UrbaNERD: Time to Think About Our ‘Ferguson Moment’

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Frederick Joseph

This week UrbaNERD, our weekly rundown of stuff you should have read but might have missed because you were obsessed with Deflategate (or other big stories), welcomes guest columnist Jasmine Pierce.

The active pursuit of civic equality begins in our thoughts about the process. Many media outlets are dumbing down the recent police brutality incidents as just black vs. white he-said, he-saids, but there are countless factors at play. On Martin Luther King Day, NYU’s Furman Center introduced a thoughtful discussion of what is being referred to as “The Ferguson Moment.” The debate is called “The Dream Revisited” and many scholars are taking up the issue through a variety of lenses. Here you can read a series of essays that evaluate the change from a system that once overtly oppressed its minority citizens, to one that has developed much more covert ways of achieving similar results.

Ban On Outsiders Parking Overnight

Queens Assemblyman Michael Miller is proposing a law that will ban any (dirty) New Jersey cars from parking on our (flawless) NYC streets overnight. In the city, we often think of New Jersey as our weird cousin, but does that mean we shouldn’t let that cousin crash every once in a while? The highly unanticipated ban applies to any non-New York licensed vehicles, so the potential upside to forbidding out-of-state cars is keeping the tourists off our roads, and more importantly, off our sidewalks.

Cuomo Minimizes Promise

In his State of the State speech Wednesday, Governor Cuomo proposed a minimum wage hike that is about the least he can do, and less than he promised. The wage is already set to jump to $9 per hour in 2015, so Cuomo’s proposed $10.50 statewide and $11.50 for New York City are disappointing at best and insulting at worst. The twist of the knife is the list of cities who already approved plans that increase their minimum wages to as much as $15 per hour in the coming years. This and other proposals can be found in the governor’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda Book, a 550-page document whose abnormally large font indicates that maybe the governor only had 400 pages of work complete when this assignment his was due.

We’ve Been Trading With Cuba This Whole Time!

Despite that old trade embargo the U.S. imposed, the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba has been “promoting cultural exchange between the U.S. and Cuba” for 20 years! To celebrate, they have announced a citywide festival that will showcase a wide range of Cuban arts and culture. Check out the amazing events popping up all around the city February through June, and you might spot Obama and Castro letting down their hair while they let down diplomatic tensions.

New York Easing Up On Criminal Teens

Cuomo has announced a commission to consider reducing penalties for 16- and 17-year olds who commit non-violent crimes. The “Raise the Age” commission is the latest step in a series of actions taken to reduce the punishment of young criminals in New York. Just this month, the city Department of Correction announced a plan to eliminate the solitary confinement of its young prisoners and a pilot program to allow young petty criminals to avoid court by attending an early diversion program was introduced.

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