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Hurricane Sandy Destroys NYC Homeless LGBT Youth Drop-In Center

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All the world knows that Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey/New York City metro area the hardest, killing an estimated 113 people — including over 40 people in New York City alone — displacing hundreds of thousands, and putting millions into darkness. Then the cold came.

All the world also knows that LGBTQ kids and teens are always the hardest hit as well — sometimes, literally — by members of their own families. And often, sadly, if it’s not physical abuse LGBTQ kids and teens face from within their own families, it’s emotional abuse. Or, often, both.

40% of homeless teens are LGBTQ, a staggering percent, given that an estimated 3.4% of adults are LGBT. Literally, if you’re an LGBTQ teen, your chance of being on the street is ten times higher, at least.

Superstorm Sandy decimated the Ali Forney Center on the West Side of Manhattan. They describe it as “uninhabitable.”

The Ali Forney Center’s mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.”

There are few more urgent and necessary non-profits to support.

The Ali Forney Center’s Executive Director, Carl Siciliano explains:

 

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we were finally able to inspect our drop-in center in Chelsea, half a block from the Hudson River. Our worst fears were realized; everything was destroyed and the space is uninhabitable. The water level went four feet high, destroying our phones, computers, refrigerator, food and supplies.

This is a terrible tragedy for the homeless LGBT youth we serve there. This space was dedicated to our most vulnerable kids, the thousands stranded on the streets without shelter, and was a place where they received food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. Basically a lifeline for LGBT kids whose lives are in danger.

We are currently scrambling for a plan to provide care to these desperate kids while we prepare to ultimately move into a larger space that will better meet our needs. The NYC LGBT Center has very kindly and generously offered to let us temporarily use some of their space, and we hope to determine the viability of that on Monday.

We have been deluged with kind offers from people who wish to volunteer and donate goods. Unfortunately, we will have to provide our services in the time being in much smaller spaces that won’t accommodate volunteers or allow for much storage space. The best way people can reach out to help in this very challenging time is by making monetary donations. Please go to our website at www.aliforneycenter.org/hurricanesandy

It is heartbreaking to see this space come to such a sad end. For the past seven years it has been a place of refuge to thousands of kids reeling from being thrown away by their parents for being LGBT. For many of these kids coming to our drop-in center provided  their first encounter with a loving and affirming LGBT community. I thank all of you for your care and support in a most difficult time.

– Carl Siciliano

No doubt, as readers of The New Civil Rights Movement, you’ve donated what you can to victims of Hurricane Sandy. No doubt, you’ve dropped more than a few bucks on various relief and charitable efforts throughout the year. That’s because people concerned with social justice, equality, and the common good are just likely to want to help others.

But I’m asking, if there’s any way you can help these kids, during what is arguably the worst moment in their lives — homeless, with now no where to go, in the wake of a brutal hurricane that hit this area of the country the hardest — well, all I can do is ask.

Please, give what you can.

You can donate to the Ali Forney Center’s Hurricane Sandy drive via their website, or send a check to:

Ali Forney Center/ATTN: Andria Ottley
224 West 35th St
Suite 1500
NY, NY 10001

Thank you.

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‘The State is Not God’: DeSantis Paid Educators to Teach ‘Christian Nationalism’ Report Says

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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis last year recruited thousands of public school teachers and paid them thousands of dollars out of taxpayer funds to attend training on teaching what he called “civics,” but a report states the program focused on “the tenets of Christian nationalism,” and included at least one quote from the Christian bible.

“Training materials produced by the Florida Department of Education direct middle and high school teachers to indoctrinate students in the tenets of Christian nationalism, a right-wing effort to merge Christian and American identities,” Popular Information founder Judd Legum revealed in his exclusive report Tuesday.

