Lawmakers hike security funding


U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel has joined a coalition of federal lawmakers pushing $90 million in additional federal funding to help improve security for what they have determined to be high-risk non-profits.

The move comes in the midst of an apparent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in recent months, according to a release.

The additional funding is part of the recently passed federal appropriations bill that would be delivered to the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. Such grants are available to help improve security and safety at institutions around New York, including synagogues, mosques, churches and community centers.

“We have all been horrified by the anti-Semitic attacks over the past few weeks, and the rising trend of terrorist attacks on houses of worship,” the coalition said, in a release. “This cannot continue, because everyone should be able to worship and pray in peace.

“Additionally, in the coming months, our offices will be working with organizations throughout New York City and the entire metropolitan area to ensure those in the community have all the federal grant funding, resources and tools they need at their fingertips. Because we all must work together to not only educate and eradicate hate, but to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to ensure safety and security in our communities.”

The FBI reports that incidents at religious institutions like synagogues, churches, mosques and temples rose nearly 35 percent between 2014 and 2018, according to the release. The Anti-Defamation League said anti-Semitic assaults were up 55 percent in 2018 — all of which occurred in New York City.


Ruben Diaz fights for trans rights

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., has made an impassioned plea for better protections for trans and gender non-conforming residents, who he says suffers discrimination from across the board when it comes to jobs, homes, and even higher education.

Diaz made the remarks before the New York City Council Committee on Women and Gender Equity last November, sharing how the rejection for many in the trans and gender non-conforming community starts at home.

“Many TGNC individuals are disowned by their families because of how they identify,” Diaz said, according to his prepared remarks. “That abandonment starts a perpetual cycle of homelessness, declining health and criminalization.”

Diaz also called on the city’s homeless services department to treat members of the trans and gender non-conforming community better.

“There are still cases being reported of DHS employees mis-gendering and treating TGNC homeless youth poorly,” Diaz said.

The Bronx leader called for priority status for trans and gender non-conforming youth in the shelter system, and to push for the removal of other barriers in front of them.