Earlier this month I highlighted City Council candidate Yetta Kurland's efforts to protect NYC hospitals from the epidemic of closures as well as her endorsement for City Council from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC). You can read their endorsement here.
Yetta Kurland has picked up another endorsement for City Council, this time from the Amalgamated Transit Union. From their press release:
New York, NY – Civil rights attorney and radio show host Yetta Kurland announced yet another labor endorsement today, this time by Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International.
ATU’s Local 1181 is currently on strike in New York City demanding better conditions for their workers.
“I am honored that at a time when the members of Amalgamated Transit Union are busy fighting for their members on the frontlines, that they would take time to support me in my run for City Council. It shows the level of commitment these workers have to making this City a better place for all working New Yorkers.” said Yetta Kurland.
International ATU President Larry Hanley said “We are proud to endorse Yetta Kurland. Yetta has been there for us on the picket line, and she will be a voice for us in City Hall. Just as she courageously stands up for working men and women, we at the Amalgamated Transit Union proudly stand behind her in her candidacy for City Council.”
Kurland has already received early endorsements from TWU Local 100, CWA Local 1180, DC 37, Local 372, the NYS Machinists District 15 along with several elected officials and clubs including the Women’s Democratic Club of NYC.
Yetta strikes me as the kind of activist that this city lacks in its government. The City Council is one of the tamest (and lamest) I have seen in any city, seldom standing up to anything the mayor does. I think Yetta would make things at least somewhat more interesting. Some background from her website: read more »
A list muslim scholars, clerics and artists have signed a letter of support of Free Speech to all victims of religious radicals including Molly Norris, Matt Stone and Trey Parker. From The American Muslim (TAM):
A DEFENSE OF FREE SPEECH BY AMERICAN AND CANADIAN MUSLIMS
We, the undersigned, unconditionally condemn any intimidation or threats of violence directed against any individual or group exercising the rights of freedom of religion and speech; even when that speech may be perceived as hurtful or reprehensible.
We are concerned and saddened by the recent wave of vitriolic anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic sentiment that is being expressed across our nation.
We are even more concerned and saddened by threats that have been made against individual writers, cartoonists, and others by a minority of Muslims. We see these as a greater offense against Islam than any cartoon, Qur'an burning, or other speech could ever be deemed.
We affirm the right of free speech for Molly Norris, Matt Stone, Trey Parker, and all others including ourselves.
As Muslims, we must set an example of justice, patience, tolerance, respect, and forgiveness.
The Qur'an enjoins Muslims to:
* bear witness to Islam through our good example (2:143);
* restrain anger and pardon people (3:133-134 and 24:22);
* remain patient in adversity (3186);
* stand firmly for justice (4:135);
* not let the hatred of others swerve us from justice (5:8);
* respect the sanctity of life (5:32);
* turn away from those who mock Islam (6:68 and 28:55);
* hold to forgiveness, command what is right, and turn away from the ignorant (7:199);
* restrain ourselves from rash responses (16:125-128);
* pass by worthless talk with dignity (25:72); and
* repel evil with what is better (41:34).
Islam calls for vigorous condemnation of both hateful speech and hateful acts, but always within the boundaries of the law. It is of the utmost importance that we react, not out of reflexive emotion, but with dignity and intelligence, in accordance with both our religious precepts and the laws of our country.
We uphold the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both protect freedom of religion and speech, because both protections are fundamental to defending minorities from the whims of the majority. read more »
Some time back I wrote about a fellow Culture Kitchen blogger, Leo Igwe, whose blogging has gotten him and his family beaten up repeatedly. He is a Nigerian who stands up against both Christian and Muslim fundamentalism in Africa and stands up for reason and science. His main crusades have been fighting against child abuse in the name of religion. For his efforts he has been harassed by the police and beaten by mobs. But he keeps fighting even as the attempts to silence him have escalated.
The latest attack was a couple of weeks ago when his mother and father were beaten in their own house. His father lost an eye. I am on vacation now so not blogging so much, but I have to post the latest from Leo: despite these repeated attacks, he has vowed to keep fighting. The latest Culture Kitchen diary by Leo Igwe is reposted below with further background on Leo and his efforts.
The recent attack on my family which led to my father's loss of one eye was an unfortunate development. It was yet another attempt to intimidate us and undermine our campaign for justice.
To any intelligent observer of the trends in Nigeria, this incident would not have come as a surprise. Because Nigeria has practically been taken over by thugs, hoodlums, kidnappers and bandits.
Nigeria is held hostage by forces of dark age and barbarism. Anything that appears to be civil or enlightened about Nigeria is mainly on the surface. Since independence Nigeria has been descending gradually into anomie, anarchy and criminality. Nigeria has derailed and deteriorated due to misrule, bad governance, collective irresponsibility and insensitivity, lack of vision and thoughtfulness, selfishness, greed, ignorance, hypocrisy and self deceit. Nigeria has failed to put in place institutions that treat the people in a fair, just and dignified manner. Nigeria has failed to adopt effective mechanisms to reward those who want to live honest, decent, diligent and dignified lives. Nigeria has failed to cultivate and institutionalize those values that make a nation great, relevant and prosperous.
At best, Nigeria pays lip service to these values. The government is irresponsive and irresponsible. The educational system is in shambles. The justice system is nothing to write home about. The value system has collapsed. The greatest tragedy is that most Nigerians have resigned to this ‘fate’. They think that nothing can be done to change or improve the situation; that no radical or reasonable change can be realized. Most Nigerians have given up hope- hope of realizing a decent and dignified life; hope for justice and fairness for all; hope for recognition and respect for their rights. Fear, despair, gloom, pessimism and cynicism loom throughout the country.
The public institutions are used to oppress and exploit the public. The power of the people is used to abuse, enslave and maltreat the people. read more »
This comes from Yetta Kurland:
Marriage Equality New York To Honor Celebrity B.D. Wong, NYS State Senator Jose Peralta, Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Queer Rising at its 12th Annual Gala on April 28 at SLATE in NYC.
New York, NY. On April 28, 2010, Marriage Equality New York (MENY) proudly presents its 12th Annual Gala at Slate (54 West 21st St. NYC) from 6:30pm-9:30pm. This star studded event will honor B.D. Wong, NY State Senator Jose Peralta, the members of the advocacy group Queer Rising, and lead counsel in the recent anti-Prop 8 legal battle in California, Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
Founded in 1998, MENY is the oldest and leading all volunteer grassroots organization in the State of New York advocating full and equal marriage for same-sex couples. A not-for-profit organization, MENY is dedicated to ending discrimination in civil marriage through education, awareness and media campaigns, political actions, and coalition building. read more »
From a press release forwarded by Facebook's Defeat New York State Senator Carl Kruger in 2010.
“Throughout my fifteen years in the Senate I have supported and advocated passionately for legislation that furthers the cause of human rights and fairness for all.
[Blah Blah Blah].
“Our American government was crafted to function as a representative government. Fifteen years ago, when I voted in support of the death penalty, I was mindful of this fact. We are elected to serve the voters -- those who entrusted us with the mission of advocating for their best interests. It is my belief that the overriding sentiment of the district must merit my utmost attention and respect.
“Therefore, I voted no to the same-sex marriage bill.”
We don't elect leaders to rubber-stamp whatever prejudices we happen to hold at a given moment in history. We elect them to lead.