- 1 Background
- 2 Puerto Rican official
- 3 Politics
- 4 Ackerman connection
- 5 Dinkins support
- 6 Endorsements
- 7 Praised Puerto Rican communist
- 8 Article reprinted in PWW
- 9 Haiti arrest
- 10 Anti NAFTA Bill
- 11 "Eliminating Corporate Welfare"
- 12 Women Strike for Peace
- 13 Welcoming Castro
- 14 "Jobs and Investment Bill"
- 15 Sponsored Communist Party "Jobs Bill"
- 16 1998 Working Families Party co-chairs
- 17 Terrorist pardon
- 18 Congressional Progressive Caucus
- 19 Congressional Hispanic Caucus
- 20 Cuban Humanitarian Trade Act
- 21 Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
- 22 Pro Democracy Convention
- 23 Progressive agenda" on Puerto Rico
- 24 United for Peace and Justice
- 25 WIDF affiliated United States "Regional Workshops"
- 26 Peace Pledge Coalition
- 27 Obama's Latino Advisory Council
- 28 Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
- 29 Campaign to Make Immigration Reform a Top Issue in 2010
- 30 Asian Americans for Equality
- 30.1 Freddie Mac funding for AAFE
- 30.2 NeighborWorks America event
- 30.3 Marching with Margaret Chin, Chinese Flags
- 30.4 Death of Private Chen
- 30.5 Going after the Army
- 30.6 Danny Chen Walkway
- 30.7 Asian Americans for Equality, 38th Anniversary
- 30.8 "Stop the Violence" rally
- 30.9 Dream of Equality awardee
- 30.10 Renaissance connection
- 30.11 Endorsed AAFE 2016 banquet
- 31 PDA connection
- 32 “When Women Succeed"
- 33 Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections
- 34 PODER PAC Honorary Co-chairs
- 35 Working Families Party
- 36 ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
- 37 2015 Cuba visit
- 38 New York City honors Medicares 50th Birthday
- 39 Left pressure on Iran nuclear deal
- 40 Staff
- 41 External links
- 42 References
Congresswoman Velázquez is currently serving her tenth term in Congress. In the 112th Congress, she is the Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee and a senior member of the Financial Services Committee.
In 1992, she was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In February 1998, she was named Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Hispanic woman to serve as Ranking Member of a full House committee. Most recently, in 2006, she was named Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Latina to chair a full Congressional committee.
Velazquez is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Velázquez was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico - a small town of sugar-cane fields - in 1953, and was one of nine children. Velázquez started school early, skipped several grades, and became the first person in her family to receive a college diploma. At the age of 16, she entered the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. She graduated magna cum laude in 1974 with a degree in political science. After earning a master’s degree on scholarship from N.Y.U., Velázquez taught Puerto Rican studies at CUNY’s Hunter College in 1981.
Puerto Rican official
By 1986, Velázquez served as the Director of the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in the United States. During that time, she initiated one of the most successful Latino empowerment programs in the nation’s history - "Atrevete" (Dare to Go for It!).
In 1992, after months of running a grassroots political campaign, Velázquez was elected to the House of Representatives to represent New York's 12th District. Her district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is the only tri-borough district in the New York City congressional delegation. Encompassing many diverse neighborhoods, it is home to a large Latino population, with pockets of Polish communities, and parts of Chinatown. 
In the 1989 New York City mayoral race, Ackerman ran the labor effort for David Dinkins in Brooklyn for the Central Labor Council.
As campaign manager for Nydia Velazquez in 1992, Ackerman ran a successful campaign against incumbent Steven Solarz for the newly created Congressional seat in the 12th District of New York. Moving to Washington, DC after the race, Ackerman served as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Velazaquez until 1996.
In her 1992 Democratic primary, Velasquez ran against two other Puerto Ricans Elizabeth Colon and Ruben Franco, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Velasquez won the primary, receiving endorsements from New York mayor and Democratic Socialists of America member David Dinkins, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressmen Jose Serrano and Edolphus Towns, Local 1199 leader Dennis Rivera and Teamsters leader Barry Feinstein and Puerto Rico governor Rafael Hernandez Colon.
New York DSA awards dinner
On June 24, 1993 New York City Democratic Socialists of America held its annual Debs-Thomas-Harrington awards dinner. Local 1199 president Dennis Rivera and DSA member Deborah Meier of the Central Park East Secondary School, received awards.Featured speakers included New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, Manhattan Borough President and DSA member Ruth Messinger and DSA honorary chair Cornel West. U.S. Rep. Nydia Velasquez, who was unable to attend because of Congressional commitments, sent greetings.
"Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"
In 1995, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, David Bonior, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Cynthia McKinney, Maurice Hinchey, Major Owens, Nydia Velasquez, John Conyers, Bob Filner, Alcee Hastings, Lane Evans, Edolphus Towns, Jim McDermott, supported Democratic Socialists of America member rep. Ron Dellums' "Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"
Praised Puerto Rican communist
In her speech to the Rainbow Coalition Leadership Summit, February 19, 1993, Nydia Velázquez paid tribute to the late Jesus Colon, a garment worker, Communist Party USA member and author of "A Puerto Rican in New York."
Said Velasquez "the plight of the America today, particularly the nation's people of color, reminds me of the stories of Jesus Colon, a writer, who with piercing accuracy, poignantly chronicled the struggles of early Puerto Rican migrants in this country. Sixty years after the experiences of Colon, I would arrive in New York, and like him, would be shocked at the unbearable conditions of the people. i too would be subject to harsh and threatening words, merely for the olive tone of my skin, or the sound of my name. I too would feel the sting of discrimination". 
Article reprinted in PWW
Three members of Congress were arrested May 1994, in front of the White House in a protest against the U.S. policy of forcibly returning Haitian refugees.
The three were protesting the U.S. policy of forcibly returning Haitians who flee their homeland by sea, a policy that President Clinton earlier had said he wanted to change but ultimately embraced to stem the flow of refugees to Florida.
"Unfortunately, this Administration has dragged its feet," Waters said. "The people continue to die. They continue to take to the high seas, and we're here to say we're prepared . . . to go to jail in defiance of this Administration's policy."
Anti NAFTA Bill
"Eliminating Corporate Welfare"
Women Strike for Peace
Nydia Velazquez attended an October 1995 meeting in Harlem to welcome Cuban leader Fidel Castro to New York.
- Almost 1,600 Harlemites and solidarity activists packed the Abyssinian Baptist Church to give a hero’s welcome to Fidel Castro, the president of Cuba.
- The mainly African American audience, which included New York Democratic representatives Charles Rangel and Nydia Velasquez, enthusiastically greeted the Communist leader with a 10-minute standing ovation. Chants of “Cuba si, Bloqueo no!” resounded from the rafters and sent a strong message of protest to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and President Clinton for excluding the Cuban leader from their sponsored events.
- The audience erupted in shouts of “Fidel, Fidel” when Elombe Brath, head of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and chair for the meeting, asked the audience, “Who would you rather come to Harlem, Fidel or Giuliani?”''
"Jobs and Investment Bill"
On October 7, 1994, Congressional Progressive Caucus members Bernie Sanders, Maurice Hinchey, Nydia Velasquez and Major Owens, introduced the "Jobs and Investment Bill" into Congress, which would appropriate $42 billion over several years for "make work" construction and infrastructure projects.
Sponsored Communist Party "Jobs Bill"
H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including Nydia Velasquez. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.
Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."
- This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
- The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.
Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs
1998 Working Families Party co-chairs
Working Families Party co-chairs in 1998 were former New York mayor David Dinkins, Brooklyn Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, former New York City Councilmember Sal Albanese, UAW Region 9 Director Tom Fricano and UNITE leader Ernesto Jofre.
Joseph Connor, an author and anti-terrorism advocate, spoke to The Daily Wire about how his father was murdered by a Puerto Rican terrorist group, and how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was directly involved in pardoning the terrorists.
"When Hillary Clinton was looking to run for senator of New York, she had no connection to New York at all. She was from Chicago to Arkansas," Connor said. "And she got approached by various pro-terrorist politicians."
These included Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and New York City councilman Jose Rivera, who gave Clinton "a packet on clemency" and requested that she "speak to the president and ask him to consider executive clemency" for the FALN. A couple of weeks later, clemency was granted to the terrorists and Clinton's Senate campaign expressed support for the move so long as the terrorists renounced violence.
"She was up to her ears in this," Connor said.
Congressional Progressive Caucus
As of February 20 2009 Nydia Velazquez was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Congressional Hispanic Caucus
In 2012 Nydia Velázquez was a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Cuban Humanitarian Trade Act
The Cuban Humanitarian Trade Act, a bill introduced in 1998, in the U.S. Congress, would ease some restrictions on trade with socialist Cuba, solidarity activists say.
