Protecting our civil rights and liberties is a challenge that is ongoing and one that never ends. It is important that we learn from our past civil rights leaders like Brooklyn’s own former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm as well as today’s leaders like former New Jersey Nets center Jason Collins.
I have been a fierce critic of “Stop, Question and Frisk” as well as a defender of a women’s right to choose, repeatedly scoring 100 percent ratings from NOW and NARAL/Pro-Choice. As a New York State Senator, I voted in favor of the Marriage Equality Act in 2009 and was one of the earliest supporters of GENDA legislation that would help fight discrimination against trans-gender New Yorkers.
My office has repeatedly taken a stand when the rights of anyone have been violated. I stood with local leaders in the wake of attacks on members of Jewish community in Crown Heights, stood up to condemn vicious attacks on members of the LGBTQ community in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and have been very vocal in calling for reconciliation and reform in the wake of tragedies befalling Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, and Police Officers Wenjain Liu and Rafael Ramos. I championed important policy reforms to our criminal justice system, including the convening of special grand juries in cases involving police shootings as well as the greater use of open, preliminary hearings when these shootings occur as well.
Furthermore, I have continued to call for reforms in policing for small amounts of marijuana and supported the introduction of the Fairness and Equity Act this year.