November 28, 2016

Protesters in New York Condemn Marcos Burial in Heroes Cemetery

Protesters in New York against the Marcos burial.(Photo: Joshel Melgarejo)

Woodside, NY – The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) together with Filipino community members recently held an indignation vigil and rally in response to the recent burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani (The National Cemetery for Heroes), or LNMB.

On November 18, the body of Marcos was buried secretly in LNMB. This action taken by the Philippine government was an insult to the thousands of people who were victims of Martial Law.

In Queens, NY, heart of the Filipino community, several groups expressed their condemnation of the burial of a dictator who is far from ever being considered a hero in the eyes of the Filipino people.

“Today the Filipino youth may never learn the history and the atrocities caused by Marcos,” said Chrissi Fabro, Secretary General of the Filipino youth community organization, Anakbayan New York. “His burial in the Cemetery of Heroes in the Philippines erases the experiences of the victims of Martial Law.”

Representing the militant Filipino alliance BAYAN USA was Red Tirona, whose parents were also victims of the brutal Marcos dictatorship. “The Marcos dictatorship was a puppet of the United States. All the policies of the Marcos regime were designed to serve the interest of the US.” Red also referenced the creation of Labor Export Policy (LEP) under Marcos as a band-aid solution to the growing need of the Philippines to pay off the billions of debts to the IMF and World Bank accumulated by Marcos. Drawing a comparison between the growing fears of fascist rule in the US and the memories of brutal oppression under Marcos, Tirona emphasized, “...overseas Filipinos must continue the struggle for genuine national liberation in the Philippines while upholding the rights and interests of their kababayans abroad.”

“Marcos is not a hero,” said Potri Rankamanis of Kinding Sindaw, who was a former political detainee and torture survivor of Martial Law. “Philippine history cannot be played upon by Dictator Marcos and his bullying family! Marcos was a fascist murderer of Filipinos! Marcos must be exhumed from the burial ground of Libingan ng nga Bayani because his name as a dictator can never pass as a hero. Burying this dictator in LNMB will blur the years of his plunder and robbery of the Philippines. The future generations must know the truth about Philippine history!”

Zarah Vinola, Secretary of Community Affairs of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns stated “Let’s remember the fact that Marcos instituted the Labor Export Policy, a policy that has been responsible for sending Filipino people away from their families. While Marcos robbed people millions of pesos and borrowed from The World Bank, he paid back these debts by sending people out of the Philippines, just to find themselves in horrible conditions. This policy is responsible for deaths of workers overseas and number of Filipino people trafficked here in the United States and other countries. To this present day this policy continues and is now being studied in other countries to be used as part of false economic development. Marcos should not be remembered as a hero, but we must continue to remember his fascist acts to ensure that this does not happen again.”

This rally and vigil was part of the world-wide actions being conducted by Filipinos to condemn the burial of Marcos in LNMB. The waves of indignation of the Filipino people spread throughout the whole world as the many survivors of Martial Law, their children, grandchildren, and concerned citizens gave voice to the pain and heartache of a generation that lived under the scourge of military rule.

Cries of “Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta!!!” could be heard echoing through Roosevelt avenue reflecting the perspective of many of those whose lives were destroyed by the Marcos family’s crony rule over the Filipino people. For the tens of thousands unjustly detained and tortured, for the hundreds of thousands of family members affected, and for the millions of Filipinos who can never forget the violence perpetrated by Marcos’ rule.

Martial law was one of the darkest periods in the history of the Philippines. In response to the growing mass movement of people for genuine freedom and democracy, Marcos declared martial law in 1972. He continued to reign as a dictator for 14 more years until he was overthrown by a strong mass movement of the people.

“At least I survived,” said Potri. “But there are many voices who have been silenced by Marcos.”

“To honor the lives of those lost, we must continue to tell the true history of events under Marcos and continue to organize and mobilize our communities for our liberation,” ended Chrissi Fabro.


