W42ST Daily 6/5/2020

In case you’re wondering … primary election day is June 23.

The closing date to apply for absentee voting is June 16.

Early voting starts June 13.

You can register to vote online here.

In a letter to the nation this week, Barack Obama spoke powerfully about making change through protest AND politics.

“It’s important for us to understand which levels of government have the biggest impact on our criminal justice system and police practices,” he wrote. “When we think about politics, a lot of us focus only on the presidency and the federal government. And yes, we should be fighting to make sure that we have a president, a Congress, a US Justice Department, and a federal judiciary that actually recognize the ongoing, corrosive role that racism plays in our society and want to do something about it. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.

“It’s mayors and county executives that appoint most police chiefs and negotiate collective bargaining agreements with police unions. It’s district attorneys and state’s attorneys that decide whether or not to investigate and ultimately charge those involved in police misconduct. Those are all elected positions. In some places, police review boards with the power to monitor police conduct are elected as well. Unfortunately, voter turnout in these local races is usually pitifully low, especially among young people — which makes no sense given the direct impact these offices have on social justice issues, not to mention the fact that who wins and who loses those seats is often determined by just a few thousand, or even a few hundred, votes.

“So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both.”

This is a great resource on voting too.

People, we have work to do.

As thousands of store owners board up their windows, following nights of looting and destruction across the city, for many, the added security – when they’re already crippled with unforeseen debt – isn’t even an option.

“My landlord reached out to me, highly recommending that I allow them to send a boarding company to board up the store frontage,” says Rita Ewing, who owns the Massage Envy franchise on W42nd St – 10th/11th Ave. “They were going to charge me $5,500. I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

By the time phase 2 begins and she can reopen – hopefully in July – the business will have been closed for four months. Read her story, and find out how you can support her here.

Get behind other local, black-owned businesses like Fresh From Hell, Little Pie Company, Queen of Sheba, and Maison 10. And reply to this email to add to that list.

Alvin Ailey’s Khalia Campbell dances to ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’, a song cherished by the Civil Rights Movement and often referred to as the Black National Anthem because of its powerful cry for perseverance, courage and liberty.

As the demands grow for the Mayor to defund the police and redirect the money to education and social services (the NYPD budget is nearly $6bn), here is a script for anyone wishing to add their voice to the campaign. 

Nathaniel Hunt is hosting a three-day virtual fundraiser for the NAACP and Color of Change, starting at 10am today. The activist and dancer has tapped into his network of artists, healers, and motivators from Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and many more to create Rise, Reflect, Restore – classes, performances, and uncomfortable conversations. 

W42ST food writer Michael Muñoz has a kitchen table discussion with Vanessa Joy Walker and Lenny Walker, a biracial couple who work in equity and  inclusion training. Seriously – this is good stuff.

Shake off your frustration and anger and tears at the most uplifting virtual dance party on the planet. For every Zoom account that shows up tonight, Chris Crowthers will personally donate $1 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (you can add to that with your own donation, of course). The theme is International Delight, so let’s dress up and dance, like these cops doing the Cupid Shuffle with protesters in Nebraska.

If you like what you are reading, don’t keep it to yourself. Your friends can join the W42ST Daily family too – they can sign up below