EVENT: Sanctuary Cities: Growing Powerful Communities (3/3)

Last month, San Francisco became the first US city to sue the Trump administration over its executive order cutting off federal funding to sanctuary cities. Indeed, sanctuary cities have become a beacon of hope for progressive communities hoping to build up their resistance to the Trump administration’s regressive and havoc-wreaking immigration policies.

But what, exactly, are sanctuary cities. And, as a sanctuary city, how can NYC effectively defend itself against the threats of the new reality?

Join the Pratt Center for Planning and the Environment and NYC Environmental Justice Alliance this Friday, March 3rd, 2017 from 6-8pm forSanctuary Cities For All: Growing Powerful Communities in Uncertain Times,” the second part in a 4-session series about the populism and the Trump administration’s first 100 days:

New York City has historically played the role of Sanctuary City, to the nation, and to the world.

As a premiere global city, it boasts one of the world’s most diverse populations. For many, the example of successful and prosperous coexistence of diversity embodied in NYC’s cultural, social, and economic fabric serves as a critical global symbol of the power of pluralism as a local and global ideal in action.

This strength, however, comes as the result of great historical and contemporary struggle. From the legacies of civil rights triumphs, the global village, and progressive visions of pluralism, NYC’s balance for equality and equity requires constant vigilance, collaboration, and action to defend empowerment.

This panel will bring together leaders from NYC’s diverse community to discuss what it means to be a Sanctuary City in action – not only word.  We will explore what it takes to grow powerful communities and social cohesion and urban systems that support this important work – in the face of uncertain and targeted circumstances. 

Speakers include:

  • Mark Winston Griffith, Executive Director, Brooklyn Movement Center,
  • Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs,
  • Roberto “Mukaro” Borrero, Taíno Nation, and
  • Peter L. Markowitz, Professor of Law, Director, Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic, Cardozo School of Law

How Will Farmworkers Fare Under New EPA Leadership?

While labor assesses the dangers and opportunities presented by the Trump administration,  a sometimes-overlooked threat to farmworkers’ safety looms: potential cuts to environmental regulation. As James Trimarco and J. Gabriel Ware write in YES! Magazine:

“[New EPA head Scott] Pruitt’s positions on climate change have been widely reported. Less well-known are the threats that his approach to the EPA is likely to pose to farmworkers, a group that is inextricably tied to the environment and the climate. These workers, more than half of whom are undocumented, are already busy fighting against President Trump’s promised deportations—but they say they’re prepared to lobby for climate justice, as well.

Part of the problem is that the farmworkers are “invisible,” says Jeannie Economos, the health and safety project coordinator at the Florida Farmworker Association. Most Americans have little contact with farmworkers, which makes the impact climate change will have on them hard to understand.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. As temperatures climb, farmworkers are among the most exposed. Farmworkers are four times more likely to be affected by heat stress, according to an ongoing study by the Economos’ organization. Plus, Economos says, climate change is already increasing crop diseases and pests, which threaten farmworkers’ jobs.”

With the rise in pests comes the rising use of pesticides — which, over extended exposure, can be harmful to farmworkers:

“…the EPA sets the national rules for pesticide exposure. Those standards were strengthened in 2015 after many years of organizing by farmworkers and their allies. Margaret Reeves, senior scientist with the Pesticide Action Network, says her group worked on the issue for 15 years before the standards were changed. The new rules included language prohibiting farmworkers under the age of 18 from handling pesticides, requiring more training for those who apply pesticides, and mandating that farmers keep records of the pesticides they use.”

For the full story, including some of the resistance organizing happening by and on behalf of farmworkers, visit YES!

Photo by Alex Proimos via flickr (CC-BY-NC)

New Labor Forum Highlights: Feb. 21st, 2017

The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

One of the major accomplishments of Democrats and financial reformers during the Obama Administration was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Like Dodd-Frank which authorized its creation, the CFPB was a response to the financial meltdown of 2007-8. It sought to close regulatory gaps that allowed banks and corporations to prey on consumers. New Labor Forum columnist Max Fraser writes in the January 2017 issue about what had been a set of frustrated Congressional efforts to dismantle the bureau and the business interests backing those efforts. Now that Donald Trump and a solidly Republican Congressional majority have assumed control of the government, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is firmly on the chopping block. Fraser’s investigative reporting reveals the Congressional and Wall Street actors behind its demise.

We also offer an update on the state of play regarding the most recent efforts to take down the CFPB in Congress since the election, and an excellent overview of what the CFPB actually does from LifeHacker, written for a general audience.

With the general trend of increasing cooperation between Wall Street interests and the Trump Administration in the news, activists and consumer advocates in Washington have taken to the streets. On Valentine’s Day, a coalition held a mock wedding in our nation’s capitol to highlight the cozy relationship between Wall Street and Washington. Bernie Sanders spoke and we provide the video of that event, courtesy of act.tv.

Table of Contents

  1. Gutting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau / Max Fraser
  2. The Assault on the CFPB: Current State of Play / Charles Lenchner
  3. What is the CFPB and What Does It Offer Consumers? / Kristen Wong
  4. Video: Washington DC Protest against the Financial Industry / Act.tv

Photo by Rev Stan via flickr (CC-BY)

“Salting” Built the Labor Movement—It Can Help Rebuild It, Too

This post was originally featured at Jacobin.

By Erik Forman

The Left has a long tradition of asking ourselves, “What is to be done?” Ever since Lenin posed this rhetorical question, it has served as the hook for an ever-expanding genre of think pieces and calls to action on every imaginable social-movement dilemma.

“What is to be done?” bounces from movement to movement, crisis to crisis, and occasionally illuminates more foundational existential problems of the Left. In that spirit, Jacobin’s recent “Rank and File” issue examined one of our more urgent contemporary questions: what is to be done to revitalize the labor movement? Continue reading “Salting” Built the Labor Movement—It Can Help Rebuild It, Too

Black Communities Leading the Movement for Economic Democracy

By Rebecca Lurie

Black History Month is here — and we must declare Black Lives Matter well beyond any one month.

Dr. Phil Thompson shares some important facts and insights in a recent article in the New Labor Forum, “The Future of Urban Populism: Will Cities Turn the Political Tide? He clearly lays out that the generations of inequality and disparate opportunities between the races stems from capitalism and its use of race as a tool to create and maintain the underclass, slavery, disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, poverty, low mortality rates and economic injustice.

Thompson identifies all the challenges for a new progressivism, and yet notes that, “…change is very possible. There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of small initiatives underway in cities to disrupt or reverse these dominant negative trends.” He then challenges us to make a movement of these efforts. Continue reading Black Communities Leading the Movement for Economic Democracy

After “Vigorous” Resistance Campaign, Andrew Puzder Withdraws

Yesterday afternoon, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder announced that he would be withdrawing his nomination to be the next US labor secretary. This came on the heels of last week’s announcement that Puzder was being sued via  class-action lawsuit for an illegal wage-fixing scheme at his Carl’s Jr. restaurants.

Of course, as David Dayen reported in the Intercept, this was only on in a “growing list of concerns” before Puzder’s confirmation hearing, formerly slated for later today. Puzder had:

“[…] delayed his hearing four times to get his financial disclosures in order; admitted to employing an undocumented housekeeper; and worked under the tutelage of a notorious mob lawyer. His ex-wife appeared on Oprah in disguise in the 1990s to discuss domestic violence incidents in their marriage; senators in both parties have viewed the footage, and divorce records, which include additional allegations of assault, were unsealed on Tuesday.” Continue reading After “Vigorous” Resistance Campaign, Andrew Puzder Withdraws

A conversation about workers, communities and social justice

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