NYC BLAC for Census 2020 Organizing Meeting

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NYC Black Leadership Advisory Coalition for Census 2020 (NYC BLAC for Census 2020)

The Center for Law and Social Justice of Medgar Evers College, CUNY invites you to a leadership meeting of the newly organized NYC Black Leadership Action Coalition for the 2020 Census (“NYC BLAC Census 2020”). This meeting will provide you, other leaders, and organizations that work closely with communities African descent with the latest information regarding Census 2020. We will also strategize and plan outreach to historically “hard to reach communities” — our communities! Participants will brainstorm solutions to address high level concerns and plan collaborative efforts.
As you are aware:
  • Decennial census data is used to allocate an estimated $675 billion in federal assistance.
  • Many Black communities are considered by Census officials to be historically “Hard to Count” Communities.
  • Facts and shared information are the best antidotes to the widespread understandable fear of government at this time.
The leadership summit will take place on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 from 9:00 AM – Noon at 25 West 43rd St., 19th Floor, New York, NY 10036 — Murphy Institute of Worker Education and Labor Studies. We need your input. Please join us.

You can RSVP here:


Guns in the Black Community: A 360 Degree Perspective

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“The single most important – and also, alas, the most overlooked – causative factor [for why African leaders became part of the African slave trade] is the gun. Once African tribes that formerly fought with bows and arrows or spears were introduced to the devastating nature of the musket, the cannon and the Gatling, all bets were off, so to speak.” Cameron Doudu, Slaves and Guns, The Guardian, March 31, 2007.

Nothing has impacted the Black community in the same way as the gun. CLSJ invites you to join us in a conversation with activists about the role of guns in Black history, the current outbursts of gun violence and how we create new paradigms for peace going forward. We will explore the way the gun has been used in (and against) Black communities in the past and hear about some innovative, non-traditional methods of violence prevention/interruption that can help chart the path forward.

Brooklyn Gives on Giving Tuesday!

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Local giving goes further this holiday season with #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday! For 24 hours, Brooklyn Community Foundation will match donations to participating local nonprofits up to $100,000!

#BrooklynGives is celebrated the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, aka Giving Tuesday, the official kickoff of the charitable season. It’s Brooklyn’s only 24-hour Boroughwide giving event, encouraging Brooklyn residents and small businesses to come together to support Brooklyn’s outstanding nonprofits.

#BrooklynGives was created by Brooklyn Community Foundation in 2016 to benefit local organizations that are finalists for its annual Spark Prize—a unique nonprofit award that celebrates high-impact, values-driven service to Brooklyn’s communities. Learn more at

#BrooklynGives Beneficiaries (in alphabetical order):

After Hours Project
Arab American Family Support Center
Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
Black Women’s Blueprint
Brooklyn Community Housing and Services
Cave Canem Foundation
Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College
Girls For Gender Equity
Griot Circle
Grow Brooklyn
El Puente
Participatory Budgeting Project
Red Hook Initiative
Red Hook Community Justice Center
Southside United HDFC – Los Sures
United Community Centers
Weeksville Heritage Center

Urgent TPS Town Hall

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Join us on Wednesday, Nov 15, 2017 at 6:00 pm ET to stand for our immigrant community as we remember what makes our nation strong and diverse.

WHAT? Urgent TPS Town Hall where we will be discussing why it is important to stand with TPS holders and DREAMers who are such a vital part of our community.

We’ll have speakers, poets, drummers, coloring books for the kids, and actions you can take to raise your voice for TPS holders and DREAMers!

WHERE: Medgar Evers College, Edison O. Jackson Auditorium, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

WHEN: Wednesday, November 15th

TIME: 6:00 pm to 7:45 pm

WHO: YOU, your kids, friends, family, neighbors, MomsRising staff, and coalition partners Medgar Evers College, MEC Citizenship CUNY, BAJI, Make the Road NY, Mixteca ORG, UndocuBlack, Adhikaar, and SEIU.
We hope to see you there!