About NAFCON
NAFCON is a national multi-issue alliance of Filipino organizations and individuals in the United States serving to protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos by fighting for social, economic, and racial justice and equality. At present, NAFCON members encompass over 23 cities in the United States. For more information, please visit our website at http://nafconusa.org/ or email NAFCON Northeast at ne@nafconusa.org

AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER LAUNCHES NEW RESIDENCY PROGRAM



The New Strands Residency gives American playwrights
the opportunity to create and develop new works in residence at A.C.T.’s state-of-the-art Strand Theater

New York City’s acclaimed Ma-Yi Theater Company 
named as inaugural partner 



SAN FRANCISCO - American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.)’s Associate Artistic Director Andy Donald recently announced the inaugural New Strands Residency, giving emerging and established American playwrights the opportunity to create and develop new works in residence at A.C.T.’s state-of-the-art Strand Theater, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Central Market neighborhood. Each year, A.C.T. will partner with a nationally recognized new-work incubator to select three playwrights, who will spend a week in San Francisco. Over the course of their residency, the playwrights will participate in a reading of their work, develop and workshop their plays-in-progress with directors and a shared ensemble of actors, and sit on various panel discussions. The New Strands Residency culminates with a free public presentation of their work during A.C.T.’s annual New Strands Festival, now in its second year, taking place May 19–21, 2017.

This year’s partner theater company is the Drama Desk and OBIE Award–winning not-for-profit Ma-Yi Theater Company. Based in New York City, Ma-Yi Theater Company is one of the country’s leading incubators of new work shaping the national discourse about what it means to be Asian American today.

Submissions from Ma-Yi Theater Company Writers Lab (“The Labbies”) are now being accepted. Each playwright is welcome to submit up to two plays for consideration. Only one play per playwright will be accepted. Chosen by A.C.T.’s artistic department, the three selected playwrights from Ma-Yi Theater Company will be announced in February 2017. The A.C.T. residency will take place May 15–22, 2017. For more information on the New Strands Residency visit: www.act-sf.org/home/about/new_commissions


“One thing [A.C.T. Artistic Director] Carey Perloff and I have been eager to do is make A.C.T.’s newest major resource—The Strand Theater on Market Street, which opened in 2015—a place for new work, new audiences and new artists,” says Donald. “With the New Strands Residency, we’re establishing another permanent way of making The Strand an artistic home, teaming up each season with an incubator theater and providing space, time and resources to their artists. We could not think of a better partner than Ma-Yi Theater Company to kick this program off. Its commitment to Asian American voices is unparalleled in our field, and its enviable roster of playwrights is a perfect match for San Francisco’s audiences.”

Adds Ralph B. Peña, Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with A.C.T. to bring the work of the Ma-Yi Lab writers to audiences in the Bay Area. It’s an honor to work with one of the country’s premier institutions for developing new works, and we have every confidence this new alliance will bring greater diversity to American theater.”

Now in its second year, the New Strands Festival features new theatrical pieces, works in progress, and readings, as well as experimental work by a variety of artists, including playwrights, dance companies, musicians, and animation artists. Devoted to supporting local, national, and international artists in the creation and completion of original theater, the New Strands Festival enables artists to connect and communities to experience theatrical projects as they take shape, all under one roof at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater.

The inaugural New Strands Residency with Ma-Yi Theater Company is supported by a Building Demand Grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the new A.C.T. Asian stARTup initiative to bring together Asian/Asian American artists and tech workers in the Bay Area.

The New Strands Festival is made possible by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fund for New Works, Theatre Forward, and the Priscilla and Keith Geeslin New Strands Fund. 

FILIPINO-AMERICAN TALK SHOW “MAKILALA” HOSTS FIRST COMMUNITY TOWN HALL FORUM WITH NEW PHILIPPINE CONSUL GENERAL

"Makilala" Town Hall with Consul General Tess Dizon-de Vega.(Lambert Parong/Kababayan Media)

New York – The Filipino community and FilAm press had an opportunity to meet newly-appointed Philippine Consul General Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-de Vega when New York-based Filipino-American talk show “Makilala” hosted a community town hall forum at the Kalayaan Hall of the New York Philippine Center last November 21. The show will be aired on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) in December 2016.

During the interview, Consul General de Vega addressed important queries from community members as well as conveyed her take on the foreign and economic policy of Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, her goals as the top Philippine government official in the Northeast U.S. region, and various consular matters, including passport, legal and visa issues.  

