Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Abigail Lootens
Department of Consumer Affairs
(212) 436-0042

City Agencies Join Forces with Leading Muslim-American Organizations for #OneNewYork Day of Action: Protecting Our Muslim Communities

Consumer Affairs, Human Rights, Immigrant Affairs, Community Affairs Unit, Elected Officials, Leading Muslim-American Organizations and Community Partners Reassure and Educate Muslim New Yorkers about City Protections and Resources

NEW YORK, NY—Today, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), and Community Affairs Unit (CAU) hosted their #OneNewYork Day of Action: Protecting Our Muslim Communities to remind fellow New Yorkers, especially those hailing from Muslim communities, that the City is committed to protecting the rights of all New Yorkers where they live, work and shop, and also offers a variety of services to those in need, regardless of immigration status or ethnicity. Teams from the City, as well elected officials and volunteers from the Arab American Association of New York, Council on American-Islamic Relations – New York, Muslim Community Network, Council of Peoples Organization, Make The Road New York, New York Immigration Coalition, and other community partners, visited 12 subway stations to distribute information in multiple languages during the morning rush hour.

“New York City is the city of immigrants – no person and no policy from Washington, D.C. will change that,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We want all of our communities to know that the City has all New Yorkers’ backs, regardless of immigration status or ethnicity.”

“As Americans of all stripes face anxiety about our country’s stance on immigration, there are unfortunately those who will look to prey on that fear,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Here in New York, one in three of us were born in another country. The City is committed to protecting all of us through education, enforcement, and access to free, trustworthy services. I urge anyone who needs help to call 311. Remember – you don’t have to provide your name and the City will never ask about your immigration status.”

“New York City will always fight to protect immigrant New Yorkers,” said Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal. “The City has established powerful resources, like ActionNYC, to make sure that free, safe, and trustworthy legal help is available for all immigrant New Yorkers. We will continue to offer these and other crucial City services to every New Yorker and work with every community because that is who we are.”

“No one in New York City should feel unsafe or threatened for being who they are,” said Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis. “The NYC Commission on Human Rights is here to protect all New Yorkers, including our Muslim communities, from discrimination and harassment which is illegal under the City’s Human Rights Law. The Commission is using every tool at its disposal to inform New Yorkers of their rights and encourage people to report acts of bias and discrimination. If anyone experiences or witnesses discrimination, we urge them to call the Commission’s Infoline at 718-722-3131 to report it.”

“The City of New York is committed to protect the rights of all New Yorkers and provide fair access to information and resources,” said Marco Carrión, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. “#OneNewYork Day of Action demonstrates our collective support of Muslim communities at this critical moment. We are proud to support the work of our colleagues at DCA, MOIA and CCHR who are leading the way in providing vital information that will educate and empower all New Yorkers.”

Outreach teams in neighborhoods like Astoria, Bay Ridge, Jackson Heights, Jamaica, Midwood, Ozone Park, Parkchester, Woodside, and Union Square distributed information in multiple languages about protections from religious discrimination under the NYC Human Rights Law focusing on Muslims and those perceived as such, the availability of free immigration assistance, tips about protecting oneself from immigration fraud, and information about other City services (available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, and several other languages). City employees and volunteers also distributed information about the City’s Paid Sick Leave Law and New York State’s recently-increased minimum wage, which apply to all eligible workers, regardless of immigration status.

The City also warned immigrant New Yorkers about immigration service scams and non- qualified or non-legal providers, and directed them to free, trusted resources for immigration assistance through City-supported legal services programs such as ActionNYC, the Immigrant Opportunity Initiative, Key to the City, NYCitizenship and the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project. They also armed them with DCA’s consumer tips on immigration service assistance (available in English, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Urdu). Illegal and predatory immigration assistance providers prey on vulnerable New Yorkers’ fear by luring them with false promises of work authorization, green cards, or citizenship when they may not be qualified to provide the services and do so in exchange for hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of their hard-earned dollars.

Everyone, including undocumented immigrants, can access nearly all City services, such as going to school or using the City’s public hospitals. City employees will not ask about immigration status, and if made aware of anyone’s status, are required to keep this information confidential. To make an appointment for free, safe immigration help by trusted providers call 311 and say “immigration help.” If anyone experiences or witnesses discrimination, call CCHR’s Infoline at 718-722-3131.

Day of Action Co-Sponsors and Partners
“At a time of great uncertainty for immigrant communities and Muslim New Yorkers, the Muslim Community Network proudly stands with the Mayor’s Office and City agencies on their latest initiatives to provide immigration legal services and aggressively work to protect individuals from discrimination,” said Dr. Debbie Almontaser, President of the Muslim Community Network. “We are grateful to live in a sanctuary city that puts its most vulnerable first.”

