The Human Rights Arts Competition 2015

UDHR for webThe Office of Human Rights and the Dorothy Cotton Institute present

The Human Rights Arts Competition

The Dorothy Cotton Institute is partnering with the Office of Human Rights to co-sponsor the Human Rights Arts Competition, open to all K-12 students in Tompkins County, whether in public school, private school, charter school, Montessori, or home-schooled.

Teachers and students are encouraged to explore the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to submit students’ artwork (visual, poetry or short film) expressing their understanding of one or more of the 30 articles of the UDHR . Click the link to find out details.  The Dorothy Cotton Award will be presented by Ms. Cotton to the winning poet.

Moosewood Bans the Box

BAN-THE-BOX-employee-application-monitorAcross the nation and here in Tompkins County, there is a Ban-the-Box movement to reduce barriers to employment for applicants who have a felony conviction on their record. Given the enormous number of people who have been convicted, the vast majority for non-violent crimes, employers play an important role in helping people find decent, stable employment. Other states such as Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon, Massachusetts, California and N.J., and municipalities such as Orlando, NYC,  and the City of Rochester have passed Ban the Box Ordinances. In June of 2015, NYC went beyond banning the felony box on applications for jobs in city government, and now prohibits both public and private employers from asking questions about felony convictions during the initial employment application process.

As a business that has employed a lot of people over 42 years and values fairness in employment, this seemed like something important for us at Moosewood Restaurant. In our case, we were actually using the same old boiler-plate application for years; I looked at it and there was the question: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If yes, please indicate which charges may be relevant to the position you are seeking.”  All we needed was to agree that this was an unnecessary barrier, and we revised the application and deleted the question. Simple.

banbox_196There are multiple steps in a hiring process, and employers may ask about prior convictions at later stages. In some cases employers must ask about felonies up front if it’s relevant to the position the candidate is seeking, for instance, as a police officer or as a childcare worker.

In N.J…

“Unless one of the limited exceptions applies, an employer cannot make any inquiry—either verbally or in writing, including in an employment application—about an applicant’s criminal record during the “initial employment application process” (IEAP).  Once the IEAP is complete, an employer can make inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history”

Ban the Box laws and policies don’t require the employer to hire a particular applicant, but one of the goals is to reduce recidivism among qualified people who happen to have a record and to help people who could be fine employees make it through the application screening process. The Obama Administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force gave the movement a boost when it endorsed hiring practices “which give applicants a fair chance and allow employers the opportunity to judge individual job candidates on their merits.”

We encourage other businesses and institutions in Tompkins County to adopt Ban the Box policies. Whether one is a small business owner, manager, department head or human resource director, employers understandably have important questions.

These links may be helpful:

Moosewood Restaurant Owners Join Opposition to Crestwood Plans

Letter to the Editor of The Ithaca Journal

August 12, 2015

By Tony Del Plato & Gabriel Shapiro

On behalf of Moosewood, Inc. the 19 owners of Moosewood Restaurant unanimously join over 300 businesses and municipalities in the Finger Lakes in opposition to the Crestwood, Inc. plans to store up to 2.10 million barrels (88.20 million gallons) of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in salt caverns along the west shore of Seneca Lake just north of Watkins Glen. We are opposed to plans to turn this region into the northeast US hub for gas distribution. Increased railroad and truck traffic as well as breaks in pipelines would put us all at risk.

Crestwood’s plans or any plans that expand the fossil fuel infrastructure within our state, not only pose enormous risks for our safety, but will be obsolete within 20-40 years as New York transforms its energy profile to 100% renewable sources.

Food, wine, education, tourism and natural beauty drive the economy in the heart of New York state. The Finger Lakes draws people the world over to its vibrant and creative culture which includes farms, parks, the arts, high tech companies, universities and colleges.

Moosewood has been developing a sustainable business for more than 42 years and we, the shareholders are happy to join our neighbors who say yes to a fossil free future. Clean air and water matter. A lifestyle that brings more health and harmony to our lives matters.

Tony Del Plato, Moosewood Restaurant Owner

607 351 6847

tonydelplato@gmail.com

Gabriel Shapiro, Moosewood Restaurant Employee

gabeshapiro42@gmail.com

 

 

Fifty Years after the Voting Rights Act — the New Era of History’s Greatest Freedom Struggle

www;dorothycottoninstitute.org

A History of a Just & Peaceful Future

 Johnson and King at Signing of 1965 Voting Rights ActToday marks the 50th anniversary of a major victory in history’s greatest freedom struggle. President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965, signaled the demise of the American Jim Crow system of racial segregation and discrimination. 