ConGen Tess Dizon-de Vega.(Lambert Parong/Kababayan Media)
Consul General Dizon-De Vega took the opportunity to encourage younger generation Filipino-Americans to participate in nation-building and country-promotion activities through programs such as FYLPRO (Filipino-American Youth Leadership Program). She likewise talked about the recent positive Philippine economic growth figure of 7.1% GDP for the third quarter of 2016.  She also pointed out that tourism remains a bright spot in the economy with continued influx of foreign tourists to local destinations.   She added that the Consulate General also has collaborative projects with the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT-NY) to promote inbound visitor arrival to the Philippines through participation in travel/tourism conventions and by partnering with US tour operator’s association. 

She additionally spoke about the 10-point Socioeconomic agenda of the Duterte Administration, the safety nets being implemented for vulnerable sectors, the new public infrastructure “Build. Build. Build.” program, and the country’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2017.


“Makilala” (“get to know” in Tagalog) is the first Filipino-American TV talk show in the New York metropolitan area.  Since it began airing in 2013, it has served as a platform for members of the Filipino-American community to engage in various political, economic, social and cultural topics of relevance to the Philippines and its countrymen residing in the United States.  Now in its fourth season, “Makilala” is regularly hosted by media and community figures Jen Furer, Rachelle Ocampo and Cristina Pastor. “Makilala” is The Outstanding Filipino Americans (TOFA) in NY Awardee for Media and Publishing for 2015, and guests on the show have included community leaders, government and corporate officials, social advocates and emerging artists/musicians.  

Rachelle Ocampo, Jen Furer & Cristina Pastor.(Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media)

More information on the town hall forum with Consul General de Vega is available on makilalatv.com.

2016 Christmas Caroling Contest

This year’s caroling contest will have for its theme “Ang pasko ay sumapit" and will be held at Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on December 3rd at 3:30pm


By Cristina DC Pastor

They dithered at first, then decided to join last-minute.

To their surprise, the Filipino-American Society of St. Joan of Arc won first prize of $1,200 at the first Christmas Caroling Contest held December 5, 2015 at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue. The group donated the check to the Saint Joan of Arc Parish in Jackson Heights, Queens.

“We said, sige try lang tayo,” said society president Jane Marie Buenaventura. “Then, we won!”

They sang “Silent Night,” although theirs was a slightly altered interpretation of the original 1818 hymn co-written by German organist Franz Xaver Gruber and Austrian priest Joseph Mohr, and popularized by American singer Bing Crosby.

“Our Silent Night had touches of reflection…with drama,” explained Jane. “We included the words Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, and toward the end Ramil was raising a statue of the infant Jesus.” Last year’s theme was “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Ramil is Jane’s husband, a middle school teacher at The Renaissance Charter School also in Jackson Heights and an active member of the club.

Eight – out of about 30 — members from the society got together on four occasions to practice. On December 5, the carolers, wearing red kimono shirts rose to the Kalayaan Hall stage and sang their number.

“Blessing talaga. Thank you Lord,” cried Jane, who works for a home-based travel agency.

2015 Winner, Fil-Am Society of Saint Joan of Arc

This year’s caroling contest will have for its theme “Ang pasko ay sumapit" and will be held at Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on December 3rd at 3:30pm.

“Growing up in the Philippines, Christmas caroling is definitely part of our holidays,” recalled Grace Labaguis, marketing director of Synergy Production & Marketing, Inc., which is organizing this year’s Christmas Caroling Contest on December 3 at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall.

“Just before the holidays, my cousins and friends would form a group, prepare our musical instruments such as the ‘tansan’ and the ‘tambol,’ practice our favorite Christmas songs. We would sing in front of our relatives’ gates. If they (house owners) are in the mood for some Christmas spirit, they give us a couple of pesos. If not, they would just shout out “patawad po.’”

Grace remembers the laughter and the good times. It is those “fond memories” she hoped the caroling contest will relive among organizations in the New York area. “There’s more inquiry and excitement this year,” she said.

The event is supported by Corporate Sponsors Western Union (WU), GMA International (GMA Pinoy TV, GMA Life TV & GMA News TV) and Philippine Airlines. 

Said Mylz Tolentino, WU Marketing Diaspora Manager, “Through the caroling contest, we are excited for the jolly holiday tunes to bring back memories and the familiar camaraderie that comes with this holiday tradition. Western Union has always promoted the Filipino lifestyle and legacy through our WU Pinoy portal on social media. It’s one way for us to give back to the community.”

