Tag Archives: Oakland Gardens

Death of Baruch student who died in frat ritual ruled homicide


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

MELISSA CHAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Updated 4:15 p.m.

The death of a 19-year-old Baruch College student from Queens who was killed in a fraternity hazing ritual has been ruled a homicide, the Luzerne County Coroner Office confirmed Friday.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a freshman at the school, passed away on Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the coroner office said.

Pocono Mountain Regional Police Chief Harry Lewis plans on meeting with the Monroe County district attorney’s office next week to to discuss the coroner’s findings and the next steps in the case, NBC News reported.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who traveled to the Poconos with more than 30 fraternity members the weekend before his death, the district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

Following the incident, the national Pi Delta Psi organization severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

Sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier that versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.

 

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Community Board 11 to lose longtime leader, elect new chair


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Community Board 11 will lose a longtime leader and elect a new chair next month.

The Queens board will bid farewell to Jerry Iannece, who is term-limited due to the board’s bylaws. An election to replace him will take place March 3.

“It was an awesome ride,” said Iannece, whose term ends March 31. “It was exciting, exhilarating. It’s been a labor of love in many ways.”

Iannece was first appointed as board chair in 2002, stepping down in 2007 due to term limits. He returned to take back the board’s helm in 2009.

Under his leadership, Community Board 11 was at the forefront of a $125 million ravine improvement project at Oakland Lake. The massive upgrade, which was more than 10 years in the making, fixed a flooding problem in Bayside Hills.

“It saved Oakland Lake, and it saved the ecosystem,” Iannece said. “It’s sort of a textbook case of how a civic can identify a problem, employ their resources and get a problem solved.”

But after a roller coaster, decade-long tenure — and multiple failed bids for political office — the civic leader plans to step down for good.

“It’s an exhausting, full-time job without pay. I think my time as chair of Community Board 11 has come to an end,” said Iannece, who most recently ran for City Council in 2009 and suffered a devastating defeat in his bid for state Assembly in 2012.

“Running for office for a few years took a lot out of me,” the attorney said. “It just wasn’t meant to be, but it’s OK.”

Board members will nominate and then vote in a new chair at the end of the March 3 meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at 46-35 Oceania St. in Bayside.

The board covers Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens.

“I think it’s always good to have fresh blood, to have someone with new ideas,” Iannece said. “We’ll find somebody that’s more than capable of filling my shoes and doing a great job.”

 

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P.S. 46 celebrates Blue Ribbon Award


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Students at P.S. 46 were blue, but for good reason, on Friday.

At an early-morning ceremony on Jan. 17 students, teachers, parents and elected officials celebrated P.S. 46’s designation as a Blue Ribbon School.

The Oakland Gardens school was one of 286 in the nation honored by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) with the Blue Ribbon Award in 2013. This award recognizes schools where students are performing at very high academic levels.

“P.S. 46 is a very special place” said Councilmember Mark Weprin.

The ceremony was filled with dancing, singing, and even a performance by the school’s drama club titled, “The search for the National Blue Ribbon Award.”

“This award adds a dimension to us,” said Marsha Goldberg, principal. “We are a microcosm of what society should be. I feel like I’m on top of the world.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who attended the event and spoke to the crowd, said “this award shows the potential for students in the entire city.”

Goldberg remained humble even when giving her final remarks on receiving such a prestigious award.

“I believe we can do better, I believe we will do better, and I truly believe that our best days are yet to come,” she said.

 

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‘Snow day’ at Juniper Valley Park Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 4:00 p.m.

Just because Mother Nature has dropped a few inches of snow, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your snow boots, get the sled and, go out and have some fun.

Keeping in mind to stay safe and bundle up, the Department of Parks and Recreation has declared an official snow day for Saturday, January 4 at five parks across the city. The snow day will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Queens, the Parks Department will hold a snow day at Juniper Valley Park, at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North in Middle Village. During the snow day, free organized activities include supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.

For more information, please call 311 or visit the Parks Department website for updates.

Even though Juniper Park will be the only park in the borough to include free activities in the case of a snow day, here are other local parks you can visit for some fun in the snow and suggestions for sledding spots, courtesy of the city’s Parks Department. But remember to stay warm and be safe!

