STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — October 4, 2018. Holding signs that read ‘Kava-Hell-Naugh’ and ‘Save SCOTUS’ and chanting ‘Kavanaugh, Kava-no, the abuser’s got to go,’ two dozen members of the Legal Services Staff Association (LSSA), UAW Local 2320, stood on the steps of the Staten Island Criminal Court building this afternoon – protesting against the embattled Supreme Court nominee.
With the historic St. George Theatre stage left and the criminal courthouse stage right, a lively group of LSSA activists took part in a coordinated, five borough-wide, protest. In other boroughs LSSA members were joined by colleagues from the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325.
LSSA and ALAA members represent low-income New Yorkers in civil and criminal cases, protecting what they regard as their clients’ basic rights.
In a joint statement the union locals said, “If he is appointed to the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh will further erode the rights of women, people of color, and other oppressed groups.”
“As a Federal Judge, Kavanaugh has demonstrated his disdain for the environment, the rights of women, the rights of people of color, and other oppressed people,” said LSSA President Sonja Shield. “Even before Dr. Ford came forward, it was clear that Kavanaugh was an ideologue perfectly tailored to carry out President Donald Trump’s agenda. The Senate hearing last week dramatically demonstrated the damage these beliefs will cause.”
“The members of ALAA and LSSA stand in solidarity with all victims of sexual violence, including Dr. Ford and any other women who Judge Kavanaugh has assaulted over the years,” stated ALAA President Deborah Wright. “We stand against Judge Kavanaugh’s heinous acts and also against his jurisprudence, which demonstrates a consistent disregard for the rights and humanity of women, workers, people of color, and the environment.”
After the rally LSSA members marched down Central Avenue chanting.
A man passing by taunted the marchers, “Confirm him, he’s a good man, better than any of you.”
“You can’t argue with that kind of logic,” one of the union members said in reply.
Local attorney Nora Renzulli was leaving court as the march took place.
“I am glad to see members of our legal community taking a stand. They are in good company because more than 500 law professors have condemned Kavanaugh for ‘lack of judicial temperament,'” she said.
by Thomas Altfather Good
More Photos (Entire Gallery): https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasgood/albums/72157670683834448
STATEN ISLAND, NY — On Sunday, June 24, Patricia “Pat” Kane, treasurer of the New York State Nurses Association and candidate for the New York State Assembly will speak at the Amethyst House “completion” ceremony honoring 17 graduates who have changed the course of their lives thanks to the venerable Island institution that has been helping women overcome addiction for 28 years.
Kane, a nurse with over 30 years experience and a founder of the Open Heart surgical unit at Staten Island University Hospital is scheduled to address the Amethyst grads who have overcome so much in their quest to get their lives back.
“Congratulations to all of the graduates! Your graduation signifies a lot of hard work and transitioning into the next stage of your growth in recovery. You are staring a new life, empowered by this experience with the tools you need to succeed, the knowledge that you can be a force for positive change and that you are a valued member of our community. It’s an honor to share this special occasion with you and your counselors,” Kane said in a pre-ceremony statement.
This year there are 17 graduates of whom 14 will be in attendance. They range in age from the early 20s to the mid 60s, however, the women are united by their successful bid to regain control of their own destinies. This progress was the result of hard work – and support from a dedicated staff that is proud of the very low recidivism rate at their facility.
“The women who complete our program succeed not so much because we as staff impart wisdom to them, but because — through their own commitment and hard work?they discover the wisdom that has always been theirs. We may guide them, but they continue to teach; they will carry what they have learned into their communities, and they will model for women who feel hopeless in addiction how they can change their lives as well,” said Mary Hallet, a resident manager.
Joan T., a graduate being honored on Sunday put it this way: “Being a 64-year-old woman with two dogs in foster care and nowhere to go, I took a counselor?s advice and came for an interview at Amethyst House. Right then and there I knew this is where I needed to be. Having worked on my addiction with the support of other women, I have determined now to live life with flair and laughter.”
Graduate Jennifer F. said, “Amethyst House has saved my life. Before coming here things were dark and I didn’t see a future. But now with the help of Amethyst House staff, I see a path to more independence. I have begun working again, and I also continue to work on my recovery every day.”
Following the formal presentations food and opportunities to meet and greet the honorees themselves are planned for the event. The staff will be on hand to greet any wellwishers.