Joseph Francia, First VP and Head of GMA International said his media organization is pleased to be part of this project.

“The warm response to its initial staging last year validated the need to support cultural activities that strongly resonate with the Filipino-American community. Christmas caroling is part of the Filipinos’ cherished tradition of celebrating the Yuletide season,” he said.

In addition to the cash prizes is a round-trip ticket to the Philippines courtesy of Philippine Airlines.

“Christmas is in our hearts as Filipinos, and this is why Philippine Airlines — The Heart of the Filipino — is once again joining the joyous and spirited Christmas Caroling Contest,” said Area Manager-NY Michelle Narvaez. “For generations, our homegrown carols have transported us to the warmth of our homeland, just like how Philippine Airlines has flown Filipinos back home and beyond for 75 years.”

Other sponsors include Sweet Habana Catering, Ladies for Rizal, Beauty Health NY, RTA Travel, USA & Orientours Co. Ltd., Ayala Land International, LBC, Promdi Bar & Grill, Fil-Am Who’s Who, Fiesta in America, DSY Music, JB Productions, Assumption Alumni Association Abroad and Handang Tumulong. Media partners are Filipino Reporter, Filipino Express, Fil-Am Who’s Who, OSM and Asian Journal.

November 15, 2016

Mayor de Blasio Hosts Roundtable with Clergy and Faith Leaders

NEW YORK­—On Monday, November 14, 2016 in the Blue Room of City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio led a discussion with faith leaders to reinforce the Administration’s commitment to protect initiatives that may be at risk during Donald J. Trump’s presidency. The Mayor was joined by Community Affairs Commissioner Marco Carrión, Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter, NYPD Community Affairs Chief Joanne Jaffe and City Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis.
Mayor de Blasio reaffirmed that the City of New York will defend civil and human rights, and that the federal government cannot reinstate stop and frisk in New York City. He urged all to “fight nationally and act locally.”
Clergy who attended include members of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh religions. They expressed numerous concerns in representation of their congregants, most notably as it relates to New York City’s undocumented residents and young people who are expressing fear and uncertainty about their future. 
The conversation lasted an hour.

Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Hotline to Report Incidents of Bias and Discrimination


Governor Directs State Police, SUNY Police and State Division of Human Rights to Investigate Additional Reported Hate Crimes in New York 

Governor Sending Letter to State Education Department Requesting Schools Hold Trainings for Staff and Students to Combat Discrimination 

To Report Incidents of Bias, Contact 1-888-392-3644



Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched a toll-free hotline to report incidents of bias and discrimination across the state. The hotline will bolster the state’s efforts to protect New Yorkers and allow those who are the victim of prejudice to file a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. Following an uptick in recent reports of discrimination, bias-motivated threats, harassment and violence, the Governor also announced multi-agency investigations into alleged hate crimes across New York. The Governor is also sending a letter to the State Education Department requesting schools hold trainings to combat intolerance and safeguard New York’s students.

These latest efforts follow two separate investigations into alleged hate crimes in Wellsville and Livingston County, NY that the Governor directed last week.

“New York serves as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all, and we will continue to stand up to those who seek to spread the politics of division, fear and hate,” Governor Cuomo said. “This state celebrates our differences because we know that it is the rich fabric of cultures and customs that makes this one of the greatest, most diverse places in the world. We will continue to work with our local partners to investigate all incidents of reported bias, and ensure that New Yorkers feel safe and protected. Any acts of discrimination or intimidation will be met with the full force of the law.” 

New Yorkers who have experienced bias or discrimination are encouraged to call DHR’s toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday. If you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately. 

The New York State Police currently has 46 investigators assigned to Troops across the state who have been trained as bias crime specialists. The investigators work on State Police cases that may involve bias crimes and are available to assist other law enforcement agencies statewide as requested.

Additionally, as a result of the increased prevalence of these incidents in schools, the Governor is sending a letter to State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, requesting the State Education Department to immediately require schools to hold trainings for staff and students to reinforce the strong anti-discrimination provisions included within the state Human Rights Law and Dignity for All students Act, as well as underscore the importance of reporting any criminal discriminatory behavior to law enforcement.

