HAPPY NEW YEAR! – We’ve made it through another year, and even with an earthquake and hurricane we continue to persevere. I would like to send you a heartfelt wish that 2012 is a year of not only new beginnings, but also of continued progress.
There is still much work to be done, and I eagerly look forward to this new legislative session. Also, as I serve in a new capacity as Chairperson of the Assembly’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus, I bring a renewed effort to shine light on issues important to you.
This newsletter serves to highlight some of the many events and initiatives that my dedicated staff and I have been involved with throughout 2011. These events include housing, safety and crime, education, health care, and many more.
As always, I will work diligently on legislative initiatives and creating forums that serve to address the concerns of this diverse district.
Assemblyman Karim Camara began his tenure as the new chairperson of the progressive New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus (BPHAC). This forty-seven member organization, made up of members of both the NYS Senate and Assembly is a vital component of State government. Assemblyman Camara will serve a two-year term as chairperson of the BPHAC, which has historically advocated on behalf of underserved constituencies of color throughout New York State.
On a Thursday evening in February, dozens of constituents piled into St. Gabriel’s Senior Center to voice their concerns. Present were various representatives from agencies that deal specifically with tenants’ rights such as: Brooklyn Housing & Family Services, NYC Department of Finance SCRIE Program, Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR), New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), and Housing Preservation & Development (HPD).
As head of BPHAC, Assemblyman Camara said, “New Yorkers deserve a budget plan of shared sacrifice; we can’t get through these lean times by cutting education, health care, public transportation and other vital services to the middle class and those struggling to make it.”
On an evening in late May, dozens of block association presidents gathered at St. Louis Senior Center to discuss various quality of life issues affecting their respective blocks. The meeting was held to encourage constituents to work with local elected and law enforcement officials towards having a safer and more productive summer. Assemblyman Camara collaborated with Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes to answer questions about noise pollution, block party requirements and restrictions, crime throughout the 43rd District, public safety and policing in central Brooklyn.
The Fifth Annual State of the 43rd District Address was held at SUNY Downstate Alumni Auditorium on May 5th, 2011. The evening’s theme of creating a shared vision through community partnership and engagement was embodied by this year’s choice of honorees. Three distinguished constituents and one organization were recognized for their outstanding commitment to youth advocacy throughout the district. Assemblyman Camara encouraged members of the 43rd District to play a role in engaging our youth. He also lauded the honorees for doing their part to ensure a brighter future by investing in the next generation.
The honorees were Mr. Anthony Newerls -- Executive Director of Brooklyn Blizzards Youth Organization Inc.; Rabbi Moishe Feiglin -- Executive Director of Alternative Learning Institute for Young Adults (ALIYA); Mark Saroda -- a youth advocate, role model and mentor; and the youth advocacy organization of Moving Mountains Inc., under the direction of co-founders Jamie Hector and Alaine Roberson.
Oftentimes health fairs focus on issues that affect adults, however we can’t take for granted the well-being of our youth. In collaboration with the Crown Heights Beacon Program and CEC 17’s Education & Communication Committee, youth throughout the 43rd District were able to get free health screenings, dental check-ups, diabetes testing, as well as health and nutrition information at P.S. 138. Child identification cards and applications for library cards were also available. Other adult targeted health screenings were also on site, including HIV/AIDS testing, mammograms and blood pressure tests.
Over 100 students in grades 2-5 returned their applications and received library cards on the spot. Students borrowed close to 40 books from the Kids Mobile provided by the Brooklyn Public Library. This was the Assemblyman’s way of reminding students that reading can be fun. Each student also received a summer reading list package, including a calendar to record their reading efforts and an Assembly bookmark.
As a member of the NYS Assembly Committee on Education and a parent of two, Assemblyman Camara understands that a quality academic experience is essential to the progress of our bright and able students. In this regard CONGRATULATIONS to the schools in the 43rd District that received A’s on New York City’s 2011 Department of Education annual progress report:
It is important that students are equipped to compete by national and international standards. This is why schools within the 43rd District have been identified as recipients of funding for technology and educational upgrades from Assemblyman Camara’s office.
Every year the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. awards college-bound students with scholarships. The 2011 recipients identified and awarded through the Assemblyman’s office are: Kyra Jones, Mikwaevonn Mills, Allecia Murray, Raheem Murry. CONGRATULATIONS from your Assemblyman and good luck on your future academic endeavors!
After Hurricane Irene postponed the festivities, the 2nd Annual Union-Nostrand Street Festival took place on a sunny day in early September. Once again Assemblyman Camara in partnership with City of Hope Economic Development Corp. collaborated with community stakeholders, including Super Wings NY, The Wagon Clothing Boutique, Knaps Unisex Hair Salon, Health First, and New York Life Insurance amongst others, to give back to the residents who utilize their services.
This community and family affair featured a fashion show, live musical performances, free food, face painting and rides for the children. Additionally, about 200 students ranging from kindergarten to high school received Health First backpacks filled with school supplies.