Celebrating First Annual Fred Korematsu Day

(L. to r.): Council Member Daniel Dromm, Fred T. Korematsu Institute Executive Director Karen Korematsu, and Council Members Margaret Chin and Peter Koo celebrate the first New York City Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on the steps of City Hall.

Originally published by the Queens Gazette on February 7, 2018

Korematsu Day honors the life of the late Japanese American activist, Fred Korematsu, who fought against “the xenophobic actions” of the US government during World War II, explained NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm.

To celebrate the first annual New York City Fred Korematsu Day Of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, Council Member Dromm and Fred T. Korematsu Institute Executive Director Karen Korematsu gathered on the steps of City Hall on January 30 with Council Members Margaret Chin and Peter Koo, New York Day of Remembrance Committee co-Chair Michael Ishii, Japanese American Citizens League New York Chapter co-President George Hirose, longtime activist Suki Terada Ports, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families Director of Programs Mitchel Wu, Bridging Cultures Group founder and CEO Debbie Almontaser, and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) Legal Director Albert Cahn.

In 2015, Council Member Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights), who represents one of the most diverse districts in NYC, introduced Resolution 792 to recognize January 30 as Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution in honor of the late civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The effort received widespread support from many individuals and organizations. After being voted out of the Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations committee, the City Council unanimously passed Resolution 792 on December 19, 2017.

During World War II, Fred Korematsu refused to comply with Civilian Exclusion Order 34, based on the federal Executive Order 9066, which imposed strict curfew regulations and resulted in the forcible removal of 120,000 Japanese Americans from their communities to be incarcerated indefinitely in American concentration camps. He was arrested and convicted, but fought back because he believed the conviction went against the basic freedoms guaranteed to him by the US Constitution, Dromm said.

“Korematsu and a handful of his fellow patriots stood up, not just for themselves, but for the preservation of our Constitution during the racist and xenophobic hysteria that was unfortunately part of our country’s response to the war. At that time, overwhelming fear stoked by the United States government allowed the darkest elements of our society to have free rein. The rule of law and respect for basic human rights became unfortunate casualties in the rush to demonize, segregate, and then persecute Japanese Americans. While fighting fascism overseas, our government uprooted families here, ruined livelihoods, and tore communities apart. Only decades later did the United States recognize the grave injustice perpetrated against its own people,” noted Dromm, adding, “In these times of Muslim bans, attacks on immigrants and refugees, and neo-Nazi rallies encouraged by the Trump administration’s hateful rhetoric, it has become increasingly important to reiterate the lessons of history. Fred Korematsu’s courage to take a stand against injustice is an inspiration to us all. By co-founding Korematsu Day in NYC, I hope to educate our youth on Korematsu and all that he did to make our nation a better place.”

Karen Korematsu said, “My profound thanks to Councilman Dromm and the New York City Council for establishing Fred Korematsu Day Of Civil Liberties and the Constitution on January 30, in perpetuity for New York City. And, as my father said, for ‘standing up for what is right.’”

“Fred Korematsu was a visionary who always tried to stand up for what was right. His activism and commitment to advancing civil rights were crucial to starting important conversations about race, inclusion, and the history of Asian Americans in our country, imparting deep wisdom that we continue to carry with us,” said Council Speaker Johnson. “This year, on what would be his 99th birthday, we establish January 30 as Fred T. Korematsu Day in order to honor his dream of a more equal and just society.”

“The modern world has become increasingly diverse so that people of different races, colors, and creeds cross paths more frequently than ever before,” said Council Member Koo (D-Flushing). We must always remember our country’s multiculturalism and remain vigilant against veiled attempts to marginalize, segregate, and to pit one group against another…We are also reminded that although times have changed, we still have a long way to go before America can truly become the beacon of ‘liberty and justice for all’ that it strives to be.”

“We call on citizens and communities across our great country to champion the ideals of Fred Korematsu,” said Michael Ishii. “Today, we stand with every neighbor and fellow human being targeted in a national resurgence of bigotry and trampling of civil liberties. Know that Japanese Americans are standing with you. In the words of our community, ‘Never Again’ to registries, forced removal and imprisonment or the dismantling of civil liberties based on race, identity, immigration status or creed.”

“Japanese Americans are the only group in the United States to have been mass-incarcerated and we are painfully aware that racial profiling and bigotry can only result in the destruction of many innocent lives,” said George Hirose. “It is our moral duty to tell our story so that society and our government should not forget, and not repeat the grave mistakes of the past.”

