➤ EQNY & NPA, from p.6
Dames outlined what may be a shorter-term
goal — raising $500,000 to hire a full-time executive
director plus two organizers, one in New
York City and one upstate.
One difference between the two groups that
Babine mentioned was that EQNY has a political
action committee, which allows it to make
endorsements as well as candidate contributions.
For now, the PAC effort remains modest
— with a budget of about $10,000, the group
this week announced endorsements (all Democrats)
in 16 races in the Senate and Assembly
combined. Nine are incumbents: out gay Brad
Hoylman of Manhattan along with his Senate
colleagues Brian Benjamin of Harlem, Julia
Salazar of Brooklyn, Jessica Ramos of Queens,
and Anna Kaplan of Long Island as well as out
gay Harry Bronson of Rochester and his Assembly
colleagues Richard Gottfried and Yuh
Line Niou of Manhattan and Catalina Cruz of
Queens. Among the incumbents, while both
Salazar and Niou have opponents in the June
23 primary, Bronson faces a particularly stiff
challenge from a party-backed opponent. Kaplan
is seeking her fi rst reelection in November
from a Long Island district long held by Republicans.
The seven non-incumbent candidates EQNY
endorsed are all seeking seats being vacated.
Jason Salmon, Elijah Reichline-Melnick, and
Kristen Browde hope to replace, respectively,
Democratic Senators Velmanette Montgomery
of Brooklyn and David Carlucci of Rockland
County and Assemblymember David Buchwald
of Westchester. In races where Republicans are
giving up their seats, Michelle Hinchey, Jeremy
Cooney, and Assemblymember Sean Ryan
are running to succeed, respectively, Senators
George Amedore in the capital district, Joe
Robach in Rochester, and Chris Jacobs in Buffalo.
Claudia Braymer hopes to succeed GOP
Assemblymember Dan Stec in the Saratoga region.
➤ FOR GEEKS, from p.16
and YouTube, viewership keeps growing. For instance,
the premiere episode with Kelli O’Hara
has racked up nearly 70,000 views.
Despite the long hours, the couple appears
to be having a blast, laughing, sharing stories,
and dishing with friends.
“All our work has been canceled except my
radio show, so doing this show is a lifesaver,”
Rudetsky said. “It’s a bit depressing what’s happened
to my career. I make my money from everything
that infects people, such as live concerts
or Broadway cruises.”
Naturally, the fundraiser includes a telethon
component, urging viewers to donate to The
Actors Fund. Donors are thanked by name
during the show. To date, they’ve raised more
According to Rudetsky, The Actors Fund is
Browde is an out transgender attorney long
active in LGBTQ rights, while Salmon snagged
ESPA’s support against an out gay competitor,
Jabari Brisport, as he did with Brooklyn’s
Lambda Independent Democrats.
Though EQNY has begun positioning itself in
the world of Albany PACs, even that distinction
with NPA may be short-lived. In an interview
with Gay City News, Dames talked about the
possibility in the future of “a very focused PAC,”
much how Babine talked of her group’s effort.
Both EQNY and NPA are showing a commitment
to developing young leadership. Babine
graduated from college in 2010 and earned her
master’s in social work and public policy from
Columbia in 2012. Ahmed Mohamed, NPA’s fi rst
hire as community organizer, was doing graduate
work at NYU after earning his bachelor’s
degree at Duke when he took the post. Jason
Walker, formerly of VOCAL-NY, has also joined
NPA as a Civic Engagement and Public Education
If EQNY emphasizes the strength of its networking
with coalition partners and its annual
Albany advocacy day as well as its PAC efforts,
NPA has been visible in recent weeks in its civic
engagement programming — all virtual formats
focused on COVID-19: on April 9, examining
vulnerable communities including those living
with HIV, seniors, and folks who use drugs; on
April 16, discussing the virus’ impact on youth
and young adults; and on April 23, talking
about sex and sex work in the midst of a pandemic
and a crashing economy.
It’s unclear that what we’ve seen to date
from these two groups offers a clear roadmap
to where they might diverge or coalesce in the
future. Their aims and styles seem very similar,
and their advisory boards are full of activists
who have all worked together on many initiatives
in the past. For now, New York queers eager
to see the arc bend further may simply be
happy to see smart, committed folks putting
their shoulders to the wheel.
a misnomer. It’s not just for actors, but for staff
behind the scenes, as well.
“The fund helped a diabetic actor who lost
his job and couldn’t afford health insurance
for April so they paid it,” he said. “There was
a woman who moved to New York to stay with
friends, was exposed to COVID-19, and had
nowhere to go, so the fund found her a place
to stay for two weeks. It assists with crucial
needs like rent, medical bills, and childcare.
It’s not going to someone’s 401K or whatever.
I don’t even know what that means because
I don’t have one. But I know it’s something
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