YFJ at Yorktown Fall Festival and Street Fair!

Come visit our booth on October 10, 2021 from 11-5 at the Yorktown Fall Festival and Street Fair!

Our GoFundMe was fully funded for the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. We are honored to bring the oldest indigenous dance troupe in NY to Yorktown. They will be kicking off the day with a 15 minute main stage performance beginning at 11am. So come out early! They will also be joining us at our booth directly following the main stage performance. We’ll be there all day. If you would like to get involved in helping at our booth or planning an activity, email us at yorktownforjustice@gmail.com.

Learn more about Thunderbird here: https://thunderbirdamericanindiandancers.wordpress.com/

And see our Go Fund Me here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-the-thunderbird-american-indian-dancers

Sign On To A DEI Support Letter

We, the undersigned, fully support Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts in our Northern Westchester schools. Many DEI measures are implementations of the New York State Education Department’s Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education framework coming down from state leadership in Albany, and for good reason. The introduction to this framework states:

“The CR-S framework helps educators create student-centered learning environments that: affirm racial, linguistic and cultural identities; prepare students for rigor and independent learning, develop students’ abilities to connect across lines of difference; elevate historically marginalized voices; and empower students as agents of social change.”

In other words, this framework encourages and guides schools to create a welcoming environment for all students; to teach children age-appropriate, accurate history; to connect students across cultural differences and through similarities; and to promote critical thinking skills so students can be informed and compassionate American and global citizens who respect and explore a diversity of ideas from a variety of vantage points. DEI measures are simply good
21st century pedagogy.


Still, in recent months, a campaign to halt DEI efforts has surfaced in our communities. These efforts are grounded in mistruths and a coordinated, national propaganda campaign. The erroneous foundations of the arguments against DEI measures have gone unchallenged by some of our schools boards- or even endorsed and supported. 

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and the NYSED CR-S framework are not an embodiment of critical race theory. Critical race theory is a body of scholarly work that examines the racial dimensions of American law and other institutions in society. This conceptual framework was developed after a substantial amount of highly scrutinized academic work was presented in peer reviewed journals. 

Critical race theory does not appear in K-12 curriculums and is not being proposed. Creating welcoming classrooms and critical thinkers is not “indoctrinating” students with “critical race theory”– it is teaching our children well.
Many children already understand systemic racism— and systemic sexism, classism and heterosexism– because they experience it, and because they have emergent critical thinking skills. Many of these students in our districts have spoken in front of their school boards about their experiences of discrmination in their schools and communities, which encouraged administrators to begin or accelerate DEI efforts. School staff need support as they lead classroom efforts to include all students– not cameras and McCarthy-esque witch hunts- and students need factual information and opportunities to discuss historical and contemporary systemic issues as they arise.

America is a work in progress, a country dedicated to democracy, to doing better, to being better. Here, we make space for everyone to create and experience the promise of liberty and justice for all. And all means ALL. As patriotic Americans, we are compelled to denounce the attack on DEI. We denounce the vilification of inclusivity. We denounce the attacks on truth, democracy, and civility. And we denounce unfounded attacks on CRT. We will not move our communities backwards and allow misinformed community members to silence these attempts to address bigotry and exclusionary practices in our public schools.


If you would like to sign on in support of this statement, e-mail yorktownforjustice@gmail.com.


