Views From 90 Penn: LIPC Gave Me a Voice

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My name is Bridget D’Angelis and I am currently an intern at Long Island Progressive Coalition. I am a senior at Long Island University and I am a sociology major. Growing up, I constantly changed my mind as to what I wanted to do for a career. But, the one thing I have always been set on is my passion to help people. I have always said I wanted a job where I could make a difference by helping people live better lives. My professor confronted me about this internship, and although I did not know much about the organization, the offer was too good to pass up. I am so glad I got the opportunity to intern here at LIPC.  I learned about the importance of politics, a subject I was never too keen on or paid attention to. There are so many crucial issues on Long Island we need to address such as affordable housing, quality education, minimum wage, and other important matters in our society.

One event that opened my eyes to the reality of education and jobs was the Good Jobs, Good Schools forum that I attended. Quality and equal education is such an essential part of a student’s progression in life. Long Island schools need quality teachers, personalized classes, extended learning time, and other necessary components in order to give students of all races and ethnicities a chance for a promising future. The other pressing issue that I grew passionate for was the minimum wage problem. The minimum wage needs to be increased a significant amount. Community members are struggling to put food on their tables and support their families. No person that works a full time job should live in poverty. It was exciting to see the political candidates relay their positions on the subject matter as well. You always hear about theses issues on the news, but when you witness it first hand and listen to people talking about their struggles, it becomes real.

I believe LIPC will help me in my professional career by that I want to work in the criminal justice/sociology field. I want to work as a counselor or an advisor to people who have issues that need to be addressed. This type of work relates to LIPC in that I would be making a difference in society and creating a greater sustainable living for someone. LIPC looks at the broad spectrum of social inequalities and having a little experience with that will help me focus on the smaller, individual spectrum of social issues.

It was also able to see how the election process played out. I was educated on the candidates and the problems that they wanted to address. These problems were local issues that affect the people of Long Island each and every day. I am very fortunate to have had this new experience here at LIPC. I worked with an amazing and down to earth group of people who are so incredibly passionate and dedicated to their line of work. I felt like I was apart of something, that I was making a difference to society in my own small contribution. LIPC gave me a voice. I could express my thoughts and opinions freely on issues I became very knowledgeable of. I was able to venture out of my bubble and make a difference by trying to help people live better quality lives.

Views From 90 Penn: Get Active to Make Change

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My name is Myranda; I am an intern at the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC) during the fall semester of my junior year at LIU Post. I am studying Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice with the hopes of some day attending Law School. I am truly passionate about the growth and prosperity of human society and truly believe that equality is essential for humanity to survive the ever-changing world we live in. Upon being offered this internship by Dr. Heather Parrott, I was elated to begin working with the organizer’s of LIPC because I knew that we had similar goals for not only society on a grand scale but more specifically the Long Island community.

In the past weeks, I had the opportunity to attend two Good Jobs, Good Schools forums that were open to the community and provided vital and informative knowledge to concerned citizens in struggling Long Island areas. Both forums were non- partisan events hosted by the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Wins, and Noticia, where candidates running for office were invited to speak alongside community members who came to share their stories of triumph and struggle. After having made my fair share of phone calls to invite members of the community to these forums, I was quite skeptical of how the turn out for the events would be, considering that many of my phone calls ended with either no one even picking up or a “no” but when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised.  Not only were there more than a dozen participating organizations present, there were also concerned community members who came with questions and wanted to have a voice.

Watching a handful of hardworking community members stand up at the podium with shaky voices and concerned looks on their faces was nothing short of inspiring. It was truly amazing to hear the handful of men and women speak of their struggles and needs for change in the upcoming year as we approach Election Day. Some spoke of a need for a raise in the minimum wage to a working wage because they struggle to feed their families and pay their rent; others spoke of the need for adequate and equal funding throughout all of our schools and some even addressed the issues they face as minority groups trying to make better lives for themselves and receive degrees after graduating from the New York public school system. These speakers were hardworking, concerned, struggling residents who are standing in solidarity to raise awareness for these pressing issues. Witnessing these people speak and hearing of their struggles was genuinely eye opening because while I am aware of the growing difficulties Long Islander’s face as the cost of living continues to rise yet wages have remained the same and state aid in school’s has been cut significantly, witnessing people share the accounts of their struggles first hand really made me realize how pressing these issues are.

As a young woman, working towards a degree in my field and hoping to one day make a difference for well being of the community, the commitment to making progressive changes which will benefit Long Island is something I hold close to my heart. If more people in struggling communities would join together, like the speakers did at these forums I truly believe that Long Island could start to see beneficial, essential changes. We, as individuals cannot continue to put our faith in others to work toward policy changes because one person, or even a small group cannot do it alone, we must all stand up together.

