December 10, 2012Dear Dr. McNiff,I am writing to you as the State Senator of the 28th Senate District, representing the South and West Bronx, to express my serious concerns with your decision to proceed with the closure of St. Jerome School. In addition to my role as an elected official, I am a lifelong resident of the Bronx, and I know firsthand the important role that St. Jerome plays in this community and I urge you to reconsider.
Senator Serrano participated in the annual reading of Handel’s Messiah at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx. This event, which draws large crowds from all around New York City, has become a holiday tradition in the Bronx. Music was performed by the Bronx Opera Chorus and conducted by Michael Spierman.“It brings me great joy to have been selected as an orator, once again, for the reading of Handel’s Messiah,” said Senator Serrano. “The perception of the Bronx as not being rich in the arts and culture is quickly changing. The Bronx Opera has been on the forefront in showcasing all the wonderful talent this borough has to offer. I look forward to participating in future readings of Handel’s Messiah.”
Senator Serrano and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) are co-sponsoring a Hurricane Sandy relief event in Howard Beach. The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has left many communities in New York still in need of resources. Senator Joseph Addabbo, who represents Howard Beach, has identified an area hit particularly hard by the storm, with an ongoing need for hot meals.
Senator Serrano joined Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz, Jr. for his annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the Bronx County Courthouse. The tree lighting included Christmas Carols sung by the chorus of Middle School 390.“The Holiday Season is really my favorite time of year,” said Senator Serrano. “It is wonderful to see the community come together in harmony for this tree lighting ceremony. The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy reminds us all of the importance of family and friends. Many thanks to Borough President Ruben Diaz for putting together a wonderful ceremony.”
Senator Serrano participated in a press conference in support of the worker's rights of more than a dozen Sunny Day Car Wash workers in the South Bronx. The workers organized a strike after two weeks of being unpaid. After being fired for non-compliance, the former employees formed a picket line to protest non-payment of wages and mistreatment.
"Far too often, workers in our community are exploited or treated unfairly at the workplace," said Senator Serrano. "Many of these hard working people are new immigrants seeking to put food on their table and achieve the American Dream. I believe it's important for elected officials to stand up for the rights and dignity of these workers. "
The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has created a great deal of devastation in many communities throughout New York State. Our government agencies and first responders have been working hard to make sure our infrastructure is up and running again, but there is still much work to do. It is important that those of us who are able to volunteer give back to those who were severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy through loss of power, water, and damages due to severe flooding. Below you'll find information on agencies that are seeking volunteers and information on where to go if you have suffered damages due to Hurricane Sandy.
Senator Serrano and his family joined the Roosevelt Island community for their annual Halloween Day Parade. The parade, organized by Urban American, the R.I. Youth Center and RIOC, included free Halloween festivities such as game booths, mechanical rides, balloon typhoon, spin art, cotton candy, popcorn, music, and more. Council Member Jessica Lappin also attended the parade with her family.“This parade is a wonderful opportunity to get together with family and the Roosevelt Island community to celebrate Halloween,” said Senator Serrano. “The Roosevelt Island community does a great job in organizing an event that is fit for the entire family. I enjoy seeing the wonderful costumes and great activities the community has to offer each year.”
Senator Serrano today celebrated the ribbon cutting of the New Settlement Community Center in the Bronx. The celebration was hosted by the Settlement Housing Fund and New Settlement Apartments. Located in the Mt. Eden section of the Southwest Bronx, the New Settlement Community Center is part of a larger community school campus that combines two new public schools, pre-Kindergarten through grade twelve, special education classrooms, a health clinic and outdoor places.
Senator Serrano joined community residents, environmental organizations, and other elected officials at Robert Clemente State park for the third annual Harlem River Festival. The festival was hosted by the Harlem River Working Group, and included activities ranging from boat rides, water conferences on sustaining clean water for Harlem River, and an open forum allowing community residents to engage with elected officials.
“This park brings much needed green space and Harlem River waterfront access to members of our community” said Senator Serrano. “Robert Clemente Park is a great recreational space for families to come together, for children to play, and for the community to stay active,” continued Serrano.
For the fifth consecutive year, Senator Serrano participated in “It’s My Park Day,” an event organized by William Casari from Friends of Franz Sigel Park and local community organization Bronx is Blooming. This fall, the Senator and his family helped clean up Franz Sigel Park in the Bronx, where they picked up garbage, dug soil, and planted bulbs.
Senator Serrano joined volunteers at this event to mulch and water trees, plant bulbs, and participate in the general cleanup of the park. Senator Serrano has been a long time advocate for the preservation of parks and currently serves as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, and sits on the Committee for Environmental Conservation.
Senator José M. Serrano was invited as a special guest at the annual reception of Parks & Trails New York. In 2010, Senator Serrano was honored at the annual event with the George W. Perkins “Parks Champion” award, for his continued advocacy on behalf of New York’s State Parks.
Among this year’s honorees was Governor Andrew Cuomo. The award recipients were commemorated for their dedication to understanding the importance of believing in, investing, and rebuilding New York’s extensive parks and trails facilities.
Senator José M. Serrano today participated in the celebration of the completion of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. This event was sponsored by the Four Freedoms Park Observatory, with special guests at the dedication ceremony including former President Bill Clinton, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Ambassador William Vanden Heuvel, and American television Journalist Tom Brokaw.
Today Senator José M. Serrano (D-Manhattan/Bronx) praised Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement that 27 state agencies are now in compliance with an Executive Order which required agencies to provide free language interpretation in six major non-English languages. Executive Order No. 26 issued in 2011 by Governor Cuomo, required state agencies that have direct interaction with the public, to provide official documents, forms, instructions, and translation services in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Italian, Korean and Haitian Creole.
Senator José M. Serrano co-sponsored a roundtable discussion for local community organizations on how to protect the community from immigration services fraud. Assistant Attorney General Roberto G. Lebron from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's Office provided a presentation outlining the types of frauds being committed against the immigrant community and how we can best address these persistent issues. The event also included a Q & A session with the Attorney General's office regarding the changing climate of immigration services.
Senator Serrano participated in a neighborhood Youth Resource Fair in the Bronx. The event, which was organized by Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz, Jr. and the NYPD, provided information to the community about youth services such as sports leagues, after school programs, health programs, mentoring, job opportunities and colleges.
Senator Serrano celebrated the 19th Anniversary Celebration of Maggie’s Garden in East Harlem. The Senator joined Maria Amurrio, attendant of Maggie’s Garden, volunteers of the community garden, and other community residents for this celebration. The celebration provided attendees with information about the garden and entertainment.
Senator Serrano joined Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer at his Back to School Festival in East Harlem. The festival provided parents and children with plenty of fun and informative activities geared towards education. Attendees of the event received free health screenings and information about District 4 Public Schools, Child Daycare Services, and College Prep services.
Senator Serrano co-sponsored with Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito the 6th Annual Teen Fair “Step Up, Speak Out, Take Action” in East Harlem. The fair, designed to bring awareness to youth and gun violence within the community, gathered local residents and community organizations to show the importance of community involvement.