Read more here.

El Diario: Concejo de Nueva York prohíbe las terapias de conversión

Concejales neoyorquinos aprueban legislación que ahora pasará a las manos del alcalde Bill de Blasio

Muchos niños y adolescentes que muestran tendencias gays a corta edad son sometidos a las llamadas terapias de conversión que pueden resulta traumatizantes.

Por Pedro S. Frisneda

Publicado en El Diario el 4 de Diciembre 2017

El Concejo Municipal de la Ciudad de Nueva York aprobó el jueves un proyecto de ley que prohíbe la llamada terapia de conversión que apunta a cambiar la orientación sexual de una persona. El Comité de Derechos Civiles del Concejo ya había aprobado la misma legislación el miércoles.

El proyecto de ley, que la presidenta del Concejo, Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) y el concejal Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) presentaron en junio, prohíbe a cualquier persona cobrar por servicios de terapia que intenten alterar la sexualidad de una persona (por lo general gay) o cambiar su identidad de género para que coincida con su sexo asignado al nacer.

De ser convertido en ley por el alcalde Bill de Blasio, el proyecto, que fue aprobado con 43 votos a favor y dos en contra, impondría multas a los infractores por un monto de $1,000 por la primera ofensa, $5,000 por la segunda ofensa y $10,000 por cada ofensa subsiguiente.

“Nos aseguraremos que todas las personas vivan sin temor a la coacción para convertirse en alguien que no son. La terapia de conversión es bárbara e inhumana, y aquí mismo, en la ciudad de Nueva York, seguiremos siendo el modelo de aceptación en todo el país, ya que prohibimos la terapia de conversión de una vez por todas”, dijo Melissa Mark-Viverito.

Por su parte, el concejal Dromm, quien es abiertamente gay aseguró que “la terapia de conversión es una forma de tortura psicológica, claro y simple”. “Tan ridículo como pueda parecer, la práctica aún persiste incluso en Nueva York”, agregó Dromm.

En febrero del 2016 el gobernador del estado de Nueva York, Andrew Cuomo, tomó medidas para prohibir que las compañías de seguros cubran la terapia de conversión, pero los esfuerzos para prohibir la práctica en sí se han estancado en la Legislatura estatal.

Actualmente, nueve estados en el país y el Distrito de Columbia han prohibido la terapia de conversión de alguna manera, según el Centro Nacional para los Derechos de las Lesbianas. Otros 21 estados están preparando normas o proyectos de ley en el mismo sentido que buscan proteger principalmente a niños y adolescentes.

No es un problema mental o emocional

Según explica la Asociación Americana de Psicología (APA), en su portal de internet, más de 35 años de investigación científica objetiva y bien diseñada han demostrado que la homosexualidad, en sí misma, no se asocia con trastornos mentales ni problemas emocionales o sociales. Esto es apoyado por la mayoría de psicólogos, psiquiatras y otros profesionales de la salud mental en EEUU.

En 1973, la Asociación Americana de Psiquiatría confirmó la importancia de una investigación nueva y mejor diseñada y suprimió la terminología “homosexual” del manual oficial que detalla los trastornos mentales y emocionales. Dos años después, la APA promulgó una resolución apoyando esta supresión.

Durante más de 25 años, ambas asociaciones solicitaron a todos los profesionales de la salud mental que ayuden a disipar el estigma de enfermedad mental que algunas personas todavía asocian con la “orientación homosexual”

También, el Colegio Americano de Médicos (ACP), la segunda mayor organización médica de EEUU, se posicionó en contra de estas terapias.

No cambian la orientación sexual

“Aún cuando la mayoría de los homosexuales viven vidas felices y exitosas, algunas personas homosexuales o bisexuales pueden buscar un cambio en su orientación sexual a través de la terapia, a menudo como resultado de coacción por parte de miembros de su familia o grupos religiosos. La realidad es que la homosexualidad no es una enfermedad. No requiere tratamiento y no puede cambiarse”, indica la Asociación Americana de Psicología.

Leer más aquí.

NYC Conversion Therapy Ban To Get Council Vote

The bill would outlaw therapy that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

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By Noah Manskar

Originally published by Patch on November 29, 2017

NEW YORK, NY — The City Council will vote Thursday on a bill that would ban so-called conversion therapy that aims to change someone’s sexual orientation. The Council’s Committee on Civil Rights approved the legislation Wednesday.

