Issues: Human Rights

Chanukah is the celebration of Miracles!

"Chanukah is the celebration of miracles, a reminder that all things are possible," Senator Parker said.  "As you celebrate the spirit of Chanukah with friends and family, I wish you health, happiness and good fortune." The holiday celebrates a legendary victory of the Maccabees, a band of Jews, over a Greek army that occupied the Holy Land.  After the battle, the victorious Maccabees found only a one day supply of oil in the temple to light the lamps.  But the oil burned miraculously for eight days, the story says.

December 17, 2014
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Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta, Lead Sponsor Of The NYS DREAM Act, On President Obama's Executive Order

"The good news is that millions of upstanding, hardworking undocumented immigrants will now be able to continue contributing to our economy without having to live and work in fear of deportation.

"The bad news is that millions of other upstanding, hardworking undocumented immigrants will remain in the shadows of our economy and society.

"President Obama is to be applauded for taking a strong first step toward long-overdue reform of our broken immigration system.  Like the president, we in New York should not wait on Congress to make additional necessary repairs.

"The DREAM Act is sensible, compassionate public policy.  It is the law in Texas, a red state, California, a blue state, and New Mexico, a purple state.  Here, the New York DREAM Act is supported by editorial boards throughout the state, including those at newspapers as different as the New York Post, The New York Times and the Daily News.

"Let’s follow the bipartisan example of the five states that have already passed a DREAM Act.  Let's collaborate in New York on making an investment in our young people, our economy and our state’s future that will pay for itself several times over."

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November 21, 2014
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Statement From State Senator Jose Peralta On NYC Human Rights Commission

"I applaud the mayor's decision to bring in new leadership at the Human Rights Commission.  Instead of tackling the thousands of citizen-initiated complaints it receives annually, for the past several years HRC was disproportionately focusing its limited resources on fining businesses for using unintentionally gendered language in job recruiting advertisements," (i.e. posting an ad for a ‘waitress’ or ‘hostess’).

“Of the 53 discrimination settlements reported by the Commission in 2014, 18, or more than a third of all settlements, are for this sort of case.  Of those 18, only two appear to have been tested to show actual discriminatory intent. There is a similar pattern in 2012 and 2013, where employment ads allegedly showing gender discrimination made up 40% and 30% of total settlements respectively and only a few were tested to prove actual discriminatory intent.

"Many of the cases don’t come out of actual complaints, but rather from college students getting paid by HRC to troll on-line classifieds. 

"It is extremely troubling that this kind of questionable case comprises a third or more of the Commission’s enforcement output when so many complaints of actual discrimination go unanswered.

“New Yorkers expect and deserve a Human Rights Commission that helps bring justice to those who have been wronged, not one focused on generating revenue through petty fines.”

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November 7, 2014
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Times Union: Open Internet access imperative

By Martin Malave Dilan, CommentaryThe Federal Communications Commission is struggling to reach an agreement on if, and how much your Internet access provider can limit your access to online content and what content it can limit. In a nutshell, that's the Net Neutrality debate. And the FCC has opened that debate as it weighs the merger America's top two broadband Internet service providers.I proffer the following: There is no acceptable business model for the control over access to information; and there is no acceptable policy with regards to who deems, or what they deem, as "commercially acceptable" or "preferential" regarding information and access to it.

October 1, 2014
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Seward Secures Grant Funds To Aid Domestic Violence Victims

ONEONTA, 09/03/14 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) announced today that $75,000 in grant funds he secured will go to local domestic violence programs.

“These community programs provide vital services for those in dire need, who often have nowhere else to turn,” said Senator Seward.  “The U.S. Surgeon General has identified domestic violence as the number one health problem affecting American women.  We are fortunate to have so many local organizations providing help to vulnerable individuals, and I am pleased to assist them in their efforts to make our communities safer.”

The funding was set aside in the 2014-2015 state budget.

September 3, 2014
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Senator O’Brien, women’s rights advocates announce bill to minimize harmful impact of Hobby Lobby decision

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Senator Ted O’Brien, joined by leading women’s rights advocates from the Rochester and Finger Lakes region, announced his co-sponsorship of legislation that would require employers to notify their employees before changing their insurance plans to restrict access to contraception. The bill comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision allowing corporations to exclude certain forms of contraception from their health care coverage.

August 18, 2014
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Falsificación de identidad en NY (Parte 2)

Según ha informado Telemundo 47:

Liz González y el equipo de Telemundo 47 Responde investigan la cruda realidad de este negocio clandestino en la ciudad de Nueva York.

Para el vídeo completo, haga clic aquí.

July 25, 2014
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Roosevelt Avenue Is 'Epicenter' of NYC Sex Trafficking, Officials Say

As reported by DNA Info:

QUEENS — Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights is “a mecca of human trafficking” where women from countries including Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are being sexually exploited, elected officials said Thursday.

And Queens is the center of the city's trafficking problem, with nearly 60 percent of the city's victims who come forward looking for help.

Roosevelt Avenue has a number of brothels, state Sen. Jose Peralta, who represents Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, said at a press conference where he discussed an initiative to provide foreign-born victims of sex trafficking with free legal representation on immigration issues.

“Roosevelt Avenue is a mecca of human trafficking in Queens and throughout the five boroughs,” Peralta said.

For full article, click here.