Astoria Park, Astoria, 19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard

Bowne Park, Flushing, Small hillside on the 155th Street side of the park

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Forest Park, Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, Eastside of Lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

 

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Op-ed: Support programs that boost our economy


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

One by one, each student marched his way up to the front of the room to receive certificates of completion, each with a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness. One by one, each member of the cohort recounting stories of the past couple of weeks that gave them a second chance.

It was the workforce development initiative of the Queens Botanical Garden and LaGuardia Community College that made these second chances possible.

Unlike some traditional programs that lack strong ties to industry, workforce development programs often accelerate job creation because workers acquire precisely the kind of skills businesses need to expand. Today, examples like those of the Green Jobs Training Program include sustainable landscape design and maintenance, waste management, and other similar green practices.

More recently, the Robin Hood Foundation provided funding to create a workforce development program run by AAFE and One Flushing to recruit and assist those ready to enter the workforce. It is a welcome partnership that will enhance the growth and success of our local Flushing community.

Beyond that New York needs to implement creative ways to retain the talent we have. This year, I sponsored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo making New York a national leader in workforce development and job training. I have also introduced legislation supported by Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer that would continue our economic growth and create quality jobs by investing in our engineering workforce. The financial aid program for engineering students who commit to staying in the city for five years after graduation is a smart investment to bolster an innovation economy and prepare our workforce for the 21st century.

This year’s budget also focused on workforce development and new industries in every community. Cuomo pushed for programs including innovative “Hot Spot” incubators, the Venture Capital Fund, and job linkage initiatives that push our state’s ideas, create new businesses, and train our workforce for jobs of tomorrow.

Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the entire country and it needs a government that can embrace and harness that to power its economic engine. We need to keep creating ways to support programs that boost our economy. The task for our next administration will be to help more of the city’s workforce develop the skills to obtain jobs—and more importantly careers—in sectors that are growing and expanding.

That is what I am determined to champion to do in next year’s legislative session—to be a champion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, provide resources to assist local businesses flourish, and forge better partnerships between private and public entities. There has never been a better time to support these pathways and programs that ultimately help our most critical economic resource–our workforce.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents New York’s 25th District, which spans the northeast portion of Queens, including the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, and Douglaston.

 

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Fraternity hazing ritual that killed Baruch freshman from Queens was banned


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy New York Daily News

The fraternity hazing ritual that claimed the life of a 19-year-old pledge from Queens last week was banned before the tragic death, according to the brotherhood’s national headquarters.

Chun “Michael” Deng, a Baruch College freshman, died Dec. 9 from head injuries during an unsanctioned Pi Delta Psi event in Pennsylvania, according to authorities and the fraternity’s National Executive President Andy Meng.

Deng, of Oakland Gardens, was one of four pledges who went away to the Poconos last weekend with more than 30 fraternity members, the Monroe County district attorney said.

The blindfolded pledges were reportedly forced to wear weighted bags and navigate a path through a yard, while being repeatedly knocked to the ground.

“I just got to know him,” said Julio Hewu, a Pi Delta Psi fraternity brother at Baruch. “He was good guy.”

Deng died from blunt-force head trauma, the Luzerne County Coroner Office’s said, after he was put on life support at Wilkes-Barre Hospital.

The national Pi Delta Psi organization has since severed ties with the Baruch colony and suspended its national new member outreach, according to a statement.

“Michael will be greatly missed,” said Meng, who is from Queens. “We continue to cooperate with the proper entities and ask all individual members involved to come forward in aiding the investigation.”

Various versions of the ritual are still being carried out, even though it has been banned for at least 10 years due to its dangerous nature, sources in different chapters of the fraternity told The Courier.

“The way it was originally performed and how I experienced it, I’m not surprised that it killed somebody,” said a Pi Delta Psi alumnus, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I can’t say for sure how it was performed in this deadly incident, but the results are tragic and I pray for Deng’s family.”

“I also pray for the brothers involved in the incident,” the source said, “as I’m sure their intentions were good and they are going through the most terrifying moments of their life to have to live with this.”

Another former fraternity brother said the specific ritual has caused broken legs and concussions.

“It’s really sad, but I’m not shocked,” he said. “It was only a matter of time before this happened.”

Baruch College said in a statement it had no knowledge of the event. The fraternity was not approved to rush a pledge class.

“Michael’s death is a deeply painful reminder that no individual should ever be put into a position where his or her personal safety is in jeopardy,” the college said.

Pi Delta Psi, a fast growing Asian-interest society, has 20 chapters in the country and four colonies, including Baruch, according to its website.

