2-15-2021: NY Daily News – NYC Politicians Urge 9/11 Victims to get Covid Vaccines, but Too Little, Too Late

Although New York City politicians have encouraged 9/11 victims and responders to get Covid vaccines, many claim that they should have been given access much sooner because 9/11 victims suffer disproportionately from pulmonary conditions.

Read article here….

http://NYC POLITICIANS URGE 9/11 SURVIVORS TO GET COVID VACCINE — BUT ADVOCATES DECRY LATE ACCESS

1/21/2021: National September 11 Memorial & Museum, Former Stuyvesant Student Becomes 9/11 Advocate for Fellow Students

Lila Nordstrom was 17 years old and a high school student at Stuyvesant in downtown Manhattan when the 9/11 disaster struck. When about to graduate from college, she heard about some of her former fellow students starting to get sick from 9/11-related conditions. She decided to write her elected officials and become an advocate for young people affected by 9/11 to seek health care.

Read more here…

http://STORIES OF HOPE: FROM HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT TO 9/11 HEALTH ADVOCATE

2/16/2021: Message from the VCF Special Master

The Special Master of the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund issued the following message in conjunction with the issuance of its Ninth Annual Report of the Fund:

Message from the Special Master 

February 16, 2021

While it is impossible to review the past year without mention of the enormous challenges presented by COVID-19, and its particularly severe impact on the 9/11 community, I am proud to report that the VCF’s work on their behalf continued with almost no disruption throughout 2020. Because this report is designed to summarize the year, it includes details of how the VCF overcame some specific impacts of COVID-19, but more importantly, it provides a comprehensive review of a very successful 2020, which ended with the VCF having communicated awards totaling nearly $7.76 billion to over 34,400 individuals over the course of its ten years in operation.

We began the year energized and inspired by the opportunities provided by the July 2019 passage of the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (“VCF Permanent Authorization Act”). Relieved to have what we thought was a very challenging year of unprecedented change behind us, we set ambitious internal goals for 2020 and focused on what needed to happen to transition the program to reflect its new permanent status.

That transition continues apace, focused on the operational sustainability of the program, providing enhanced service to claimants that lead to timely and equitable awards, and, as always, reducing the time it takes for an award to be made. At the same time, we remain committed to enhancing our outreach efforts to ensure that every person who might be eligible for a VCF award is aware of the program and has the resources and support they need to register and file a claim. There is more information on our efforts to expand and enhance the accessibility of information about the VCF – including our newly redesigned website – in the pages ahead.

I am particularly pleased to report on our overall productivity this year. In early March, given the emergence of COVID-19, the VCF team transitioned to a nearly all-remote workforce in a matter of days, with almost no interruptions to our work. As The Year in Numbers on page five confirms, we maintained or exceeded all measures of productivity, with the exception of our Appeals process, which slowed down in our effort to protect vulnerable claimants in the New York area, but came back strong through the ingenuity of our hearings team, and the cooperation of claimants and their representatives. (See page 14 for details.)

As we look to 2021, it is worth noting that we began 2019 with great uncertainty about the future of the VCF as funds were being expended much more quickly than expected, and yet, against all odds, we ended that year with the best possible outcome. With funding assured, we began 2020 with great optimism, ready to chart a strong and sustainable course for the future of the VCF, and despite COVID-19, we have persevered. And while some uncertainty remains as we begin this New Year, I am confident that whatever comes our way, the VCF team is well-prepared and well-positioned to continue advancing our vital mission on behalf of the 9/11 community we so proudly serve.

Sincerely,

Rupa Bhattacharyya

2/9/2021: Power of Ten Advises of NYCLU Delivering Letter with 1,000 + Signatures re: Ongoing Civil Rights Violations in East Ramapo

Steve White of Power of Ten writes the following in their newsletter:

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is taking on “21st Century Jim Crow Education” in East Ramapo.

Last week, together with the Spring Valley NAACP, they delivered a letter with more than 1500 signatures to the State Education Commissioner urging her to take immediate action to stop the ongoing civil rights violations in the East Ramapo Central School District.