The bill, which Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) and Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) introduced in June, would ban anyone from charging for therapy services that try to alter a person’s sexuality or change their gender identity to match their sex assigned at birth.

Violators would get a $1,000 fine for the first offense, a $5,000 fine for the second offense and a $10,000 for each subsequent offense.

Conversion therapy is widely assailed as an unscientific, anti-gay practice. Many lawmakers across the nation have taken steps to outlaw conversion therapy on minors, but the City Council bill would ban the treatment for adults too.

“Vulnerable individuals, including minors, are susceptible to the hucksters and scammers who are eager to earn a quick buck in this insidious way,” Dromm said at Wednesday’s committee hearing.

The legislation would not impact therapy services for transgender people or counseling for people exploring their sexual orientation, as long as it doesn’t aim to change the person’s sexuality, the bill says.

Conversion therapy, often supported and performed by religious groups, can harm young people by wrongly making them think their normal sexuality is an immoral psychological disorder, the American Psychological Association says.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy in some way, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Gov. Andrew Cuomo took steps last year to prohibit insurance companies from covering conversion therapy, but efforts to ban the practice itself have stalled in the state Legislature.

Read more here.

Protect Our Immigrant Population

By NYC Council Members Rory Lancman and Daniel Dromm

New York City is a city of immigrants — and Queens is one of the most diverse places in the world.

Our city is home to approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants who face daily challenges, and with the recent insidious political rhetoric, many may feel forced to seek quick legal advice.

But some providers take advantage of immigrants by offering fraudulent services.

These providers, who aren’t lawyers, often try to capitalize on immigrants’ fear or language barriers and offer pricey services the providers may not be able to legally provide, and that don’t help immigrants on their path to citizens.

To stop these providers, the City Council bill Int. 746 was introduced last year to prevent the unauthorized practice of immigration law. The bill, which has support from 37 Council Members, would prevent providers from offering services that only attorneys should offer.

Providers would also have to list their limitations and include customers’ rights in their contracts, as well as post signs in multiple languages at their locations. In addition, the bill would require the Department of Consumer Affairs update the New York City Council on complaints made against providers.

There have been too many instances of people being overcharged and underserved while seeking legal advice, with some providers using hard-working people’s vulnerability against them. But this month, there was a joint Consumer Affairs and Immigration hearing on the bill — and immigrants are one step closer towards receiving the protections they deserve.

New York City’s diversity adds so much depth to our City, and it’s crucial to make sure that New Yorkers of all immigration statuses are protected.

Daniel Dromm is the Chairman of Committee on Education and the prime sponsor of Int. 746 and Council Member Rory I. Lancman is Chairman of the Courts and Legal Services Committee and a co-sponsor of Int. 746. 

Read more here.

Data disaggregation bills passed in New York City: A Big Win for LGBTQ people and Communities of Color

By Kevin Nadal, PhD

Originally posted by the Huffington Post on November 4, 2016

CACF: COALITION FOR ASIAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES Mayor de Blasio signing the Data Equity Bills on October 31, 2016.

CACF: COALITION FOR ASIAN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Mayor de Blasio signing the Data Equity Bills on October 31, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you belong to different non-majority populations, it can be easy to feel like you are different or alone. You don’t see yourself represented on television shows or movies; you don’t see retail stores celebrating your holidays. You open up history books to learn about groups besides your own, and you sometimes have to travel miles or hours to find food that even remotely matches your grandmother’s cooking skills.

As a Filipino American, born to immigrant parents, I spent my childhood years feeling like my cultural heritage was invisible or odd. I watched TV shows like Punky Brewster and Diff’rent Strokes– never expecting to see any Asian Americans. I learned that the country operated on a Black and White paradigm and that I should just be happy that my parents were able to provide us with opportunities. The few times I saw Filipino Americans on shows like MTV’s The Real World or movies like Hook, I felt validated that ethnic group existed.

At the same time, as I started to identify as gay and as a queer person of color, I genuinely presumed I was the only one. There weren’t any out LGBTQ people in my family, and the few LGBTQ people I saw in media were mostly portrayed in negatively stereotypic ways. Without any role models or friends to overtly tell me it was okay to be gay, I stayed in the closet for the first two and a half decades of my life. Perhaps if I knew that millions of other teenagers were struggling in a similar way, I might have bypassed the depression, the suicidal thoughts, and the pleas to God to make me “normal.”