An investigation into Deng’s death is ongoing, the Monroe County Police Department said. The district attorney expects to file charges, according to the Associated Press.
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Oakland Gardens resident from Baruch College dies in fraternity pledge ritual


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jim.henderson

A  Baruch College freshman from Oakland Gardens died Monday after he was severely injured in a fraternity hazing ritual in Pennsylvania, cops said.

Chun “Michael” Deng, 19, was one of four pledges who were staying with more than 30 members of the national fraternity Pi Delta Psi in a home in the Poconos over the weekend, police said.

Deng suffered “major brain trauma” while participating in a hazing ritual on Sunday morning where pledges wear weighted bags and are blindfolded then are forced to navigate a path while they are repeatedly knocked to the ground, according to NBC News.

Deng was brought to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in critical condition and he was unresponsive, authorities said.

Deng was studying finance at Baruch. He attended the Bronx High School of Science, the New York Times said.

The Monroe County District Attorney David Christine said charges will be filed in the fraternity ritual death of Deng, but he won’t decide which charges to file until police complete their investigation, according to published reports.

 

Additional reporting by Liam La Guerre 

 

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EXCLUSIVE: City eyes two more northeast Queens school sites


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) is looking for more than an acre of Queens land to build a new high school, The Courier has learned.

The SCA has allocated funds for the future institution, poised to alleviate Queens high school congestion, but is still scouring the borough for a site slightly larger than an acre to build it on, according to SCA Director of External Affairs Mary Leas.

“We’d love to find a nice, big site for a high school,” Leas said. “Over an acre would be best. It’s not easy to find a site that size. Then when we do, we really want to investigate it and see if we could make it work. An acre is a lot of property in the city.”

The SCA briefed Community District Education Council 26 (CDEC) Thursday on its proposed $12 billion capital budget for 2015 to 2019, which includes the new high school.

A Department of Education spokesperson told The Courier the city is eyeing a site in Whitestone that “has not been identified.”

Residents in the area, in September, said they saw SCA scouts surveying the vacant Whitestone Jewels Property at 150-33 6th Avenue. The six-acre site is in the midst of a foreclosure action by OneWest Bank.

State Senator Tony Avella said the location is not “viable” for a school, due to lack of infrastructure and public transportation options.

“The city would have to put in sewers and water mains. It would be a transportation nightmare for parents and students,” he said.

The authority ruled out a Little Neck school site — long suggested by the CDEC — due to its “remote” location near 58-20 Little Neck Parkway, on the border of Long Island.

“It’s very hard to site a high school in a community,” Leas said. “Just even looking at a site could cause quite a flurry of activity amongst communities that don’t want the high schools.”

The SCA’s preliminary five-year plan also includes building a 465-seat elementary school in either Oakland Gardens or Fresh Meadows.

Partial funds have been set aside for the potential elementary school, but the SCA has not found a site yet, according to Monica Gutierrez, an SCA community relations manager.

The City Council last week passed a controversial plan to build a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school at 210-11 48th Avenue in Bayside. According to the SCA, it will likely take about three years to open. Its design process, which has not yet begun, is expected to be finalized in about a year.

The SCA gave the presentation to seek feedback from the school district that encompasses Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck.

To suggest site locations to the city, email sites@nycsca.org.

 

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Survey says overcrowding problem at Queens schools


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Queens schools are failing in at least one subject– classroom sizes.

Hillcrest High School in Jamaica ranked highest in the number of oversized classrooms, 400, and Bayside’s Benjamin Cardozo High School follows with 385, according to a recent United Federation of Teachers (UFT) survey.

More than 230,000 students citywide spent some of the first few weeks back to school in crowded classes, the study found. About 6,313 classes were overcrowded, up almost 200 from last year, but more than 1,000 of those classes were found in Queens high schools alone.

Overcrowding is a problem throughout the entire city school system, but “Queens high schools have been hit the worst,” the UFT said.

Class sizes around the city in grades 1 through 3 have now reached a 14-year high. Although they have not reached the classroom size limit of 32 seats, first and second grade has grown to an average of 24 seats per class, with 25 in third grade.

“It is time to take this issue seriously,” said Michael Mulgrew, UFT president. “All our students, especially our youngest children, desperately need smaller class sizes.”

Recently Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that under his administration New York City schools had improved outstandingly on the academic side.

During his time in office many schools were shuttered, but more than new 650 schools were created. Bloomberg said 22 of the top 25 schools in the state are from New York City, and none were on that list before his administration.