The effort to achieve this landmark legislation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 coincided with the success of anticolonial movements that brought independence to more than fifty nations during the two decades following World War II. Systems of racial domination would remain in South Africa and Rhodesia, and colonialism would continue in some nations, but by mid-1960s a majority of humanity had achieved at least basic citizenship rights. Although we realize now that these victories were limited, they were nonetheless historic — comparable in importance to the nineteenth-century international campaign that ended chattel slavery. The transformation during the past two centuries of the world’s slaves and impoverished laborers…

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African Drumming and Welcoming Southside Community Center’s New Exec. Director at Congo Square Market

Spread the word…

African Drumming & Welcoming Southside Community Center’s New Executive Director at Congo Square Market
This week’s CONGO SQUARE MARKET will feature a special announcement  and performances by Rainbow Healing Center Drummers and Dancers, One Heart Community Drummers along with Afro Cuban Percussion by Jhakeem Haltom and Maurice Haltom.

Friday, June 19th from 4 to 8pm
At the park next to Southside Community Center: 305 S. Plain St, Ithaca

Southside Community Center will welcome their new Executive Director, Davi Mozie, at 5pm at the Market. Refreshments will be served!

Facebook event: www.facebook.com/events/776225662498130

Bring the whole family and support local vendors: El Taino, Gorges Barbeque, Fresh Baked Breads, Unique’s Bow_tique, and Chris D’s Icee!
Next week’s Market will have Harvest Box Deliveries (from Youth Farm Project & Rocky Acres Community Farm)!

To perform, vend or volunteer: Email CongoSquareEntertainment@gmail.com

Donate to the Market to support youth apprentices, start-up vendors and performers: Drop off cash or mail a check payable to “Congo Square” and send to Rob Brown at 521 W. Seneca St, Ithaca, NY 14850.

For weekly updates and performance schedule, visit ‘Congo Square Market, Ithaca’ on Facebook.

Congo Square Market is open every Friday 4-8pm through September 4th. The Market’s mission is to build a stronger self-reliant local community, develop Southside’s economic base, and encourage community & personal health.

ABOUT CONGO SQUARE MARKET

Congo Square is an actual place in New Orleans. This sacred ground was first used by the Houma People and by slaves in the region as a place to enjoy a day of freedom. Africans used it as a place to maintain their true status as free people of Africa. Indigenous peoples and Europeans often joined in the celebration. Music, abolitionist organization, food, and dance were intertwined to enjoy this one-day-a-week festival.

In Ithaca, Congo Square Market (or CSM) is a multicultural community that provides affordable Jamaican, Cuban, Ethiopian, soul food, farm produce, local goods, as well as free healthcare services and entertainment: music, visual art and speakers, and more! Collaborators include Southside Community Center, Rainbow Healing Center, Youth Farm Project, TC Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Whole Community Project- Food Dignity, Rocky Acres Community Farm, Cayuga Medical Center, Groundswell Center for Local Food & Farming, Ithaca Health Alliance/ Free Clinic and individual volunteers who all help put the market together

Return of the Tamarack 8

CI Team cropped

bottom row: Randi Quakenbush, Leslie Ackerman; middle row: Schelley Nunn, Kirby Edmonds; top row: Karim Beers, Brigid Hubberman, Natasha Thompson and Phoebe Brown

Eight representatives from Tompkins County spent 5 inspiring days in October at the recent Tamarack Institute Collective Impact Summit in Toronto, Canada. Among the 300 participants were people from Canada and the Northwest Territories, USA, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, and Denmark. The purpose of the summit was to help participants learn how to use Collective Impact to solve complex problems in their communities.

The team returned excited to share their insights about how to use Collective Impact. Each of the “Toronto 8” spoke to a big gathering at last week’s Building Bridges Brown Bag Lunch at the Tompkins County Library. They made the case for working together to create a “community-wide aspiration”–a big, hairy, audacious goal that can encompass all of the collective working groups that are underway:

  • Food Security & Justice
  • Renewable Energy
  • Kindergarten Readiness
  • College&  Career Readiness
  • Jobs Pipeline
  • Re-Entry
  • Entrepreneurship

They emphasized that Collective Impact requires a new mindset and way of operating, and widening our focus beyond the success of individual programs to the effectiveness of the systems that impact us all. No, we don’t have to quit our jobs or shut down our organizations. But the process of weaving all of our efforts together will require a shift in our thinking. One big lesson emerged from the success or failure of Collective Impact initiatives in other places: it is crucial to include a really significant percentage of people who are most directly affected in the work of planning and decision making.