Under state law, a person commits a hate crime when one of a specified set of offenses is committed targeting a victim because of a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, or when such an act is committed as a result of that type of perception or belief. Hate crimes can be perpetrated against an individual, a group of individuals or against public or private property. Also under state law it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, ethnicity and many other protected classifications.

New York has the proud distinction of being the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law, affording every citizen “an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life.” The New York State Division of Human Rights is the agency in charge of enforcing this law, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and other jurisdictions, based on age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, military status, and other specified classes. For more information about the Human Rights Law and the work of the agency, please visit the Division of Human Rights’ website at www.dhr.ny.gov.

If you have been the victim of a crime, you may contact the New York State Office of Victim Services, which funds 223 programs statewide, providing direct services, such as crisis intervention and counseling, to victims of crime, including hate crimes. Those programs also can help any crime victim apply for compensation and other assistance from the agency, which is a safety net for individuals who have no other resources. Individuals seeking help from OVS also can search for a service provider online: https://ovs.ny.gov/locate-program. For more information, please visit: www.ovs.ny.gov.

Consul General Tess Dizon-De Vega Conveys Plans for a More Inclusive Community at her First ConGen Press Hour with New York Media

Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega.
(Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media)

NEW YORK – One week into her assumption as Philippine Consul General to New York, Atty. Ma. Theresa Dizon-De Vega addressed members of the media from the Filipino community at the ConGen Press Hour held at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center last 7 November. The event was co-hosted by the Fil-Am Press Club of New York (FAPCNY). 

Speaking before a record audience, Consul General Dizon-De Vega expressed her pleasure in returning to New York, and conveyed her vision for a “more participative community, who are more involved with what we do here (at the Consulate).” She detailed her intention to promote greater synergy among organizations, and greater interaction for a more cohesive, cooperative and friendlier community. She vowed to reach out to more Community members outside the tristate area, and to include the youth sector and organizations in their infancy.



She stressed that the Consulate’s priority is to provide efficient and timely services to its clients, the Filipino-American community, whether they be consular, legal assistance, or public advisories on relevant and timely issues affecting the community and country.

Consul General Dizon-De Vega likewise addressed other questions touching on the prospects for Philippine trade and business in the US, the state of PH-US bilateral relations, development on the recently signed Executive Order on Freedom of Information,  transparency in the government, and helping promote Filipino talent in New York.


Vice-Consul Khrys Corpuz, Con-Gen Tess Dizon-de Vega, Ricky Rillera, President FAPCNY & Consul  Arman Talbo. (Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media)

Philippine-produced coffee and organic teas served during the presscon provided the media with samples of products from emerging MSMEs.

The Consulate will continue to hold regular Press Hours in the coming year featuring not only officials of the Consulate General but also Philippine officials.





Photos by Lambert Parong for Kababayan Media/ CC BY

November 7, 2016

#USvote | A Voter's Guide to Federal Elections


NEW YORK          NEW JERSEY


GABAY PARA SA BOTANTE
Sa Halalang Pederal 

Layon ng U.S. Election Assistance Commission(EAC) na gabayan ang botante sa proseso ng halalaan, mula pagrehistro hanggang sa pagboto sa Araw ng Eleksyon. Bukod sa pagkakaloob ng mga batayang proseso sa pagboto, nakasaad din sa gabay na ito ang mga impormasyon hinggil sa sino ang kuwalipikadong bumoto, maagang pagboto, iba’t ibang paraan ng pagrehistro at proseso para sa mga mamamayang nasa ibang bansa at botanteng nasa serbisyo ng sandatahang lakas ng bansa, at akomodasyon sa botohan na mas nagpapadali sa lahat ng mga botanie. 


KARAPAT-DAPAT BA AKONG BUMOTO?
Upang maging kuwalipikado na bumoto, kailangan na ikaw ay isang mamamayan ng Estados Unidos. Sa karamihang mga Estado, ikaw ay dapat na may edad na 18 taong gulang para makaboto. Gayunman, sa ilang mga Estado, pinahihintulutang bumoto ang mga 17 taong gulang sa primarya na nauuna sa halalan ng Nobyembre, na kung saan sila ay may edad nang 18 taong gulangAng abwat Estado ay may kani-kanilang mga kinakailangan upang maitakda ang pagka-residente para makaboto. Para sa karagdagang kaalaman hinggil sa mga kinakailangan sa bawat Estado, makipag-ugnayan sa inyong State o local election office. Nakasaad din sa National Mail Voter Registration Form ang mga kinakailangan sa bawat Estado.

