FAITH BEAT: HOT SOUP AND SONG: A Community singalong and soup share at First Presbyterian Church next weekend will help fight food insecurity. Friends and neighbors are invited to bring a favorite soup—chicken or vegan, in a crock pot (plugs, cups and spoons provided) or other appliance to keep warm, and support the Brooklyn Heights Community Fridge, which provides food for people in need. The acclaimed First Presbyterian Church Choir will lead joyous holiday songs while people share new and different soups during the event starting at 12:30 following worship.
The Fridge, “built by neighbors for neighbors,” is housed in a unique brownstone shed at 124 Henry St. in Brooklyn Heights in front of the First Presbyterian Church. The Fridge is open 24/7 to donate fresh food or select a healthy meal when you need it, with the motto: “Take What You Need; Leave What You Don’t.”
STRENGTHENING BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES: This Thursday, the New York Christian Times hosts “reSURGEnce: Building Black Businesses Back Better 2022.” The faith-based business advocacy group, which has marked its 30th anniversary during 2021, holds its clergy, corporate and community awards luncheon at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to promote and strengthen Black-owned businesses.
Corporate sponsors for the day, which includes an exhibit of vendors in loan and grant areas, contracts and certifications, include the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Chase Bank, Carver Bank, Rite Aid, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies as well as the New York City Department of Small Business Services.
IPS NEWS: PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING PROJECT: Brooklyn Diaper Project and Refoundry have launched three diaper hubs as part of a pilot project to help families gain access to this essential household supply. These diaper hubs will be stationed throughout Brooklyn’s 39th Councilmanic District as a solution to make diapers more readily available to families in need. The Brooklyn Diaper Project, in making the hubs, has partnered with Refoundry, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit organization whose programs provide formerly incarcerated neighbors with the skills, experience, and mentorship to achieve financial independence as they learn the crafts of designing and building home furnishings using discarded materials. reducing unemployment and recidivism.
District 39 constituents had last spring picked the diaper hub pilot project for funding via participatory budgeting. The first three hubs will serve families at 3 sites in Brooklyn: People in Need, Camp Friendship, and Mixteca.
IPS NEWS: CONSUMER ALERT ON HEARING AIDS: New York Attorney General Letitia James has issued a consumer alert warning New Yorkers about deceptive companies selling over-the-counter hearing aids that are unregulated. State law authorizes only licensed audiologists or hearing aid dispensers to sell hearing aids— and only after such a provider has performed an exam and fitting.
Advertisements for new OTC hearing aids have already targeted New York consumers, even though there are currently no OTC hearing aids that have received FDA approval.
IPS NEWS: The City Council last week unanimously passed a law ensuring that all city employees are automatically informed that they may be eligible for public service loan forgiveness —under either a federal or state program —with the belief that student loan forgiveness has the potential to change the long-term economic future of millions of U.S. employees who have dedicated their careers to public service. The bill, which City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, sponsored, also mandates that the city alert its 330,000 employees that they may be able to eventually cancel their student debt, and requires the NYC Office of Labor Policy & Standards to conduct an outreach and education campaign within New York’s massive non-profit sector.
Non-profit employers will be strongly encouraged to share information about student loan forgiveness with the more than 600,000 workers who are an essential part of the city’s social safety net.
IPS NEWS: DENOUNCING ANTI-LGBTQ HATE CRIMES: In the aftermath of a brutal attack on a Coney Island resident, Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus on Friday joined with Coney Island residents, community leaders, anti-violence organizations and LGBTQ advocates in front of her district office to denounce this action and the citywide rise in hate crimes. The anti-LGBTQ assault left a Coney Island resident with serious injuries, including a fractured eye socket that required reconstructive surgery.
Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes have risen by 139 percent this year, according to the NYPD. Citing this statistic as critical, Frontus called for more resources to prevent these incidents and to provide greater assistance and resources for victims of hate crimes.
IPS NEWS: New York Attorney General Letitia James is continuing her fight to prevent the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the National Rifle Association. After the conclusion of oral arguments, Attorney General James stated, “The NRA is fraught with fraud, abuse and illegality that has permeated the organization — this is why we filed our lawsuit to remove senior leadership and dissolve the organization last year. For more than a year now, the NRA has utilized one tactic after another to delay accountability, but each time the courts have rejected these maneuvers.”
During a hearing on Friday, Dec. 10, the court repeatedly recognized the extensive and detailed allegations of misconduct in Attorney General James’ complaint against the NRA.
IPS NEWS: BIPARTISAN REBUKE OF TURKEY’S REGIONAL AGGRESSION: U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis’ (NY-11) resolution, “Condemning Turkey for its repeated aggression toward Cyprus,” was reported out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee with bipartisan support. Specifically, her resolution strongly condemns Turkey’s continued military presence in Cyprus and calls on Turkey to immediately withdraw all of its estimated 35,000 troops; calls on Turkey to adhere to the democratic principles and mission of NATO and to reverse its actions in Varosha that breach international law, increase tensions and hinder efforts to resume Cyprus settlement talks; and to take other actions toward stabilizing the region politically and economically.
As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Malliotakis has been a relentless advocate for Cyprus’ independence. She has called on the Biden Administration to make resolving this issue a top foreign policy priority.
MILESTONE: ERNESTA PROCOPE, INSURANCE PIONEER: The New York Times reports the death of Ernesta G. Procope, 98, who transformed a storefront insurance brokerage in Bedford-Stuyvesant “into what was billed as the nation’s largest insurance agency owned by a Black woman, with headquarters on Wall Street,” according to an obituary by Times veteran Sam Roberts. Mrs. Procope fought to provide African Americans and people in economically-depressed areas with access to insurance, even though major insurers dismissed and redlined neighborhoods they deemed marginal. The innovative “Mrs. Procope’s firm hired limousines to ferry insurance executives there from Manhattan. She also pressed the state to establish its Fair Access to Insurance Requirements plan for homeowners in high-risk areas who would otherwise have been denied standard policies,” writes Roberts.
Her plan was a model for similar programs in other states, and her firm became one of the first major Black-owned businesses there on Wall Street.