The Weekly WrapThe Weekly Wrap

The Weekly Wrap: NYPD Continues Ticketing People for Walking While Black

Also: The New School will vote on divestment following Gaza solidarity encampments.

Person jaywalking across a street in New York City

(Photo by Patrick Tomasso)

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The New School Will Vote on Divestment Following Gaza Solidarity Encampments

Following student and faculty encampments demanding divestment, the New School’s Board of Trustees has decided to hold a vote on divestment from companies flagged by its investor responsibility committee, including those that profit from apartheid and genocide in Gaza and the West Bank. In its public statement, the New School said that the vote was based on calls from the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, the University Faculty Senate, and the faculty chapters of its various schools, including Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College. The chapters had all called for “complete divestment from industries implicated in military and police violence in Gaza and the West Bank.” The school’s president said that no faculty or students will face discipline for any of the solidarity encampments. Other schools have not gone down the same path: the United Auto Workers, one of the country’s largest unions with 400,000 active members, filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Board over the treatment of graduate student workers — who organize under UAW — during police sweeps of its Gaza solidarity encampment, Bloomberg reports. Harvard has been accused of retaliation, surveillance, and denying student workers union representation in disciplinary hearings, a violation of federal law.

Meanwhile, in Gaza and the West Bank, the situation has grown more dire as Al-Aqsa Hospital, one of the few remaining hospitals in the region has been forced to shut down following a fuel shortage resulting from Israel’s blockade. Israeli forces raided the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank and killed at least seven civilians, including a surgeon, a student and a teacher.

Broad Coalition Releases Report on Social Housing

As the housing crisis rages on, the term “social housing” – an umbrella term used for publicly or community-owned and run housing — is having a moment. A coalition of organizations including the Center for Popular Democracy, Urban Democracy Lab and PolicyLink have released a report on the progress made on social housing campaigns across the country. The report was compiled from interviews with grassroots organizers working on social housing campaigns in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Missouri, Seattle, Houston and other cities. Among the success stories the report featured is Seattle, where the city established a new public agency called the Seattle Social Housing Developer is designed to fund publicly owned and permanently affordable housing. According to the report, organizers were able to “pursue a bolder, more creative policy than Seattle city councilors would have supported” by developing a ballot initiative rather than the traditional legislative process. According to the report, the main opposition to that ballot initiative came from nonprofit housing developers who feared losing funding. A bill in California also committed the state to study social housing, but grassroots organizers have come into conflict with another bill proposed by supply-side housing advocates who want any social housing agency to produce mixed-income and market-rate units.

Not On Our Dime Act Would Ban Not-for-profit Corporations Funding Illegal Settlements

It is not currently illegal to fund illegal acts happening in other countries. But New York State lawmakers with the Not on Our Dime Act, which would prevent not-for-profits from sending money to illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as funding illegal actions by the Israeli military. The bill would bar not-for-profits from funding actions that violate the Geneva Convention, the Rome statute or any actions that are found to be illegal by the International Criminal Court or International Court of Justice, including the forced transfer or eviction of Palestinians in the occupied territories. It allows the state attorney general to bring civil penalties to anyone who violates the law and anyone harmed by illegally funded activity to sue. A version in the state senate has three cosponsors, and a state assembly version has four. A member of the Yemeni American Merchants Association pointed out that Muslim organizations are frequently targeted for charitable giving under terrorism statutes while not-for-profits have fundraised for Israeli arms used in the West Bank and illegal settlements. The West Bank has been under military occupation since 1967, making it the longest military occupation in the world. Over 500,000 and possibly as many as 700,000 settlers live illegally in the West Bank, where they enjoy the rights of Israeli citizenship as Palestinians are essentially under permanent martial law and face ongoing violence, including mob killings last month.

Are Habitat Partnerships With Energy Companies Greenwashing?

Four local Habitat for Humanity affiliates partnered with local utilities in 10 states to build what they say are zero-net energy homes. While the homes are weatherized and designed to produce more energy than they use through solar panels, they’re still powered by fossil fuels and the partnership was intended to be a public relations tool by energy utilities, including Atmos Energy, according to a Guardian investigation. Energy executives used the partnership to promote the continued use of fossil fuels in new homes and label it as climate-friendly, despite a consensus scientific view that fossil fuel use should be eliminated as quickly as possible.

NYPD Continues Trend of Ticketing People for Walking While Black

According to Streetsblog, the NYPD wrote 467 summonses for jaywalking in 2023 and 92% went to Black or Latino New Yorkers, who make up 55% of the city’s population combined. Black people were especially targeted by the citations, facing 59% of tickets despite being 21% of the city’s population. Precincts have wide discretion as to whether they issue the citations at all: while there were tickets issued in all five boroughs, only 47 of the city’s 77 precincts issued them. A bill introduced in the city council last year would have legalized jaywalking but has only eight cosponsors in the 51-member city council. According to Streetsblog, “The NYPD’s 86-person press office did not respond to a request for comment.”


Curated by Deonna Anderson

MORE NEWS

  • Massachusetts has collected $1.8 billion through its millionaires tax, which will be available for education and transportation. Boston.com

  • Philly has established a task force to study reparations. Philadelphia Inquirer

  • Young Alaskans are suing the state over a fossil fuel project that would likely triple Alaska’s greenhouse gas emissions and infringe on constitutional rights. The Guardian

RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES

  • Elevance Health Foundation announced a $10 million commitment to launch a new impact investing program that will provide loans to small businesses, social enterprises, and entrepreneurs that support health equity in under-resourced communities. Learn more and sign up to receive updates about the funding here.

  • A new report from the Center for New York City Affairs explores a model for recouping “lost tax revenue by encouraging their universities, hospitals, and charitable institutions to make voluntary payments based loosely on what they would have owed under the property tax.” Read the report here.

  • United for Drug Decriminalization released a public comment tool for drug decriminalization ahead of potential marijuana rescheduling. Access the tool by clicking here.

EVENTS

  • June 3 at 2 p.m. Eastern: The Othering & Belonging Institute continues its Reimagining Urban Planning series with a conversation that will explore how embodiment can help you better understand your internal experiences while building your relationship with the built environment. Register here.

  • June 11 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern: Next City is hosting a webinar that will delve into the final push to allocate remaining funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and explore the enduring impacts of this significant investment in local governments. Register here.

This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: investmentsocial housingpolitics and policyjaywalkingdiscrimination

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