“After 12 years reforming our once-broken school system, it’s clear that our hard work has paid huge dividends for our students,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

In fact, three Queens elementary schools, P.S. 46 in Oakland Gardens, P.S. 66 in Richmond Hill and P.S. 221 in Little Neck,  Richmond Hillwere named to the prestigious national Blue Ribbon award for excellence in education on September 24.

Despite the academic improvements, the UFT said children shouldn’t have to try to learn in overcrowded classrooms.

“Twelve years of Michael Bloomberg, and hundreds of thousands of students start the school year in oversize classes,” Mulgrew said. “There is no excuse for letting students stay in an oversize class.”

 

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Three Queens elementary schools receive Blue Ribbon award


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The coveted federal Blue Ribbon award will go to three Queens elementary schools this year, U.S. education officials announced early this week.

P.S. 46 in Oakland Gardens, P.S. 66 in Richmond Hill and P.S. 221 in Little Neck earned their prestigious titles on September 24.

The honor is given to public and private schools that have demonstrated significant student achievement, education officials said. It is based on overall academic excellence or improvement.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Principal Marsha Goldberg of P.S. 46. “The students realize the impact as much as the adults do. This is their expectation. To them, it’s another day at school.”

Principal Patricia Bullard of P.S. 221 said her school’s award was achieved through “the hard work of our conscientious students, dedication of our talented staff and support of our parents.”

“I am extremely proud of our entire school community for achieving this national distinction,” she said in a statement. “P.S. 221 is truly a special place.”

Over in Richmond Hill, P.S. 66 was also beaming with pride.

“I’ve been in this community as a teacher since 1976,” said Principal Phyllis Leinwand. “On a personal level, I’m very proud, having been in this area for nearly four decades, that this amazing accolade is being shared by the south Queens community.”

The U.S. Department of Education named 286 schools in the country this year as Blue Ribbon institutions. Award recipients also include two schools in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education,” Duncan continued.

The Blue Ribbon honorees will be celebrated in November at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

 

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Bellerose residents demand mosquito help after years with no West Nile spraying


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC

Bellerose residents say they live in a forgotten land when it comes to the city’s efforts to eliminate mosquitoes.

“You can’t go outside. You can’t make it from your car to your front door,” said Maria Donza.

The bloodsuckers are keeping residents on house arrest and even alert indoors, said Donza, who added she sits with a bottle of bug spray at home.

The city has not sprayed the area since before 2011.

Pesticide was scheduled for Bellerose in August 2011, but the order was eventually canceled, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website.

The department recently targeted neighborhoods north of Bellerose, spraying parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglaston Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens on July 25 and early the next day.

“Everywhere else in Queens has been mostly getting sprayed,” said resident AJ Sonnick. “I don’t understand why Bellerose has been forgotten.”

The 20-year-old said he was bitten four times in the 20 minutes he was in his backyard the other day.

“This is a beautiful neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood to live,” Sonnick said. “It’s a shame that we just can’t sit outside.”

A DOHMH spokesperson said Bellerose has not been sprayed because no West Nile Virus activity has been detected there.

The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause encephalitis and meningitis.

Insects carrying the potentially fatal virus were recently found in Auburndale, College Point, Holliswood, Middle Village, Pomonok and the areas north of Bellerose sprayed last week.

The pesticide is taken as a last resort in areas where there is a high risk of West Nile Virus transmission, the department said.

Catch basins in Bellerose have been treated with larvicide twice this season.

“Though there may be an increase in floodwater mosquitoes citywide, these mosquitoes do not transmit West Nile Virus,” the DOHMH spokesperson said.

However, State Senator Tony Avella said the city should take measures before Bellerose makes the infected list.

“Every year, we have deaths from West Nile Virus. Every year, it resurfaces,” he said. “So why don’t we do a much more proactive spraying to reduce that population rather than wait until it explodes on us?”

Mosquitoes “don’t know what a boundary is on a map” and can fly into new nearby territories, the legislator added.

The city urged residents to call 3-1-1 to report standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Wednesday, July 24, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, July 25 during the same hours.

Neighborhoods: Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglas Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens.

Bordered by: Little Neck Bay and 39th Avenue to the North; Bell Boulevard, Long Island Expressway, Cloverdale Boulevard, 73rd Avenue and Springfield  Boulevard to the West; 76th Avenue, 263rd Street and Union Turnpike to the South; and Nassau County border to the East.