The legislation would lift sanctions on sales and donations of food, medicines and medical supplies to Cuba.
While it falls far short of ending the illegal U.S. blockade, the legislation does meet an important Cuban requirement. It says that trade is an appropriate relationship between the two countries.
The 37-year U.S. blockade has meant great hardship for Cuba's 11 million people. President Fidel Castro said in July that "We contend that the economic blockade should be considered among the main war crimes committed against a people."
The Cuban Humanitarian Trade Act has 129 sponsors in the House and 25 in the Senate. It is supported by members of the Congressional Black and Latino Caucuses, including Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and Reps. Maxine Waters, Nydia Velasquez and Charles Rangel.
IFCO/Pastors for Peace, organizers of the U.S.-Cuba Friendshipment caravans, testified on behalf of the legislation in May.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Wheat Association, the Medical Devices Manufacturers and other business groups also testified in favor of easing the blockade.
Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
In 1999, eleven imprisoned Puerto Rican independence fighters were released on parole from long prison terms in the US. they were Eliam Escobar, Dylcia Pagan, Alberto Rodriguez, Ida Luz Rodriguez, Alejandrina Torres, Adolfo Matos, Edwin Cortes, Ricardo Jiminez, Luis Rosa, Alicia Rodriguez and Carmen Valentin. A twelfth prisoner Juan Segarra Palmer, accepted an offer to nullify his fine and was due to be released in five years. Two other prisoners Antonio Comacho Negron and Oscar Lopez Rivera refused the clemency offer.
The clemency offers came after a long campaign that saw 75,000 people sign a petition in Puerto Rico and the US. The campaign, led by the Pro-Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, involved such activists as Coretta Scott King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu and Dr. Aaron Tolen, President of the World Council of Churches.
Political leaders who supported the prisoners included Reps Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Nydia Velazquez (D, NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
Pro Democracy Convention
The Pro Democracy Convention was held June 29th To July 1, 2001. It started with a National Town Hall Meeting, Annenberg Center, University of Pennsylvania.
- Come to a National Town Hall Meeting! Hear speakers representing a wide range of communities, including academics, labor leaders,
lawyers, organizers, and elected officials, speak out about Election 2000, recommendations for electoral reform, and how we all can build the movement to expand democracy in the U.S. Partial List of Invited Speakers and Presenters:
- John B. Anderson, Center for Voting & Democracy
- Melanie Campbell, National Coalition for Black Civic Participation
- Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIO
- Representative John Conyers (Michigan)
- Ron Daniels, Center for Constitutional Rights
- Representative Chaka Fattah (Pennsylvania)
- Margaret Fung, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Ted Glick, Independent Progressive Politics Network
- Lani Guinier, Harvard University
- Cheri Honkala, Kensington Welfare Rights Union
- Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rainbow-PUSH Coalition
- Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas
- Representative James Leach (Iowa)
- William Lucy, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
- Henry Nicholas, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees - District 1199C
- Reverend Al Sharpton, National Action Network
- Hillary Shelton, NAACP
- Nadine Smith, Equality Florida
- Representative Nydia Velazquez (New York)
Progressive agenda" on Puerto Rico
More than 250 Puerto Rican activists and leaders met in The Bronx “to discuss the state of our communities” and to begin the development of a “progressive political agenda” for Puerto Ricans in 2004. The Boricua Roundtable met at Hostos Community College on May 21-22, 2004.
A major theme of the meeting was mobilizing the Puerto Rican vote against the ultra-right in the White House and in Congress.
New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera said, “We are not going to let them rob us of another election” nor let the Supreme Court “impose” a president. “We have every intention of rescuing the White House,” he said.
Rep. Gutiérrez blasted the Bush administration’s war policies, urging the participants to discuss opposing the war in Iraq and “its impact on our community.”
“We don’t want to die in a declared or undeclared war started by a president that wasn’t elected by the people,” he said.
Gutiérrez also called on the activists to work in solidarity with all Latin Americans, including recent immigrants, as a way of affirming “our Puerto Rican-ness.”
Rep. Velázquez said the disparities in Bush’s economic policies shows the U.S. is at war not only in Iraq, but also “against the poor.”
“They need to cut Medicare and Medicaid to finance the war,” she said, noting that 44 million people have no medical insurance, “half of them Black or Latinos.” She stressed the need to fight on working-class issues, declaring, “When I fight for working families, I fight for Puerto Ricans.”