It is because of these experiences that I wanted to study the communities that were so important of me, and why I pursued my PhD in psychology. As a doctoral student, I faced many research challenges that my peers didn’t encounter. For example, if my peers were interested in studies that understanding differences between major racial groups on certain variables (e.g., Black versus White health outcomes), they could access public datasets with large sample sizes to statistically analyze and compare groups. However, if I wanted to study health differences between Asian American ethnic groups (e.g., Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese or Korean Americans), I would have to collect my own data because those same public datasets usually would not provide information on diverse ethnicities. Relatedly, if a colleague wanted to examine gender differences related to school children or hospital patients (e.g., academic achievement, access to care), they could request access to institutional records to answer their research questions. Yet, if I wanted to replicate a similar study with LGBTQ students or LGBTQ hospital patients, I could not, because the data on sexual orientation or gender identity would never have been collected. Finally, if I ambitiously wanted to report how many Filipino American LGBTQ people there were in the country, I would have to give up entirely, because there simply was no data on the intersection of the two.

On October 31st, Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City signed three pieces of legislation – Intros. 251-A, 551-A, and 552-A. The bills which were sponsored by Council Member Daniel Dromm and Council Member Margaret Chin (and which passed a nearly unanimous City Council Vote), require that New York City agencies use a new form to collect information on gender identity, sexuality, language spoken, ancestry, ethnic origin, and multiracial identity. The form would be voluntary in that the individual could choose to skip any question and would not need to disclose anything identity they did not feel comfortable. The form would be anonymous, in that no one person could be identified based on their answers.

These new policies in New York City are important for a few reasons. First, as New York City is now one of three jurisdictions in the US to pass a data equity law, there is a potential for more advocacy for data equity on all federal, state, and city agencies. For communities of color and immigrants, the impact would be groundbreaking, as it would encourage service providers and policymakers to understand the nuances between groups that are usually lumped into umbrella categories. For example, comprehensive data on Asian Americans could unveil the ways that Asian American ethnic groups differ on issues like poverty, education, and violence. With such information, we would know what kinds of services need to be provided to different groups and what major languages need to be spoken with people to access those services.

Second, because the U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity, we do not know how many LGBTQ people there are in New York City, let alone in the entire US. While the Williams Institute at UCLA does their best in estimating the LGBTQ population, we need more definitive numbers. In order to best serve our communities (and to advocate for more funding for research and services), we need to know the numbers of LGBTQ homeless people, LGBTQ incarcerated offenders, LGBTQ-identified students in high schools and colleges; LGBTQ suicide or hate crime victims; and more.

Third, we could also examine trends among multiracial people. Though the U.S. Census Bureau gathers data on multiracial or multiethnic identity, other government agencies tend not to collect, analyze, or disaggregate data on multiracial people. Data equity bills like these advocate for multiracial people to no longer be forced to check a box or settle for an “other”. Similarly, Middle Eastern or Arab Americans (who are often classified as “White” or “Other”) will also be able to self-identify, which could lead to greater understanding and visibility of these communities.

Fourth, having this data is important because it helps our country to celebrate its diversity- a concept that is particularly salient amidst our upcoming elections. While some political candidates have demonstrated commitment to combatting racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia, some candidates have not. Perhaps disaggregated data can influence these political candidates and strategists to recognize population sizes and voting trends of various groups. If politicians knew how much power LGBTQ people, immigrants, and communities of color have in determining elections, perhaps candidates would advocate for the issues that matter to these groups.

But perhaps most importantly, disaggregated data can help these communities to learn how many of them actually exist, which can help them to empower themselves. If LGBTQ people were provided with evidence that they were numerically larger than, or equal to, oppositional religious groups or political parties, maybe they would activate as a collective front. If Asian American ethnic groups knew how many of their community members were affected by particular health, educational, or mental health issues, maybe they could collectively strategize on ways to solve these disparities.  And if communities that historically feel marginalized formed coalitions (like the LGBTQ, immigrant, Asian American, Latinx American, Arab American, and Multiracial people of New York City did), perhaps they would recognize that they have even more of a voice.

