PRIDE 2022!

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Pride month is rapidly approaching, and we’re so excited for our second annual Pride event in Yorktown— and this year it will be bigger and better! Celebrate Pride with us all day long on Saturday June 11, 2022. All are welcome! 

MARCH AT 1PM

We will be gathering at the Yorktown Town Hall at 363 Underhill Ave Yorktown Heights, NY for a march to kick off the day. Pride began as a protest and in that spirit, we march! Bring a sign and a friend and be ready for step off at 1pm sharp.

CELEBRATE AT 3PM

After the march, head over to the Yorktown United Methodist Church at 2300 Crompond Rd Yorktown Heights, NY on 202, across from the police station, for our festival! If you need a ride from the march, let an organizer know (you’ll be able to spot us!) and we’ll get you there.  Join us from 3-6pm to enjoy performances, speakers, vendors, small businesses, information, food trucks, activities for the kids, and more! MCed by local sensations Angel Elektra and Shay D’Pines, who will also be performing! If you would like to perform or table at the event, please fill out this brief google form: https://forms.gle/PTka49ymBbL9Q9zk8

Thank you to our generous host, United Methodist church of Yorktown, and especially Pastor Matthew Querns.  

Angel Elektra
Kitty Ka-Boodlez

PARTY AT 7PM

After the church festivities, join us at The Yorktown Grille at 347 Downing Drive Yorktown Heights, NY for music, and dinner and drink specials! Hosted by local legend Anthony Calbi 🙂

Attend all 3 events or pick and choose where to meet up with us!

Contact us at yorktownforjustice@gmail.com with any questions! 

AND…

And if you can and would like to donate to Yorktown for Justice, our Go Fund Me donations are currently all going to raise money for Pride: https://gofund.me/12115a24

Get your YFJ Pride Merch here: https://www.bonfire.com/store/yorktown-for-justice-1/

Order a Pride T-Shirt!

vote!

Local elections matter and no matter what you believe in or who you support, just get out and vote. Exercise those rights! Yorktown and Lakeland Central School Districts will be holding an election for Board of Education trustees, the school budget, and various propositions. If you are registered to vote, you can vote in school board elections! Just show up!

Family Fun Day!

Please join us on Sunday May 22 at Granite Knolls Pavilion for family fun day! All are welcome! We will be raising money to help sponsor a garden planter for Yorktown’s first ever inclusive playground and sensory garden! We will have art stations for kids of all ages, live music, a speaker, and an author joining us! E-mail us at yorktownforjustice@gmail.com if you’d like to volunteer or get involved! Teens welcome!

Register today:

https://www.eventbrite.com/o/yorktown-for-justice-45901052853

NAMI Walk

The National Alliance on Mental Illness will host its annual donation drive and walk to benefit the organization and call attention to the mental health needs in our country. Mental healthcare is healthcare despite being treated extraneously by too many. The consequences of mental health stigma are devastating. Join us on Sunday May 7 at 9am right here in Yorktown to show up to end the stigma and call attention to the cause. Yorktown for Justice has partnered with NAMI and the Town of Yorktown to organize this local walk at the Jack DeVito Memorial Field track. If you can’t make it, please consider a donation to our team: https://www.namiwalks.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.team&teamID=49131&fbclid=IwAR1pPiyw-hHsUnzSKQx5cFbcK_HfgYaVGkTeBunyoCAACU9gq8VbRe_qS-M

Black History Month Teach-Ins

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In honor of Black History Month and in partnership with John C Hart Memorial Library, Yorktown for Justice is proud to present a series of age-leveled teach-ins for the community. The event will take place from 10am-1pm in the community room of the library on Saturday February 26th. At 10am, librarian Daphne Revie will lead the children’s teach-in with a focus on Black art and artists. At 11am, Yorktown High School Counselor Daks Armstrong will lead teens in a discussion about what is means to advocate for others. At 12pm, Paul Edwards will facilitate a conversation for adults about the power of representation.