Velázquez didn’t let her own party off the hook, saying it was important to make sure that “John Kerry embraces the Puerto Rican agenda.” She publicly demanded that the Kerry campaign put a Puerto Rican or Latino deputy at its top levels to better articulate and advocate for Latino issues.
She called on everyone present to organize the Puerto Rican vote to defeat Bush, noting there are sizable populations of voting-age Puerto Ricans in key states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Arizona.
Rep. Serrano suggested organizing “freedom rides” to Orlando, Fla., to register Puerto Rican voters. The Puerto Rican population in Florida has almost doubled from 1990 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and much of that growth is centered in the Orlando area. Florida is now the state with the second highest Puerto Rican population in the country after New York.
The Boricua Roundtable ended with the singing of the anti-imperialist version of the Puerto Rican national anthem – La Borinqueña.
United for Peace and Justice
Nydia Velázquez was listed as an endorser of the Jan. 27, 2007 "Act Now to End the War" event, organized by Institute for Policy Studies partner organization, United for Peace & Justice. Also endorsing the event was Democratic Socialists of America, Socialist Party USA, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism, National Lawyers Guild, National Organization for Women and the Communist Party USA. At the event, peace activists "converge[d] from all around the country in Washington, D.C. to send a strong, clear message to Congress and the Bush Administration: 'The people of this country want the war and occupation in Iraq to end and we want the troops brought home now!'".
WIDF affiliated United States "Regional Workshops"
- IAC-NWFN, Joan Wile - Fundadora e Diretora
- University of California, Digna Sanchez- Membra
- Women's Studies Prgrm, Jenny Heinz
- Community activist; active in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, Wilma Esther Reveron Collazo
- Community activist lawyer in El Barrio;; active in immigration issues, Gloria Eneida Quinones - member Women for Racial and Economic Equality
- International President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom , Regina Birchem
- LUZ DE LAS NIEVES AYRESS MORENO, Nieves Ayress - nacionalidad chilena
Peace Pledge Coalition
In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.
Obama's Latino Advisory Council
In August 2008 the Obama Campaign announcedthe formation of its National Latino Advisory Council, highlighting the continued growth of support Senator Obama is receiving in the Latino community nationwide.
- According to the campaign, the advisory council is made up of key labor, faith, community leaders, and elected officials from across the country and will serve as an advisory council for the campaign on issues important to the Latino community as well as play an active role reaching out and organizing Latinos in their communities and across the country.
Its members included;
Federico Pena, Chair, National Hispanic Advisory Council, Former Mayor of Denver and Former Secretary of Transportation, National Obama Campaign Co-Chair; Geoconda Arguello-Kline, President, Nevada Culinary Workers Union ; Congressman Xavier Becerra; Adolfo Carrion, Bronx Borough President; Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Bishop Wilfredo De Jesus, Vice President of Social Justice, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Congressman Charlie Gonzalez; Congressman Raul Grijalva ; Congressman Luis Gutierrez; Ambassador Luis Lauredo, Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States; Patricia Madrid, Former Attorney General of New Mexico; Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, SEIU ; Congresswoman Linda Sanchez; Congresswoman Hilda Solis; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Voted against cutting funding for ACORN
In September 2009, following the lead of their Senate colleagues, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut off funds to ACORN. the vote was 345-75. All of the 75 were Democrats, and included Nydia Velázquez. 
Campaign to Make Immigration Reform a Top Issue in 2010
On October 13 2010 , immigration activists from around the country gathered to join in a vigil and rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC., where Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez and other elected officials launched a new push for comprehensive immigration reform, building to the opening months of 2010. their banners read “Reform Immigration FOR Families” and “Family Unity Cannot Wait.”
More than 750 people traveled to Washington on buses from up and down the Eastern seaboard and as far away as Texas, Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. They spent Tuesday morning meeting with Congressional offices before being joined by thousands of people from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, who gathered on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol to listen to testimonies from families, veterans, and children who face family disintegration because of immigration laws and deportation.
Religious leaders from a diverse array of faith traditions around the country, some organized through Familias Unidas, added their voices.
- At the event Congressman Gutierrez outlined a set of principles for progressive immigration reform that needs to include a rational and humane approach to legalize the undocumented population, to protect workers’ rights, to allocate sufficient visas, to establish a smarter and more humane border enforcement policy, to promote integration of immigrant communities, to include the DREAM Act and AgJOBS bills, to protect rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and to keep families together.