Parts of the following zip codes: 11361, 11362, 11363,  11364, 11426, 11427,  11004, 11005

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic
pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department  recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Suspects captured in Kissena Park chase charged with robbery, fake gun possession


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Two robbery suspects who led police on a high-speed chase through Queens have been charged with robbery, criminal use of a firearm and possession of an imitation pistol, according to the district attorney.

One of the defendants, Ravinder Dharamshot, 32, of Queens Village, has additionally been charged with reckless endangerment.

Dharamshot and his accomplice, 23-year-old Umair Farooq of Oakland Gardens, are accused of robbing several gas stations and a deli in the borough last month.

Around 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, a police officer spotted a minivan that matched the description of the vehicle used in those robberies near Utopia Parkway and Cross Island Parkway and gave chase, according to the DA.

Dharamshot, who was driving the vehicle, allegedly started speeding dangerously, during which time he headed the wrong way down the Clearview Expressway and drove onto the sidewalk, nearly hitting pedestrians.

After striking a police car at Colden Street and Elder Avenue, injuring two officers, Dharamshot fled the minivan.
Farooq was apprehended shortly after the crash.

Following a manhunt through Kissena Park and the surrounding streets, police found Dharamshot in a parked car in Queens Village later that day.

The pair faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

 

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Op-Ed: Empowering women


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

Women’s History Month marks my third month as an assemblymember. It is a time to recognize the women who have come before to make this world a better place. While we have many great women to celebrate, we have more work ahead. At a time when polarization is defining many of today’s headlines, it is more important than ever to discuss how women’s voices alter the conversation. How can we work together to make our voices stronger? To borrow a phrase from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, how do we make sure that we are all getting off the sidelines? How do we make sure we are not waiting in a never-ending queue or that we are equal partners in the policy and decision making process?

We have made progress in the number of women holding elected office, but women remain severely underrepresented in our political institutions. Women still only make up 21 percent of the New York State Legislature and 18 percent of Congress, so it is clear that something is missing. That gap will be filled by the next generation of female leaders, and we must do what we can to encourage them to get involved.

Women are underrepresented not because we cannot raise the money or talk to voters, but because we are less likely to even run in the first place. On average, a woman is asked to run for office seven times before she decides to run. More role models like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are needed to show young women they can aim high. There have been shining examples of this locally, particularly Congressmember Grace Meng’s historic victory this past November — a huge victory for Queens women!

I ran for office to show young women that they can do it too — that women could wake up every day, look in the mirror and know they can run and win. Mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters are good for our government and our nation.

The fight for equality will not be won simply by having more female legislators. While New York has passed many laws to ensure women’s equality, we still have many steps to take. The Women’s Equality Act proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo will shine a light on many of the problems faced by New York women and take a big step forward on issues of pay equality and reproductive rights. The Women’s Equality Act is an effort that I will continue fighting for, as it is clear that women’s perspectives lead to better understanding, better conversation, and eventually better laws.

There are also many times when women’s issues, such as reproductive rights, are discussed without input from female legislators or a discussion of how women are actually impacted. This scenario played out in Congress as House Republicans attempted to restrict access to birth control under President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Hormonal contraceptives are only available for women, yet there was not one woman on the panel invited to discuss the impact of the legislation. Underrepresentation is not always that obvious, however. The imbalance of women in public office creates a lack of female voices at times they are most needed. The simple act of more women running for office will change this dynamic, and it is important that we encourage young women to run.

Women’s History Month is about empowerment, and nothing is more empowering than knowing that no office is off limits. Politics has long been a field in which women could not imagine themselves participating, and thankfully it is changing. As the youngest female legislator in the New York State Assembly, I see firsthand the contributions that women are making in government.

I also know that as long as we continue to do good work and advocate for common sense policy, young women will play a significant role in helping our communities prosper.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic was elected to the 25th Assembly District in November 2012, representing neighborhoods in northeast Queens, including Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside and Douglaston.

QM3 bus hits, kills woman in Oakland Gardens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 55-year-old woman is dead after a Queens bus struck her Thursday evening, according to police.

Around 7:30 p.m., a QM3 bus was traveling westbound on 73rd Avenue, making a left hand turn to travel southbound on Springfield Boulevard when, with the rear portion of the bus, it struck the victim.

She was taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

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