“As an ActionNYC immigration site, we saw the ramifications of the Trump Administration’s executive order first hand,” said Aber Kawas, Lead Advocacy Organizer for the Arab American Association of New York. “Our clients immediately streamed to us for counsel on these absurd policies of exclusion that left them both in fear and confusion. We commend this outreach effort to our community and the provision of resources outlining services available to immigrant New Yorkers in their native languages. We hope to continue engaging with the City to further implement protections to extend the security of sanctuary in New York.”

“CAIR-NY is excited to join our partners at City Hall for #OneNewYork Day of Action: Protecting Our Muslim Communities,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “Our community is facing unprecedented challenges, and we’re proud that New York is working to equip Muslim New Yorkers with the resources they need.”

“The current executive orders issued by President Trump do not represent American principles. New York is home to people from all over the world. Our diversity is what makes New York City—and America—great,” said Mohammad Razvi, Executive Director of the Council of Peoples Organization. “We stand side by side when any of us is threatened. The #OneNewYork Day of Action embraces the strength of all New Yorkers and America. All are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, without discrimination or bigotry. People of good will across faith, race, and political lines are standing together for the true values of America.”

“We thank the City for demonstrating a commitment to all residents by making resources and services accessible,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “We are in a time of great worry for our immigrant communities, including concern for individual and family safety, fear regarding increased deportations, and anxiety for families being able to enter the country from abroad. The #OneNewYork Day of Action, aimed at distributing resources in New York’s diverse neighborhoods, is one of the many ways in which our city can continue to commit itself to protecting our most vulnerable communities. NYIC looks forward to working with the City to continue to make services accessible and safe.”

“As our most vulnerable populations face attacks from Washington, we stand together against the politics of fear,” said Theo Oshiro, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York. We proudly join this important City effort to reach out to Muslim communities across the five boroughs to ensure that everyone knows their rights and the best way to access vital City services. We are also committed, as a proud ActionNYC partner and a trusted community service provider, to making sure all residents know how to access free, confidential, high-quality immigration legal screenings so that they may not fall prey to immigration scams.”

Elected Partners
“The diversity of New York City is its greatest strength, and when certain groups become targets simply because of the color of their skin or their faith, it is up to us to come together and reject that discrimination,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We are proud to provide funding and access to services throughout the city that help immigrants and their families but it is particularly important to raise awareness of these services and bring that information directly to those in need. Through the #OneNewYork Day of Action, we are meeting people in the streets and the subways to remind them that if you’re here – you’re a New Yorker.”

“Immigrants from all nations of origin: New York City has your back,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal, Chair of the Council Consumer Affairs Committee. “Despite changes in national attitudes, the city remains a place defined by tolerance and acceptance, and we have a wide range of government services and protections designed to serve our immigrant communities. Discrimination will not be tolerated. I urge our immigrant communities to not be afraid; utilize City services and seek free and trusted legal advice. Together, we will protect our most vulnerable, and continue to enable the diversity which sustains our great city.”

“Immigrants sustain New York City’s economy and enrich our communities,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Council Immigration Committee. “Attempts to harm or insult immigrants won’t succeed here. As New Yorkers, we don’t tolerate hate, discrimination, or workplace exploitation. We have declared ourselves a Sanctuary City, and have dedicated our civic institutions to protecting immigrants. Our Muslim communities, especially, need us to stand up, stay strong, and to deliver protections from shameful federal actions. We will remain #OneNewYork.”

“We are One Brooklyn, One New York, standing shoulder to shoulder with every one of our neighbors facing discrimination and hardship; in these challenging times, that especially includes our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Our borough and our city are stronger because of how we unabashedly embrace the diversity in our communities — and the diversity within ourselves. As New Yorkers, we will protect our own, we will protest against injustice, and we will be patriotic through and through.”

“While Islamophobia rears its ugly head and state attorneys general and civil rights groups fight back against the president’s unlawful executive orders, it’s crucial that we make sure Muslim New Yorkers know what the city can do to help them,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “New York City provides access to immigration law advice, our city agencies fight discrimination, fraud, and scams, and our city guarantees numerous workplace benefits regardless of immigration status – and any New Yorker should call 3-1-1 or my office if they need help.”

“Queens is the most diverse place in the country and we are proud to support initiatives like the #OneNewYork Day of Action, which ensure that members of our communities continue to have access to all the rights, protections and services,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “The Department of Consumer Affairs, the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs and the City’s Commission on Human Rights deserve to be commended for spearheading the #OneNewYork Day of Action as part of the Mayor’s commitment to protecting our Muslim communities during this time of tremendous uncertainty.”