Views From 90 Penn: “A time for Social Media to be Progressive”

 

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My name is Gabrielle Berkenfeld and I am currently an intern for the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC). I am a sophomore at Syracuse University and majoring in sociology at the moment. While I am not sure if sociology is exactly what I want to major in, it does allows me to open my eyes and look at all the possibilities that the world has to offer. My internship at the LIPC this summer has allowed me to experience something new and gain an understanding of working for an organization that works so hard to help others. The LIPC works on many different projects, such as Education, PowerUp Communities and Fair Elections to ensure that the people on Long Island are treated equally and live in a safe environment. In order to make that all possible the LIPC needs a way to communicate to others the issues they are dealing with and how people can lend a hand.

 

Social media has a big impact on many different types of organizations. In today’s society people rely so much on technology and are constantly checking the two most used social media sites: Facebook and Twitter. On June 25th, I accompanied Dan Fingas, LIPC’s Organizing Director to a social media workshop at Hofstra University for a company called Sprout Social. Sprout Social is a website that allows you to connect your organization’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Sprout Social also allows you to see all the statistics from all your different sources of social media. It can help your organization figure out the most appropriate time to post on social media and when people are most likely going to share or like the news or information that is being posted. Sprout Social is a whole new way to make sure you get people to notice what is being posted and get the word out there about important events or meetings coming up.

 

By using Sprout Social the Long Island Progressive Coalition can be “Progressive” in the way they utilize information and make sure their social media sites are getting their point across to exactly the right people. At the workshop, I learned that an organization shouldn’t just post once a week they should be posting 3-5 times a week. In order to post 3-5 times a week there should be a schedule planned out of exactly what an organization wants to post and when they want to post. Sprout Social allows you to set a day and an exact time for your post so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself all the time.

 

At any organization, the whole staff should be taking care of posting on social media rather than just one person. This way it allows for others who are reading your posts to see different voices/opinions/events/meetings coming from everyone which ensures a definite way to be “Progressive” all together.

 

So far, being an intern at the Long Island Progressive Coalition I have been immersed in many different causes that  I wasn’t previously aware off and I now see why the LIPC works so diligently for or against these issues.  By using Sprout Social and different social media sites, I think the LIPC will be more “Progressive” and definitely benefit from trying to spread awareness about the different causes/issues that they are working on to everyone using social media.

 

In order to find out more about these important issues and ways of helping out you can Like the Long Island Progressive Coalition page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @LIProgress.

 

Views From 90 Penn: Progressive. What’s in a Word?

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By Raven Lewis

Progressive is a word that can make people think of change or the crazy lady on the insurance commercial. For me it was the later until I started to intern at the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC) in Massapequa.

Prior to the start of my internship I had never realized the importance and power of the word progressive. It is ironic that I did not understand its value because I had unintentionally dedicated my life to something that I did not have a name for.

Throughout my late teen age years I always spent my summer working and volunteering. It was around the age of fourteen that I started working in lower income areas to decrease the racial tension and gang violence between the Latino and Haitian community in Nassau County. It was volunteering as a fourteen year old, African-America girl from a moderately wealthy area that gave me my first taste of social injustice. I came to realize that the media’s and societies portrayal of these youths as delinquent’s was false. These children were simply just children in need. I was confused on the feasibility that three towns over there were kids who didn’t have affordable housing or quality education. It was a revelation that placed me on the path to a ‘progressive agenda’.

In college I continued by flirtation with “progressive’ by working with Middle Earth a peer education group and SHAPE a Sexual Health and Peer Education group. In these organizations I learned how health care was not as easily available to everyone as I had originally perceived. Middle Earth exposed me to the struggles faced by those with depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders and how our health care system is not equipped to help. The issue of health care was reinforced through SHAPE which dealt with women, young adults and those in the LGBT community who could not receive the progressive health care they needed.

Looking back it is clear what path I was going to take as a career considering all the extracurricular activities I did; but for me it was still unclear. Even after I started interning at the LIPC it still took a couple of week for me to fully grasp what progressive was and what it meant to me.

Progressive is the very definition of social movement. It is not just one agenda rather the agenda of every individual in a community. It is important to note that it is not a group agenda in which everyone agree on the same issues. It is not possible to get everyone to agree on an issue but it is possible for everyone to support the opportunity to have a voice.