The lawmakers who joined Rep. Gutierrez on stage, and addressed the gathering included Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairman Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairs Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Congressional Black Caucus Member, Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Michael Quigley (D-IL), and Delegate Gregorio Sablan (Northern Mariana Islands).
Asian Americans for Equality
Nydia Velasquez has ties to Asian Americans for Equality
Freddie Mac funding for AAFE
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) joined Asian Americans for Equality June 2, 2003, to announce Freddie Mac's $1.5 million grant to the newly created Lower Manhattan Affordable Housing Trust Fund (LMAHTF). The Fund will support the development and preservation of affordable housing in the Lower Manhattan neighborhoods most affected by the September 11th World Trade Center disaster.
"Rebuilding and revitalizing Lower Manhattan is one of my top priorities," said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. "Increased homeownership has been shown to promote community development through increased neighborhood involvement and investment in local businesses. Freddie Mac's generous contribution is an important step towards this goal and will help place more local residents on the road to home ownership." 
NeighborWorks America event
November 25, 2009, at a press conference in Chinatown, Asian Americans for Equality, announced it has become a charter member of NeighborWorks America. A non-profit created by Congress. NeighborWorks provides financial support and training for community-driven revitalization projects. As a start, AAFE was presented with a check for nearly a a quarter of a million dollars. On hand to celebrate the occasion, a wide range of elected officials. Among them: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assembly member Grace Meng and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez. Margaret Chin, District 1's new City councilmember and a former AAFE executive was there, as well. 
Joined by District Director Deborah Boatright and several other prominent local elected officials, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez offered her congratulations to AAFE. “By joining forces with NeighborWorks, AAFE will have additional funding and support for their efforts to create equal opportunities for all New Yorkers. I am committed to working with AAFE to address the shortage of affordable housing, increase financial literacy and improve lending practices. With unemployment rising above 10 percent and families struggling to make ends meet, this help is needed in New York City now more than ever.”
Marching with Margaret Chin, Chinese Flags
Death of Private Chen
Army Private Danny Chen, a 19-year old Lower East Side resident, was found dead at a military base in Afghanistan October 3rd, 2011. Chen had been shot in the head. Army officials have admitted he was the victim of bullying, but many other details remain shrouded in secrecy.
In December 2011, elected officials including U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, City Councilmember Margaret Chin, representatives of the Organization of Chinese Americans and other community advocates met with officials at the Pentagon.
During OCA-New York’s annual meeting in Chinatown Saturday, Velazquez said, “we are demanding assurances from the Army that they are conducting a swift, thorough investigation.”
If there’s wrongdoing, Velazquex added, those responsible should be brought to justice.” During the meeting, OCA-New York President Elizabeth OuYang said there’s great concern about the investigation, given the Army’s history of covering up information reagarding non-combat deaths. She announced that the well-known forensic expert, Dr. Henry Lee (who became famous during the OJ Simpson murder trial) has agreed to help evaluate the Army’s findings.
Also held was a march and vigil for Danny Chen. It started at the Army recruiting center at 143 Chambers Street and ends in Columbus Park in Chinatown. Many elected officials took part, including Velasquez and Chin, and New York City Comptroller John Liu and Assemblymember Grace Meng.
Going after the Army
January 23, 2012, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Nydia Velázquez, Judy Chu, and Mike Honda, called on the U.S. Army to provide a comprehensive review on how the department tracks its hazing and harassment incidents and implements anti-hazing training. The urging by the four members of Congress comes after Army investigators found that a New York resident, Private Danny Chen, was subjected to daily race-based hazing and physical abuse by members of his platoon in the lead-up to his death. The lawmakers also requested details on what current measures are in place for soldiers in remote bases to report hazing incidents when their entire chain of command is implicated. Last month, Senator Gillibrand called on the Defense Department for a system-wide review of bullying and mistreatment. The Senator asked for a Department-wide review because of the case of Marine Pvt. Hamson McPherson, Jr., a Staten Island Marine who committed suicide, allegedly due to hazing.
Senator Gillibrand, along with Representatives Velázquez, Chu, and Honda wrote in a letter to U.S. Army Secretary McHugh, “We are very concerned about the reports of the constant hazing, apparently mixed with racial slurs, and other mistreatment by [Danny Chen’s] fellow soldiers and his direct superiors. We know you share our concern and take this issue very seriously, and we support the guidance issued in your hazing memo on January 13, 2012. Our men and women in uniform deserve to serve in a supportive environment from their fellow soldiers as they put their lives on the line for our country… However in light of this shocking incident, we would like to better understand the education and training process that are provided to Army soldiers and recruits regarding hazing and harassment among the force, as well as the repercussions and disciplinary measures taken in such incidents.”