“Through the #OneNewYork Day of Action, our city is signaling to our Muslim communities that they are and will continue to be welcome here,” said Congressman Joseph Crowley. “They, too, are part of New York City’s fabric and there is no time more important than the present for us to renew our commitment to protecting them, and every New Yorker, regardless of their color, race or creed.”

“New York City is and will always be a place for all people. Since the executive order banning immigration from predominantly Muslim countries and halting the refugee program, I have joined many New Yorkers who strongly oppose this order that is unconstitutional, violates our values and threatens our security,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. It was wonderful to see so many at various rallies last week at Battery Park and in Astoria. Today’s action is critical to making sure that all New Yorkers know that they are welcome here and are informed about the key resources available for immigrants. I will continue to fight this hateful executive order in Congress.”

“I am proud to stand with the City of New York on this Day of Action,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. “Muslims are increasingly subjected to vitriolic rhetoric and offensive actions. As Americans, we must embrace our Muslim brothers and sisters and defend our core beliefs: that everyone is created equal and that discrimination is unacceptable. Today we have an opportunity to show the world that we stand united as #OneNewYork.”

“President Trump’s actions and rhetoric towards immigrants and Muslims only sows fear and division. It should not be tolerated and we must stand up to it as a nation – a nation founded on the principles of freedom and tolerance. I proudly join this effort to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and tell President Trump and the entire nation that regardless of our individual backgrounds, We Are One New York!” said Congressman José E. Serrano.

“Now, more than ever, the fight to expand immigrant protections has shifted to state and local governments,” said State Senator Mike Gianaris. “New York welcomes people of all religions and nationalities, and I will do everything I can to keep our communities safe.”

“In New York City, we know that diversity is our strength – and ours is the most diverse city on the planet,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “The Statue of Liberty lifts her lamp to guide immigrants to our shores, but it’s up to us to make sure that they have the opportunity to grow, thrive and contribute to our shared home. I commend Mayor de Blasio and his Administration for reaching out to immigrant communities and making clear once again that we are #OneNewYork.”

“In the current political climate, it is vital that residents of New York City continue to rally together to support one another,” said State Senator Kevin S. Parker. “The #OneNewYork Day of Action is a great initiative that will not only keep our Muslim neighbors informed of their rights but will also serve as a reminder that we stand with them in solidarity everyday.”

“New York City remains committed to serving and protecting our Muslim friends and neighbors,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Council Committee on Education. “We will continue to fight against Islamophobia in all its forms, and remind immigrant New Yorkers of the free and trustworthy legal advice available to them. We will not allow anyone to divide us. Now more than ever, we stand united as #OneNewYork.”

“As a city that was founded on the hard work of the immigrants, we must come together to protect the rights of our immigrant brothers and sisters,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “Our City agencies have a wide variety of legal resources available that defend against fraud, discrimination, and harassment. The #OneNewYork Day of Action sends a strong message that the mistreatment of our immigrant communities will not be tolerated.”

“The City provides free and imperative resources for immigrants,” said Council Member Vincent Gentile. I thank the the Mayor and his Administration for launching this initiative and ensuring that our hard working immigrant New Yorkers, including our Muslim neighbors, are made aware of the various services the City provides for them.”

“While we’re living in divisive times, our diverse and dynamic city can be a beacon for inclusion. We shall collectively persevere against the attacks against our Muslim brothers and sisters. We are #OneNewYork because we embrace and care for one another; now, more than ever, is the time to celebrate and project across all the five boroughs,” said Council Member Annabel Palma.

“Nobody should have to live in fear,” said Assembly Member Brian Barnwell. “Nobody should face discrimination because they are different. Our country was founded on due process of the law, and in New York, resources are available to make sure that people receive exactly that.”

“In a time of national uncertainty, it is more important than ever that New Yorkers know what the City is doing to protect them,” said Assembly Member Michael DenDekker. “This is especially true of our Muslim neighbors, many of whom are concerned about the effects of recent federal actions. I would like to thank the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the City Commission on Human Rights for ensuring that Muslim and immigrant New Yorkers are aware of their rights, as well as the services that the City offers.”

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, whose grandparents were immigrants to the United States, said, “New York and New Yorkers are proud of our tradition of welcoming immigrants. We are stronger because of our diversity, not despite it. We rise together. And we’re proud that our city government is hosting #OneNewYork Day of Action to send that message of inclusion not just to foreign-born New Yorkers, but to immigrants across America and around the world.”

