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Melissa Mark-Viverito

Melissa Mark-Viverito

  • Officials Discuss Gender Equity, Sexism at ‘Diversity’ Conference

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    The "On Diversity" panel; photo via William Alatriste for the City Council


    What are "women’s issues"? When should men recognize their privilege and stand down? Speak up? How do women in public life talk about everyday sexism and engage men in that dialogue?

    These were just a few of the questions asked on Tuesday during one panel discussion at City & State NY’s annual “On Diversity” conference. Elected officials, business professionals, journalists, members of academia, and others gathered to discuss issues of race and gender in

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  • New Yorkers, Including the Presidential Nominees, Head to the National Party Conventions

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    The RNC approaches (image via @GOPconvention)


    The next two weeks will see the formal nominations of the two major party candidates in the contest to succeed Barack Obama as President of The United States. First, this week, Republicans are expected to nominate Donald J. Trump, who on Saturday morning introduced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. On Saturday, Trump promised “we’re going to have an incredible convention.” The theme of the convention is "Make America Great Again," which has been Trump's campaign

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  • Mark-Viverito Identifies Successor for Council Seat

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    Melissa Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alatriste)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has endorsed her Deputy Chief of Staff Diana Ayala to replace her in 2017 as the councilmember from District 8, which covers East Harlem and the South Bronx.

    Mark-Viverito, who will be term-limited out of office next year, announced her support for Ayala in a Facebook post on July 3. “Thinking ahead has never been a fault of mine,”

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  • City’s Menstrual Equity Laws Will Help Reduce Period Stigma

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    A City Hall rally in support of menstrual equity


    My period got me suspended from school. That should not happen to anyone. Yet in New York City and elsewhere, people who have periods—including transgender and gender-nonconforming people—still struggle to access menstrual products and the resources they need. This can hurt their ability to succeed academically, personally, and professionally.

    New York just made history when the City Council approved the nation’s first bills of their kind to provide free tampons and pads in all public schools, homeless

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  • Required in Some Cases, Home Rule Sheds Light on City-State Power Dynamic

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    At The City Council (photo: Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    Late last Friday night, many New Yorkers—especially elected officials—looked on as lawmakers in Albany made a frenzied effort to pass legislation hours after their session had been scheduled to end. Although most of the legislation classified as statewide, or “general” laws, several bills would impact a select few regions or New York City specifically, most notably, perhaps, mayoral control of New York City schools.

    While

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  • With Few Reservations, Council Finalizes New $82 Billion City Budget

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    The Mayor & the City Council (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council chambers at City Hall were filled with grief on Tuesday. Before the Council would conduct its business for the day -- approving an $82.1 billion budget for the city’s 2017 fiscal year -- members first paid their respects to the 49 people killed by a terrorist who shot patrons at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Sunday. One by one, Council members read out the names of victims and placed small electric candles on the dais at the front of the chamber. Almost every Council member

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  • De Blasio, City Council Shake on $82 Billion Budget

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    Mayor & Speaker shake on fiscal 2017 budget deal (photo: William Alatriste)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council announced a deal on an $82.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2017 on Wednesday, marking the earliest date in 15 years that a budget agreement has been reached. De Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito undertook the ceremonial handshake at City Hall after presiding over a press conference announcing the details of the deal, including the significant changes from the mayor’s executive budget plan.

    An early budget was

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  • De Blasio Administration Backs Council Push for Increased Tampon Access

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    Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (photo: William Alatriste)


    Representatives from the de Blasio administration testified in “strong support” of a package of legislation to make feminine hygiene products readily available and free in New York City public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities on Thursday at the City Council’s first hearing on the bills since they were introduced in

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  • Time to Say and Do More for Women's Health

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    Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams


    Tampons. Periods. Breastfeeding. Hot flashes.

    These terms, and others relevant to women’s health, have traditionally been considered taboo — inappropriate for polite conversation and therefore left unmentioned. That silence has had serious consequences for women and girls, who are denied access to feminine hygiene products, charged more at the cash register for “women’s” versions of household items, and made to feel ashamed about their bodies.

    This taboo extends to sexual health, with terrible costs for young

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  • Several Council Asks Remain as City Budget Negotiations Hit Home Stretch

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    The Mayor and Council discuss the budget (all photos: William Alatriste)


    City budget season entered its home stretch last week when the City Council conducted its final hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82.2 billion executive budget for fiscal year 2017. With a deal between the Council and the mayor due by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, the parties will largely negotiate behind closed doors, with funding levels for a number of major priorities on the table. There are also lingering questions about savings and how much

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  • Council to Hear Bills on Providing Tampons at Shelters, Prisons & Schools

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    Council Members Gibson, Ferreras-Copeland, Mark-Viverito (l-r) (photo: William Alatriste)


    The City Council is about to take the next step toward making feminine hygiene products readily available, and free, in New York City public schools, shelters, and correctional facilities. On Thursday, June 2, the Council’s Committee on Women’s Issues will hold its first hearing on a package of bills to ...

  • Serving the Last Generation of Holocaust Survivors in New York

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    Mrs. Klein, a Holocaust survivor, with Council Member Levine (William Alatriste)


    “If our stories do not survive when we are gone, then six million Jews were murdered in vain.” That sobering call to action from Mrs. Klein, one of the 4,700 Holocaust survivors served by Selfhelp Community Services each year, rings especially true as we marked Yom HaShoah, the annual commemoration of Jewish survival through last century’s great tragedy.