I know I can’t change my past, but maybe one way I can positively impact the lives of young people is through my research. In the future, when I learn about a young person who feels like they are “the only one” because their sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity, I can confidently turn to the data and provide them with empirical evidence to show them that they are not alone.

Author’s Note: Thank you to Noilyn Abesamis-Mendoza, MPH of Coalition for Asian Children and Families for her assistance on this article.

Read more here.

Analizan ley para proteger del bullying a estudiantes vulnerables y LGBT

Aunque las autoridades educativas defienden su desempeño, el Concejo asegura que cientos de jóvenes siguen siendo víctima de acoso e intimidación por su orientación sexual, raza o aparienca

 

By Edwin Martinez

Originally published by El Diario NY on October 23, 2016

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José López tiene 16 años y desde que entró a la escuela secundaria, las burlas y comentarios ofensivos de algunos de sus compañeros se han convertido en pan de cada día.

“Me dicen todo el tiempo cosas feas porque soy afeminado, y como estoy un poco gordo, pues me va peor”, comenta el colombiano, quien estudia en una escuela de Queens, y quien por temor a sufrir más rechazo, prefiere ya no quejarse con sus maestros. “Me toca ser fuerte y tratar de ignorar las burlas, pero hay compañeros míos que hasta han pensado en suicidarse. A mí me han empujado, dicho ‘marrana’, ‘miss arepa’, ‘chupa pitos’ y cosas obscenas que para ellos son simples chistes, pero que acaban con cualquiera”.

Y es que a pesar de que el Departamento de Educación de Nueva York asegura que ha implementado varios programas y campañas contra el bullying en los centros educativos, el Concejo de la Ciudad considera que hay fallas gravísimas que ponen en riesgo el bienestar, la salud mental, el desempeño académico y hasta la propia vida de jóvenes LGBT y otros estudiantes vulnerables.

Por ello el Comité de Educación del Concejo comenzó esta semana el análisis de una iniciativa de ley de supervisión contra la intimidación, el acoso y la discriminación en las escuelas, que pretende lograr mayor efectividad a la hora de proteger a los niños más vulnerables.

“El bullying sigue siendo un problema serio cada día en todas las comunidades, empezando en preescolar y poniéndose peor cuando los niños van creciendo”, aseguró el presidente del comité, el concejal Daniel Dromm, al tiempo que mencionó que además de las quejas serias de acoso a niños musulmanes, discapacitados y por cuestiones de raza, la orientación sexual es otro de los elementos que hace más vulnerables a los estudiantes.

“Los estudiantes LGBT son víctimas abrumadoramente de bullying y acoso, y según un sondeo del grupo (GLSEN) sobre el ambiente escolar en el 2013, más del 74% de los estudiantes LGBT fueron acosados verbalmente y el 36% físicamente”, dijo. “Tristemente los malos tratos se extienden a las políticas de las escuelas y sus prácticas”.

El líder político dejó ver su preocupación por el riesgo que enfrentan los menores y mencionó que a pesar de que hay varias medidas antibullying en efecto en la Gran Manzana, el Departamento de Educación ha fallado en cumplirlas.

Casos reportados

“Entre el 2012 y el 2013, el 80% de las escuelas reportó cero casos de bullying. Un análisis de la Fiscalía del estado sobre los datos del 2013 y el 2014 encontró que el 70% de las escuelas reportó cero incidentes”, comentó Dromm, explicando que en el más reciente reporte el 94% de las escuelas reportaron 10 incidentes de bullying o menos. “Aunque ha habido un ligero incremento en el reporte de incidentes en los últimos tres años, el nivel de casos no reportados sigue siendo inaceptable”.

Elizabeth Rose, vicecanciller de la división de operaciones del Departamento de Educación, comentó que en el último año se registraron 4,293 incidentes de bullying, de los cuales 276 fueron por asuntos de género, 201 por motivos de raza, 195 por orientación sexual y 143 por peso, entre otros, pero defendió el desempeño de las escuelas en la protección de los estudiantes.

“El Departamento de Educación trabaja para promover una cultura escolar positiva e inclusiva que esté libre de bullying basado en prejuicios, acoso e intimidación de ningún tipo, a través de una variedad de métodos”, dijo la funcionaria, destacando el programa “Respeto para todos” del DOE. “Aunque hemos dado pasos significativos para construir escuelas seguras, de apoyo e inclusivas para todos los estudiantes, especialmente para los más vulnerables que enfrentan sus retos únicos, sabemos que hay mucho trabajo por hacer”.

