FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com JULY 14, 2016 • THE QUEENS COURIER 35 oped letters & comments TIME FOR US ALL TO STEP UP AND HEAL A BROKEN NATION My heart is heavy at this moment in our nation’s history. I am sad, frustrated, and appalled by recent events: two more black men killed at the hands of police offi cers, video that illustrates the climate of fear that subsumes many of our communities, and the ambush — amid a rally and march honoring the slain men — that left fi ve police offi cers dead in Dallas. Our organization works with thousands of youngsters and young adults each year, and many are black and Hispanic, low-income, and living in neighborhoods where they worry about their livelihood. We work closely with our local police precincts, so our program participants can shore up trust and not repeat mistakes they may have made or witnessed. Yet, when incidents like the fatal shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana occur, they feel powerless, that those expected to protect and serve instead provoke and destroy. Far too many times ,accounts of unfair and violent treatment elicit doubt, the suggestion that victims somehow were at fault by engaging in questionable behavior. As the full accounts of the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling come to light, I expect more outrage, more calls for justice, and, unfortunately, much pontifi cating. I encourage those who look to the Mission Society for guidance to embrace their emotions yet channel them in positive ways. My heart goes out to the Castile and Sterling families but also to those of the slain offi cers in Dallas. While peaceful protests serve a greater good, I also encourage those in our community to become more civically engaged. Just a few days ago, when my husband and I voted in the 13th Congressional District election, I was troubled that my voting station was largely empty. I refl ect on this now because that moment — and this fall’s presidential elections — are times when we have opportunities to advance change. Those who are elected to serve us can shape the rules that govern our safety and security. Those we elect to offi ce, whether on a local, city, state or national level, need to understand — and embrace our pain — and give us promise for a better future. Elsie McCabe Thompson, President, New York City Mission Society MOURNING THE FALLEN OFFICERS, APPEALING FOR A UNITED COUNTRY A police protest in Dallas, Texas ended with the murder of fi ve Dallas police offi cers and the wounding of seven others. In my view two wrongs don’t make a right. The young man who did the killing was apparently consumed by bigotry and hate, and let his gun do the talking about what he perceived was justice against innocent police offi - cers who were only trying to keep the peace. In my opinion, hate is not the answer and does not address the injustices many people of color feel. As Americans, we all need to come together and discuss how we can get along better and ways to prevent further deaths of police offi cers and civilians. The vast majority of our men and women in blue are doing their job protecting our lives and property and they are what keeps our country safe. The few police offi cers who don’t feel that way need to adjust their thinking or else leave the job to those that care about the communities they serve with dedication. Remember also the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech which in part says, “We will be able to speed up the day when all God’s children, black men and white men, Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic, will be able to join hands and sing in the old negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!” I pray that day may come soon. Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village WORKING FAMILIES SHOULDN’T GO HUNGRY BY JOEL BERG, CEO, HUNGER FREE AMERICA A basic c o m p o n e n t of America’s social compact is that if you work hard and play by the rules, you and your family will get ahead. But that compact is in serious jeopardy now that tens of millions of Americans who work full-time not only can’t obtain upward mobility, but even live in poverty and face severe deprivation. Citywide, 1.4 million children, seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and other adults suffer from food insecurity, unable to afford suffi cient food. In Queens, 11 percent of children and 8 percent of seniors struggle against hunger. When even Queens, a formerly bedrock middle-class borough, is in trouble, the whole nation is in trouble. Many of those hungry families are headed by parents with low-paying jobs. In New York City alone, nearly half a million working age adults live in households that are food insecure but include at least one person working. The nation and city are facing an epidemic of the “working hungry.” To give just one example, José Gutiérrez, a married father of two, is a model New Yorker. He’s active in his community and has served as president of the PTA of his children’s school. But he supports his family on only the 450 dollars per week that he earns as a busboy, and he can’t always afford groceries for his family. Fortunately, Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken concrete, big steps to address this crisis. First, the governor and the Legislature raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which will dramatically decrease the number of full-time workers who live in poverty and struggle against hunger. Second, as recommended by the governor’s Anti- Hunger Task Force (on which I served), the governor took administrative action to increase the gross income test for federal SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefi ts from 130 percent of the poverty line to 150 percent of the line. What does this mean for actual families? Before this change, a three-person family couldn’t obtain SNAP benefi ts if they earned more than $26,000 per year; now that family can earn up to $30,000 per year and obtain SNAP. This simple advance makes 750,000 additional low-income working households statewide (about half of which live in New York City) eligible for federal nutrition benefi ts. This new policy both rewards work and fi ghts hunger. It ensures that fewer families will lose vital food help if they work more hours or get a slight raise. Personally, I don’t believe there is any distinction between “worthy” and “unworthy” people who live in poverty. But surely even conservatives should be able to agree that parents who are working but still poor should be able to feed their families. For our society to truly fl ourish, heads of households must earn more for their family by working than by not working. These two actions of Governor Cuomo will signifi cantly advance that basic goal. A LOOK BACK With the major political party conventions about to get underway, we thought it would be an appropriate time to take A Look Back at Geraldine Ferraro, who 32 years ago this week became the fi rst woman ever nominated to the Democratic party’s presidential ticket. The Queens congresswoman and Forest Hills resident was nominated by Former Vice President Walter Mondale to be his running mate in his challenge to President Ronald Reagan. Though the election turned out to be a landslide for Reagan and Vice President George H.W. Bush, Ferraro’s candidacy was historic, as it opened the door for future female politicians to pursue the highest offi ces in the nation. Ferraro is pictured in this 1977 picture during her campaign to create a separate Queens-based zip code for the neighborhoods of Ridgewood and Glendale; at that time, the neighborhoods had the Brooklyn-based 11227 ZIP code. Share your historic pictures with us online at our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ QNS; email them to email@example.com; or mail printed pictures to The Queens Courier, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All mailed pictures will be carefully returned to you.
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