We share a challenge like never before. Our Democracy feels fragile. The time for activism, patriotism and unity has never been so evident. Orange County Democratic Women remains committed to its role as the premier Democratic Women’s organization in the region. We are, and will continue to be, unwavering in advancing the message of Democrats in Orange County.
OCDW’s legacy includes over two decades of supporting Democratic initiatives; recruiting and training prochoice women to run for office; helping prochoice men and women get involved in public service at all levels of government; creating and implementing winning strategies to elect qualified Democrats; and raising thousands of dollars to help endorsed candidates win elections. But our work is not finished. 2020 will be extremely challenging for Democrats at all levels. We plan to do our part. We hope you will join our efforts. Thank you for your past and future support. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/democracymatters2020
POLICE REFORM AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS
In response to this summer’s activities surrounding police and community relations, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 203. (EO203). Under the terms of the order, “Each local government entity which has a police agency must convene the head of the police department and stakeholders in the community to (1) perform a comprehensive review of current police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, and (2) develop a plan to improve such deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices, for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color. Such plan must be adopted by the governing board by April 1, 2021.”
Cities and villages throughout New York State are taking action to improve justice and equity in their communities and comply with Executive Order 203 on police policies and practices. The New York Conference of Mayors has developed the Police Reform and Reinvention webpage to provide members with additional tools and information on this subject matter. For this process to work and for our system of policing to become more just, it is imperative that these local committees get populated with the right people and that the right people testify at the public hearings. If this is an issue that interests you, our goal is to identify people in each and every community in the Hudson Valley to serve on these boards.
a) become activists/advocates and help recruit stakeholders in our community. These stakeholders are identified as people who are most affected by poor police policy. (minorities, LGBTQ, immigrants, etc.).
b) keep the public informed, educated, and encouraged to participate. The public may not be aware that this is happening now.
TEN IDEAS FOR FIGHTING HATE IN YOUR COMMUNITY
ACT - apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Counter hate with acts of goodness. Host a neighborhood or community meeting. Speak up in church. Sign a petition. Attend a vigil. Offer your services and skills. Give your employees the afternoon off to attend a rally.
JOIN FORCES - Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, law enforcement, and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved. A hate crime creates an opportunity for a community’s first dialogue intolerance. Bridge the gap between neighborhoods and law enforcement.
SUPPORT THE VICTIMS - Let victims know you care. Surround them with comfort and protection. Small acts of kindness — a phone call, a letter — can help.
SPEAK UP - Do not debate hate group members. Instead, speak up in ways that draw attention away from hate, toward unity. Spread tolerance through social media, websites, church bulletins, door-to-door fliers, and letters to the editor, and print advertisements. Create a “Hate Free Zone.” Educate elected officials, reporters and publishers about hate groups. Urge editorial writers and columnists to take a stand against hate. Promote “good news” when people promote tolerance.
EDUCATE YOURSELF - Understand the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident. Eruptions of hate generally produce either: apathy (“It’s just an isolated act by some kooks”) or fear (“The world is out of control”). Before reacting, get accurate information about those who are spouting hate.
CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE - Hold a unity rally, forums, parades, and unity fairs.
PRESSURE LEADERS – Some elected officials need to overcome reluctance — and others, their own biases — before they’re able to take a stand. Support of local officials, police, college presidents, school principals, local clergy, business leaders, and others can help a community address the root causes of hate. Demand a vigorous investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.
STAY ENGAGED – The best cure for hate is a united community. Bring together people from different backgrounds and belief systems, and provide them with a safe space to share thoughts and get to know each other. Hold a human rights celebration. Begin discussion groups, book clubs, and library gatherings where people tell their stories, their immigration history, their experience with discrimination and their fear about revealing sexual orientation.
TEACH ACCEPTANCE - Bias is learned early. Reach out to young people who may be susceptible to hate group propaganda and prejudice. Examine your children’s textbooks and the curricula at their schools to determine whether they are equitable and multicultural. Expose your child to multicultural experiences by expanding your circle of friends and experiences. Encourage your children to become activists. Examine the media your children consume, from internet sites to thecommercials during their favorite TV shows. Openly discuss stereotyping and examples of intolerance when you see them. Model inclusive language and behavior.
DIG DEEPER - Look inside yourself for biases and stereotypes. Help address hunger, affordable housing, domestic violence, school dropout rates, and police brutality. How wide is your circle of friends? How diverse are the people who visit your home? How integrated is your neighborhood? Your child’s school? Workplace? Do you take economic segregation and environmental racism for granted? Do you have the courage to ask a friend not to tell a sexist or racist or homophobic joke in your presence? Do you take the time to listen and learn from other people’s experiences — especially people with whom you might initially disagree?