1 Million Uninsured

A new report on poverty reveals that 1,052,611 residents of Long Island under 65 have no health insurance. Yup! That's 43% of the state's 2,471,152 uninsureds. And 1 in 6 islander under 65 lacks coverage.

Here are the numbers and percentages of the uninsured by county:
    • Kings County: 335,289 - 15.9%
    • Nassau County: 173,349 - 15.1%
    • Queens County: 345,196 - 17.6
    • Suffolk County: 198,777 - 15.2%
A few questions:
    • How is it that the economically challenged Western NY counties of Erie, Monroe and Niagara have lower rates of uninsureds (11.3% - 11.9%) than wealthy LI?
    • How is it that Bronx County manages an uninsured rate of 11.1%?
    • How is it that 68% of the largely rural Upstate counties (27 of 40) have uninsured rates greater than 15% and as high as thirty per cent in state as rich as NY?
    • Furthermore, how is it that NY spends so much while managing to leave millions uninsured?
Link: 2009 New York State Poverty Report

Meet Mel Gagarin - Queens City Council Candidate, D29

Melquiades Gagarin was born in Elmhurst, Queens to a diverse family background. His father was raised in the Philippines and moved to New York to pursue a better life. Gagarin's mother is a first generation New Yorker born to Puerto Rican parents. Mel was raised largely by his grandmother Ramona and mother Maria, a nurse at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Both women emphasized the value of hard work and education.

After graduating from Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Mel took the values instilled by his family and attended The American University in Washington, D.C. Earning his degree in Political Science, it was at American where Mel developed his passion for public service, and met hisfuture wife, Aleda. After graduation, Mel served as a Board Liaison for the National Foundation for Women Legislators in Washington, a non-profit organization that helps female state legislators develop leadership skills.
LI's 20 Latino Pols = shocking under-representation
In the fall of 2005, Mel and Aleda returned to New York and moved to Kew Gardens. That same year, Mel served as the Communications Liaison to New York State Senator José Serrano in East Harlem. His work in Senator Serrano's office attracted the attention of Congressman Anthony Weiner, who hired Mel as his Community Representative.

It was in Congressman Weiner's office that Mel had the opportunity to meet with many individuals in the community. Mel became familiar with the hurdles that the average New Yorker faces in having their basic needs met by the different levels of government. Gagarin brings this same desire into his campaign to represent the 29th Council District. "Our neighborhoods need a new and vibrant vision at City Hall," says Gagarin. Our city must remain a haven of shared prosperity for New York's middle-class. Our future demands action that cannot wait."

Mel currently works as the Media Manager for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he is responsible for disseminating the organization's message of equality and justice for all Americans. Mel is a member of the New York State Young Democrats and the National Association of Black Journalists. He is also working with a group of his neighbors in Kew Gardens who areunited against irresponsible development.

Mel lives with his wife Aleda and two year old son Micah. They are expecting their second child in time for the New Year.

Source: Meet the Candidates with ChangeNYC.Org

Meet David Galarza - Brooklyn City Council Candidate, D38

Update 5/20/09: The coast is clear for Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez’s re-election campaign since challenger David Galarza on Thursday dropped out of the race for the Democratic primary election this September — after making a vigorous and outspoken campaign that promised political fireworks in the 38th Council District.

David Galarza has spent his 20 year professional career engaged in union, political, civic, religious and journalistic activities. As a candidate for the 38th City Council District (encompassing sections of Sunset Park, Red Hook, Windsor Terrace and South Slope) he plans on utilizing his experience to continue his advocacy on behalf of his fellow Brooklyn neighbors.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Sunset Park, David has been active in, and helped establish, numerous local organizations including SPAN (Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors) a grassroots civic group that works on zoning, land use and housing issues; and the Latino Youth League of Sunset Park, which ran after school and summer programs for youth and in 1993, successfully fought against the building of a sludge treatment plant planned for the area.
LI's 20 Latino Pols = shocking under-representation
David is currently a Communications Specialist for CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME. In that capacity he has helped workers obtain improved safety and health conditions, better wages and benefits, helped organize direct care workers, and fought against the closure of a several State facilities. David began his professional career as a journalist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Miami Herald. He went on to serve as a spokesperson for former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, and worked in the public affairs offices of the New York City Comptroller, the Board of Education and served as a consultant to the non-profit Children’s Aid Society.

A former member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 7, David chaired the Housing Committee. He helped organize the community against the inappropriate use of land and buildings, created an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged abuse of a local family and youth by police officers and assisted local organizations in promoting affordable housing initiatives. David has served on the boards of Latinos for National Health Insurance, The Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID). In 2003, David was named Community Advocate of the Year by the Sunset Park Lions Club.