    At this time of the year, we are once again reminded to share the stories of

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  • City Council Passes Criminal Justice Reform Act

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    NYPD Commissioner Bratton with officers (photo: @CommissBratton)


    The City Council voted on Wednesday to pass the Criminal Justice Reform Act, a package of eight bills largely aimed at diverting low-level nonviolent offenses from criminal to civil matters.

    Offenses such as public urination, littering, drinking alcohol in public, and being in a park after hours are currently enforced as criminal misdemeanors and prosecuted in criminal courts, at times resulting in permanent criminal records for offenders. Under these bills, spearheaded by Council

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  • A Budget for the City of Immigrants

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    Students of an adult literacy class (photo: Make the Road New York)


    In recent years, New York City has taken major strides forward in its engagement with immigrant communities. Under the leadership of Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the Council as a whole, our city has adopted and invested in new initiatives to welcome and protect immigrants and embrace their tremendous economic, cultural, and political contributions.

    Now, with the 2017 budget process in final negotiations, our leaders have a key

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  • City Council to Pass Reforms Aimed at Broken Windows Policing

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    City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: William Alariste)


    City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has a year and a half left on the job and is clearly focused on making criminal justice reform a centerpiece of her legacy. While a commission formed by the speaker explores other changes to the city’s criminal justice system and the idea of closing the notorious Rikers Island jail complex, the City Council on Wednesday will vote on a package of bills that will in large part establish civil rather than criminal punishment for low-level nonviolent offenses and

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  • Council to Hold First Budget Hearing for New Veterans' Services Department

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    Mayor de Blasio with Commissioner Sutton (in blue) (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    On Friday, the New York City Council will hold the first-ever budget hearing for the newly created Department of Veterans’ Services.

    The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs is transitioning into the Department of Veterans’ Services, a standalone department with a distinct agency budget and providing expanded services for the city’s 225,000 military veterans. The department became official in April and will now proceed to rollout over the next year, increasing staff

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  • Top 10 Accomplishments of Progressive Leadership & The Need to #ProtectProgress

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    Council Members Richards, left, and Reynoso, the authors, address a crowd


    As co-chairs of the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, we have worked closely with Mayor de Blasio since he took office. It is clear that the mayor has delivered for our constituents and all 8.4 million New Yorkers in transformative ways. From affordable housing to quality jobs to expanded educational programming, New Yorkers are doing better and the scale of the accomplishments is substantial.

    In partnership with our Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the City Council, Mayor

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  • Armed with New Report, Supporters to Push De Blasio on Summer Youth Employment

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    Council Member Eugene & advocates for youth summer camps (photo: @CAMBAInc)


    When the City Council held its first hearing on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Executive Budget for fiscal year

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  • Legislation Aimed at Holding City Accountable for Rezoning Commitments

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    Announcement at City Hall (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    With the recent passage of the East New York rezoning and community development plan, the city committed to revitalizing the neglected Brooklyn neighborhood by creating affordable housing, investing in community infrastructure, and promoting economic development. The first among 15 neighborhood rezonings planned by Mayor Bill de Blasio, East New York ushers in a new era of planned change and city promises.

    As these rezoning and

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 2

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    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week starts amid a swirl of controversy - there are several ongoing investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio, his administration, his allies, and their fundraising practices; and, news broke Friday of ongoing investigations into associates of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including his former top aide

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  • Homeowners Stand to Gain in Areas to be Rezoned, If They Can Keep Their Homes

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Rob Bennett, Mayor's Office)


    As plans to spur new development in areas around New York City proceed, mostly silence surrounds the experience of homeowners who are being pressured by investors to sell. Prior to the City Council’s approval of rezoning East New York, Brooklyn last week, there had been little public discussion of how or whether to ameliorate real estate speculation on small homes. At least in East New York, some homeowner protections have been introduced to the plan, but investor-backed

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  • De Blasio Releases New $82B Budget with 'Targeted Investments,' Additional Savings

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    photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office


    Mayor Bill de Blasio released his $82.2 billion Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2017 on Tuesday, increasing spending by about $100 million from his proposed preliminary budget while expressing concern about a possible economic slowdown and the effects of consistent underinvestment by the state and federal governments.

    The executive budget “continues a trajectory of progressive, responsible and honest budgeting,” the mayor said at the release at City Hall. “We believe that disciplined

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  • Rethinking ‘Women’s Issues’ in Public Policy

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    Council Members Rosenthal (front) and Cumbo (photo: William Alatriste)


    Access to reproductive health care is generally viewed as a “women’s issue,” a label that some say excludes men and more specific impacted groups from a variety of important conversations, and can make it more difficult for so-labeled issues to get the attention they deserve from public policy-makers. While closing the wage gap, securing paid family leave, combatting sexual assault and domestic violence, and protecting and improving access to reproductive health care impact everyone, not just

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  • City Council Budget Response Seeks New Spending, More Savings

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    Mayor de Blasio briefs Council members on his budget (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The City Council on Monday issued its formal response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $82 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, capping a month of budget hearings that were fraught with ...

  • Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change

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    Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)


    Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.

    “Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the

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