Brooklyn College Celebrates the Opening of the Haitian Studies Institute

Sep 05, 16 Brooklyn College Celebrates the Opening of the Haitian Studies Institute

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Scholars, politicians and lay-leaders were in attendance at the opening of the Haitian Studies Institute, now an integral part of the academic offerings at City University of New York’s Brooklyn College. The institute is billed as “a leading institute in the nation, contributing to the body of knowledge about Haitians and the Haitian Diaspora, and advancing the intellectual field of Haitian Studies through research, analysis of public policy, and scholarly practice impacting people of Haitian origin in New York State and other parts of the Haitian Diaspora.” Brooklyn College President Dr. Michelle J. Anderson introduced Jean Eddy Saint Paul as the founding director of CUNY-HIS during the proceedings, which took place on Wednesday at the Flatbush Avenue campus of Brooklyn College. “I am pleased to welcome scholar Jean Eddy Saint Paul to our community,” intoned Anderson, adding, “Brooklyn is home to the largest number of foreign-born Haitians in New York City, and the largest concentration of Haitian-owned businesses and community-based organizations in New York State. Dr. Saint Paul’s experience and knowledge will help him make the Haitian Studies Institute at Brooklyn College a global intellectual center.” Saint Paul is from Haiti and has written many scholarly articles and chapters, as well as two books, The Militias in Haiti: Sociology of Chimè and Tontons Macoutes, about Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. The realization of the dream of the HIS was in no small part due to the political support of Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblywoman of the 42nd District of the New York State Assembly. Visibly moved during the ceremony was Peter Helder Bernard, the Consul General of the Republic of Haiti in New York. The choice of Brooklyn College, his alma mater, affected him...

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Murdered Imam Mourned by Hundreds

Aug 17, 16 Murdered Imam Mourned by Hundreds

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The funeral of murder victims Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant Thara Uddin, 64, was attended by hundreds of mourners after Saturday prayers at the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Ozone Park, Queens. The murders shocked the neighborhood’s Bangladeshi community, who gathered in a parking lot for the service, not far from where the cleric and his assistant were killed. The suspect in the murders is said to be a 36-year-old man of Hispanic descent from Brooklyn. His name was not yet released. “We believe because of the evidence we have acquired thus far that … this is the individual,” New York City Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. Speakers at the funeral begged the authorities to investigate whether this was a hate crime, and requested that the level of police protection be heightened in the neighborhood, in lieu of the killings. “We want justice,” Badrul Kahn, founder of the Al-Furqan mosque and its main adviser, shouted to the crowd during the opening speech of the funeral. “We want justice,” said the mourners in response, a majority dressed in Islamic...

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Car Wash Workers Negotiate Better Benefits and Wage Package

Jul 26, 16 Car Wash Workers Negotiate Better Benefits and Wage Package

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Forty-eight Brooklyn car wash workers successfully bargained for an 18-month contract which will bring their base pay up to a tad above minimum wage in exchange for the elimination of a tip credit system. Even more beneficial for the workers is paid sick days and paid vacation of one week per year, as many workers have families overseas. The vacation day plan will allow the workers to visit their families without having to worry about docked pay. Officials of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union say they are happy with the deal, and expect it could be used as a template for other unionized workers to negotiate similar deals. The deal stipulates that some workers will be able to earn $10 per hour, slightly more than the current minimum wage of $9 an hour. The sick day and vacation benefits will be available to all employees. The union viewed the deal as a big victory for them. “That’s a big deal,” said RWDSU spokeswoman Janna Pea. “A lot have families that do not live in the U.S. They will now be able to go back home to visit their families without having to worry about their jobs.” This contract is the tenth such accord for immigrant “carwasheros.” These New York workers voted to join the union in order to get better pay and benefits. This group of SLS workers is the largest to negotiate such a deal, according to union...

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Park Slope School Losing Funding for Lack of State Test Participation

Jun 08, 16 Park Slope School Losing Funding for Lack of State Test Participation

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PS 10 in Park Slope will lose a $75,000 grant because 12 percent of its student body opted out of state testing. This is despite the fact that NYC Public Advocate Letitia James sent a letter to families back in April assuring them that failure to participate in state testing would not result in negative consequences for the school or students. Now that the school, along with 15 others in the district have lost their reward school status, parents are working to reverse that decision. In order to be eligible for reward school status at least 95 percent of the student body must take the state exams. “I am alarmed that my school isn’t getting the rewards because people chose to opt out because of the tests,” parent Theresa Westerdahl said. “It’s a shame and it’s very unsettling,” said Tyndall Arrasmith, co-president of the PTA. “Parents when they opt out, it’s a personal choice,” Letitia James said. “Their schools should not be...

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Indictments Expected Against Former Brooklyn DA’s Office

May 30, 16 Indictments Expected Against Former Brooklyn DA’s Office

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A federal grand jury is meeting this week as part of an on-going investigation into the behavior of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office under the former prosecutor Charles Hynes. Investigators have been looking into allegations that Hynes used money forfeited by criminals in inappropriately, and other misdeeds by the DA’s office. During the investigation Hynes suffered a “serious and incapacitating stroke,” said is lawyer’s office. Hynes is 81, and was the Brooklyn DA for 23 years. He was unseated when he lost his bid for re-election in 2013 to Ken Thompson. The Department of Investigation did find that Judge Barry Kamins gave Hynes campaign advice in addition to speaking with him on cases improperly. The DOI also found that Hynes used forfeiture funds to pay a political consultant, Mortimer Matz. Robert Hill Schwartz, Hynes’ lawyer, recently had open heart surgery and was unavailable for...

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Vandals De-face Brooklyn Police Car

Apr 03, 16 Vandals De-face Brooklyn Police Car

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Two policemen of the 84th Precinct were about to go out on patrol when they were confronted with a disturbing sight: two swastikas were painted on the marked car, and one tire was slashed. The incident occurred in Downtown Brooklyn on Gold Street right in front of the police station. The policemen discovered the defaced car at about 6pm last Monday evening. One swastika, which was the pre-eminent symbol of the Nazi party during World War II, was found on the hood of the car, while the other was drawn on the door. Police are investigating and searching the area carefully for the culprit or culprits, hoping that nearby surveillance cameras can lead them to the...

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