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BP Diaz: Rename Bronx Post Office for Herman Badillo

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has issued a letter to the United States Congress proposing that the United States Post Office’s Morrisania branch, located at 442 East 167th Street, Bronx, NY, 10456, be renamed in honor of former U.S. Congressman and Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo, who passed away last year.

“Congressman Herman Badillo was a trailblazer in government,” said Bronx Borough President Diaz. “He was an early advocate for bilingual education programs in the country as well as a crusader for worker’s rights during his tenure in Congress. I am proud to have gotten to know him and call him my dear friend.”

Borough President Diaz first mentioned the proposal in his annual “State of the Borough” address last week.

Herman Badillo was the first Latino to be appointed as a Commissioner of New York City, the first Latino to be elected to serve as a Borough President in New York City, the first Latino to be a Deputy Mayor for any New York City Mayor, the first Puerto Rican to serve as the Chairman of the City University of New York and the first Puerto Rican to be elected to the United States Congress as a voting member.

During his time serving in Congress, Badillo was one of the five Latino members of Congress to establish the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and helped create job training for unemployed non-English speaking citizens under the "Comprehensive Manpower Act of 1973" bill. As a member of the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee and the Small Business Committee, Badillo supported legislature that fought against discrimination in employment – including discrimination based on age and marital status.

Bronx Borough President Diaz believes that renaming the Morrisania branch of the United States Post Office, a facility acknowledged by National Register of Historic Places and one of the borough’s most significant federally-owned buildings, would be a fitting tribute for a true pioneer like Herman Badillo.

Borough President Diaz’s letter to Congress can be found at http://on.nyc.gov/1ExUIhP.

Borough President Diaz Delivers
Sixth 'State of the Borough' Address

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. today delivered his annual “State of the Borough” address, his sixth since becoming borough president in 2009. In his speech, which he delivered at The Mall at Bay Plaza, Borough President Diaz discussed the progress The Bronx has made since he took office, while also outlining new programs and initiatives his office will pursue in the coming year.

Borough President Diaz noted that, since 2009, more than 16,000 new units of housing and more than 15,000 new jobs have been created in The Bronx. He also noted that unemployment has dropped, and that The Bronx has seen record investment, including over $1 billion in new investment last year alone.

“We've seen unprecedented, transformative growth since I became the borough president,” said Borough President Diaz. The state of The Bronx is stronger than it has been in decades. We are maximizing our assets, while improving our quality of life.”

Borough President Diaz announced several new initiatives during the speech, including the study of the potential decking of three borough train yards—149th Street, the Grand Concourse yards near Lehman College, and the 1 train yards connecting Riverdale and Kingsbridge.

“We will examine possible costs and potential density, and will take the first step towards creating new space as a key component of our city's housing and economic development future,” said Borough President Diaz.

The borough president also called for the expansion of “impact investing” in New York City. Impact investments are ventures made with the intention to generate measurable social and environmental benefit, alongside a financial return. Borough President Diaz’s proposal would leverage a revolving fund with private sector investment to accelerate the greening of large residential buildings.

“We believe this proposal will clean our environment, create new jobs, reduce energy cost, and in the long run, keep our city affordable,” said Borough President Diaz. “We are looking not only to do well, but to do good.”

On education, Borough President Diaz noted the racial disparities in admissions at the city’s three specialized high schools—the Bronx High School of Science, Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn Technical High School. The borough president proposed the creation of new specialized high schools, one in each borough that would use a portfolio system to select its freshman class. These new schools would also guarantee admissions to the top two performers in each city middle school.

“We must ensure that the best and brightest from every community have a chance to excel,” said Borough President Diaz.

During the speech, Borough President Diaz highlighted a number of new projects coming to the borough, including the redevelopment of the former Bronx General Post Office by Youngwoo & Associates, Freshdirect’s relocation to Port Morris, York Studios’ plan to build a new film and television studio in Soundview and the future Kingsbridge National Ice Center, among others.

Borough President Diaz also highlighted the future redevelopment of the Harlem River waterfront, urged the State to move on the reconstruction of the Sheridan Expressway, and called on the City to create a new freezer facility for the fish and produce markets at Hunts Point.

“It is time for the city to develop a plan to build a new freezer facility in Hunts Point. This will allow our markets to expand, lower costs for consumers, reduce truck traffic and pollution, create hundreds of new jobs and keep more revenue in The Bronx,” said Borough President Diaz.

