been discriminated against through investigations, interventions, public education and litigation. The unit is specifically tasked with helping New Yorkers who face source of income discrimination.

Source of income discrimination has been illegal in New York City since 2008, when then Council member Bill De Blasio led an effort to pass a bill to amend the New York City Human Rights Law, making it one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country.

However, the unit continues to lack the necessary resources it needs to vigorously enforce the law. Within a year, the unit received 830 viable reports of source of income discrimination, all of which required follow up and additional action steps, yet there are only 5 full time staff members. Advocates argued that their budget request is common sense – increasing resources to help enforce the source of income law will have a ripple effect within the homeless population, helping decrease the number of people in shelter or entering shelter as more people have the ability to put their vouchers to use.

“More than 60,000 New Yorkers reside in the New York City shelter system, with thousands of others living on the streets, in youth or domestic violence shelters, and three-quarter houses. These New Yorkers rely on rental assistance programs to find housing, but too often are met with roadblocks,” said Powers.

“Thousands of New Yorkers are unable to secure permanent housing because of source of income discrimination. Unfortunately, homeless families and voucher holders remain especially vulnerable to this type of discrimination, despite it being illegal. The Source of Income Unit at the City Commission on Human Rights plays an instrumental role in combatting this shady practice and I wholeheartedly support it being expanded to hold landlords accountable,” said Ayala.

Rivera Announces GENDA Know Your Rights Training

Council Member Carlina Rivera
Council Member Carlina Rivera

City Council member Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill, Rose Hill) announced an up coming gender identity training event sponsored alongside New York Transgender Advocacy Group (NYTAG).

Recently, the State Legislature passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression, while providing protections for those who identify as gender non-conforming/non-binary and transgender.

In this training, participants will:

-Identify what is considered discrimination with the passage of GENDA

-Know how to report instances of discrimination in all aspects of life under GENDA (housing, employment, etc.)

-Develop a toolkit of resources to use and share with the community

The event is slated for 6 pm. to 8p.m., Tuesday, June 11, at the Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (btwn East 9th and East 10th Streets) in the East Village.

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