Brooklyn District Attorney Candidate Night

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The District Attorney (“DA”) is one of the most powerful positions in the criminal justice system. This year, seven candidates are running to be the Brooklyn DA. This forum takes place five days before the election and will allow you to hear from the candidates directly on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

Join Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY and Brooklyn NAACP for a conversation with the candidates before you cast your vote on Election Day.

The forum will focus on five key themes.

1. Police Brutality & Accountability
2. Prosecutorial Discretion
3. Implicit Bias
4. Restorative Justice
5. Juvenile Justice

In addition to these key areas, audience members will have an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates to answer.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 6 PM – 8:30 PM
EOJ Auditorium | Medgar Evers College, CUNY | 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225

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The Center for Law and Social Justice is excited to provide the final segment in our #BlackWealthMatters Series: Cooperative Economics. Part 4 of this series asks what could our communities look like if we applied all that we know about Black economic capacity?

Join our panelists as they explore:
1. How can the Black community create/control/benefit from collective economics?
2. In the optimal sense what would a Black controlled micro economy (i.e. co-existing or residing within a broader economy) look like?
3. How hard would this be to create and what’s stopping us?

This final installment in this series will piece together all of the branches of our economic tree: personal, business, land and cooperative economics. If we’re serious about changing our collective condition, this session will facilitate a conversation about how we actually get that done.

Friday, April 21, 2017 at 6:15 PM – 8:30 PM
EOJ Auditorium | Medgar Evers College | 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225

CLSJ on the Air: The Center for Law and Social Justice Is Pleased to Announce Reoccurring Contributor Roles on Two Media Platforms Advancing Community Education and Civic Engagement

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CLSJ’s Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. Appears Weekly on The Karen Hunter Radio Show, and Bi-Weekly on the #SundayCivics Podcast

BROOKLYNThe Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CLSJ) is pleased to announce its reoccurring participation in two dynamic programs that help educate community members on local and national political matters, as well as civic engagement.

CLSJ general counsel, Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq. is the newest contributor on SiriusXM’s, The Karen Hunter Show.  Named one of the “Heavy Hundred” (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts In America) by industry bible Talkers Magazine, The Karen Hunter Show has blazed a trail, bringing more action and less talk to the medium by challenging her listeners to participate in the success they want to see and be.

Daniel Favors is also a contributor on #SundayCivics, a podcast that teaches civic education and engagement using current political issues. Hosted by national political strategist L. Joy Williams, the show features interviews with advocates, elected officials and everyday citizens who take civic action in their communities with the goal to educate and inspire everyday citizens to take the reins of control from who and what governs them.

“I am really happy to take part in these two amazing shows and appreciate what Karen Hunter and L. Joy Williams are able to bring to listeners through these platforms,” said Daniel Favors. “Black radio’s early decades coincided with amplifying the civil rights and Black Power movements. While technology may have changed, we still very much need these shows and mediums to give voice to our issues and help our communities stay informed on current events and how they impact them.”

Daniel Favors can be heard on the Karen Hunter show weekly on Thursday’s at 5 p.m. ET, on the XMSirius, Urban View channel 126. Please visit The Karen Hunter Show website as well as the show’s Twitter Handle @SXMUrbanView, for more information on how to listen to the show.

Daniel Favors can also be heard every other Sunday on the #SundayCivics podcast. Recordings of the show can be found on the #SundayCivics website, which also includes instruction on how to subscribe to the show on Apple products, Droid devices, or on Google Play.

To listen to Daniel Favors previous #SundayCivics appearances, please visit the following links:

About The Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ): The mission and vision of CLSJ is to provide quality advocacy, training, and expert services in a personal manner to people of African descent and the disenfranchised. CLSJ seeks to accomplish its mission by conducting research, and initiating advocacy projects and litigation on behalf of community organizations and groups that promote human, national, and international understanding. For additional information please visit:


The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College Announced as a Winner of the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Annual $100,000 Spark Prize

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Awards Recognizes High-impact Community-based Organizations Across Brooklyn

BROOKLYN The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CLSJ) is proud to announce they have been selected to receive the Brooklyn Community Foundation‘s annual Spark Prize, the only honor of its kind celebrating excellence and impact in the borough’s thriving nonprofit sector.