Borough President Diaz also discussed his office’s efforts to employ Bronxites, highlighting the success of “NY Works” in his speech. Launched in August in partnership with the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Department of Labor, “NY Works” puts Bronxites into direct contact with borough employers, and has so far led to more than 4,000 job placements.

“Without a doubt, these are tremendous numbers,” said Borough President Diaz. “We are bringing together development and job placement like never before.”

The borough president also highlighted his office’s legislative agenda, including his continuing push for a citywide and statewide public gun offender registry. Borough President Diaz also discussed his proposal for a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, which he announced in September.

“When I speak to people about this issue, every one—every single person—has their own horror story about a friend, a family member, or even themselves, who visited a salon to look good, and ended up with a major health issue,” said Borough President Diaz. “We have seen numerous cases of staph infections, hepatitis and other illnesses. Doesn’t the evidence demand more oversight?”

Borough President Diaz noted several other future initiatives in his speech, and closed with a remembrance of former Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo and former Governor Mario Cuomo, both of whom passed away in 2014. Borough President Diaz noted the success of The Mall at Bay Plaza, citing it as a transformative development that is setting the tone for the future of the borough.

“We move forward, in the spirit of Herman Badillo and Mario Cuomo. We move forward, understanding that we can design and enact a transformative agenda for our future while also respecting the hardships and the glories of our past,” said Borough President Diaz. “Look at where we are today. Look at the hundreds of Bronxites working here this morning. Look around you at this tremendous structure, and the new opportunities it has brought to our borough.

Borough President Diaz added, “We can. And we will. Because we deserve it.”

The full speech can be read at http://on.nyc.gov/1zOPJF9.

Chancellor Fariña Encourages Parents to Get Involved by Running for an Education Council Seat

The 36 Community Education Councils include 32 District Councils and Four Citywide Councils, one each for High Schools, English Language Learners, Special Education and District 75

CCECs Offer Parents an Opportunity to Shape Educational Policies in their Districts and Make a Direct Impact in their School Communities

New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña today encouraged parents across the city to make a direct impact on their child’s education by running for an Education Council seat. Parents interested in becoming members of a Community or Citywide Education Council (CCEC) can apply starting today through March 11, and should visit NYCParentLeaders.org for more information.

“The Community and Citywide Education Councils help shape education policies and maintain strong relationships with families and the community,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Education Councils make important contributions to their communities and I want to encourage parents across the city to apply for a seat. We need strong CECs in every district and citywide.”

Elections take place every two years, and this year, the DOE is engaging in a citywide effort to reach parents and raise awareness of these leadership roles, reflecting the Chancellor’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with families in the imperative work of preparing our city’s students for college and the workforce.

“Parental participation in the educational process is an important component that needs to be emphasized as much as hitting the books, which is why the Community Education Council elections are very important,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.  “As a parent, I understand how important it was for my children to feel they had me as an advocate on their behalf. As the Bronx Borough President, I understand how important it is to be an advocate for not only my children, but all of the Bronx’s children. We urge parents to become a part of this process to make sure the voices at the table are diverse and representative of our communities and the needs of our children.”

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Hosts Annual African-American Heritage Celebration

On Thursday February 12th, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his Annual African-American Heritage Celebration in Co-op City. Pictured are: Jamaal Bailey, Borough President Diaz, Dr. Dena Robins, Bessie Jackson, Karen Washington and PIX11 co-anchor Kori Chambers, who emceed the event.

On Thursday, February 12, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his Annual African-American Heritage Celebration, recognizing “A Century of African-American Life, Heritage and Culture.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and Karen Washington, a community activist and urban farmer who encourages healthy eating, were honored by Borough President Diaz at the event. Borough President Diaz also honored the Association for the Study of African American Life & History’s (ASALH) Bronx branch.

“During this time we have to reflect on the past and how it has shaped us. History is made each day and it is because of the hard work, protesting, marching and speaking of injustice from leaders in the past, we are able to celebrate freedom of African-Americans,” said Borough President Diaz as he spoke to the community members and invited guests.

District Attorney Thompson spoke about his upbringing and memories of The Bronx. “My heritage is in the Bronx and in Co-op City, where my mother still lives. Back in 1973, we were one of the first black families to move into the area and it has helped shaped me to be who I am. I am grateful for all that I have been blessed to do because of the opportunity that started here in this borough,” District Attorney Thompson stated.

