Issues: Civil 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 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.”

-30-

November 7, 2014
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SQUADRON SLAMS JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT JAILS INNOCENT NEW YORKERS FOR YEARS AT A TIME

Senate Codes Ranker Says Injustice of Kalief Browder Case Requires System Review and Broad Reform

Squadron: Jailing Innocent New Yorkers for Years is Unjust and Un-American

NEW YORK— In response to an October 6 article in the New Yorker, State Senator Daniel Squadron, ranker on the Senate Codes Committee, issued the following statement: 

"Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack in May 2010. Browder asserted his innocence and refused to plea to a lesser charge. He was held in pre-trial detention at Rikers Island for three years before prosecutors ultimately moved to dismiss his case. Any system that jails the innocent for years at a time is both unjust and un-American. Kalief Browder spent three years locked up at Rikers because the system failed him. Broad reforms to the entire system are clearly necessary, and I intend to undertake a thorough review to identify changes that can address these crucial issues. The system must work better for everyone."

October 6, 2014
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SENATORS SQUADRON AND HOYLMAN STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR CUOMO’S TRANSGENDER RIGHTS LETTER

NEW YORK – Today, State Senators Daniel Squadron and Brad Hoylman, sponsors of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), issued the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s letter to the Empire State Pride Agenda:

August 21, 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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Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz Introduces Bill Giving the Right to Sue When Videotaping is Prevented

For Immediate Release

July 31, 2014

Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz Introduces Bill Giving the Right to Sue When Videotaping is Prevented

New York State Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz (D-Bronx) has introduced Senate Bill S.7932 to strengthen New York State's civil rights law permitting civilians to videotape uniformed personnel in the course of carrying out their duties. This new legislation will provide recovery for a person who is prevented from videotaping by uniformed personnel in the amount of $25,000.

July 31, 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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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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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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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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Krueger Bill to Protect Interns from Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Passes Both Houses

This evening, the New York State Senate passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Krueger to ban workplace sexual harassment of unpaid interns in New York State (S. 5951A). Loopholes in local, state, and federal laws have hampered interns’ attempts to seek redress for sexual harassment through the courts.

June 17, 2014
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Senator Kevin Parker Remembers the Award-Winning Actress and Civil Rights Icon Ruby Dee

(Brooklyn, NY) - “Today, America lost Ruby Dee, an award-winning actress and icon of the Civil Rights Movement,” said Senator Kevin Parker. “Ruby Dee died at the age of 91, after a life spent as a star of stage and screen, and as a civil rights activist with her husband the late Ossie Davis, with whom she shared the duty of Master and Mistress of Ceremonies at the 1963 March on Washington.”

June 11, 2014
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GENDA SPONSOR SQUADRON: TIME IS NOW TO BRING BILL TO SENATE FLOOR FOR VOTE AFTER ASSEMBLY PASSAGE FOR SEVENTH TIME

ALBANY—Today, the New York State Assembly has passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) for the seventh time. Senator Daniel Squadron, lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate, issued the following statement:

June 10, 2014
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Sen. Parker Interviews Jonathan E. Gradess, Executive Director, NYS Defenders Association, Inc.

Based in Albany, New York, the New York State Defenders Association is a non-profit, membership organization, that provides direct services and training programs to the 6,000 lawyers who represent family or criminal court cases for low income people.

For direct assistance, visit their website at www.nysda.org or call 518-465-3524.

Further, two Brooklyn-based organizations provide similar services:

June 4, 2014
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Sen. Krueger, Advocates Applaud Passage of “Boss Bill” in Senate Labor Committee, Call for Floor Vote Before End of Session

Sen. Krueger applauded the Senate Labor Committee’s passage today of her legislation banning employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of their personal reproductive health decisions (S. 6578B). Sen. Krueger called on the Senate majority’s co-leaders to follow up on this positive step by allowing a floor vote on the bill before the close of the 2014 session.

June 3, 2014
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Senator Parker Interviews Gwen Wright, Executive Director, NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Gwen Wright as the Executive Director of the state’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence in September 2013. 

Ms. Wright had been with the agency for 20 years at the time of her appointment, serving in many capacities, most recently as Director of Human Services and Prevention.

Senator Parker interviews Ms. Wright on the office's services, latest initiatives and how her office can form coalitions to further prevent domestic violence or support victims.

For more information, visit www.OPDV.ny.gov, or call 518-457-5800.

 

 

May 29, 2014
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Senator Kevin Parker Remembers the Incomparable Poet Laureate Maya Angelou

(Brooklyn, NY) - “Today the world lost a beacon of hope and inspiration in the passing of literary giant and poet laureate Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou died at the age of 86, after a life spent as a civil rights activist, award-winning poet, actor, singer, dancer, professor, mentor and author of several autobiographies and novels that will continue to shape the hearts and minds of generations to come,” said Senator Kevin Parker.

May 28, 2014
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Senator James Sanders Jr. Joins Colleagues in Birthday Commemoration of Civil Rights Leader Malcolm X

New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) joined his colleagues on the floor of the Senate Chamber to commemorate the 89th birthday of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X.

May 21, 2014
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STATEMENT FROM SENATOR KEVIN PARKER ON BROWN V BOARD OF EDUCATION 60TH ANNIVERSARY

(Brooklyn, NY) - "Sixty years ago today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its unanimous ruling in Brown v the Board of Education. As we all know, the Court's decision made it crystal clear that not only were the racially segregated school systems of the day unequal and illegal, but that segregated schools could never be equal and therefore violated the U.S. Constitution.

May 19, 2014
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