CLSJ is one off five organization’s receiving the award, the Brooklyn Community Foundation announced Wednesday. Other winners of the prestigious award include: the Cave Canem Foundation, Exalt Youth (exalt), GRIOT Circle, and Red Hook Initiative.

Each of the five Spark Prize recipients will be awarded $100,000 in general operating support from Brooklyn Community Foundation. The organizations were selected from a competitive pool of over 130 applicants by a distinguished committee of 30 members representing Brooklyn’s civic, business, and philanthropic communities.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be selected as a winner of the Spark Prize Award”, said Esmeralda Simmons, Esq., founder and executive director of CLSJ. “It is our mission to advocate for and assist African descendant and disenfranchised communities on racial justice issues such as voter rights, educational inequity, police violence, as well as tackling issues that impact women of color, and this award will help us further that mission. We thank the Brooklyn Community Foundation President and their CEO Cecilia Clarke for their support and for helping social justice initiatives in Brooklyn.We also thank the Brooklyn community for their continued support.”

All winning organizations will be honored at the Spark Prize Celebration breakfast on Thursday, February 8, 2018 from 8-10AM at 501 Union, hosted by actress and comedian Ana Gasteyer (Saturday Night Live, Lady Dynamite, A Christmas Story Live). The event will also pay tribute to Hildy J. Simmons, a philanthropic leader, former head of the Global Foundations group at J.P. Morgan, and longtime Board Member of Brooklyn Community Foundation, who initially conceived of the Spark Prize as part of the Foundation’s strategic relaunch in 2014.  

“It is such an honor to be selected for the Spark Prize alongside these amazing Brooklyn based organizations,” said Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., general counsel at CLSJ. “In this time of political and social upheaval, it is empowering to know that institutions like the Brooklyn Community Foundation are ready and willing to provide support for groups that are engaged in protecting some of our most vulnerable populations.”

The Spark Prize is sponsored by TD Bank, with support from National Grid. It is presented by Brooklyn Community Foundation in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

The Spark Prize is named for Brooklyn Community Foundation’s mission to spark lasting social change in Brooklyn. The 2017-18 Spark Prize cycle launched in May 2017 with an open call to Brooklyn nonprofits to submit a 1,000-word essay demonstrating their deep history in Brooklyn and continued service to the borough; commitment to equity and racial justice for all Brooklynites; strong organizational values; and vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. To be eligible, organizations had to have annual operating budgets over $350,000 and be in operation for at least five years. Applications were reviewed by the Spark Prize Committee, who narrowed submissions to 20 finalists, and then chose the five recipients following in-person interviews.


The Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ):The mission and vision of CLSJ is to provide quality advocacy, training, and expert services in a personal manner to people of African descent and the disenfranchised. CLSJ seeks to accomplish its mission by conducting research, and initiating advocacy projects and litigation on behalf of community organizations and groups that promote human, national, and international understanding. For additional information please visit:

About Brooklyn Community Foundation: Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. It is the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to bolster vital nonprofits, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase opportunities for youth. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $30 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at

About the Spark Prize: The Spark Prize is named for Brooklyn Community Foundation’s mission to spark lasting social change and awards $600,000 annually to Brooklyn nonprofits. To apply for the Spark Prize, organizations submitted a 1,000 word essay demonstrating their deep history in Brooklyn; commitment to racial equity; strong values; and a dynamic vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at


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New Yorkers will be asked if the state should hold a Constitutional convention.