“I am excited and so happy to be here amongst everyone,” said Karen Washington as she accepted her award. “With our borough facing such high rates of obesity, it is important that we educate and break down the race barriers and address a more holistic approach to eating garden vegetables.”

In addition, Jamaal Bailey was presented the inaugural Jonathan Hicks Memorial Award, named for the pioneering journalist, mentor and activist who passed away in 2014. “There is a quote by Frederick Douglass that says, ‘If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress’ and I truly believe that if we continue to struggle we will make progress,” stated Mr. Bailey, who serves as a Democratic District Leader in the 83rd Assembly District, as he accepted his award.

The Bronx Invites the Pope

New York City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr., New York City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, Congressman Jose E. Serrano and New York City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson are publicly inviting Pope Francis to Yankee Stadium. In a full-page newspaper ad the officials are asking The Pontiff to conduct a mass at the new Stadium when he visits NYC in September. The last papal mass at Yankee Stadium was led by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 at the old Stadium.

“This is the 50th anniversary of the first-ever, papal visit to the United States,” Borough President Diaz said. “We are inviting Pope Francis to celebrate that historic event here, this fall,”

Read the complete press release.

Borough President Diaz Tours Mott Haven Community High School

On Monday, February 9, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. visited Mott Haven Community High School to discuss civic engagement and current affairs with students at the school.

Mott Haven Community High School, located at 455 Southern Boulevard in the Gompers Campus is in its third year of operations and offers a second chance for older students, providing advisors, mentors and individual attention to help ensure they graduate.

The students asked Bronx Borough President Diaz a variety of questions about local government as well as discussed the importance of being an active participant in not only the community but also the electoral process.

“Many teens and young adults feel that they are ignored or have no voice in what happens in their community. As someone who has been active in government from a very young age, I understand the importance of getting involved in the electoral process early in life. I wanted to let these students know that it is never too early to make a difference, whether it is joining one of the community boards or becoming a first time voter,” said Borough President Diaz.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Carl Heastie, Speaker of the New York State Assembly

In an undated photo, then Assembly Members Carl Heastie and Ruben Diaz Jr. discuss a piece of legislation in the Assembly chambers.

“I am incredibly proud that my good friend, Assembly Member Carl Heastie, has been elected to serve as the new Speaker of the New York State Assembly by his colleagues.

“Speaker Heastie’s credentials speak for themselves. He has done a great job representing his Bronx and New York City constituents since first being elected in 2000, and will continue to do so in his new role as Speaker.

“Carl Heastie’s ascension to the speakership is historic, for several reasons. Speaker Heastie is the first African-American to hold this position, as well as the first-ever Bronx resident. The impact of Speaker Heastie’s trailblazing path to the speakership cannot be understated. Here, during Black History Month, we have elevated an African-American man of tremendous ability and accomplishment to the pinnacle of New York State government.

“Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has always made the people of The Bronx proud, and I know he will continue to do so as our speaker. I look forward to continuing my work with Speaker Heastie in his new role, as we enact an agenda that makes our borough, our city and our state an even better place,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz.

BP Diaz Hosts African Advisory Council Meeting

On Thursday, February 5, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted the first meeting of his office’s African Advisory Council of 2015.

The agenda included a dialogue with African community groups and their respective leaders sharing their priorities for the upcoming year, while also discussing possible collaboration opportunities on a variety of issues.

“This council was created to serve the needs of the growing African community in The Bronx, and it plays a very important function in addressing the issues and concerns of this growing population,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “It makes me proud to know that this council is able to both handle business here at home in The Bronx while also helping to develop a larger agenda for the entire city.”

Also discussed were possible collaborations with borough education institutions, the annual African Nations Soccer Tournament during Bronx Week, and organizing platforms that provide access to resources and networking opportunities for the borough’s African community.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Mayor de Blasio’s ‘State of Our City’ Address

“We welcome Mayor de Blasio’s announcement of committing $200 million to the Lower Grand Concourse for the creation of 4,000 affordable housing units, site remediation, social programs and the redevelopment of our transit structure and infrastructure. My office, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, SoBRO and others have long advocated for the transformative redevelopment of the Lower Grand Concourse and our Harlem River waterfront, and we look forward to working with the de Blasio administration on this transformative proposal.