TAGALOG          ENGLISH

A Voter's Guide to Federal Elections



          

November 4, 2016

New York City Hall, NYPD Announce Slate of Policies to Reduce Barriers to Safety Faced by Victims of Domestic Violence

De Blasio Administration protecting survivors’ rights, safety, paychecks and housing

Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Ferreras-Copeland introduce legislation to provide Paid Safe Leave for domestic violence victim

(Photo: Press office NY city hall)

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray recently announced a package of policies to protect domestic violence survivors, their livelihoods and their homes. Together with Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Mayor de Blasio will protect survivors and their families by introducing Paid Safe Leave legislation, which will allow survivors to take paid leave from work to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty. The City will also put housing lawyers in every Family Justice Center to aggressively defend survivors’ housing rights, and work with the NYPD to root out chronic offenders by instituting new practices to ensure law enforcement targets resources on the highest priority abusers and contacts every victim to ensure safety after an Order of Protection has been violated.
“Domestic violence is a public safety menace in every neighborhood, affecting every population, and it’s by confronting domestic violence that we will end the vicious cycle that perpetuates it,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are sending a loud and clear message – we will not tolerate domestic violence, survivors have the City’s full support, and abusers must be held accountable. In the 21st century in the greatest city on earth, those who have already suffered at the hands of those they love should never have to choose between their safety and a paycheck or their home.”
“Every day the NYPD gets roughly 800 domestic violence calls from every social and economic class and from all over the city,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, co-Chair of the Commission on Gender Equity. “Domestic violence is disturbingly common, and almost every one of us knows someone who has lived in fear of physical or emotional violence. It is time for us to come together as New Yorkers, protect the rights of victims and hold those who abuse others accountable. A safe city means a city that is safe for everyone – women, children and men.”
Across the country, jurisdictions have struggled to effectively reduce rates of domestic violence. In New York City, where crime is at historic lows, domestic violence persists. The de Blasio Administration is taking a new, interagency approach to break down silos in social service agencies and law enforcement to ensure that victims of domestic violence and their children are given the tools they need to seek safety from abuse.
To fight domestic violence, the City is protecting the paychecks, safety, housing and rights of survivors, as well as instituting new practices to ensure law enforcement is triaging domestic violence cases with the most sophisticated and effective approaches:
Protecting survivors' paychecks
No New Yorker should ever stay in a dangerous situation because they fear missing paid work to address safety needs, or face loss of income for recovering from abuse. Yet, victims of intimate partner violence across the US report an average of 7.2 days of work-related lost productivity per year.
In 2014, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation expanding Paid Sick Leave to half a million more New Yorkers, ensuring that employees who work in NYC for more than 80 hours a year can earn up to 40 hours of sick leave each year to care for themselves or a family member. Together with Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, the Mayor will protect survivors and their families by introducing Paid Safe Leave legislation, which will allow survivors to take paid leave from work to attend to immediate safety needs without fear of penalty.
Protecting survivors' housing
No survivor should ever lose their housing because of an abuser. If a person has been abused, we guarantee them a lawyer to help protect their rights and their housing.
Beginning immediately, the City will protect housing for survivors and their families by placing housing lawyers in Family Justice Centers – the City’s comprehensive resource and support centers for victims of domestic violence – in every borough to vigorously pursue every available option under law, including fighting to get the abuser off the lease, restricting an abuser's access to a survivor's home, transferring a lease from an abuser to a survivor, or end a lease without penalty if the survivor wants to move. 311, advocates and the NYPD will refer survivors to the City’s Family Justice Centers and proactively mention housing as part of its script of resources.
Protecting survivors from repeat abuse
Every abuser should know that New York City takes abuse seriously and is prioritizing quick, effective enforcement. Every victim should know that the NYPD is here to help.
Beginning immediately, the NYPD will use a new prioritization tool to track chronic abuse to ensure that officers are targeting enforcement resources toward apprehending the riskiest abusers first. And in cases where an offender violates an Order of Protection, the NYPD will also reach out to victims to connect them to safety supports. In every domestic violence case, NYPD will use precision policing to identify and target chronic domestic violence offenders.
Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Commissioner Cecile Noel said, "Mayor de Blasio's announcement is a loud and clear statement to all survivors of domestic violence in New York City: We stand with you and for you. Your job, your home, and your well-being should never have to be bargained in exchange for your safety. By providing options to survivors and holding offenders accountable, this Administration is once again proving its commitment to survivors and their families."