A pesar de las críticas, Jared Fox, director de la unidad de enlace LGBTQ del Departamento de Educación, aseguró que en las escuelas ha habido un enorme progreso contra el bullying de los estudiantes LGBT y mencionó la creación en junio del grupo LGBT+ Advisory Council que trabaja con 34 organizaciones para brindar apoyo a los alumnos y a sus familias.

“Hemos entrenado a más de 1,000 coordinadores de padres que están dentro de los más de 2,000 personas que personalmente he entrenado en casi 40 sesiones de desarrollo profesional”.

Toya Holness, vocera del Departamento de Educación, también defendió el proceder de las escuelas en la lucha contra el bullying.

“Nuestras escuelas son más seguras que nunca y tenemos protocolos explícitos y programas de formación sólidos para manejar cualquier incidente que ocurra”, dijo. “Nosotros tomamos los reportes de bullying muy seriamente y seguimos invirtiendo en iniciativas escolares, incluyendo más orientadores y trabajadores sociales, y proporcionando apoyo de salud mental para las escuelas”.

El concejal Rafael Salamanca hizo un llamado al Departamento de Educación para que se enfoque más en las necesidades de protección de los estudiantes vulnerables y mencionó que apoya la creación de una legislación que de paso sirva para educar sobre el respeto a la diferencia.

Por su parte el concejal Ydanis Rodríguez, quien trabajó 13 años en las escuelas públicas, mencionó que aunque los detalles de la iniciativa aun están por definirse, es partidario de una norma estricta con sanciones, que de paso eduque.

Ley contra el bullying

“Tenemos que asegurarnos de que todos los estudiantes sepan que hay una ley que castiga esos comportamientos y aunque no queremos criminalizar a nadie, si es urgente que sepan que vamos a hacer los que sea necesario para que en las escuelas se detenga la cultura de bullying que le ha quitado la vida a muchas personas”, dijo.

Paola Lebrón-Guzmán, líder del grupo LGBTQ Justice de la organización Make the Road New York, se mostró contraria a que la ley que se promueva se base en el castigo y coincidió con Rodríguez en que hay que educar más.

“Debe crearse una justicia para restaurar y eso es una práctica que tiene que partir de los reportes y comunicar mejor que más es lo que está pasando después de esos reportes”, mencionó la activista.

“El Departamento de Educación deben hacer mucho más, no solo presentar reportes sino ofrecer más entrenamientos y hacer seguimiento, porque aunque hay grupos de género y sexualidad en algunas escuelas, solo son para los que quieran estar involucrados, pero no existe para todos los maestros y para la administración”, dijo, al tiempo que mencionó el caso de uno estudiante LGBT de 16 años fue víctima de burla y agresión física en Crown Heights, Brooklyn el lunes pasado como un ejemplo para comenzar a actuar.

“Es inaceptable, ofensivo y desconcertante que eso ocurra y este es un momento importante para las escuelas de Brooklyn y de su escuela en particular, para que involucre a todos el cuerpo escolar a que aprendan sobre la comunidad LGBTQ y cómo ser aliados efectivos”, concluyó.

Datos sobre bullying en las escuelas

  • A nivel nacional el 22% de los estudiantes ha reportado haber sido víctima de bullying
  • Se calcula que cada año 13 millones de estudiantes enfrentan bullying en el país
  • Según el grupo Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) en el 2013 el 74.1% de los estudiantes LGBT fue acosado verbalmente por su orientación sexual y el 36.2% fue víctima de acoso físico
  • Un estudio del Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveló que el año pasado el 40% de los estudiantes LGBT consideró el suicidio y un año antes el 29% intentó hacerlo.
  • Por el bullying, el 60% de los estudiantes reportó sentirse triste o afectado en su vida cotidiana.
  • Se calcula que el 64% de los estudiantes que son víctima de bullying no lo reportan.
  • Las escuelas de Nueva York están señaladas de no reportar todos los incidentes de bullying
  • La Fiscalía de Nueva York descubrió que en el 2013 de las 1,792 escuelas públicas y charter de la Gran Manzana, el 70% no reportó un solo incidente de bullying o discriminación
  • En el 2015 el 94% de las escuelas reportó tan solo 10 o menos incidentes de bullying
  • Actualmente existen leyes y medidas contra el bullying como el “Acta del éxito para todos los estudiantes (ESSA)”, el “Acta por la dignidad de todos los estudiantes (NYC DASA)”, el “Acta de Escuelas seguras contra la violencia (SAVE Act)”, el programa “Respeto para Todos (RFA)” y la Regulación A-832, pero según los críticos parecen ser insuficientes para proteger a los estudiantes de Nueva York.
  • En el último año escolar se reportaron 4,293 incidentes de bullying, de los cuales 276 fueron por asuntos de género, 201 por motivos de raza, 195 por orientación sexual y 143 por peso, entre otros

Read more here.

