Cuomo: New York Women Know What We Need

Women’s March NYC and NYIC release policy platform in response to Cuomo’s “Women’s Agenda”

NEW YORK, NY - Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered a speech on his “2019 Women’s Agenda,” highlighting policy priorities focused on issues that impact women in New York. In response, the Women’s March NYC (WMNYC), the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), and countless organizations supporting cis and trans girls, women and gender non-conforming (GNC) communities, particularly communities of color, issued their own policy platform for the Women's Wave 2019. The platform includes impactful and concrete solutions to the unique challenges and systemic discrimination faced by Black Women, indigenous, immigrant, all women of color, the LGBTQAI+ community, and gender non-conforming individuals.

Governor Cuomo needs to enact a far bolder and more inclusive agenda that focuses on pushing through long-stalled legislative priorities related to racial justice and gender equity. We demand that any New York Women’s Agenda takes into account the full scope and intersectionality of oppression that New York women face.

New York’s legislative agenda for women and gender non-conforming people must be informed by the movement itself and driven by people directly impacted by these specific issues. Policies must be more than public statements - they must achieve concrete outcomes that meet unique needs.

“While we acknowledge the value of Governor Andrew Cuomo putting forth issues that focus on reproductive health, rights and justice for the 2019 legislative session, we recognize that historically the women most harmed by systemic violence and the Trump administration are not fully represented or protected in his policy solutions. Today, we are reminded of the lack of care and compassion granted toward Black Women,  indigenous women, women of color, trans women, and gender non-conforming individuals and communities in New York State. We are calling upon Andrew Cuomo and all other elected officials to enact transformative and equitable solutions that center the needs of the most marginalized communities and enact the policies put forth in this platform to rectify this state of affairs,” said Agunda Okeyo, Women's March NYC.

"Although we appreciate Governor Cuomo’s support for gender equality, combating sexual violence, and protecting reproductive rights, the concerns of women are far broader and require more than the same rhetoric. Trump’s attacks on women and gender non-conforming people must be matched by bold moves and decisive action inclusive of immigrant rights and respectful of the growing challenges they face. Whether you’re a chief executive like the Governor, a legislator, or a feminist activist, we all must rise to this challenge, and embrace a holistic approach that addresses the xenophobia, racism, and transphobia that many immigrant women and gender non-conforming people face every day. By expanding access to driver's licenses, supporting immigrant parents in their own education so they can best support their children, and robustly funding state Census outreach efforts to prevent an undercount of immigrant women and gender non-conforming people, Governor Andrew Cuomo can support the safety and economic opportunity of all women - regardless of immigration status," said Betsy Plum, Vice President of Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition.

“Today we join our allies across the state to thank Governor Cuomo for putting women at the forefront of his justice agenda. However, in a moment when cis and trans Black women’s ongoing experiences surviving multiple systems of oppression is compounded by relentless threats from the Trump Administration, New York must do more. When we disaggregate gender inequity by race, we see that cis and trans women of color and gender non-conforming folks often fare the worst. The agenda laid out by the New York City Women’s March notes many issues that must also be championed because they center the issues that start where disparities are the greatest,” said Joanne N. Smith, Founder & President of Girls for Gender Equity.

"Women's March NYC is a big coalition of movement groups that have come together to support a thoughtful agenda of issues. I'm glad to see this grassroots work that will take us beyond the celebration of one day, and into a more equal, just and compassionate future." Gloria Steinem, Writer & Feminist Activist.

The Official Women’s March in New York City Policy Platform:

Ending Gender-Based Violence

  • Pass the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act: Allow judges discretion to sentence survivors whose abuse contributed to their crime the ability to lower harsh sentences, allow sentencing to community-based alternatives to incarceration instead of prison, and allow survivors to seek early release.

  • Repeal the Sex Worker Exclusion in New York State’s Rape Shield Law: Ensure that a sex worker's history cannot be used against them if they try bring charges against a rapist

  • Strengthen Statewide Legal Definitions Related to Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment

  • Pass the Equal Rights Amendment in New York State

  • Reform and Appropriately Fund a Truly Independent New York State Division of Human Rights: Ensure an independent body oversees all discrimination policy enforcement, including sexual and/or gender based discrimination

  • Grant Clemency to Survivors of Intimate Partner and Domestic Violence: Governor Andrew Cuomo to use his executive power to ensure incarcerated women and trans women who survived intimate partner and domestic violence return home to their families and communities.

Ending State Violence

  • Repeal Civil Rights Law Section 50-A: Repeal Civil Rights Law 50-A which has been used by law enforcement agencies to hide internal discipline from public review.

  • Codify and Expand the Special Prosecutor Executive Order: Provide the Attorney General’s office with jurisdiction in all cases of police killings and deaths in police custody, memorializing and strengthening EO147.

  • Repeal Loitering for the Purposes of Prostitution, Condoms as Evidence and the criminalization of people who share in a range of experiences associated with commercial sexual labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and/or trafficking. Assure the full decriminalization of the many ways in which individuals who engage in commercial sexual labor or are survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and/or trafficking might be harrassed, profiled or otherwise criminalized by a range of existing punitive laws that disproportionately target them.

  • Pass the Separation of Children Accountability Response (SCAR) Act: Require state-contracted facilities to provide the public with a recurring report every 15 days that outlines the number of children held within its facilities.

  • Pass bail and discovery overhaul legislation. End mass pretrial jailing, eliminate money bail and reduce incarceration of low-income, working class, Black & Brown people, women and girls.

  • Pass legislation to expand parole release. Codify presumptive release and elder release to reduce state prison populations.

Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice

  • Pass the Reproductive Health Act (RHA): Brings New York’s abortion law in line with Roe v. Wade and clarify that licensed advanced practice clinicians (APCs) trained in abortion care can provide abortion services, per their scope of practice.

  • Pass the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA): Requires insurers to cover contraception appropriate to the patient with no copay, allows dispensation of up to 12 months of contraception, ensures affordability and timely access to contraception including Plan B.

  • Expand Doula coverage cross New York State: Revise and then expand the recently announced pilot program for doula care for new parents with input from stakeholders and doula care specialists who are already serving the communities in need with particular attention to health equity for Black women

  • Pass the New York Health Act: Implement single payer healthcare in New York State.

Economic Justice & Worker's Rights

  • Pass One Fair Wage: Eliminate a tipped minimum wage in New York State

  • Pass a Salary History Ban: Eliminate the ability for employers to inquire about a prospective employee's past salary history.

  • Pass Paid Sick Days: Requires all employers in New York State to offer employees sick time to care for themselves or a family member.

Racial Equity

  • Require racial equity assessments: Establish a legislative committee on racial equity in both houses of the New York State Legislature to review and prepare a racial equity impact statement for all legislation

  • Expand protections against hate crimes: Protect targeted communities from hate crimes and violence with particular attention to the needs of trans, undocumented, Black, Muslim and Jewish communities - and ensure that solutions for justice expand beyond pushing perpetrators of violence into the criminal legal system.

LGBTQIA+ Rights

  • Codify the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA): Codify GENDA, protecting LGBT New Yorkers from discrimination.

  • Pass a Conversion Therapy Ban: Prevent mental health professionals from providing sexual orientation change efforts to minors by defining such activities as professional misconduct.

Immigrant Rights

  • Pass Driver's Licenses for All: Ensures that New York's "standard" licenses are accessible to all state residents, regardless of immigration status.

  • Pass the TRUST Act: Limit local police involvement in federal immigration enforcement

  • Pass the Protect Our Courts Act: Curb predatory ICE apprehension activities in New York State Courthouses

  • Pass the NYS DREAM Act: Create the New York DREAM fund commission and amend eligibility requirements and conditions governing certain awards.

  • Adopt Freedom City Platform: Expand New York’ s commitment to immigrant communities making New York state not only a sanctuary city but a Freedom City, which expands protections for all undocumented people living and working in New York State.

Disability Rights

  • Pass the Transitioning to Integrated and Meaningful Employment Act (TIME Act): Phases out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act that allows employers to pay people with disabilities below minimum wage.

Educational Justice

  • Implement the Demands of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity: Demanding NYS fully fund $4B for education from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), 1.5B of which goes to New York City schools. All of the funding goes to Black,Brown and poor students across New York State.

  • Expand Title IX Protections: Expand Title IX protections beyond the federal requirements at all institutions receiving federal funding, including both K-12 schools and college campuses and expand the number of Title IX Coordinators at school districts across New York State.

  • Implement Culturally Responsive Education: Implement culturally responsive education at all grade levels in New York State schools

  • Implement Safe & Supportive Schools: Eliminate suspensions in grades K - 3 and implement restorative justice practices in schools statewide

  • Fund universal high-quality full-day early childhood education and Pre-Kindergarten

  • End ICE cooperation with school safety officers.

Background

The Women’s March in New York City is an event that welcomes adults, youth, families, elders and New Yorkers from all communities.

Women’s March NYC (WMNYC) is the local New York City Chapter of the Women’s March Network and seeks to empower social justice work in the city. We are deeply invested in racial justice, gender justice, women’s rights, and voting rights which we address through special events, cross-community dialogue and creative direct action. We aspire to be a truly inclusive chapter, led by black women and women of color engaged in direct action year round with rooted partnerships to local organizations that align with our Unity Principles. We seek to amplify existing social justice organizing, plus produce WMNYC specific events and actions in the spirit  of building a more inclusive city and state.

The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for more than 200 groups in New York State. We envision a New York state that is stronger because all people are welcome, treated fairly, and given the chance to pursue their dreams. Our mission is to unite immigrants, members, & allies so all New Yorkers can thrive. We represent the collective interests of New York's diverse immigrant communities and organizations and devise solutions to advance them; advocate for laws, policies, and programs that lead to justice and opportunity for all immigrant groups; and build the power of immigrants and the organizations that serve them to ensure their sustainability, to improve people's lives, and to strengthen our state.

Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is an intergenerational, advocacy organization committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. Through youth organizing, leadership development, and community-building for gender and racial equity, GGE challenges structural forces - racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, economic inequality - that work to constrict the freedom, full expression, and rights of trans and cis girls, young women of color, and gender non-conforming youth.

LOCAL SPONSORS AND PARTNERS (List in formation):

African Services Committee

African Communities Together

Alliance for Quality Education (AQE)

Anti Violence Project (AVP)

Arab American Association of New York

Arab-American Family Support Center

Bangladeshi Feminist Collective

Churches United To Save And Heal (CUSH)

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

El Centro del Inmigrante

Fifth Avenue Committee, Inc.

Girls For Gender Equity (GGE)

Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP)

JustLeadership USA

The Justice League

Lower East Side Girls’ Club

LSA Family Health Service, Inc.

National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981

New Sanctuary Coalition

New York State Nurses Association

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC)

NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform

RHAVote

Sakhi for South Asian Women

SEIU 1199

South Asian Fund For Education,Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)

UNITE HERE Local 100

Violence Intervention Program, Inc.

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