“We need a full understanding of the Army’s policies related to hazing to ensure incidents like this never happen again,” said Congresswoman Velázquez.
Danny Chen Walkway
Pvt. Danny Chen, the Chinese American U.S. soldier from New York who suicided in October 2011 after "enduring intolerable racial hazing and harassment from fellow soldiers while serving in Afghanistan", was memorialized at an event in New York's Chinatown.
A section of Elizabeth Street, between Canal and Bayard, was co-named "Pvt. Danny Chen Way." The city council approved the re-naming last December. The street unveiling, preceded by a breakfast reception and march sponsored by several far left organizations, including Veterans for Peace (NY Chapter), Organization of Chinese Americans, Asian Americans for Equality, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Chinese Progressive Association, Committee of Asian Americans Against Violence, Asian American Justice Center, East Coast Asian American Student Union, MinKwon Center for Community Action, and other community organizations, took place on Saturday, May 17 2014.
Asian Americans for Equality, 38th Anniversary
Dignitaries such as U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Comptroller John Liu, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council member Margaret Chin came to Chinatown March 2012, to help Asian Americans for Equality celebrate its 38th anniversary. A fundraiser for more than one-thousand supporters was held at the Jing Fong restaurant on Elizabeth Street.
AAFE honored San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who was elected last November as that city’s first Asian-American mayor. Other honorees included: Luis Garden Acosta (El Puente), Eileen Fitgerald (NeighborWorks America), Errol Louis (NY1) and Chanchanit Martorell (Thai Community Development Center).
"Stop the Violence" rally
On January 31, 2013, Nydia Velázquez, addressed a "Stop the Violence" rally supported by Asian Americans for Equality, and several other radical, and community groups.
Co-patrocinadores: All the Way E 4th St Block Association, Art Loisaida Foundation, Asian Americans for Equality, Baruch Houses Resident Association, Chinese Chamber of Commerce of New York, Chinatown Partnership, Coalition for a District Alternative , Community Education Council 1, Compos Plaza Resident Association, East Village Community Coalition, Educational Alliance, Fourth Arts Block, Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens, Lower East Side Business Improvement District, Lower East Side Girls Club, PSA 4 Community Council, Rutgers Houses Resident Association, Smith Houses Resident Association, Two Bridges Houses Resident Association, Wald Houses Resident Association, 7th Precinct Community Council.
Dream of Equality awardee
Endorsed AAFE 2016 banquet
In June 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Jesse Gillan was assigned as contact for Rep. Velázquez.
“When Women Succeed"
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democratic women rolled out a campaign on July 18th, 2013, called “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families.”
The campaign was announced at a press conference on the steps of the Capitol. Leader Pelosi was joined by several members of the House of Representatives and leaders of many organizations that address issues of working women. Amongst those present were the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the AFL-CIO, UFCW, the Feminist Majority, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the American Association of University Women, the National Council of Women’s Organizations and others. In addition to Leader Pelosi, Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (CT), Donna Edwards (MD), Nydia Velazquez (NY) and Doris Matsui (CA) participated in the press conference along with several women who told their stories.
The campaign agenda focuses on policies that address real economic needs facing women and families: ensuring equal pay for equal work, promoting work and family balance, and providing access to affordable child care.
Congressional Letter for Neutrality, 2014 Salvadoran Elections
On Monday December 16, 2013 Reps. Juan Vargas (D-CA), Mike Honda (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) sent a letter to Sec. of State John Kerry – signed by 51 Members of Congress – calling for a public statement of neutrality by the State Department before the first round of El Salvador’s presidential elections on February 2, 2014.
The letter, , highlighted several “important steps” that the current government has taken to “strengthen its democratic system and expand the right to vote to all citizens,” including those living outside of the country, who will be voting by absentee ballot for the first time in February. Since the election of Mauricio Funes, the first President from the Marxist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) party, the government has increased the number of polling places four-fold to increase accessibility, especially in rural areas.
“We’re glad to see so many Members of Congress expressing respect for the right of the Salvadoran people to determine their own future. That’s an attitude that’s sorely lacking in much of the US’ policy in Central America, especially with regard to economic policy,” said Alexis Stoumbelis, Executive Director for the pro-communist Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), in Washington, DC, which has observed every post-war election in El Salvador, starting in 1994.