LIPC showed me that I didn’t necessarily need to pick an issue rather I needed to be a voice and cheerleader for a progressive agenda. It is not just, unequal education, lack of health care or affordable housing that are the problem, rather it is the power and voice of the collective non-progressive agendas that is. Those who believe in a progressive agenda must unite to support each other’s and themselves. Committing to help other and all progressive agendas is the key to strengthen and maintaining a progressive lifestyle on Long Island. My life goal is not to have a career or position. It is to live a progressive life and always remembering that all are in need, all need help and we must work together to create a progressive future.

Looking Back at our Luncheon and the first half of 2014

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With June steadily approaching it seems an appropriate time to look back at past six months. This year the Long Island Progressive Coalition celebrated its 35th year with a luncheon on March 15, 2014 at the Timber Point Country Club in Great River. A turnout of old friends, politicians and our friends in labor all came together to honor some outstanding Long Islanders who truly make a difference in helping pilot this island forward. A sense of comradery was felt in the room as the introductions and honoree speeches spoke of commitment, hard-work and a priority of making Long Island a greater place live. The luncheon also honored the principles and ideas of the LIPC while reminding us its need for its formation in 1979; a unified front to combat social justice, to try to insure fair elections, to earn a decent wage and mostly importantly to move Long Island Forward.

 

This past budget season there were victories and some defeats but the LIPC will continue to look forward on the task in hand, we will continue to help steer Long Island as we strive to create a better Long Island in the present and most importantly the future. Our PowerUp Communites program continues to help fellow Long Islanders make sure their homes become more energy efficient, saving homeowners money while helping to conserve and protect the environment. Our AQE program is working toward ensuring a fair and equal education for all children in every community while fighting for programs that will enable children to get a step ahead via pre-k education. Our campaign for Fair Elections in New York continues to strive for an election system that works for all Long Islanders and not just a privilege few.  Our YIMBY campaign strives to say YES to affordable housing options desperately needed by senior citizens, veterans, young professionals, and working families in Suffolk and Nassau counties. These challenges  our staff is faces daily and are willing to take to extol their efforts to further a passion for a better Long Island but we cannot do it alone, so we look towards are membership and peers to engage with us and help along the way.

 

We once again thank our 2014 Luncheon honorees, our fellow organizations, and our friends in labor for their support. Finally, we would like to thank all our LIPC members for helping make this year’s luncheon a rousing success.

 

If you are not already a member, I encourage you to join, to be part of the excitement, to help lead us forward. For more information, please contact John, at john@lipc.org or by phone at 516-541-1006×10.

In Solidarity,

 

The LIPC Staff

 

Once again our 2014 Honorees:

David Calone

Adrienne Esposito

Gene & Lopez

Mike Gendron

Lillian Clayman

Margarita Espada

Risco Mention-Lewis

Views for 90 Penn: Becca’s View


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      My name is Becca and I am currently an intern with LIPC. I entered this position in January during my last undergraduate semester at LIU Post, where I study sociology. At the end of this year I will be graduating from college and entering the real world. Everyone’s dream is to find a job in their field straight out of college. In my recent job search I have noticed something concerning; there aren’t many positions, at least not for someone holding a bachelors degree. Most positions require a Master Degree or higher. That is at least another two years of school that I would have to pay for while working at a job that doesn’t pay me enough to afford rent let alone pay for graduate school.

At 22 I am at that age where living with my parents is no longer desirable. However, as a Long Islander that is essentially my only option. Not only are there few jobs available to me but the salary rates do not match up with the average cost of living on Long Island. While thinking about my future it seems to me like the most feasible option is to move out of the state.  Long Island is my home, it is where I was born and it is where I’ve continued to live for the last 22 years. My parents, my sister, and my friends are all here. It is sad to think that I may not be able to afford to live on this island I call my home, because let’s face it; Long Island is not affordable; especially for people like me.

It is important that we bring affordable housing to Long Island. It is not just you people who are struggling. Senior citizens cannot afford to pay property taxes on their homes. When they are forced to move due to high costs it is nearly impossible for them to find affordable rentals. Families, who make less than 100,000 dollars a year, cannot afford to buy homes here. So even though they are not poor they have no place to live. Through LIPC’s Yes in My Backyard campaign (YIMBY) we a bringing affordable housing to long island one community at a time. LIPC encourages communities to reach out to their town officials to make sure they know that affordable housing is important to Long Islanders.

After coming to intern with the Long Island progressive coalition I realized how pressing these issues are for many Long Islanders. There are many people holding down jobs that don’t pay them a livable wage and the cost of housing here is astronomical compared to other states. The Long Island Progressive Coalition fights to ensure that people have good paying jobs, affordable housing, and other equal opportunities, regardless of their race or where they live. It is amazing to know that I became involved with an organization that helps fight for people like me and I am glad to be helping fight for a better future, not just for myself but for all Long Islanders.