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking Clinical Trial of Cuban-Developed Lung Cancer Treatment at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo


Roswell Park and Havana-Based Center for Molecular Immunology Partnership Established During Governor Cuomo's 2015 Trade Mission to Cuba

First-of-Its-Kind FDA Approved Clinical Trial to Offer Cuban-Developed Therapy 

Letter from Cuban Ambassador José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez Congratulating Governor Cuomo on Historic Partnership Available Here

Governor Andrew Cuomo announces Roswell Park received FDA approval to conduct first -ever U.S. based clinical trial of lung cancer vaccine, CimaVax, developed in Cuba by Cuban Pharmaceutical Company CIM.(Photo: Gov Cuomo on Flickr)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the Buffalo-based Roswell Park Cancer Institute will launch a groundbreaking clinical trial of CIMAvax-EGF – a Cuban-developed lung cancer treatment. The announcement comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo’s landmark trade mission to Cuba last year, where he facilitated and secured the first-in-the-nation partnership between Roswell Park and the Havana-based Center of Molecular Immunology. The joint venture makes Roswell Park the first medical institution to receive FDA permission to sponsor testing of a Cuban medical therapy in the United States. The new study – which is the culmination of formal agreements between state, federal and Cuban officials during the historic 2015 trade mission – is expected to begin in November.

“This groundbreaking trial at Roswell Park is the result of our historic partnership with Cuba, and is a testament to New York’s storied legacy as a national leader in progress and innovation,” Governor Cuomo said. “With Roswell Park at the forefront of world-renowned medical research, we are this much closer to making a breakthrough that will combat cancer and save lives. This latest milestone marks another chapter in Buffalo’s success story, and we look forward to seeing the impacts of this partnership resonate in New York and across the nation.”

As the premiere U.S.-Cuban joint business venture licensed to undertake research, development and commercialization of biomedical technology, the Roswell Park-CIM partnership will foster expanded collaboration between the two medical centers. Roswell Park is the nation’s sole site authorized to offer the clinical trial – which is primarily funded through the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The study will take approximately three years to complete and will enroll between 60-90 patients.

In April 2015, Governor Cuomo led a two-day trade mission to Cuba where more than a dozen New York industry leaders convened with Cuban officials to find ways to initiate new economic partnerships as the United States and Cuba began the process of normalizing relations. During the trip, Roswell Park Cancer Institute signed an agreement with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop a unique lung cancer vaccine with a clinical trial at Roswell Park.

The trade mission facilitated face-to-face connections and enabled the two parties to reach an agreement on the final details – including the testing of the CIMAvax-EGF vaccine for lung cancer, which is already in use in Cuba. The vaccine – the result of over 25 years of study by CIM researchers – has already shown promise in controlling lung cancer, not only in Cuba, but also in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru. More than 4,000 lung cancer patients have been treated with CIMAvax-EGF in worldwide clinical trials.

The most recent, randomized study conducted by CIM scientists indicates that patients treated with the vaccine have significantly improved overall survival and quality of life compared to lung cancer patients who did not receive the vaccine, and with minimal side effects. Roswell Park researchers believe that CIMAvax-EGF may prove effective in preventing primary lung cancers — and potentially as a treatment for other cancers, such as head and neck, colon, breast, prostate and pancreas cancers.

About Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.


Statement | Archbishop Bernardito Auza at the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace & Security

On October 25,  H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the UN gave an intervention during the Security Council Open Debate on “Women, Peace and Security.”
In its statement, the Holy See noted its long advocacy for an increased involvement of women in making, maintaining and building peace and applauded the initiatives of the Security Council and governments to promote the vital role of women in mediation and preventive diplomacy, reconciliation and rebuilding. To harness women’s gifts, however, women must have access to quality education, health care, social protections, nutritious food, clean water and sanitation, employment opportunities and decent pay. Women who have suffered violence must be helped to overcome stigma and obtain justice.
The statement can be found here.