Signatories included Rep. Nydia Velasquez..
PODER PAC Honorary Co-chairs
In 2014 PODER PAC Honorary Co-chairs were Rosario Dawson, NY, America Fererra, CA, Dolores Huerta, CA, Eva Longoria Parker, TX, Grace Napolitano, CA, Ana Ortiz, NY, Rosie Perez, NY, Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA, Linda Sanchez, CA, Loretta Sanchez, CA, Nydia Velazquez, NY
PODER PAC President's Council
In 2014 the PODER PAC President's Council consisted of Mari Del Carmen Aponte, Juana Bordas, Ingrid Duran, Grace Garcia, Comm. Sylvia Garcia, Susan Gonzales, Choco Gonzalez Meza, Laura Hernandez, Cynthia Jasso Rotunno, Lydia Madrigal, Joelle Martinez, Regina Montoya, Rep. Grace Napolitano, Maria Teresa Petersen, Laura Pena, Catherine Pino, Julissa Reynoso, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Rep. Linda Sanchez, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Hilda Solis, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Rep. Nydia Velazquez.
Working Families Party
ARA PAF endorsement, 2014
2015 Cuba visit
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi traveled with a congressional congregation to Cuba mid February 2015.
The trip is the first official House delegation to travel to the island nation since President Barack Obama announced late last year an easing of trade restrictions with the Castro regime.
“This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build upon the announcement of U.S. normalization of relations and other initiatives announced by President Obama,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. “This delegation will work to advance the U.S.-Cuba relationship and build on the work done by many in the Congress over the years, especially with respect to agriculture and trade.”
The delegation includes Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel of New York, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Anna Eshoo of California, Nydia Velazquez of New York, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, Steve Israel of New York and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. Engel is the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The delegates also met Cuban Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, marking the first time Cuba's heir apparent to power has received an official American delegation.
Nancy Pelosi and the eight other House Democrats concluded their two-day visit by meeting Diaz-Canel, 54, who is first in line to the seat of power held by brothers Fidel Castro and Raul Castro since 1959.
The nine Democrats, all supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama's policy change on the Communist-led island, were due to be escorted directly to the airport after the meeting.
Diaz-Canel and the Americans talked about Cuba's market-style economic reforms, bilateral relations and prospects of the U.S. Congress lifting the country's 53-year-old trade embargo of Cuba, official Cuban media reported.
New York City honors Medicares 50th Birthday
July 30, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid which were enacted in 1965 during the Lyndon Johnson administration. Various activities around the country celebrated these remarkable programs and called for defending, improving and expanding them and Social Security
In New York City an uplifting celebration at the Professional Staff Congress (City University staff) union hall started off the day's activities that included Metro NY Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism members.
Several elected officials spoke, including Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY-7th CD), NY State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and a representative of Congressman Joseph Crowley. They were joined by speakers from several unions (SEIU 1199, Doctors Council SEIU, Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU, Professional Staff Congress, NY State Nurses Association, etc.), and advocacy organizations including Children's Defense Fund, Medicare Rights Center, Physicians for a National Health Program, Metro Health Care for All, AARP and NY Statewide Senior Action Council.
Left pressure on Iran nuclear deal
In a rebuff to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, four key Brooklyn congresspeople, three of them African American and one Latina, representing large concentrations of Jewish voters, came out in support of the Iran deal. Early defense of President Obama's diplomacy by the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus played a role., as well as the work of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office. But energetic organizing by grassroots peace organizations in Brooklyn also played an important part.
A national day of action on August 26, initiated by MoveOn, focused on meetings with congresspeople who were still on the fence. The grassroots group Brooklyn For Peace played a particularly important role in mobilizing on short notice over 200 constituents to meet with undecided Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, and Nydia Velasquez.
At coordinated pro-deal rallies outside the congressional offices, demonstrators carried "Defend Diplomacy" placards, chanting "Hey, Yvette, Support the Deal, That Is What The People Feel!" As if to illustrate this, BFP organizer Matt Weinstein later handed Rep. Clarke 1,629 petition signatures gathered from her constituents in the 9th Congressional District.
As pedestrians passed by on Linden Boulevard, street speeches for "Jobs, Not War" rang out, loud and clear. "Honk for peace" signs inspired many honks by passing motorists, both black and white.
These signatures had been gathered at street tables, town meetings, house meetings and farmers markets in central Brooklyn throughout the hot days of August. Petitioners wore MoveOn T-shirts that read "60 Days To Stop A War," and leaflets were distributed warning of the harmful consequences if there was a "no" vote.