Signed,
Colin Smith, District 1, Westchester Board of Legislators
Catherine Borgia, District 9, Westchester Board of Legislators
Marisa Ragonese, Mohegan Lake, Lakeland Central School District
Rachel Frederick, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Sharon Paige, Somers, Somers Central School District
Joe Ascanio, Yorktown Heights, Lakeland Central School District
Russ Passig, Lakeland Central School District
Judyth Stavans, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Sarah Wilson, Lakeland Central School District
Jenna Jaramillo, Yorktown Central School District
Jennie Sunshine, Lakeland Central School District
Mel Tanzman, Mohegan Lake, Lakeland Central School District
James Carmody, Carmel
Patricia Sullivan-Rothberg, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Maura Gregory, Mohegan Lake, Lakeland Central School District
Elina Dart, Shrub Oak, Lakeland Central School District
David Stavans, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District Alum
Reverend Matthew Querns, Pastor Yorktown United Methodist Church
George McAnanama, Yonkers, Yonkers Central School District
Leah Nelson, Ossining, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Hudson Valley
Laura Greenberg, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Maria Andrea Laverde, Heritage Hills, Somers School District
Daniela Duff, Cortlandt Manor, Lakeland Central School District
Brandon Riley, Cortlandt Manor, Lakeland Central School District
Cheryl and Brittany Sanchez, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Stephanie Geiger, Somers, Somers Central School District
Christina Reichelt, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Anne-Marie Paolino, Cortlandt Manor, Lakeland Central School District
Marc DeLonge, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Shawn DeLonge, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Rosa Hirsch, Yorktown Heights, Lakeland Central School District
Nancy Haggerty, Shrub Oak, Lakeland Central School District
Stephanie Stowe, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District
Trish Sullivan, Yorktown Heights, Yorktown Central School District


Yorktown for Justice
Race Amity of Northern Westchester
Indivisible YorktownNY

This support letter has been published in numerous local newspapers. See the Yonkers Times article below-

http://yonkerstimes.com/yorktown-for-justice-2-county-legislators-support-dei-in-westchester-schools/?fbclid=IwAR3_VA2n5Gh-LHCEDoFSqVeE-I2rrQleQ5HaPrJbnP6C-MPKFJPEzviEeuo

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Our local school boards have seen contentious debate this summer over proposed DEI measures. We’ve heard that the opposition conflates DEI with Critical Race Theory, which the mainstream right wing news media has spent months and millions vilifying, despite clarification from YCSD and LCSD superintendents that CRT is a post collegiate area of study and not in the K-12 system. We’ve seen petitions against DEI and calls to cease and desist. We’ve heard the charges of Marxism again and again. It can be really confusing for anyone looking for information without all the noise. So what is DEI anyway? We’ve put together an informational flyer. Feel free to repost and share around.

Yorktown for Justice unequivocally supports all DEI measures to be implemented in our schools. It is far past time for all students to feel safe, supported, welcomed, and celebrated. DEI proactively works to make our communities more inclusive spaces and attempts to reduce hate, bigotry, and violence against marginalized people groups. As always, email us with questions and maybe we’ll see you at a YCSD or LCSD board meeting! Join us!

Back to School Supply Drive

Educational equity means equal access.  

Please help give the children of YCSD and LCSD equal access by donating to our Back to School Supply Drive! 

You don’t need to venture to the store, just drop a few bucks in our Venmo https://venmo.com/u/yorktown_for_justice-JJ and we’ll take care of the rest.  All proceeds raised will go to purchasing the requested supplies from local area pantries: St. Mary’s and First Presbyterian – 

https://fpcyorktown.org/ourmission/today-begins-our-collection-of-school-supplies/

http://www.cfpstmarysmoheganlake.com

Please share so each student can begin their school year with everything they need.  

Book Reading and Signing with Evan Pritchard

Join Yorktown for Justice and Amawalk Friends Meeting House for a special book reading and signing event with author Evan Pritchard.

“Past Lives Matter: Acknowledging the Indigenous Caretakers of the Land Currently Called Yorktown…”

Join us for a reading by author of NATIVE NEW YORKERS The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York, by Evan Pritchard on.

Saturday July 17, 2021 at 1pm at the Amawalk Friends Meeting House at 2467 Quaker Church Road in Yorktown.

RSVP by July 7th by emailing us at yorktownforjustice@gmail.com. RSVP early as there is a 40 person cap. Children and families welcome.

“To be stewards of the earth, not owners: this was the way of the Lenape. Considering themselves sacred land keepers, they walked gently; they preserved the world they inhabited. Drawing on a wide range of historical sources, interviews with living Algonquin elders, and first-hand explorations of the ancient trails, burial grounds, and sacred sites, Native New Yorkers offers a rare glimpse into the civilization that served as the blueprint for modern New York. A fascinating history, supplemented with maps, timelines, and a glossary of Algonquin words, this book is an important and timely celebration of a forgotten people.”