July 22, 2014
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Ayuda Para Víctimas de Tráfico Humano

Según ha informado Univision 41:

La organización Sanctuary for Families busca ayudar a víctimas de tráfico humano en Nueva York. Hablamos con una de las víctimas.

Para el vídeo completo, haga clic aquí.

July 22, 2014
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Press Release: Senator Stewart-Cousins Statement on the 50th Anniversary of Signing of the Civil Rights Act

It is hard to believe that it has only been 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law, following hundreds of years of discrimination against black Americans in the most basic human rights including education, housing, and employment.

Today serves as a reminder to all Americans that the Civil Rights movement and this landmark legislation opened the doors of inclusion regardless of race, color, sex, disability, religion, familial status and national origin.

July 3, 2014
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Central Park 5: Beyond The $40 Million Settlement And The Impact On Pending, Future Cases

Demetria Irwin | The Grio | June 28th, 2014

This important in-depth story highlights the spectrum of compelling reasons to immediately pass Senate Bill 1267 which would require the videotaping of interrogations in New York State.  The article--which can be found here--quotes Senator Perkins at length:  

“We want to guarantee that any confession is acquired in a legal manner without coercion. This bill could end coercion, “ said Perkins.

July 1, 2014
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Legislative Notebook: State Initiatives of Interest to Veterans

Here is a partial listing of bills I have supported this session to aid New York’s former servicemen and servicewomen. These initiatives will now go to Governor Cuomo for final action.

-- Legislation I co-sponsored was passed by both houses (S.7839, first introduced as S.4714)) to extend the Military Service Credit Law of 2000 to all veterans who have served in the military. Right now, public employees who served in the armed forces may purchase up to three years of pension credit only if their military service occurred during specified conflicts. This measure will expand this opportunity to public employee veterans who also served their country in peacetime.

June 26, 2014
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Central Park Five — Wrongfully Convicted In 1989 Rape — Settle With City For $40 Million

The New York Daily News | By Michael Feeney & Ginger Adams Otis | Thursday, June 19th, 2014

 

Senator Perkins recognizes and commends New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his leadership team for coming to terms on a settlement with the Central Park Five--Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise.

 

While no amount of money, nor admission of injustice on the City’s behalf can ever make the Central Park Five—who had their youth stolen away from them by a total system failure that allowed for coerced confessions to be illegally and immorally obtained from them—whole again, this settlement is an absolute and necessary step in the healing process.

 

June 25, 2014
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Westchester County African-American Heritage Celebration

In celebration of Juneteenth, a national event commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, Senator Stewart-Cousins attended the Westchester County African-American Heritage Celebration which was held at the Kensico Dam in Valhalla on Sunday, June 22nd. The Westchester County African-American Heritage Celebration is organized and operated by various community leaders and organizations of African-American decent and origin to showcase the many talents and accomplishments of African-Americans in the Westchester

June 23, 2014
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Forum/Town Hall: Community Town Hall On Solitary Confinement In New York & The HALT Solitary Confinement Act

Please join Senator Bill Perkins, Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry and New York Campaign For Alternatives To Isolated Confinement (CAIC) for an importnat Community Town Hall On Solitary Confinement In New York & The HALT Solitary Confinement Act.  

July 12, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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The Compassionate Care Act

On the last day of the 2014 session, I was honored to have the opportunity to speak on the floor of the Senate regarding my vote in favor of the Compassionate Care Act. I am proud to have been part of a bill that will bring relief to people suffering from serious illnesses.

June 20, 2014
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Senator Griffo's Weekly Column #25: Ensuring Equality for Women

In Governor Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State address, he challenged legislators to reject institutional and cultural norms and make New York a leader in creating equality for women.

I’m proud that my Senate colleagues and I have twice met his challenge.

We’ve passed nine bills that would stop human trafficking, ensure equal pay for equal work, combat sexual harassment in the workplace, end gender-based discrimination in employment, housing and credit, require reasonable accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace and provide stronger protections for victims of domestic violence.

June 19, 2014
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Meeting Grace Rutagengwa, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide

Grace Rutagengwa is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide which claimed the lives of her parents and three siblings.  As one of her last acts, Grace’s mother hid three year old Grace under her skirt, to protect her from their attackers.  

A neighbor – who was named Providence -- found Grace and provided shelter for her until she could be safely transported out of the country, hidden in a large suitcase.

June 18, 2014
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Senate Passes Women's Equality Measures

The New York State Senate today completed action on all of the measures that make up its Women’s Equality Agenda. Three bills passed by the Senate would stop sexual harassment at work, allow for the recovery of attorney’s fees by victims of gender discrimination, and enable domestic violence victims to obtain orders of protection electronically. Senate Majority Co-Leader Dean Skelos called on the Assembly to act immediately on the women’s equality bills passed by the Senate. Over the past week, the Senate has approved eight bills of the nine-bill equality agenda. One of the bills was enacted into law last year. 

June 18, 2014
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SENATE PASSES VALESKY BILL TO COMBAT SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE AND OTHER WOMEN’S EQUALITY LEGISLATION

ALBANY—The State Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) that strengthens laws against sexual harassment. This bill enacts part of the New York Women’s Equality Agenda, helping to break down barriers that perpetuate discrimination and inequality based on gender.

The legislation (S5873) would ensure that all employees are protected from sexual harassment by applying existing protections to businesses of all sizes.

June 18, 2014
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