“During times like these, it is important to reassure those who feel threatened and marginalized by the recent immigration ban and anti-Muslim rhetoric,” said New York State Assembly Member Hyndman. “It is important that every New Yorker feel safe to worship whom they choose without fear, which is why the #OneNewYork Day of Action is so important.”

“Sadly, the ethnic bias and threats to religious freedom that have come from the new President and his allies, from the earliest days of his campaign to the present, make it more important than ever that we recommit ourselves to the American values of tolerance and mutual support,” said New York State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection. “I am proud to support the work of this coalition of New Yorkers, led by an incredible team of City officials, who are out there today expressing these values not just in words, but in action. The #OneNewYork Day of Action is a great way to get the word out that we stand ready to protect and advocate on behalf of immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else who may be unfairly targeted by the federal government or by unscrupulous businesses or individuals. With access to essential services and reliable information—and the resiliency and resources of their own communities, we know that Muslims and immigrants will persevere through these difficult times, and contribute greatly to our city and our country, as so many generations have before them.”

“With racial tensions as inflamed as they’ve been, and prejudices shaping public policy, New York must be a leader and a voice for the communities under siege,” said Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya. “Providing legal services, raising awareness of scams that take advantage of language barriers, and shielding immigrants from the now-normalized discrimination are vital actions we must take to insulate all affected communities. I applaud the work the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs and the City Commission on Human Rights for their work defending Muslim New Yorkers from bigotry. Regardless of the divisive rhetoric on the national level, we will rise above the noise, united as one New York of every culture and creed.”

“Our founding principles and laws prohibit discrimination against any nation or religion,” said Assembly Member Felix W. Ortiz. “That’s what makes this nation the greatest on earth, and this fight must continue—we cannot remain silent.”

“New York is a city built on immigration, our diversity is our greatest strength, and an attack on any of our faiths is attack on all faiths,” said Assemblyman David Weprin. “We must join to protect our fellow New Yorkers, and I am proud to stand with the Mayor and his Administration as a City united.”

Additional Community Partners
“The Arab-American Family Support Center is grateful to the Department of Consumer Affairs, the City Commission on Human Rights, and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs for hosting the #OneNewYork Day of Action. The AAFSC aspires to build a healthier, stronger, and more vibrant New York City, and we are glad to have our neighbors join us in this endeavor. New York stands as a beacon of diversity and acceptance during these deeply troubling times for our communities. We at AAFSC are truly proud to call ourselves New Yorkers,” said Assad Jebara, Interim Executive Director, Arab-American Family Support Center.

“FPWA stands united with the City in its efforts to reassure and protect our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. “As an organization rooted in faith, we do not turn a blind eye to those in need. Our standard must be acts of compassion to those in need and without filter based on religious, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds.”

“The Brooklyn Library is and always will be a safe, welcoming environment for immigrant New Yorkers not only to access information about their legal rights, but also to check out books and attend programs that celebrate their culture and recognize their innumerable contributions to our city,” said Brooklyn Public Library President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “Access to reliable, factual information—including multilingual books, free English-language classes and trustworthy legal advice—is one of our core services and the reason we exist: to help New Yorkers, including the millions of us born elsewhere, improve their lives and provide for their futures.”

“We are grateful to DCA, MOIA, CCHR and CAU for helping Queens Library get the word out that we are here for everyone who wants to learn how to speak English, take a coping skills class or a Know Your Rights workshop, needs assistance finding a job or is looking to become a U.S. citizen,” said Queens Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “We know our libraries are often the first stop for immigrant New Yorkers and one of the places they trust the most as they build their lives here. We hope the #OneNewYork Day of Action will help draw even more immigrants through our doors and to our high-quality programs and services.”

“Catholic Migration Services opposes any laws or government policies that discriminate against people on the basis of race, religion, or national origin, and we will continue to work with immigrants in the Muslim community to ensure that their legal rights are respected,” said Reverend Patrick J. Keating, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Migration Services. “We applaud the City’s efforts to protect all immigrants from bigotry and discrimination.”

“This initiative by the Mayor’s Administration is extremely important to reassure our city’s immigrants, especially those who are Muslim, and the City of New York stands behind them. Today’s events are needed to rally all New Yorkers behind what makes New York City truly the best city in the world,” said Ibrahim Mossallam, Outreach Director of the Muslim-American Society of New York.

“At this time, unity is needed more than ever before,” said Mohammed N. Mujumder, President of the Bangladesh-American Community Council (BACC). “The #OneNewYork Day of Action is an excellent idea that has our full support.”