Those ice cream truck jingles are keeping New Yorkers up at night

By Rich Calder and Natalie O’Neill

Originally published by the NY Post on June 27, 2016

Photo: Christopher Sadowski

Photo: Christopher Sadowski

The city isn’t sweet on late-night ice cream truck jingles.

Vendors shouldn’t be allowed to blast the dizzying ditties between 9 pm and 9 am, the Department of Environmental Protection said at a hearing Monday.

New Yorkers have lodged a brain-freezing 1,013 noise complaints about the trucks so far in 2016 — and summer has only just begun.

Despite hundreds of complaints, only one jingle-blasting jerk has been ticketed for playing music too loudly this year, city officials said.

“Something is not working when you have violations at such low of a level. C’mon only one? Give me a break!” said City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), who introduced a bill to mute the tinkly tunes last year.

“Ice cream jingles are among the most annoying noises assaulting New Yorkers’ ears every day.”

Micheal Hearst — who composed “Songs for Ice Cream Trucks,” used by vendors across the Big Apple — begs to differ.

“I love the sound of an ice cream truck jingle— it’s nostalgic. I would vote for ban on Harley Davidson volume before ice cream truck jingles. It’s unfair to single-out jingles,” Hearst, 43, said when asked about the bill.

Right now, it’s hard for the city to issue summonses because inspectors have to catch vendors in the act. Officials are pushing to change that.

Dromm also also wants to amend the city’s noise code to give inspectors more leeway in issuing summonses. The law now allows jingles to be played at a low decibel level.

Residents— especially ones in the Bronx and Brooklyn — have griped for years that the music keeps them awake and jangles their nerves.

Hearst, a Brooklyn resident, even admitted, “It can be annoying hearing one song over and over.”

Read more here.

All single-stall bathrooms in NYC to become gender neutral under bill passed by City Council

By Erin Durkin

Originally published by the NY Daily News on June 21, 2016

 Business owners must take down the men’s and women’s signs from their one-person bathrooms by Jan. 1. Business owners must take down the men’s and women’s signs from their one-person bathrooms by Jan. 1. (BRANDON LAUFENBERG)

Business owners must take down the men’s and women’s signs from their one-person bathrooms by Jan. 1. (BRANDON LAUFENBERG)

All single-stall bathrooms in the city will have to go gender neutral after the City Council passed a bill to mandate the change Tuesday.

The legislation, passed by a vote of 47-2, will require business owners to take down the “men” and “women” signs on one-person bathrooms starting on Jan. 1.

It’s a move to make sure transgender New Yorkers can comfortably access facilities — which backers say will also cut down on waiting for all customers, especially women who usually face longer toilet lines.

“Most New Yorkers take their unfettered access to bathrooms for granted, yet every single day transgender and gender non-conforming individuals must grapple with the fact that their choices may lead to harassment or worse,” said Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Queens), the sponsor.

“Designating single-stall bathrooms as all gender is an easy way to create a welcoming environment for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals,” he said. “As an added bonus, anyone who is looking for an unoccupied bathroom will now have more options.”

Mayor de Blasio has already issued an order saying that city-owned buildings must allow people to use whichever bathroom matches their gender identity.

Larger bathrooms with many stalls will not be affected by the Council’s bill.

Mayor de Blasio signs a bill mandating city facilities to allow people to access bathrooms in line with their gender identity. (NYC.GOV)

The measure is also meant to send a message decrying laws like the one passed in North Carolina requiring people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate.

Pols there “are perversely obsessed with the bathroom habits of others,” Dromm said. “Their recently enacted anti-LGBT law belongs in the toilet.”

The Department of Buildings will have to determine fines for building owners who maintain gender-segregated bathrooms.

Read more here.