Manhattan Borough Board Unanimously Passes DREAM Act On Thursday, May 17, members of the Manhattan Borough Board unanimously approved New York State DREAM legislation, a number of bills promoting higher education and civic engagement opportunities for students in New York City neighborhoods, regardless of their immigration status. New York City's immigrant population, the largest of any U.S. city, makes up almost 40 percent of the city's population and workforce. The support of DREAM legislation reflects broad community support of this population as well as the city's overall economic growth. "I applaud the Manhattan Borough Board for their vote to unanimously support the DREAM Act, a long-awaited reform that is needed to provide opportunity and fairness to thousands of immigrant youth in our city and state. New York has always been a leader in giving all of its residents a chance to succeed," said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. New York City Comptroller Calls for an End to Stop-and-Frisk City Comptroller John C. Liu released a statement calling for the abolishment of stop-and-frisk tactics by NYPD officers. According to Liu, there were nearly 700,000 instances of New Yorkers being stopped and frisked last year, nearly all of them targeting Black or Latino people innocent of any crime. "It's just impossible to say stop-and-frisk is not racial profiling, and continuation of this practice not only violates the department ban against racial profiling, it raises civil rights questions," Liu said, decrying the tactic. "It also poses a potential financial liability to the city, as evidenced by rising claims against the NYPD and the federal judge's ruling allowing class-action status in a stop-and-frisk lawsuit." Supporting Liu's claim, there were 2,241 civil rights claims filed against NYPD officers in 2011, up 23 percent from 2010. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer spoke in agreement with Liu's assessment, but applauded Commissioner Ray Kelly's acknowledgement that greater training and oversight is needed in current stop-and-frisk procedures after the commissioner announced changes to officer training, monitoring, supervision, transparency and accountability. Stringer also spoke in support of the "call-in" approach, a proven tool for reducing violence. State Senate Passes Resolution to Honor Beastie Boys Founder Last Tuesday, May 15, the New York State Senate passed a resolution introduced by State Sen. Daniel Squadron honoring Brooklyn native and Beastie Boys founder Adam "MCA" Yauch for his contributions to music and political activism. Yauch and the Beastie Boys gained prominence in New York City, which is reflected in the resolution. "The Beastie Boys exemplified New York through a period in which grassroots creativity and a community of iconoclastic artists helped redefine and rejuvenate a city on the ropes, with iconic imagery from Brooklyn to Ludlow Street," reads part of the resolution. Governor Ends Food Stamp Finger Imaging Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the end of finger imaging for food stamp recipients. The practice was thought to prevent many hungry New Yorkers from acquiring much-needed food at a time when one-third of New York City's children live in poverty. Arizona now remains the only state to continue this practice. "It makes no sense for children to go to bed hungry while we waste local tax dollars on a senseless program that puts food farther out of reach," State Sen. Daniel Squadron said, applauding the governor's decision. The reform also impacts the elderly. "Removing stigma and ensuring dignity in applying for food stamps for the elderly is critical," said Bobbie Sackman, director of public policy for the Council of Senior Centers and Services. The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies also announced its support of the governor's decision, praising the removal of this "needless hurdle" in a time of economic hardship.
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