In absence of home: The asylum seekers camped on the street 🗽 Voices of Rikers’ trans inmates 🗽 Cop cit(ies)
OptOut is holding it first-ever public event next month! On Feb. 27, we are hosting a 2023 kickoff party and fundraiser in Gowanus, Brooklyn. I hope to meet you there! Please RSVP if you're planning to come, and share this with anyone who'd be interested!
早安, New Yorkers ☀️
Today we are reeling. Both Tennessee and California are hundreds of miles away, but the reality of police violence and hate crimes are all too real for our neighbors in New York who are feeling the grief.
What comes with the grief is a reminder of how close the issue hits home. The “hot spot” police unit responsible for killing of Tyre Nichols is similar to many that have been cropping up around the country. Here in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul is planning similar initiatives, focusing on a grant program intended for law enforcement officials to “aggressively patrol crime-dense communities, closely monitor their members, and compile information on likely ‘offenders.’”
NEW YORK FOCUS has the story:
In New York City specifically, the administration of Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer, isn’t any different. HELLGATE explores current NYPD commissioner Keechant Sewell’s level of impunity for cops.
New York’s asylum seekers camped outside a midtown hotel last weekend protesting their forced and unscheduled removal to a Brooklyn shelter they say is “jail-like.”
I spent Sunday night speaking to many of them as they geared up to fall asleep in their tents and makeshift beds in the cold outside the Watson Hotel in Manhattan. The space had been a shelter for male asylum seekers but is now being readied to bring in families seeking asylum. The men are being sent to a cruise terminal in Brooklyn.
Pictures from the cruise facility show rows of beds (as one put it, “like you find in the army”). And I mean hundreds of beds in one big warehouse. Most of the asylum seekers were so terrified upon seeing the facility that they walked 30 minutes on foot to get to a bus station and return to Manhattan.
Many of the asylum seekers have jobs near the Watson Hotel and are concerned whether they’ll be able to keep them once they’re settled in Brooklyn.
“They have us over here, they have us over there. They never leave us on one site,” Armando Carima told THE CITY. “How do you move around to find work if you don’t have a place to live?”
CITY LIMITS also covers the situation.
At the core of the housing concern in New York is an inability (or unwillingness? idk) to increase supply of housing in different ways. Gentrification, housing supply, displacement—the conversation is a complex web of issues, and FAQ NYC explores that.
“We can’t fight the housing crisis project by project,” Annemarie Gray, director of the grassroots housing organization Open New York, shared with THE CITY’s Alyssa Katz.
“We really need a more comprehensive and more holistic approach, and we really have to be looking at city-scale policies but especially state-level policies which New York as a state has really not grappled with.”
Listen to their conversation on the FAQ NYC podcast.
Remember that entire blowup re: gas stoves? Turns out all that smoke was gold. The pilot program that replaced gas stoves with electric induction units in 20 apartments in the Bronx is back with its results: those households showed “a 35% decrease in daily concentrations of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide and a nearly 43% difference in daily concentrations of carbon monoxide.”
THE CITY has the good news.
Coming back to the police (because we’re just perpetually doing that), there’s something oddly confusing going on in Connecticut, where Democratic and Republican lawmakers want a raise for cops, but some Republicans…don’t? But then some in the GOP are also blaming Democrats for bringing down police morale by introducing accountability laws for the police following the murder of George Floyd.
And these two are connected how?👇🏽
THE CONNECTICUT MIRROR has more.
Before Adams, there was room to dance: at Rikers Island, following years of advocacy by the Department of Corrections’ LGBTQ+ Affairs Unit, Rikers’ trans inmates were finally getting (or about to get) access to housing that would be consistent with their gender identities (including drag shows!).
During Adams' mayorship, the option has collapsed, leaving many trans inmates vulnerable to sexual assault and physical violence.
Read THE CITY’s story:
You can discover more independent LGBTQ+ coverage here.
As we wrap up, let’s take a moment to honor the victims of California’s lunar new year shooting, farm shooting, and Tyre Nichols in Tennessee. 🕊️ 🕊️ 🕊️
The OptOut Media Foundation (EIN: 85-2348079) is a nonprofit charity with a mission to educate the public about current events and help sustain a diverse media ecosystem by promoting and assisting independent news outlets and, in doing so, advance democracy and social justice.
Download the app for Apple and Android.
Sign up for OptOut's free newsletters.
Learn more about OptOut.
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Mastodon, and Facebook.