“A three-day training course on civic education, conducted throughout Florida in the summer of 2023, included a presentation on the ‘Influences of the Judeo-Christian Tradition’ on the founding of the United States,” Legum writes. “According to speaker notes accompanying one slide, teachers were told that ‘Christianity challenged the notion that religion should be subservient to the goals of the state,’ and the same hierarchy is reflected in America’s founding documents. That slide quotes the Bible to assert that ‘[c]ivil government must be respected, but the state is not God.’ Teachers were told the same principle is embedded in the Declaration of Independence.”

Legum included a screenshot from the training that bears the logos of the Florida Department of Education and DeSantis’ “Civics Literacy Excellence Initiative.”

READ MORE: Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

It reads in part: “‘Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ Matthew 22:21.”

“The next slide in the deck,” Legum continues, “quotes an article by Peter Lillback, the president of Westminster Theological Seminary and the founder of The Providence Forum, an organization that promotes and defends Christian nationalism. The group’s executive director, Jerry Newcombe, writes a weekly column for World Net Daily— a far-right site known for publishing hundreds of stories falsely suggesting Obama was a Muslim born in Africa.”

That slide “argues that there would be no freedom, no republic, and no constitution without religion. The speaker notes accompanying the slide emphasize that ‘the separation of Church and State did not mean the separation of God and government,’ and all the founders were ‘steeped in the Judeo-Christian tradition.'”

In a March of 2023 press release, DeSantis’s office trumpeted: “Today, Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted Florida’s continued commitment to expanding civics education in Florida schools and announced that the first 4,500 teachers have completed the Civics Seal of Excellence endorsement course and will receive a $3,000 bonus.”

The statement claimed the course was “at capacity with 20,000 teachers making their commitment to civics education, and there are additional 14,000 teachers on the waiting list for this first of a kind civics teacher professional development program.”

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

It also pointed to a 2022 program, saying “Florida’s Civic Literacy Excellence Initiative also included a three-day Civics Excellence teacher training course in the summer of 2022 for teachers to increase their knowledge of civics in addition to the creation of supplemental materials for civics lessons including the Civics Reading List and the Portraits of Patriotism video series to further student interaction with civics.”

Some teachers called that 2022 program’s teachings “cherry-picked,” NBC News (video below) reported at the time. Others were “shocked to learn what they were expected to teach their students.”

“They told us what to think and what our opinions were,” one teacher told NBC News, calling it “very unsettling.”

One slide in that program NBC News reported claimed it is a “misconception” that “The Founders desired strict separation of church and state and the Founders only wanted to protect freedom of worship.”

In 2022 The Washington Post reported, “New civics training for Florida public school teachers comes with a dose of Christian dogma, some teachers say, and they worry that it also sanitizes history and promotes inaccuracies.”

Watch that NBC News video below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

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Supreme Court ‘Puppetmaster’ Slammed Over Report He’s Flying Alito’s ‘Theocratic’ Flag Again

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The bombshells over the past few weeks revealing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew flags associated with the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Christian nationalism over two of his homes were followed by a report that Leonard Leo, the right-wing legal activist behind Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, also flew one of those flags.

The “Appeal to Heaven” flag has a “close association with both far-right Christian nationalists and the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Rolling Stone reported last week, adding it “raises serious questions about Alito’s ability to rule impartially.”

“The conservative court on which Alito sits is largely the product of right-wing dark-money overlord Leonard Leo, and — wouldn’t you know it — Leo flew the same ‘Appeal to Heaven‘ flag outside of his house in Maine,” Rolling Stone also reported.

On social media Rolling Stone noted: “Justice Samuel Alito is under fire for flying the far-right ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag outside his home. Turns out Supreme Court puppetmaster Leonard Leo has flown it too, according to an image provided to Rolling Stone.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone editor Andrew Perez on Memorial Day via social media added: “Some of Leo’s neighbors send pics from his house today — he is back to flying this flag.”

Alex Aronson is the former Chief Counsel, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who now serves as Executive Director of the non-profit organization Court Accountability.