Amethyst House is located at 280 Richmond Terrace on the North Shore of Staten Island. It is funded by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Call 718-448-1900 or visit http://www.amethysthouse.net for more information.
#TAGfotograf contributed a video to the exhibit
The exhibit features a large collection of signs, carried by protesters in 2017, and a handmaid inspired by Margaret Atwood’s tale.
The exhibit will run until February 23 at the Canvas Institute, 150 Victory Blvd, Staten Island.
Bobby Digi is the founder of the Canvas Institute.
Click Here to see Thomas Altfather Good’s gallery of photographs from the opening.
See More Photos: 2017 NYC Labor Parade Photo Gallery
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — August 14, 2017. Assembling in Tompkinsville Park – across the street from where Eric Garner was murdered – a diverse group of Staten Islanders held a silent candlelight vigil, standing united against hate in America and remembering Heather Heyer, who was brutally murdered for standing up for her country.
“We are Staten Islanders. We are New Yorkers. We are Americans. We stand united against hate.”
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Credit: “Thomas Altfather Good”
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by Thomas Altfather Good
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — April 29, 2017. On a unseasonably warm Saturday hundreds of Islanders assembled in Staten Island’s Midland Beach, a coastal community ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, to demand Climate Justice from the Trump Administration — linking economic and environmental issues.
Workers from several local unions – including CWA Local 1102 and IBEW Local 3 – peace and environmental activists, and members of immigrant rights organizations gathered on Staten Island’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt boardwalk on Saturday. The protesters rallied and marched to demand climate justice from a president who appears to spend more time lounging in Mar-a-Lago and holding victory rallies than addressing pressing issues in a meaningful way.
Organized by two local advocacy organizations, Sustainable Staten Island and Move Forward Staten Island, with a broad coalition of labor unions, immigration rights groups, environmental justice, social justice and other community organizations from throughout New York City, the event was timed to coinicide with climate marches held in other cities.
The issues raised resonated with Islanders and turnout was impressive – the march was the largest on the Island since the Eric Garner protests of 2014.
The rally and march took place in an East Shore neighborhood that was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, a neighborhood still recovering from a storm whose impact was made worse by rising sea levels and abnormally warm temperatures on the ocean’s surface. Although all of New York City was affected, Staten Island’ East Shore was hit particularly hard by the storm. 24 Islanders perished, and thousands were displaced when their homes were severely damaged. Five years later, many Staten Islanders are still struggling to rebuild.
“Environmental toxins and climate change affect all of us. However, we also know that these issues can affect different communities disproportionately. And so we can’t talk about environmental issues and climate change without at the same time, addressing the variety of other social issues that keep our communities down,” organizer Julienne Verdi said, linking the issues of climate change and economic justice.
Founder of Move Forward Staten Island, Verdi told the receptive crowd: “We can no longer stand silent while our politicians ignore the science and reality of climate change. We must stand up, tell our stories and demand action now. And that’s what you’re doing by being here today.”
Other speakers included Sam Cocozza, vice president of CWA Local 1102 and Hurricane Sandy survivor, Sofia Gouin of Barnard Divest for a Just Transition, Nidhi Khanna of Climate Reality, Steve Lawton of Sustainable Staten Island, Yesenia Mata of La Colmena Project, Beryl Thurman from the North Shore Waterfront Conservancy, Caesar Vargas of Dream Action Coalition, and Allison Ziogas, an electrician with IBEW Local 3.
“We’re here to stand in solidarity with members of our community and amplify our collective voice to call for bolder commitments to sustainable energy. Transition to renewable energy represents not only an opportunity to make our communities greener and healthier, but also address economic inequality through job creation — good paying union jobs,” Ziogas said.
The march was led by the children attending the event — to underscore the urgency of the call for action.
“Our children will bear the burden of climate change if we do not act now,” said Jessica Indelicato Hamil, Move Forward Co-Chair and co-organizer of the event.
Recognizing the need to keep the pressure on elected officials, the coalition of labor, peace and justice organizations and environmental activists that planned the event is here to stay, according to organizers.
“Today is not the end of this movement. We will continue to stand together to protect our families, our city, and our Staten Island from climate change and other injustices,” said Steve Lawton of Sustainable Staten Island.
Thomas Altfather Good is a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981