Senator Schumer Must Use His Power

I am Danielle Brecker, co-lead organizer of Empire State Indivisible.

I had just finished preparing my remarks for today when one of my neighbors posted a xenophobic and anti-democracy rant on social media complaining about Intro 1867 that just passed in our City Council giving permanent residents the right to vote in local city elections.

So last night I found myself writing a response to this offensive and egregious post that was ignorant to the dense, diverse, democratic, immigrant driven borough of Queens where I live and ignorant to the declining state of democracy in our country. Some of my words today are from my response.

On Thursday, as Intro 1867 was being debated in council, I was in front of the United Nations supporting brave activists committing civil disobedience to draw attention to the decline of U.S. democracy and the urgent need for the Freedom to Vote and John Lewis Voting Rights Acts to be passed before year’s end.

Our NYC Council expanded our local democracy and enfranchised immigrant voters while our federal leaders are struggling to keep a pathway to citizenship in the build back better act and to protect our voting rights in the many states taking these rights away. Our Council is acting now when many of our federal leaders are not.

This past spring, Empire State Indivisible members had the privilege to stand in solidarity with essential workers who took care of us during Covid and always. As they were on a long hunger strike to make sure that our state stepped up and provided aid to EVERYONE even those ineligible for federal aid given their immigration status. The power of these essential workers made our state leaders act when our federal leaders did not.

Today, we are demanding that. our federal leader, Senator Schumer, use his considerable power as the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. Use his considerable power that we the people of New York gave him to make sure a pathway to citizenship is in the Build Back Better Act. Use his considerable power that we the people of New York gave him to. make sure that the Freedom to Vote Act is passed so we do not lose our voting rights.

Be it my neighbors in Queens who responded to a nasty social media post last night to show love to our immigrant neighbors, be it the thousands of New Yorkers Empire State Indivisible has spoken to across our State, be it those fighting everyday, sometimes risking arrest, for our rights, be it essential workers on a hunger strike for what is right, be it all of you here today, many of you who show up everyday for your communities. … again and again and again New Yorkers have made it clear what we expect.

We expect our immigrant neighbors across the street or across the country be treated with equality and dignity.

We expect that our voting rights in New York State and every state are protected, more voters enfranchised, and our democracy expanded.

I have no doubt that Senator Schumer hears us, knows what we expect. Now Senator Schumer must use his considerable power that we the people of New York gave him to act!



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