“Leo’s decision to re-hoist this theocrat flag is two things at once,” Aronson wrote on Monday. “1) an arrogant Alito-esque display of impunity, and 2) recognition of a strategic misstep in ever removing it, as he and his goons now lean into the gaslighting claim that it’s an innocent revolutionary banner.”

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

In 2019, even before Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett to the nation’s highest court, The Washington Post reported, “few people outside government have more influence over judicial appointments now than Leo.”

Leo has served on the Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy (CNP), a highly-secretive right-wing organization that has been described as a “pluto-theocracy.” In 2021 Americans United for Separation of Church and State called CNP “The Scariest Christian Nationalist Group You’ve Never Heard Of.”

CNP’s members have included far-right activist Charlie Kirk and the heads of at least a half-dozen groups that appear on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate or extremist groups.

Last year ProPublica branded Leo as “The Man Behind the Right’s Supreme Court Supermajority” who “built a machine that remade the American legal system.”

Leo also served as a vice president for the Federalist Society for many years, and has worked to support the nominations of every right wing justice on today’s Supreme Court, including Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.

See the social media posts above or at this link.

READ MORE: Trump’s Bronx Rally Attendance Claim Fuels Mockery as Aerial Images Show a Different Story

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Trump’s Scheme for Absolute Immunity From State Prosecutions Forever: Report

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Having successfully obtained delays in his federal trials and his state trial in Georgia, possibly until after the November election, Donald Trump is now seeking an “insurance policy” to protect him from any future state prosecutions if he again becomes president.

The indicted ex-president who turns 78 next month “seems convinced that if he wins another four years in the White House, state prosecutors will still be waiting for him on the other side of his term — ready to put him on trial, or even in prison, just as they are now,” Rolling Stone reports.

“To avoid such risks, the former and perhaps future president of the United States wants Congress to create a very specific insurance policy that would help keep him out of prison forever, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Trump vaguely alluded to this idea last week outside his New York criminal hush money trial, when he said he has urged Republican lawmakers to pass ‘laws to stop things like this.'”

Trump “has pressured” Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill to do so, describing it as imperative that he signs such a bill into law, if he again ascends to the Oval Office.”

READ MORE: Pence Defense of Alito’s Insurrectionist Flag Highlights Its Ties to Violent Government Overthrow

Rolling Stone also notes, “Trump appears fixated on the idea of passing a law to give former American presidents the option of moving state or local prosecutions into a federal court instead, the two sources add.”

Trump “has hinted at a legislative push to limit his exposure to such criminal charges. In an improvised press conference outside the Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday, Trump said he’s been telling the Republican lawmakers who want to attend his trial and show solidarity to focus on legislation instead.”

“We have a lot of ’em. They want to come. I say, ‘Just stay back and pass lots of laws to stop things like this.’”

In 1973, while still President but under the cloud of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon said, “People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.”

If Trump is elected in November, he can have his Attorney General drop any federal prosecutions he is currently facing. That may call into question, for some legal experts, the actions of the far-right justices on the U.S. Supreme Court who have delayed ruling on his immunity claim, and U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

On May 7, Judge Cannon indefinitely suspended the Espionage Act case, also known as the classified documents case, against Donald Trump.

READ MORE: ‘You Just Don’t Do It’: Federal Judge Denounces Alito’s Flags as ‘Stop the Steal’ Stickers

Foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf this week blasted the judge:

“Judge Cannon is not, as commentators and cartoonists would have it, just working on behalf of Trump. She is actively working on behalf of the enemies of the US who have and would benefit from the national security breaches she is effectively defending and making more likely.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) earlier this month declared, “The courts are deliberately delaying justice — and effectively denying it.”

This coming week Americans may get a verdict in the New York criminal case against the ex-president. If it comes, it may be “guilty” or “not guilty,” but it could also be a hung jury, forcing another trial which also would not likely come before the election.

If Trump is elected in November, and can get his “insurance policy” legislation passed, he could possibly avoid all criminal trials for the rest of his life.

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