Lagging Behind on Energy Innovation

Orre PhotoI recently attended a public hearing about the 2014 New York State Energy Plan. Governor Cuomo has said that he wants New York to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2050 from 1990 levels, and achieve a 50 percent cut by 2030. The plan includes several initiatives that will make this goal feasible. However, most of the testimonies at the hearing were about what was missing in the plan. They urged the governor to aim attention at renewable energy such as wind, solar, hydroelectricity and geothermal power. Most of them also talked about how far ahead Europe is when it comes to energy innovation. The hearing caused me to think a great deal about differences in energy policies in Europe and the US, and the role of renewable energy.

The US gets 85% of their energy from fossil fuels like petroleum, coal and natural gas, and is one of the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gases. While the US has focused on strategies to secure more oil and gas, Europe has been leading the way when it comes to transitioning from fossil fuel to clean, renewable energy. Several European countries demonstrate that it is possible to implement policies and offer incentives that are effective in encouraging investment in renewable energy sources. In Europe the energy policies seems to be environmentally based, while in the US energy policies are economically based. Americans are still in denial about the causes and effects of climate change. They set climate protection against economic growth, and of course nothing is more sacred than economic growth. American policy makers endorse quick fixes that ignore the actual market and technology for renewable energy that is available. European countries have simply been better at using government policies and the private sector to make clean energy accessible for businesses and consumers. The results are windmill farms, tidal turbines and solar panels all over the European landscape. Incorporation of green policies can also be seen in people’s day-to-day life. Being a resident of a European country myself, I can attest to the different attitudes to the benefits of living green. My parents recently installed a geothermal heat pump in their house, which has reduced their energy bill and made the temperature of the house more comfortable throughout the year. The design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems. My home country Norway is an oil rich country, but also a large producer of renewable energy. We have made use of our copious resources in hydropower, wind power and bio-energy from wood. Despite the fact that our wealth stems from oil, the government promotes policies that favor the use of renewable energy, which in turn prompts citizens to take on the challenges of climate change.

There is no doubt that we will one day extract the last of the planet’s reserves of oil and gas. Thus we all have to look towards the future at other energy sources that in principle will never cease to exist. The sun will shine, the trees will grow, the wind will blow and the waves will slosh. Governor Cuomo and New York needs to take a leading role transforming the energy system to focus on clean energy technologies. Long Island is a place where you can clearly see the devastating effects of climate change, for example with the super storms Irene and Sandy. You can also see Long Island’s potential to be a center for production of clean energy. New York’s energy future should not be about the extraction of fossil fuels, but about looking generations ahead and establishing a cleaner and safer environment right now.

 

Interns View: “A Time for Action and Activism”

Views From 90 Penn

Interns View: “A Time for Action and Activism”

by Gil Bayone

Gil Bayonne

My name is Gil Bayonne, a college graduate, former professional athlete, and most recently an intern for the Long Island Progressive Coalition (LIPC).  I’ve spent my entire life training, dissecting game footage, playing countless weekend matches across the world. Playing the game I love for a living, up until recently I felt as though I had found my life’s purpose. That’s when I received the phone call that would forever change my life.

Regardless of the time zone differences, I’ve always made it a priority to have daily phone or email contact with my family. However, this particular call altered my life’s course forever; my brother was being charged with a felony. Growing up a first generation Haitian-American, this call came as a complete culture shock. As a consequence of having spent the last seven years playing collegiate soccer out of state and professional soccer abroad, I naturally became disconnected with my family. Hearing that my brother was facing up fifteen years in a federal prison sent hundreds of thoughts swirling through my mind:  How could this happen? Did I put my personal ambitions before my family? Why wasn’t I there to steer my brother down a different path? I began losing my passion for the game that had done so much for me.. After my season ended in Singapore, I spent three months traveling to tryouts across the world in Vietnam, France and Israel,  pursuing another professional soccer contract to no avail.

It was during my travels, and time of reflection that I realized that soccer was only one of the gifts that God had bestowed on me. After completing my Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) exam, I began searching for an opportunity to partake in meaningful community work.  Working with LIPC has provided countless invaluable life lessons and disciplines that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Being a part of LIPC has been an extremely rewarding experience; it has allowed me to satiate my desire to pursue a career in public interest work.  Former Seattle Mayor Norman Rice once said, “Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness to pull another hand into the light”.

