Why does the vote matter?
Views of a Fellow on:
The November 4, 2014 Mid-Term Elections
by Andre Mozeak Thursday, October 30, 2014
It hurts our sensibility to think that most people willingly throw away good opportunities, however when election time rolls around the hard reality about one such chance to affect long-term change is plain. It’s perfectly summed up by a pun in Spanish, imparted on this writer by an impassioned voter at a doorstep in Washington Heights: “Todo el mundo piensa que se vota la basura” he told me, agitated at the thought. All I got at first was “Everyone thinks that the trash votes”, until I walked a few buildings down and noticed a sign over a garbage chute that read “bota la basura aqui”; botar meaning “to throw something (out)”. Anyone familiar with the historical B and V switch descended from Old Spanish might see the man’s intention. His critique was, essentially, that too many people “throw away” their vote.
Voter inactivity cuts society with two edges. One candidate losing to another is the most obvious consequence, but is arguably of lesser importance. The second result of low turnout, small demographic slices to be counted by statisticians, has much broader effects on long-term platform planning, resource allocation, and candidate selection. It should be persuasive enough to show people that 20 minutes spent going to the polls is a worthwhile four-year investment (or more, in the case of Judges); in the grand scheme of things though, the investment is much larger.
It is crucial that our members and their communities add themselves to the ever important turnout percentages this year. No matter who comes out ahead, the next set of candidates in a few years will know that minorities and workers specifically will hold them accountable, and would likely aim to please both groups by committing larger platform attention to their interests. This is the difference between an elected official who “supports the working class” in name, and one who wants to come to your street to make sure your garbage gets picked up. This weekend, along with trick-or-treaters, expect plenty of hard-working Get Out the Vote volunteers to come knocking. They certainly still deserve candy, but more importantly, make sure to give them a few minutes of your time and the assurance that they’ll see you at your poll site. Please: vote early, vote late, just make sure to “vota y no bota la oportunidad!”
Open Letter to the NYPD from Times Square Performers
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For One Billion People on the Move, an Agenda for Justice is a Call for Community.
Views of a Fellow on:
Global Migration, the UN, and Sustainability
by Andre Mozeak Friday, October 17th, 2014
We rarely get the chance to appreciate our impact on the global debate over effective migration policy; our local work has been important, but problems facing moving populations worldwide can sometimes seem totally overwhelming. Still, with a careful eye out for happenings in the international arena, it’s refreshing to notice the much needed activity going on at the United Nations regarding the role of global migration in sustainable development. Among other things, the creation of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda could serve as a progressive action plan for the United States on challenges facing immigration and ethnic plurality.
Recently, I attended a conference at the UN for youth from grassroots organizations to learn about some early proposals for items on the agenda. While the issues tackled by panelists at the discussion were wide-ranging, they only narrowly touched upon migration and what a sustainable future for migrants should look like. Away from the panel and speaking with other audience members however, I noted a deep interest in La Fuente’s civic participation work and other avenues for better policies of inclusion.
The national and international presence represented at the conference was highly encouraging. Youth representatives from places like Colombia, Kansas, and Germany attended; each one experiencing migration in a different way in their home setting. A common conviction held by youth in the group and promoted briefly in the panel discussion was that a multilateral approach is needed to support migrants, destination countries, and departure countries if we want to achieve true sustainability. Sustainable goals need social justice.
Bridge Builders 2014 Annual Awards Reception
(Click on image to register online)
Our annual Bridge Builders Awards is just around the corner and it is sure to be a memorable one. This year the reception will be held at the gorgeous Manhattan Penthouse (80 5th Avenue, New York, NY). As always, our Annual Bridge Builders Awards honors individuals and institutions who believe in building bridges across diverse sectors to make our society more just and equal for all. This year, our Labor Honoree is none other than Mario Cilento, President of New York State AFL-CIO. We honor his commitment to working families and bridging communities on issues that impact us all.
Over the years, our organization has made great strides in advancing the needs of the community and it has only happened because of generous supporters like you. Join us on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 and help us continue our work of Building a Better Tomorrow. We look forward to seeing you in what is sure to be an outstanding celebration!