A protest demonstration at Chuck Schumer's office on Aug. 10 featured several hundred members of MoveOn, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Action and Brooklyn for Peace, among others, in a show of unity. The media coverage this received was a much needed counterpoint to AIPAC'S big money blitz.
Before this, the prevailing wisdom among elected officials in Brooklyn, even among the most liberal, is that you challenge the power of the AIPAC Israel lobby only at the risk of your own re-election.
The following are past and present staff:
- Imelda Aguirre
- Aixa Aleman-Diaz
- Mercy Alves
- Graciela Aponte
- Lizette Arce
- Mary Ellen Sprenkel Ardouny
- Miguel Ayala
- Wendy Belzer
- Ashley Bliss
- Maria Elida Bottino
- Allison Bowles
- Elizabeth Cassidy
- Jennifer Castillo
- Paula Castro
- James Counihan (Jim)
- Evelyn Cruz
- Fernando Cuevas
- Michael Day
- Melissa DeRosa
- Gabriela Domenzain
- Layth Elhassani
- Clarissa Fana
- Diana Febus
- Moraima Garcia (Mory)
- Jessica Garcia
- Kate Davis Gilman
- Vanessa Gonzalez
- Susan Graham
- Allyson Ivins Groff
- Gerardo Gutierrez
- Jordan Haas
- Ruthlyn Hamilton
- Brenda Hernandez
- Miguel Hernandez
- Jennifer Hom
- Graciela Howard
- Sean Hughes
- Maria-Elena Juarez
- Carolina Gonzalez Lake
- Clarinda Landeros
- Damian Lara
- Anita Savage Lawson
- Elissa Gail Levin
- Preston C. Linson-Gentry
- Erika Lopez
- Esteban Lopez-Rosado
- James MacWilliam
- Melissa Maldonado
- Bolivar Mancheno
- Heather McHugh
- Maria Robles Meier
- Ilene Molina
- Lucy Morcelo
- Alec Nolan
- Julie Okoniewski
- Ada Ortiz
- Saul Pena
- Alejandro Perez
- Iris Quinones
- Michael Rabinovich(Mike)
- Angela Karina Ramirez
- Melody Reis
- Carol Richardson
- Angel Robles
- Isabel Rodrigues
- Maritza Rosario
- Gezeel Salas
- Michael Santos
- Luisa Sepulveda
- James Snyder
- Ruby Squyres
- Patricia Lee Villarreal Tamez
- Michael Jose Torra
- Nilda Torres
- Maximiliano Trujillo (Max)
- Barbara Warner
- Daniel Wiley (Dan)
- Xiao Min Zhao
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- PR Newswire,Senator Schumer, Rep. Velazquez Join Asian Americans for Equality To Celebrate Freddie Mac's $1.5 Million Grant To Promote Affordable Housing in Lower Manhattan, June 2
- The Lo-Down, Asian Americans for Equality Joins NeighborWorks Ed Litvak in Community Organizations on November 25, 2009
- NeihborWorks America, Two Newly Chartered NeighborWorks Organizations Celebrate their Affiliation in the Northeast District
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- Rally For Private Danny Chen on Thursday, By Ed Litvak in Featured, Lower East Side News on December 12, 2011
- Gillibrand Press release, Gillibrand, Velazquez, Chu, Honda Call for Army to Conduct Comprehensive Review of Hazing Incidents and Training After Private Danny Chen’s Death was Found by Army Investigators to Have Come Due to Abuse by Fellow Soldiers and Superiors January 23, 2012
- [http://blog.angryasianman.com/2014/05/soldier-memorialized-with-pvt-danny.html,Angry Asian Man , 5.12.2014 SOLDIER MEMORIALIZED WITH "PVT. DANNY CHEN WAY" ]
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- http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/20/us-cuba-usa-idUSKBN0LN2B520150220, Reuters Feb 19, 2015 9:56pm EST Related: POLITICS, CUBA Congressional delegation meets Cuba's heir apparent HAVANA | BY DANIEL TROTTA]
- [http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=e50818b5-7091-4007-840f-00e30f1b7a69&c=0f914010-51d8-11e3-b0a6-d4ae529a826e&ch=10646e90-51d8-11e3-b0f4-d4ae529a826e#LETTER.BLOCK42 CCDS Newsletter, New York City honors Medicares 50th Birthday By Ted Reich CCDS member, NYC]
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