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Immigration Coalition Responds to Speaker Mark-Viverito’s State of the City Address

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Than Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 413-687-5160,  E-mail: tyaku@nyic.org
New York  (Thursday, February 11, 2016)

Immigration Coalition Responds to Speaker Mark-Viverito’s State of the City Address

(New York, NY) Today, New York City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito delivered her annual State of the City address. Her speech comes a day after the New York Immigration Coalition launched their 2016 “Immigrant Opportunity Agenda” for the City of New York, highlighting top priorities for immigrant communities this year.

The following is a statement from Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:

“Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said loud and clear in her State of the City address that ‘we need more justice’ - and we agree wholeheartedly when it comes to immigrant New York City, and we thank the Speaker for her leadership.

“We are pleased to hear that the Speaker will take action on language access, an absolutely essential issue for New York City’s three million immigrant residents who speak different languages from all over the globe. The NYIC is proud to have played a key leadership role in language access victories in New York City and State, including the landmark 2011 Executive Order 120 that required language access for City services into the top 6 languages spoken in our City. We applaud the Speaker's efforts to put more teeth into this Executive Order and work closely with the Mayor to ensure that services and materials - including critical emergency alerts - are accessible for communities who look to our City government for information and leadership. We look forward to working with our City's leaders to make sure any new language access measures have the maximum impact.

“We are also glad to see the Speaker emphasize the need to modernize voting processes in New York City. This can be done by ensuring easier access to polling booths and hiring culturally competent staff to support New Yorkers, including New Americans, who are voting for the first time. Through the support of the City, the Coalition and our partners hope to get even more immigrant voters to the polls in this critical election year. In addition, initiatives such as ‘Student Voter Registration Day’ can help engage our city’s youth so that we can ensure that each and every New Yorker has a voice in this year’s Presidential election.   

“Lastly, the Speaker’s initiative to establish consumer financial education campaigns for target populations, such as immigrants, is an important step to ensuring that our communities are equipped with the financial literacy tools necessary to succeed in New York City and we look forward to incorporating this into our City Council-funded Key to the City program. We urge the Speaker and our city’s leaders to put the same weight behind community-based adult literacy programming to unlock the potential of thousands of New Yorkers who are unable to access workforce training programs, support their children in school, and climb the ladder to success. Adult literacy programs are a critical component in building a City whose immigrants can truly participate, gain better job opportunities, and be full-fledged participants in their communities.

“By supporting immigrants’ ability to thrive in New York City, we will truly be providing justice and opportunity that the Speaker so eloquently spoke about. We look forward to working side-by-side with the Speaker and our city’s leaders this year to create a better future for New York City’s immigrant communities.”

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The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC)  is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.

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