Throughout the event, we will also have a craft station set up for all ages. We will be providing supplies to create a bookmark that honors Black History Month with quotes, images, and graphics.

ALSO! Please feel free to bring a new or used book in recognition of Black history, anti-racism, representation, advocacy, etc. Donated books will go towards community programming and be made available to the public.

Thank You, Urgent Care!

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Amidst the latest COVID surge, our local urgent cares have been working hard to ensure our community receives the necessary healthcare we need. We want to show a small token of gratitude by treating them to some goodies! It is the least we can do for our healthcare heroes who care for us every day. We see you, we appreciate you, we NEED you!

We hope to be able to gift every local urgent care with gifts of appreciation in the coming weeks.

Donate to our Go Fund Me: https://gofund.me/12115a24

Fiscal Update: We raised over $700!!! We were able to send treats to 7 locations: AFC in Yorktown Heights, Northwell Health in Yorktown Heights, Caremount Urgent Care in Yorktown Heights, Caremount Labs in Jefferson Valley, Pulse MD in Mohegan Lake, Physician One in Cortlandt Town Center, and Sun River Health in Peekskill. The average expenditure for each location was around $106 for a total of $744.49. Some goodies that were sent included empanada trays from Izla, coffee and munchkins from Dunkin, pizza from Maria’s and more! The Urgent Care staff express heartfelt gratitude for thinking of them and treating them. Thank you to all who helped send a little bit of joy to these incredible hard working healthcare heroes. We appreciate you all! Thank you!!!

This GoFundMe campaign is now closed as of January 24, 2022.

YFJ Press Release in Response to Yorktown GOP Racial Slur

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: YorktownForJustice@gmail.com

Yorktown, New York, November 10, 2021 – Yorktown for Justice (YFJ) denounces the racist remarks targeting Yorktown Town Councilman Vishnu Patel at a Yorktown GOP victory party held on November 2, 2021 and calls for formal policy measures to address systemic racism and other forms of bigotry in Yorktown.

In a video posted on the Yorktown GOP’s facebook page (since removed), Yorktown resident and GOP District Leader, Tom Pomposello, is heard saying “Vishnu’s gone…That mother****r. That fu****g sand n****r.”

Mr. Patel, an Indian-American Democratic Councilman and father of 2 Yorktown alumni and graduates of West Point, was an award-winning IBM scientist for decades before entering public service as Yorktown Councilman in 2010. He was recently defeated in his reelection bid.  In a statement to the public, Patel said “It is not surprising that one individual at a Republican gathering should shout out a vile obscene remark about my nationality,” citing the propagation and normalization of anti-Asian rhetoric under the Trump administration. No GOP members surrounding Pomposello censured him until the video was made public. 

This incident is the latest in which the Yorktown GOP has come under fire for scandals, and racist and prejudiced acts including xenophobic, anti-semitic and racist GOP mailers in 2017.  Yorktown Republicans, including Town Supervisor Matt Slater, have condemned Pomposello’s words, who has since resigned as district leader. Despite issuing statements denouncing racism, the town of Yorktown has not supported anti-discrimination programs, policies or educational measures.  Additionally, town officials have aligned with local chapters of national advocacy groups opposing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) measures in schools, despite Lakeland and Yorktown Central School Districts’ alumni and students repeatedly detailing their experiences of discrimination to school boards. Yorktown resident Maura Gregory says “As a parent of Black children who grew up in this town, I know this is not an isolated event.   There is racism in Yorktown that needs to be addressed.” 

Yorktown for Justice calls on local government to convene a town hall meeting led by a DEI professional; to provide robust and ongoing diversity training for employees and members; and for the Lakeland and Yorktown Central school districts to accelerate stalled DEI efforts including training and diversifying staff and curricula.


About Yorktown for Justice
Yorktown for Justice is a grassroots community group dedicated to advancing equity and justice for residents through charity work, public education and advocacy in Yorktown, NY and beyond.
Visit us at: yorktownforjustice.org.

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