A recent Quinnipiac University poll placed New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leading the pack of her opponents in the 2013 New York City Mayoral Democrat primary. If Quinn won the general election in November, she would be the first female as well as open LGBT NYC mayor. While some are ecstatic at that prospect, a growing grassroots group of activists find the thought of a Quinn mayorship chilling.
Donny Moss believes so strongly that Quinn betrayed her housing and LGBT activist roots that he leads his eclectic band of animal, housing, LGBT and other assorted activists three times a week on assorted voter outreach and education events. On February 6, 2013, Moss led a group of protestors to a cobblestone East Village street to demonstrate in front of a $250 ticket Quinn fundraiser regardless of it falling on his birthday.
In early February, the New York Civil Liberties Union followed released their controversial Stop and Frisk Watch app for the iPhone users to record New York City police officers’ activity in the public view in video or written form. The app automatically forwards the video and data to the NYCLU to have their attorneys scour for any police wrongdoing. This follows the release of the original Android version eight months prior.
At the heart of the issue is the long, contentious battle between the NYCLU and the NYPD over the “Terry Stop.” Commonly referred to as Stop, Question and Frisk by law enforcement, Cornell University Law School defines it as:
"a brief, non-intrusive, police stop of a suspect. The Fourth Amendment requires that the police have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed before stopping a suspect. If the police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may conduct a frisk, a quick pat-down of the person’s outer clothing. See Terry v Ohio, 392 US 1, (1967)."
The NYCLU claims that minorities are disproportionately subjected to these street interviews and that 56 percent of the time involve a frisk based on the NYPD’s own 2011 data that is part of the information the NYCLU sued for access to and won. NYPD argue utilizing the same data shows that for the proportions of individuals of each race subject to a reasonable suspicion stop is approximate to the racial breakdown of all known crime suspects.
The NYCLU says that despite the legal back and forth between them and NYPD, it is the citizens of New York City they are listening to more.
“It’s been so powerful and gratifying to hear that cop watch groups are using the app and to hear from young people from the Bronx to Bed-Stuy talk about the sense of power they feel having the app on their phones,: says Jennifer Carnig, NYCLU’s Director of Communications, in an email interview. “We really hope the iPhone version will allow even more people to hold the NYPD accountable. The potential is exciting.”
According to Farm Animal Rights Movement’s analysis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports for 2010, 875 million farm animals died outside the slaughterhouse. Of these, chickens made up over 800 million of the dead. The causes include among them disease, injury and starvation.
At the Second Annual NYC Vegetarian Food Festival held the first weekend in March, factory farms were repeatedly called out for their farm animal cruelty. Animal rights educators Zoe Weil of the Institute of Humane Education and Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary both hit on the same theme. If you stop the demand for animals and animal products as a food source and factory farms will slowly go away.
For those not willing to give up consuming meat and dairy but are still offended by factory farm animal abuse, there is another strategy: support their local organic cage-free farms. Michael Makinajian and the rest of his family care for their assorted fowl at the three-generation Makinajian Poultry Farm in Huntington, N.Y. They animals have the run of a large gated yard and are brought in during bad weather to prevent disease.