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Camille Rivera

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A New Day, New York

Posted: 12/04/2013 11:37 am

Nearly a month ago, a new day dawned in New York politics. After 20 years of Bloomberg and Giuliani, and city administrations that worked mostly for the mega-rich and for big business, a super-majority of New Yorkers voted for a government that stands up for working people.

Cutting across every demographic, in every neighborhood, New Yorkers chose to elect true progressives to every citywide office and to the City Council.

Change is here. This is our moment. It's a new day, New York.

The sun is setting on a city run by and for the 1 percent and the rest of us are rising together to help Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio end the special deals for Wall Street and the people who have rigged the system and to build a city that works for all of us.

Those of us who have spent years fighting for the rights of the poor, the neglected, the hard-working low-wage workers who can barely make ends meet or find affordable housing have put together a plan for a week of actions to illustrate the problems, offer solutions and extend our hands to the incoming administration to make this new day a reality.

From Dec. 2 through Dec. 9, community groups, faith organizations and labor unions will spread our message, confront our adversaries and come together in a huge gathering of support for this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Working on the behalf of -- among others -- the "carwasheros" who are winning contracts across the city, the fast food workers who are getting national headlines and the airport workers who are fighting for the right to join a good union, we want to stop the special deals for Wall Street and big banks by closing loopholes, stopping giveaways, enforcing the laws and demanding accountability.

We also want:

• To fight inequality and build economic fairness by advocating for local control of the minimum wage, smart economic policies to ensure the wages workers earn are high enough to support themselves and their families and the right to organize.

• A quality education for all students, from pre-k through college, with universal pre-K paid for by fair-share taxes, investments in higher education, less student debt and an end to special breaks to politically connected charter schools.

• Affordable housing and healthcare for all of us, responsible development and strong tenant protections will make our city more livable. We must prioritize community hospitals and strong public health - not more luxury condos for the 1 percent.

• And to create a real democracy by getting the big money out of New York politics with comprehensive campaign finance reform and public financing of elections.

That's what this week is all about.

It is for people like Christina, 30, an unemployed Brooklyn mom who wants her sons, ages 4 and 5, to have the same opportunities as everybody else to get a good education, have enough food to eat and access to quality healthcare.

And for people like Joanna, a single mother of a 12-year-old daughter. The Dominican immigrant from Queens, who works at Airserv, an airport cleaning company, making $8.75 an hour, wants her daughter to be able to go to college and find a better job.

Highlights of the week include the Dec. 3 release of an in-depth report on Wall Street rip-offs: "One New York for All of Us: Leveraging New York's Financial Power to Combat Inequality." In it we'll call on government officials to renegotiate New York's relationship with Wall Street to save money for taxpayers, raise revenue for essential city services like education and transportation, and make banks meet high ethical and labor standards if they want city business.

Dec. 4 will include "actions all day focused on the drivers of inequality in New York targeting banks, corporations and individuals that have opposed a fair deal for workers, advocating for affordable housing, keeping money out of politics, and relieving debt for working New Yorkers. We'll flood the streets to show New Yorkers what's wrong with the city that Bloomberg built and how new policies, new ideas and new activism can make our city more prosperous and more fair."

And Dec. 5 will feature a mass rally at Foley Square starting at 4:30 p.m. and conclude with a march downtown to cap off an energetic day of low-wage worker actions around the city to fight inequality and build a stronger, fairer city for us all.

See you there!

 

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