David attended Long Island University and is a product of Brooklyn public schools. He and his wife Inez, a New York City public school speech therapist and member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), are the parents of a son, Sean, a high school junior.

Source: Meet the Candidates with ChangeNYC.Org


"A 20/20 Vision of Our Diverse Society" Featuring John Quiñones - 4.20.09

"A 20/20 Vision of Our Diverse Society"


John Quiñones

April 20, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.

St. Joseph's College
D'Ecclesiis Auditorium, O'Connor Hall
155 West Roe Blvd, Patchogue

John Quiñones is anchor of ABC's What Would You Do?, a co-anchor of Primetime, a correspondent for 20/20 and the author of Heroes Among Us: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Choices (Harper).

Winner of seven Emmy Awards, Quiñones has also been honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards Grand Prize for International Reporting.

Sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Religion in Community Life. Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call 631.447.8252 or email jmcaleer@sjcny.edu.

Related: Latino Bashing, What would you do?


Adelphi Forum on Immigration & Civic Engagement - 5.14.09

"Immigration on Long Island: New Directions and Opportunities for Civic

May 14, 20098:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m

Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom/Harley University Center, 1
South Avenue, Garden City

The forum will focus on the relationship between current global economic realities and domestic immigration policy challenges.

Keynote by Michele Wucker, executive director of the World Policy Institute and author of LOCKOUT: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right.

- Edward Romaine, Suffolk County Legislator
- Dr. Margaret Gray, Adelphi University
- Dr. David Dyssegaard Kallick, Fiscal Policy Institute

The event, supported by Adelphi’s Center for Social Innovation, is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

For more information about this and other events, visit www.adelphi.edu.
To register, call Sarah Eichberg at 516.877.4418 or email eichberg@adelphi.edu by May 7.


LI's 20 Latino Pols = shocking under-representation

The roster of Latino elected officials on Long Island increased by three in the last month to a total of twenty. Hurray!

(Now we need to elect 313 to reach parity with Whites!)

The newbies are:

1) Julissa Ferreras , Queens D , NYC Council
2) Livio Tony Rosario, Village of Hempstead Board of Trustees
3) Carmen Piñeyro, Village of Freeport Board of Trustees

It's progress -- although Latinos have a long way to go to achieve anything resembling fair representation. For example, there are about 800 White elected officials across Long Island (village, town, county, city, state and federal) excluding special districts and school boards. With a population of 3.6MM, Whites are represented on a ratio of about 4500:1. That compared to the 75,000:1 for Latinos (n=1.5MM). African Americans (n=1.7MM) do better at 41,000:1.

Include school boards and special districts and the White representation ratio drops below 2,000:1. Add in appointees on government commissions, nonprofit boards and business associations and the racial/ethnic representation gap grows exponentially.

This is not to advocate racial or ethnic proportional representation. There are wonderful examples of politicians very ably representing diverse constituencies. And then there are 'machine' politicians of all shades that are more interested in serving themselves and their political bosses.

Nonetheless, it is not healthy in a multi-ethnic community for one group to have so small a voice into the affairs and policies of government. A glaring example of the problems under-representation creates can be seen in the dismissive attitudes of Suffolk County officials to hate crimes against African Americans and Latinos. Another example--which no one talks about--is the distribution of government funding and philanthropic grants.

Long Island's 20 Latino elected officials:

Anthony Jimenez, City of Glen Cove Council
Carmen Piñeyro, Village of Freeport Board of Trustees
David Mejias, Nassau County Legislature
Diana Reyna, Brooklyn, City Council
Felix Ortiz, Brooklyn, NY Assembly
Hiram Monserrate, NY Senate
Jorge A. Martinez, Village of Freeport Board of Trustees
José R. Peralta, Queens, NY Assembly
Julissa Ferreras, Queens, NYC Council
Livio Tony Rosario, Village of Hempstead Trustee
Maria-Christina Poons, Town of North Hempstead Council
Mark A. Bonilla, Town of Hempstead, Town Clerk
Martin Malavé Dilan, Brooklyn, NY Senate
Nydia Velázquez, Brooklyn-Queens, U.S. Congress
Phil Ramos, Suffolk, NY Assembly
Ricardo Montano, Suffolk County Legislature
Sara M. Gonzalez, Brooklyn, NYC Council
Tony Martinez, Town of Babylon Council
Vito J. Lopez, Brooklyn, NY Assembly
Vivian Viloria Fisher, Suffolk County Legislature


Citizenship Day

Citizenship Day

Free legal assistance with your naturalization application.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

10:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.

Hofstra Law School
121 California Ave., Room 230
Hempstead, NY 11549

This event is sponsored by the American Immigration Layers Association (AILA) and Hofstra Law School.