Vote “NO” — Let’s not give the power brokers in Albany a chance to overhaul the NYS Constitution

By Esmeralda Simmons

You don’t have to search far to find a New Yorker who believes the current New York State government in Albany is dysfunctional. Numerous reports of widespread government corruption and a lack of shared power are just two frequent critiques. This Election Day, Nov 7, 2017, voters will have to decide if they want to give these Albany bosses even more power than they’ve had in the last 20 years. The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, CUNY encourages Black New Yorkers to vote NO on the Constitutional Convention.

Every 20 years, New York voters must decide whether or not to hold a convention to change the New York State Constitution—a phenomenon known as “Con Con.” While Con Con isn’t the only method to amend the Constitution, it is certainly one of the most drastic and it is the only method that is triggered by New York voters. This is particularly important in today’s political environment.  

Currently, our State Constitution affords greater protections than the US Constitution does in several significant areas. These protections include important state constitutional mandates, like: care for the needy; voting rights protections; basic educational standards; protections for the environment; and, public workers’ rights. When all of these issues are embattled on the national front, why open a route to disrupt these rights and protections in our state? If New Yorkers vote yes to Con Con, then each of these issues is up for grabs—by a process controlled by those same members of the dysfunctional Albany government. Do not give Albany bosses the power to overhaul all or parts of the State Constitution.  Especially since there is a better option to amend the Constitution in a way that protects our most vulnerable populations.

The process for managing the convention is also skewed toward disempowering many New Yorkers. First, Con Con delegates would be elected based on current State Senate districts — the same politically gerrymandered districts that the Center for Law and Social Justice fought against in 2011. Those State Senate districts are heavily favored toward upstate voters at the expense of New York City voters, majority of whom are people of color. In addition, the IDC member senators who hold the balance of power in the Senate, joined with conservative Senate representatives to control that legislative body.  We should expect little or no progressive initiatives to be passed.

Second, there is no limit to the amount of lobbying money that can be poured into the process by giant corporations, rich and powerful lobbying interests like privately–run charter schools businesses, and those who seek to suppress voting rights in New York State. Limitless corporate lobbying dollars and donations are legal since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. This money has been destabilizing democracy in Congress and state governments due to the heavy influence of large political contributions. New Yorkers should not open up the State Constitution to these unelected, non-voter forces.

Third, there are no restrictions on which parts of the Constitution a Con Con would overhaul. Literally, every New York State Constitution based protection could be revised, rewritten or removed. And even worse, there are no structures for how the convention will operate or any limits on how long the convention will be in existence.

Many progressive organizations like the NY ACLU, the Sierra Club, Citizen Action, the Alliance for Quality Education and a host of labor unions are urging you to vote “NO.”

We want change in New York State, but not through a process that is so clearly flawed.  On Election Day, November 7, 2017, vote “NO” on Con Con!

Esmeralda Simmons is the founder and executive director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College.

Support us on Tues. Nov. 28 for #BrooklynGives!

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The Center for Law and Social Justice is excited to share we are one of 20 organizations selected as beneficiaries of the #BrooklynGives on Giving Tuesday campaign! As a result, we are also one of the finalists for the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Spark Prize, the only award of its kind to honor Brooklyn’s leading nonprofit change makers.

On Tuesday November 28, we’re participating in #BrooklynGives, and if we successfully raise $5000 on Giving Tuesday, then the Brooklyn Community Foundation will match us dollar for dollar!

For more than 30 years, CLSJ has used the law to positively impact African descendant and disenfranchised communities. In light of the current political storms gathering in our nation’s capital and beyond, now more than ever, CLSJ needs your support to continue this work. The CLSJ team works tirelessly to protect our community in areas as varied as voting rights and voter protections, educational equity and ending systemic racial violence in policing. As the 2020 census draws near, we are already hard at work to ensure our community is counted fairly and that we receive the resources needed for a healthy Brooklyn.

Please get ready to give! On November 28, starting at 12AM, visit here and make a donation to us. You will have 24 hours to make your donation, and all giving will end at 11:59PM on November 28.

Please help us  spread the word about #BrooklynGives on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets by linking to our campaign here and including the hashtag #BrooklynGives!

Thank you for your support!