Season’s Greetings

Dear Neighbor:

It’s hard to believe that it is already 2012, the beginning of my 20th year as your elected representative to the New York State Assembly.

As is typical around the beginning of a new year, I find this an appropriate time to not only reflect on the happenings of the previous year, but to look ahead with optimism. No one can deny that the economic status of our Nation, State and City has held back our community from prosperity and the quality of life that we all deserve. Unlike many communities devastated by the great recession, in Harlem we haven’t lost our unequivocal style, our cultural and political significance, and our tight knit community. With 2012 upon us, let’s remember the things that make our community what it is, and move forward as one unified force.

In 2011, the New York State Legislature was faced with a painful agenda of cuts and caps. We worked our way through an immensely difficult legislative session with a new governor and tough decisions and unpleasant compromises were made. We in the Assembly pushed for funding of non-profit organizations in our communities, but were rebuffed. Painful cuts were made to state agencies, some by up to 20%. We saw the near expiration of rent stabilization in New York City, which thankfully the State Assembly was able to hold off and preserve intact, with modest changes.

These are the frustrating truths that decorate our State and Nation today and have for some time. The distressing gap of wealth distribution in the United States is finally becoming too much for society, as it has been too much for our neighborhoods for generations. This feeling of frustration is spreading across our City and our Country. Too many people are fed up, as their student loan debt accumulates while unemployment continues to rise. Agencies that our neighbors and families rely on become less and less accessible as they downsize staff and deplete programs that our neighborhoods rely upon.

We saw hints of what was to come, when some forty-five thousand Verizon employees went on strike to protect their collectively bargained rights and make a stand against the hypocrisy of one of the country’s wealthiest corporations. Months later, we saw Occupy Wall Street, started here in the Empire City, go viral and spread across the globe. The frustration is mounting and people are coming together to articulate the common realities of our American society, so hope remains!

We must find new ways to create a better New York for our residents. If the governor won’t allow us to fund non-profit organizations via member items, we have to think of new ways to keep them running or get them started. We need to keep the millionaires’ tax in place, making sure that the upper class pays their fair share. We need to make sure that construction projects being built in our neighborhoods employ Harlem residents both during construction and after opening. Most importantly, we must all keep our heads up, even during our darkest hours.

So reflect, move forward, and enjoy this new year! My office is always open to you and anyone you may know who needs assistance, so please do not hesitate to call, email, or drop in. We would love to see you!

Happy holidays!

Sincerely,
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Keith L.T. Wright
Member of Assembly



EMPLOYMENT AND JOB TRAINING RESOURCES

Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of NY

Consortium for Workers Education (CWE)

Ecumenical Community Development Organization (ECDO)

Fortune Society

Grace Institute

Greenhope Services for Women

Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI)

Hellenic-American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC)

Mission Society

STRIVE

Union Settlement Association

Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center

West Harlem Group Assistance (WHGA)

ALBANY OFFICE: Room 522, Legislative Office Building • Albany, NY 12248 • 518-455-4793
DISTRICT OFFICE: Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street, Suite 911New York, NY 10027 • 212-866-5809
EMAIL: wrightk@assembly.state.ny.us