Last night, GSD hosted a forum on Zoom with our sister club, Downtown Independent Democrats, for City Council District 1 endorsement. Each candidate gave a 5 minute opening statement followed by 15 minutes of questions. After the forum, GSD discussed and at 9pm online voting was closed. Council Member Christopher Marte won GSD’s endorsement. GSD previously endorsed CM Marte in 2018 & 2020 for State Committee and for City Council in 2021.
During our scheduled monthly meeting on January 23, we will hold a forum with the candidates for City Council District 1, including incumbent Christopher Marte. The meeting is scheduled to take place over Zoom due to the spike in Covid. Our vote for the endorsement of our City Council candidate will happen directly after the forum on Jan 23–look out for an invitation to vote via OpaVote.
GSD marched in the annual event on Three Kings Day for the children of Loisaida, the Lower East Side and the East Village. Each year the festivities begin with a parade through the streets of Loisaida with a marching band. Local residents, organizations, and small businesses join along the route which delivers everyone to St. Mark’s Church On The Bowery. There a live camel greets the parade and a large gathering of children from the neighborhood, including students from Henry Street Settlement, one of the main sponsors. As children pose for photos with the camel, they receive small hand crafted figurines of the nativity. At 4:20 we begin the performance of Angie Hernandez’s Gifts Of The Magi which tells the story of the Three Kings using Puerto Rican music and dance, bringing this story home to the children from the neighborhood. After the show children receive wrapped gifts from cast members.
Please note that our January 11th Welcome Wednesday is postponed due to the current covid surge. We will resume on February 8th at Manousheh.
We were overjoyed at the news that Senator Raphael Warnock won his runoff in Georgia this Tuesday.Thank you to all who helped to GOTV for Georgia. Special thanks to GSD member Eileen Garvey for getting people involved in writing letters with Vote Forward. If any members want to spearhead projects for the club, we welcome your ideas and participation!
Last week we mentioned holiday events that members can contribute to or participate in. One such event is the annual Toy Drive organized by Councilmember Chris Marte and his brother, Coss Marte. Last year, Councilmember Chris Marte, Coss Marte and several other businesses in the LES (Loisaida Realty, LESCC, LESsba SET LES, Scars Pizza, Stop 1 Bodega on Suffolk, Joey Bats, Lower Beast Side & Mikey Likes It Ice Cream), raised funds to provide gifts to kids who are living below the poverty line in homeless shelters around the area. They’re seeking to raise $5k to purchase, wrap, and deliver toys to 100+ kidsPlease see below for details and how to contribute.
Join us for our next Welcome Wednesday on December 14, 2022 from 6-7:30pm at El Castillo de Jagua 2 at 521 Grand St. Small bites and good company will be provided. There is a Community Council meeting directly following at the 7th precinct.
Sarah Richardson held a zoom meeting on November 13th with people who expressed an interest in working on projects relating to climate and sustainability. Current projects will include outreach to neighborhood businesses to encourage the use of reusable containers, connecting with a state-wide campaign about funding the environmental justice and decarbonization goals set out in New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act), and supporting efforts in renewable energy, including locally. Regarding, city-wide curbside composting, at this time, the city is only offering this program in Queens. Use this link to find your closest drop-off site and information about which materials are accepted.
At the November meeting, Mary Jo Burke talked about the Purple Air monitors that LES Breathe, a division of East River Park Action, has installed in our neighborhood, the East Village and in Williamsburg. Use this link to find out more information about LES Breathe and the sensors. Use the dropdown menu of the “Breathe” header to find more information. Here is a link to the Purple Air map to see air quality readings in our neighborhood and around the world.
As part of the 2019 Climate Act, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is conducting a yearlong air quality study, as part of its efforts to reduce air pollution. The air quality is being tested in (10) disadvantaged communities around the state, including portions of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. The Lower East Side is one of the areas being studied. The monitoring is being conducted by driving hybrid vehicles around the study areas at random times, every 2 weeks or so. Analysis of the data will be available to the public after the study is completed. The first quarterly update meeting for Manhattan was held on December 6th via zoom. Click here for recording. To find more information about the program, including a map showing the areas within Manhattan that are being studied, use this link.
A new DemocracyNow clip has been released about the ongoing push led by our Councilmember Christopher Marte and Jan Lee and Jon Alpert, through Neighbors United below Canal, to repurpose existing prison facilities in Chinatown Manhattan to address the Riker Island’s crisis instead of waiting for years for a multibillion jail to be built in that space. Watch the clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECEvXgDnObY
Residents of New York’s Chinatown are speaking out against the construction of a new megajail in the neighborhood that would be a third as high as the Empire State Building, which would likely make it the tallest jail in the world, if finished. The so-called jailscraper is part of an $8 billion plan to build new jails across the city in order to retire the infamous Rikers Island facility, but opponents say that money would be better spent on social services, harm reduction and other initiatives that would better serve the community. Jan Lee, co-founder of the community group Neighbors United Below Canal, says Chinatown residents are interested in “creating a more humane environment for those who are incarcerated.”
Democracy Now! is an independent global news hour that airs on over 1,500 TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch their livestream at https://democracynow.org Mondays to Fridays 8-9 a.m. ET.
Grand Street Dems supports the community’s direction and has participated in various rallies, including the ones showcased in the Democracy Now segment. In February, the GSD executive board sent a letter to Mayor Adams urging him to do what the community is asking. You can read the full letter here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SzhM_mbuhlWl5UNUrKWopaAx4sW7iQk8/view
On Monday, December 5th, 100% AFFORDABLE 5WTC is holding a rally at city hall in support of 100% affordable housing at 5 WTC. Please see the flyer above for more information.
We have had a busy year, especially this summer and fall. So that everyone can have a break and enjoy the holiday season, we have postponed our next general meeting until Monday January 23rd, 7-9 pm. We will send more information closer to the date.