Event Flyer

Juneteenth at the Hart Library

Calling all families!

Join us Saturday June 19 at 10:30 at John C Hart Memorial Library in Shrub Oak to celebrate Juneteenth.

We will be hanging our community quilt project in its new home at the library. Come check it out! This project was a community wide art project in honor of Black History Month. Yorktowners of all ages engaged in social activism through quilt making. Themes of love, unity, freedom, and equality will be on display as we reflect on the history and duality of African American struggle and joy this Juneteenth.

PRIDE

#Yorktown4Pride

Join us for this historic event – Yorktown’s first ever Pride March! We march to celebrate and to call attention to the ways that the LGBTQ+ community is still not done fighting for equality and liberation. Join us Saturday June 12 beginning at noon sharp so come early! Park in the old K-Mart lot and walk over to Yorktown Town Hall at 363 Underhill Ave.

Please bring the whole family and pass around the flyer! Bring a sign, bring a drum, bring a mask, bring your friends! We will hear from a dynamic selection of speakers to start off the day. We are honored to be joined by keynote speaker Congressman Mondaire Jones!

County Executive George Latimer remarks, “What Yorktown is doing is not only symbolic, but it will be a part of Westchester history. The year 2021, may be the first PRIDE march in Yorktown, but it certainly won’t be the last. In our towns, our villages, our cities, we will show – together – we are an inclusive Westchester, a diverse Westchester, and there is strength in that, and we are committed to doing the right thing and recognizing and understanding all people in Westchester County.”

Oh, and please grab a t-shirt to rock at pride –  https://www.customink.com/fundraising/yorktown-pride-shirts (SOLD OUT)

Read more here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/yorktown-for-justice-to-hold-towns-first-pride-march-this-month/

And we are looking for DRUMMERS for the march! Learn more here: https://fb.me/e/1n1mbbcCK

The Yorktown Grille will be hosting an after party beginning at 1:30!

Check out the local businesses offering specials and deals in honor of the day!

National Alliance on Mental Illness Fundraiser and Walkathon

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is hosting a NAMIwalks event on May 22 to raise money and awareness for the very important cause of mental health and help. This year, walking is not required. If you wish to walk, meet us at the track May 22 at noon to do a few laps. Otherwise, please consider making a donation to the cause for our YFJ NAMIwalks team. Donate here: https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=42864

Outdoor Movie Night!

We are so excited to invite you to  an outdoor film screening (finally!) at Sparkle Lake Park on Friday May 14th. We are showing “Liyana”, a beautiful film that you will love (check out the description below).  It’s high time for a chance to meet and mingle, so please come! 

Hope to see you there! Please register using the eventbrite link below – one registration per family is fine. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/outdoor-movie-night-tickets-153152432047

ABOUT THE FILM

LIYANA is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who turn past trauma into an original tale about a girl named Liyana who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The film weaves her animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring story of perseverance and hope.

Executive produced by Emmy-winner Thandie Newton, and produced by Oscar-winner Daniel Junge, LIYANA features innovative animated artwork by Shofela Coker and an original score by Philip Miller. Critically acclaimed as exquisite, a staggering feature debut, and one of the year’s very best, LIYANA has played at festivals around the world, including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight, and has won more than 35 jury and audience awards so far. The Sunday Times describes Aaron & Amanda Kopp’s directorial debut as, part documentary, part animation, and pure magic.

Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjT9RtV9gs4

COVID Screening Form: https://forms.gle/oRcrZV9ReQ6NVQMn8

T-Shirt Fundraiser for Yorktown’s first ever Pride March!

Hold the date!

We are planning to have a Pride March on June 12th. Get your YFJ Pride t-shirt today! All profits will go towards securing necessary permits and insurances for future YFJ events.

https://www.customink.com/fundraising/yorktown-pride-shirts?fbclid=IwAR0FdnZZ7A_XBkEz_1GHyxzQ5QBEqAtRtqb0dqzjjvyPsBkDpSsawPXGQQk

Love wins!