Planning to Protect Nassau County’s Communities

(Photo via Noticia)

Dozens of local residents, community leaders and advocates gathered on Sunday, Jan. 8 in Nassau County at an event seeking to create a safe space for people to express their concerns regarding the divisive rhetoric promoted during the 2016 electoral campaign and growing racial tensions. Participants sought to find ways to protect those who are directly affected by discrimination and prejudice, including immigrants, communities of color, women, the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community, among others, said the organizers.

“Our congregations affirm the value and dignity of every person, and we fight for justice, equality and compassion in human relations. As a religion of ‘facts, not beliefs,’ we work to turn our faith into actions to create a better world by making a commitment to social justice issues,” said Diane Cohen, co-president of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau (UUCCN) and a member of the Long Island Unitarian Universalist Fund (LIUUF) Advisory Committee.

“A new presidential administration will be sworn in, which means that Planned Parenthood of Nassau County and our community allies will enter one of the most dangerous moments in our history. Without the promise of a presidential veto, the only thing that could stop this hateful rhetoric and the new presidential administration’s agenda is us. We will not rest, we will not back down, and we will fight to ensure a safer and more just society for all people. No matter what,” said Shayne Larkin, public affairs coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.

For his part, Walter Barrientos, coordinator for Long Island’s Make the Road New York said: “This is the moment for all people of good conscience in Long Island to commit to connect and understand the life experiences of other Long Islanders who are different from us. This is the moment to acknowledge that we are more alike than different and that we must come together to protect the dignity, security and humanity of all, regardless of race, income, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The event was also attended by young immigrant rights activists. Angel Reyes, member of Long Island Immigrant Students Advocates, said: “We have witnessed first-hand the fear in the eyes of immigrant students. Some of them are DACA recipients like me, and with the new presidential administration’s promise of doing away with President Obama’s executive orders, many fear they will have to return to the shadows. This is why we will work together with different organizations and allies across Long Island; first to resist the new administration and, also, to organize our communities and find ways to stop the fear and panic of our people.”

For her part, Eileen C. Buckley, of the Long Island Advocacy Center, said: “All students, regardless of their immigration status, have the right under federal and state law to go to school and get quality education in a safe environment. The Long Island Advocacy Center can help parents to know their educational rights and claim them.”

District Attorney of Nassau County Madeline Singas said: “The Office of Immigrant Affairs was created to protect individuals from being victimized and to encourage victims and witnesses to speak up. We will make this clear – the rights of any group being attacked in Nassau County will be protected. We are here for you.”

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