On March 10, 2014 my brother pled guilty to two felony charges. Some may read this and say, “just another black male incarcerated”. Indeed they would be correct in their judgments; my brother is one of the 841,000 black males currently incarcerated in the United States.  All of us have, I suspect moments of illumination in our lives that revealed disturbing realities that we had long ignored, moments that have pushed us to question and ultimately to act .The pain that many families like mine have endured should push us all to think deeply about the problems that lie within our community, and prompt us to act for as long as it takes to change our communities.

As a lifelong resident of Amityville, NY I have witness the firsthand effects of socioeconomic inequality (i.e. troubled school district, poverty, crime, etc.). Despite these challenges I remain confident that justice and equality will be found. There may not be one particular answer to problems of our communities, but through the sustained efforts of courageous organizations like LIPC we are making strides in direction towards justice and equality. Drawing from my own personal life experiences has been no easy task; however I share this information in hope of sparking a discussion that will lead to the change that is desperately needed on Long Island. Instead of casting judgment on the trouble youth in our communities, let’s spark a progressive dialogue that can serve as the first step towards a better Long Island for all.

Views From 90 Penn: Opening my eyes to politics

Interns View: Opening my eyes to politics

Frankie Rotolo

My name is Frankie and I currently engaged in an internship with the LIPC. I am a junior at LIU Post studying sociology. I must admit, prior to accepting this amazing offer to work with such a hardworking, and dedicated group of people I was extremely nervous and felt as if I was in the dark. I am not proud of the fact that I had intentionally ignored politics and anything that had to do with them. Partially due to ignorance, and age.  I thought to myself “I am spending most of my time to studying sociology, what could that possibly have to do with an involvement in politics?”  One month later, I have a completely different mindset.

With the help of the coalition I was able to realize not only the importance of politics, but the connection to sociology as well. Once I was able to make this connection (which came rather quickly and obviously) I was able to fully commit myself to making the most out of this opportunity.

If there is one thing that is embedded in my mind from all of my passionate sociology professors at LIU Post, it is the concept of the sociological imagination. This concept helps us to understand that most issues that occur for one person, or even a small group of people, usually end up being broad scale issues that are important to many.

A great quote I have heard over and over from my professors to explain this is: “The personal is political” which was used to great extent in feminist sociology; panning out on one women’s issue to reveal that it is actually the issue of many. In relation to the work with LIPC, I have seen that if one school district is having issues due to cuts and underfunding, it is usually similar issues to many others across the state. That one school’s issues now become not just their problem, but the problem of multiple schools and people in those communities; which is then where politics can come into play, to help solve the issues of many of these schools.

Now I must ask, what is the best way to solve or improve broad scale issues amongst a large group of people? Well I’m sure most of you already put it together; it is politics. Laws and policies over time have constantly affected and determined many social actions and constructions amongst many people, creating oppression, inequality, equality, and liberation amongst races, class, and gender; which are the most popular subjects of study in sociology.

I am so enlightened and grateful for this opportunity I was given by the LIPC and my professor. I was able to step out of my comfort zone, and I am now learning so many wonderful and useful things in relation to sociology, as well as learning a great deal about politics in the process (and enjoying it might I add). I am very eager to continue my time here and can’t wait to participate in some of the wonderful events that the LIPC is hosting and involved in.

Dan’s View: We’re Covered!

On Saturday February 1st we, at LIPC, can say We Got Covered!

Dan FingasThe fight for expanded access for affordable care has been a long one in the United States.  There are been elected officials, like my former Congressman John Dingell (D-Michigan) who have been working on it for more than 50 years.

Congressman Dingell and others of his time were true leaders who saw that living in a modern democratic republic with as much wealth as we have as country should mean that no man, woman, or child should want for medical services when they are sick or hurt and a doctor to help keep them from getting sick.

That’s why so many in America were fighting for the passage of the Affordable Care Act when President Obama had his chance to make healthcare for all,  a reality.  I know that I was working hard in Michigan for that goal and that Long Island Progressive Coalition was lobbying elected officials, holding rallies, and energizing Long Islanders for passage of the ACA.

On March 23, 2010 the dream of affordable care became a reality.  It was an exciting time and the culmination of the activism of hundreds of thousands across the nation.  Change of that magnitude is a difficult task and our federal government definitely struggled with it this last fall.  But the importance of the measure far outweighed the headaches of implementation.

In December, LIPC staff and our Board looked into our ACA options and found that the Small Business Exchange was going to be perfect fit for our needs.  As a small staff living across Long Island we found the program that really worked for us all and met the needs of the organization.

So this weekend we officially enter the Small Business Exchange and become just 6 of the 9 million people now covered by federal healthcare.