State Senator Michael Gianaris is now accepting entries for his annual Thanksgiving Day Showcase.
Young people from kindergarten to sixth grade from across the district can submit an essay, poetry, artwork or other creative depiction showing what they are thankful for this time of the year.
“This year has been so difficult in so many ways, and this annual program is, I hope, a small sense of normal for families in our community,” Gianaris said. “During these challenging times, it is important to reflect on that for which we are grateful.”
With schools officially reopened at least partially, local groups are helping students get ready for the new year.
Last week, Woodside on the Move teamed up with Mount Sinai Queens and State Senator Michael Gianaris for a school supply drive.
“COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis,” the state senator said, “but Queens has risen to the challenge and our neighbors have answered the call of those in need.”
Michael Vaz, executive director of Woodside on the Move, joined Gianaris and Caryn Schwab, executive director of Mount Sinai Queens, at the drive.
“Working with a school age population is challenging in these unique times,” he said, “but through partnership with Senator Michael Gianaris and Mount Sinai, we are ensuring that all young people in our community have the school supplies they need to succeed.”
Acting Borough President Sharon Lee is looking for two dedicated parent volunteers to fill two vacant positions on Community Education Council District 30.
Lee is accepting applications from education-minded individuals until Friday, August 7.
CEC 30, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Astoria and Long Island City, is responsible for advising and commenting on educational policies and providing input to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza.
Each CEC oversees elementary and middle schools in their respective community school district. There are seven community school districts in Queens.
CEC members meet for public meetings every month, and visit schools to see what their educational needs are. They also review the district’s educational programs, approve zoning lines, and submit a capital plan to the chancellor after holding public hearings.
The CEC membership application is available online here and can be returned by email to email@example.com.
On Tuesday night, the New York City Council voted to pass the $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
For weeks, advocates marching and protesting across the city have called for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. The demonstrations have resulted in an occupation of City Hall Park, where activists called on the City Council to decrease the police budget significantly.
However, as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson later admitted, negotiations for the $1 billion in cuts fell short.
When the vote for the budget came, 37 members voted in favor, while 12 voted against. Sunnyside Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer was one of the no votes.
“The people have demanded a real $1 billion cut to the NYPD, but also a reimagining of public safety in this city,” he explained in a statement. “Sadly, the most historic part of this budget is how it fails to meet the moment.
“As a person who benefits from white privilege, I have a particular obligation to meet this moment and to use my power and privilege to end white supremacy and a police state that brutalizes black and brown bodies,” he added.
Van Bramer noted that over $350 million of the cut is through overtime reduction goals. However, he said based on history, the reduction is more of a “suggestion” because NYPD blows through overtime numbers.
The councilman added that the budget should have eliminated more cadet classes and actively reduced the headcount of uniformed officers.
On moving school safety officers out of the NYPD to the Department of Education budget, Van Bramer said those changes happen over two years, and does nothing for students who feel over-policed and criminalized.
“It’s not a cut,” he said. “We should have gone much further and invested more in education and programs that build up communities.”
After a concerted push by community board leaders, elected officials and school administrators, the Department of Transportation has finally installed an all-way stop sign at the intersection.
As you know, this corner is not only near St. Sebastian’s Catholic Academy, but PS 11, Doughboy Park and other schools nearby. Cars often use 57th Street to cut through Woodside down from Queens Boulevard.
Thanks to advocacy from residents, this intersection will be a little safer for everyone to cross.
On June 18 New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer honored the academic excellence of PS 199’S 5th grade graduates in Sunnyside. Pictured above, Van Bramer is joined by students Isabelle Quan and Natalie Sheehan.