The Sea of Pink: FPA’s Day of Action 2013, Albany

First off, I’m going to apologize for the (huge) delay in posting this as this event was about a good 2 weeks ago (1/14/2013). I’m going to channel Justice Sotomayor (will explain in next post) and try to churn this out today.

I always dreamt about being an activist (well I had many, many dreams- many of which that really didn’t come into fruition- but one must start somewhere I suppose) and on that Monday, I was given a chance at trying my hand at lobbying. I wanted to lobby when I first went to Albany with Bloomy’s Political Science class at Adams back in the heyday when I was more idealistic. I had no clue what I wanted to lobby for to be honest back then, I was more enamored with hanging with the politicians. Yeah, if your teenage self tells you that they know what they want to do, they definitely do not know what they want to do.

So that Monday I got up at about 5AM and caught the 6AM train to get to Planned Parenthood’s main office at Bleeker Street (surprisingly was nice and quick, thank you Embark for working so well, caught all my trains) to catch the bus at 7AM. After grabbing my info packet (and some coffee, yes!) I grabbed a nice seat on the bus. Window this time!

Actually that really wasn’t such a great idea.

Or maybe it was that donut I ate (why did I go pink for today? I may have fared better with a Boston Creme). Oh the motion sickness.

3… hours to Albany, part of the time I was looking out of the window, and part of the time I was praying for swift death. Although I had a seatmate, I wasn’t very friendly (and I feel horrible that I wasn’t so talkative) but in retrospect, I think she wouldn’t have enjoyed being vomited on.

We finally arrived, and the cold air was very much appreciated. In retrospect I should’ve taken some pictures of the outside, but we were pressed for time to make the rally so once everyone was out of the bus, we were herded into “The Well”. We were given these very nice pink pashminas (so that’s what one of those were, as Chasing Bono memories flooded through my mind) so we can wear and blend in with our other PP counterparts.

We listened to quite a few legislators, some names I remembered: Lt. Gov Robert Duffy, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Tom DiNapoli (NYS Controller), Speaker Shelly Silver were there. Sen. Stewart-Cousins was exceptionally invigorating (and hilarious), but at 10AM, not even all that coffee could wake me up. That and the lack of seating (hands were full), I could clap like a broken seal. I believe that Sen. Stewart-Cousins summarized this rally at best: that “2013 is the year of the woman” and that the Reproductive Health Act has a good chance of being passed, as Governor Cuomo is a staunch supporter of it (along with a good number of legislators from both the House and Senate).

After what seemed like a lot of clapping and almost-papercuts later, we were corralled onto the steps to take group photos. I guess everyone was ill prepared as well, we were all taking cell phone camera pictures haha. Everyone was jostling for a good spot, but I was more worried about being blocked by someone’s big hair. Actually checking the time, I was very close to my first appointment, where a group of us would meet with legislators to talk about the RHA and to request for additional funding from the State to cover the gap from Title X cuts. Although we didn’t get to chat with any legislators, we did discuss the issues with their staff and they were very receptive.

Some pictures of the rally (I was so ill prepared, so I only used my phone’s camera… sigh, digital zoom):

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Lt. Gov. Duffy

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FPA allies in the Legislature

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CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York, M. Tracey Brooks

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Group picture (courtesy of FPA’s facebook page) of all those who attended

Convenant House’s 21st Candlelight Vigil/Concert

Thursdays seem to be my busiest day of the week. I teach a senior the art of navigating through the Internets. Asides from teaching said senior how not to get inundated by Internet spambots and malware, once a month I have a “knitting meet”. I call it that, I am pretty sure there is a more technical/fancier way of connotation. Today was one of those days.

Things that were on my agenda:

  • Senior PC fun
  • Knitting meet fun
  • TNT Mystery Movie Night fun

As you could tell, it was a day of fun. If it weren’t raining, however, it would have been much more fun. That would have allowed me to save carrying 5lbs that was my umbrella (Totes represent!).

Luckily I had a date with a friend (the webmistress of CaribDaily.com, which by the way is an excellent stop for those interested in news that pertain to the Caribbeans, shameless plug, I know) who was kind enough to accompany me to Mystery movie Night. She also served as my trusty photographer when my poor S5’s batteries died within a few shots. Sigh.

We arrived a wee too early for the event however (an hour, which is too early apparently), so we were shooed from the door and told to meander around the streets until the event starting time. Not a problem at all when you are located right near Times Square, what is there not to do there?

We were glad for the chance of walking around, because we ended up stumbling into Covenant House’s 21st Candlelight Vigil/Concert right on Military Island. For those who do not know, Military Island is the area along 43rd and 44th Street on 7th Avenue in Times Square. It is a block long, and right outside where Good Morning America films part of their shows. It is also the site for an Armed Forces (Marine Corps.)  recruitment center, as well as an NYPD station. In any case, right outside of the recruitment center, there are events that usually take place throughout the day.

Tonight was Covenant House’s night. Covenant House is an organization that was founded in the 1960s, and established officially as a non-profit entity in 1972. They specialize in assisting homeless youths who have found themselves out in the streets with no place to go, and no where to turn. According to their history, they currently serve 55,000 kids, giving them a way out of the cold. Covenant House teamed up with Abolition International as well as its founder, singer Natalie Grant (who also took part in the concert) tonight to raise awareness for homeless youths and human trafficking.

Another thing of note that was rather impressive. Tonight was also the first time that a group of CEOs and business leaders will sleep out in the streets, in a sort of “where the other half lives” moment.

From Covenant House:

Philip Andryc of Berens Capital Management; Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees; Bill Donahoe of Allegiance Retail Services/Foodtown; Gary Dubois of Crum & Forster/Seneca; Dave Eklund of Aeolus Reinsurance; Tom Glocer of Thomson Reuters; Jeff Kaplan of Deerfield Management; Geraldine Laybourne, co-founder of the Oxygen Network and chairman of Alloy Entertainment; Julio Alfonso Portalatin of Chartis Growth Economies; George P. Reeth of Companion Property and Casualty; Adam Silver of the NBA; and Strauss Zelnick of Zelnick Media.