2/8/2021: NY State Candidates Bring Lawsuit vs. Governor Cuomo & Mayor De Blasio re: Petitioning

On February 8, 2021, the New York State Democratic Committee issued a press release stating that over 100 NY State candidates and volunteers commenced a lawsuit to protect the health of New Yorkers in the face of Covid-19. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who supported the lawsuit, made the following statement:

“This lawsuit is an effort to prevent the impending and inevitable spread of COVID-19 that would come when in dozens of races, hundreds of candidates may be required to send thousands of volunteers to have in-person contact with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in order to collect signatures and access the 2021 ballot.”

Read the press release…

http://bit.ly/2ZaJFhb

10/27/2020: NYPD & School Security Prevent Asian-Americans from Entering Carranza Meeting

Asian-American students were harassed and kept from entering a meeting at a school after they participated in a protest against proposed changes By Chancellor Carranza to testing and admissions requirements for NYC specialized high schools. Advocates for Justice has commenced a lawsuit on behalf of Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York and five individual Asian-American plaintiffs against Carranza, Mayor De Blasio, the Assistant Principal of the school where the meeting was held and several police officers.

Read more….

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-doe-carranza-asian-american-protests-suit-20201027-7eisuxch35g5fog6nxdivoq6py-story.html

8/3/2020: US District Court Rules Absentee Ballots Shall be Validated

Judge Torres of the US District Court, Southern District of NY, ruled on 8/3/2020 that any otherwise valid absentee ballots received at a Board of Elections office by June 24th (whether or not postmarked) and any such ballots received on June 25th (if postmarked no later than June 23rd) shall be deemed valid.

Read the decision here…

http://8-3-2020-us-district-court-rules-absentee-ballots-shall-be-validated

5/5/2020: US District Court Grants Injunction Reinstating Yang & Delegates to NYS Presidential Primary Ballot

In a decision by Judge Torres of the US District Court, Southern Division, it was ordered that Andrew Yang and plaintiff delegates be reinstated to the ballot of the NY State Presidential Primary ballot. In the words of Judge Torres: “the Court’s injunction restores all ten presidential candidates named in the April 27 Resolution, and their respective slates of delegate candidates, to the New York Democratic presidential primary ballot, and requires that the primary election be held on June 23, 2020.”

Read the decision here…

https://a4justice.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/yang-v.-nys-board-of-elections-5.pdf

NY Times 6/12/19: How Jon Stewart Became Fierce Advocate for 9/11 Responders

How Jon Stewart Became a Fierce Advocate for 9/11 Responders

“You should be ashamed of yourselves,” the former “Daily Show” host told lawmakers on Capitol Hill for not funding health care for emergency personnel.

Jon Stewart, the comedian and former host of “The Daily Show,” became emotional on Tuesday while speaking on Capitol Hill about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He called lawmakers who skipped the House hearing “an embarrassment to the country.”CreditCreditZach Gibson/Getty Images

Jon Stewart, speaking on Capitol Hill about the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, was not the cool, detached comedian that television viewers are accustomed to.

Instead, faced with empty seats as he spoke on Tuesday to a House Judiciary subcommittee about a bill to secure funding for ailing Sept. 11 victims, the former host of “The Daily Show” was outraged, at times pounding his fist on the table, shouting at lawmakers and choking up as he came close to tears.

“It’s an embarrassment to the country,” Mr. Stewart said, criticizing members of Congress for skipping the hearing.

“And you should be ashamed of yourselves,” he scolded.

Read more…

Newsweek 6/12/19: Why Won’t Congress Fund the 9/11 First Responder Bill?

Why Won’t Congress Fund the 9/11 First Responders Bill?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that he was unaware that there was legislation in play to permanently renew the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and that he had dealt with the issue in a compassionate way in the past.

“Gosh, I hadn’t looked at that lately. I’ll have to. We’ve always dealt with that in the past in a compassionate way, and I assume we will again,” he told reporters.
But during the last renewal fight in 2015, McConnell was instrumental in voting down a permanent version of the fund and only agreed to a temporary, five-year renewal after facing months of pressure from comedian Jon Stewart, an activist for the fund.

“So far, he has been an enormous obstacle, unwilling to move the bill forward for purely political reasons,” Stewart said of McConnell at the time. “He’s not nice.”

Stewart slammed Congress yesterday for failing to prioritize a permanent renewal for the fund, which provides health care and aid to first responders and those around Ground Zero after the 2001 attacks.

Read more…