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A just transition for New York

In his speech last week, Governor Cuomo took a major step forward by calling for a "Green New Deal" for New York and the move to 100 percent renewable energy.

It's clear that the transition away from fossil fuels will take on growing urgency in the coming months and years. As New Yorkers, we need to make sure the transition to clean energy isn't just swift; it must also be just.

The climate crisis will not affect all communities equally. Black, brown, and low-income communities are more likely to be exposed to air and water pollution, and face slower recoveries after climate-fueled weather disasters.

The Climate and Community Protection Act puts us on the path to 100 percent renewable energy and includes equity provisions that prioritize the needs of impacted and frontline communities.

Leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have made equity a core piece of their climate advocacy. Cuomo can do the same by working to pass the Climate and Community Protection Act in 2019.


Mangla is communications director for Citizen Action of New York.

Aiding El Sauce

Thank you for your article on the Rochester-area groups working in solidarity with the people of Nicaragua in Rochester's sister community of El Sauce.

The main theme of the article was how the civil unrest in April 2018 caused the US State Department to urge US citizens not to travel to Nicaragua, thereby impacting local solidarity groups working in El Sauce.

The Ciudad Hermana Task Force of Metro Justice was established in 1988 by Rochester activists, including Henrietta and Max Levine. We were formed in response to US policies that were impacting the ability of the Nicaraguan people to preserve the gains of the 1979 revolution. Those gains included women's empowerment, land reform, sustainable economic growth, public (single payer) health, free public education and literacy.

Following our establishment of the relationship with El Sauce, many other groups have followed in our footsteps and developed various projects. Our projects have thrived continuously for 30 years. We now provide aid to primary school students in the form of enrichment classes, school supplies, and uniforms through scholarships, first aid kits for schools, et cetera. We provide microloans to women to start or expand their small businesses. We facilitate well building in rural areas without access to clean water, with the participation of the local communities.

The political issues in Nicaragua have not had any impact on our work. We do not depend on visits of people from outside the country, although we do rely on donations from our supporters, mainly in the Rochester area.

We anticipate continuing our work for the next 30 years and beyond and are hopeful that our sister solidarity groups mentioned in the article will soon be able to continue their solidarity with El Sauce.


Bush and values

Compared to the current president, George HW Bush was a man of etiquette, magnanimity, and commitment to compromise. But there was a pattern to Bush's life that cannot be glossed over. From the very beginning of his career in public office, Bush showed an unnerving capacity for betraying his own values.

Early in his political career, he campaigned as a moderate; yet when he was running for a US Senate seat in Texas, he opposed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, deriding his opponent as "radical" for supporting the bill. As Republican National Committee chair, Bush advocated for a free press, yet he positioned himself as a willfully ignorant spokesperson for Richard Nixon.

As a candidate for president, he promised voters that he would champion a "kinder and gentler America"; yet he approved the blatantly racist Willie Horton commercial.

As president, Bush was staunchly anti-imperialist; yet he authorized (without the approval of Congress) the armed invasion of Panama in 1989, an act of military aggression that the UN General Assembly determined was a "flagrant violation of international law."

And Panama, we know, was a dress rehearsal for the Persian Gulf, which resulted in the death of thousands of innocent civilians and laid the groundwork for the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

A supposed champion of women's rights, Bush nominated Clarence Thomas for the Supreme Court. He believed that elected officials have a sacred duty to serve the greater good but intentionally neglected to invest in public health education and treatment during the AIDS epidemic.

He took over the CIA to rescue it from its reputation for criminal mendacity but lied about his own history in the CIA. He believed that a president should never obstruct justice but did just that when he pardoned Caspar Weinberger and others for their participation in the Iran Contra scandal.

I don't mean to put a damper on the encomiums, and I agree that Bush was a remarkable man. But history will not be as kind to him as days after his death suggest.