On Wednesday night, more than one hundred Suffolk County residents from Latino, African-American, and immigrant communities joined Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for a forum hosted by Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, and the NAACP. Residents who came together at the Brentwood Public Library posed questions about the most pressing issues facing Suffolk’s diverse communities: jobs, housing, and diversity.
Participants in the event were thrilled to have the opportunity to ask questions on a wide range of topics affecting communities of color, including housing discrimination, addressing the foreclosure crisis, how to combat wage theft, and the status of efforts to welcome immigrants to Suffolk County.
Miriam Elaraby, member of Make the Road New York, said: “This event was an important way that our community and our elected representatives can join together to better our community. I’m pleased that issues of diversity, employment, and housing are being discussed, because they’re the main priorities for the community.”
Nelsena Day, member of New York Communities for Change and Brentwood resident, said, “These public forums are very important for our communities, because, with the diversity in our neighborhoods, people need to be respected and cared about by our elected officials. Providing stable jobs and keeping housing affordable will allow individuals to support their families in this county.”
“From Suffolk County Executive Bellone’s language access Executive Order making Suffolk County one of the most language accessible suburbs in the country to publicly supporting comprehensive immigration reform and declaring Welcoming Week in Suffolk two years in a row, the county’s leader has signaled to the immigrant community as well as all Suffolk residents that the county has opened its heart and mind to work through how we can maximize immigrants’ contributions and build a stronger community together.” Maryann Sinclair Slutsky, executive director, Long Island Wins.
Amparo Sadler, member of Long Island Progressive Coalition and the Alliance for Quality Education, said, “The forum was a great opportunity for the community to understand how County Executive Bellone plans to close the inequality gap. The segregation of Long Island causes educational inequalities between rich and poor districts. We must focus on closing this gap by funding low income school districts and investment in a true universal Pre-K program, in order for all children in Suffolk County an equal opportunity to a quality public education.”
Event co-sponsors included Long Island Wins, Long Island Progressive Coalition, National Association of Puerto Rican Hispanic Social Workers, The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, Long Island Latino Teachers Association, The Muslim Center of Long Island, New York Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic.
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