“I am also looking forward to working with the mayor to bring more affordable housing to The Bronx, including veterans’ and senior housing. My administration has helped to create nearly 16,000 new units of housing since 2009, and we know that increased affordable housing development can help narrow the gap of inequality. The administration’s commitment to examine the future of the Cromwell/Jerome corridor, to open this neighborhood up to greater housing development, is a welcome one.

“My office has long supported expanding ferry service to Soundview. We have to attract manufactures and new commerce to our borough while also easing commutes, and we believe that with the upgrading of our local infrastructure and the development of a ferry system that connects The Bronx with not just Manhattan but the other boroughs over our waterways as well, we can open up our borough to new economic development and recreation opportunities.

“In The Bronx, we are maximizing our assets, and improving the quality of life of our residents. We have created thousands of new jobs and helped improve existing businesses as well as created new ones. Our efforts are significant, but there is more to be done. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Mayor de Blasio and his administration as we develop an agenda that makes The Bronx and even better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Remarks of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Introducing President Reuven Rivlin of Israel
Bronx Museum of the Arts—January 28, 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for coming out here. This is truly a historic day. I don’t think you’ve ever seen the president of Israel visit the beautiful borough of The Bronx. And Mr. President, I felt so much joy and so much pride.

What you see here today, and I know this has been a huge undertaking, let me first begin by thanking the Secret Service of the United States as well as the security forces of Israel, the NYPD, and all of the different agencies that are here with us today.

What you see here, Mr. President, is an amazing group of folks, not just in The Bronx but throughout the city of New York. What you should understand that what we are trying to do and what we did last week – and I’ll speak about that in a few moments – is that what are trying to strengthen the relationship of The Bronx, the relationship with the Latino community with that of the leadership and the people of Israel.

Mr. President, here in this audience we have members of the legislature, which you met, from state senators to council members. We have men and women of the clergy, many of them evangelical. And I have to say, and I’ve said this to the president when he received us and the delegation I was with, that the Latino evangelical community is a staunch supporter of Israel and the state of Israel.

Read Borough President Diaz's complete remarks.

Borough President Diaz Hosts Superintendents Meeting

On Friday, January 30, 2015, Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his Education and Youth Services Department hosted a meet and greet with elected officials and public school superintendents from across the borough. Pictured are: Yolanda Torres (D7), Dr. Karen Ames (8), Leticia Rodriguez-Rosario (D9), Melodie Mashel (D10), Borough President Diaz, Maria Lopez (D11), Rafaela Espinal Pacheco (D12) and Senior Superintendent Laura Feijoo.

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and his Education and Youth Services Department hosted a meet and greet with elected officials and public school superintendents from across the borough.

Superintendents and their representatives from Districts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, attended the meeting, at which they discussed capital funding, programs, parental involvement and ways to collaborate and other issues.

Those in attendance included Laura Feijoo, Senior Superintendent, Office of School Support; Council Members Annabel Palma, Vanessa Gibson, Andy King, Andrew Cohen; State Senator Gustavo Rivera; and Assembly Members Michael Benedetto, Marcos Crespo, Victor Pichardo and Latoya Joyner.

“Having these conversations are important for everyone. It gives us an opportunity to hear about the roles of the superintendents and how we as elected officials can focus on individual district needs yet still collaborate boroughwide,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We will definitely continue this open discussion in the future and keep the dialogue going.”

BP Diaz & Israel's President Rivlin Host Event
Fostering Latino/Jewish Relations

On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a gathering of Latino and Jewish leaders from across the tri-state area with the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The event was designed to foster greater strength between the Latino and Jewish communities, both here and abroad. At the event, Borough President Diaz presented President Rivlin with the official “Bronx Afghan” and named him an honorary Bronxite.

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted a dialogue with the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin and the Consul General of Israel in New York, Ambassador Ido Aharoni, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. The event was designed to foster stronger ties between the Latino and Jewish communities, both in the United States and abroad.

The meeting comes on the heels of Borough President Diaz’s recent visit to Israel, hosted in conjunction with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, which saw the borough president lead a delegation of Latino business and civic leaders from across the tri-state area on meetings with Israeli political leaders and tours of religious, historic and tactical sites.

"I am honored to welcome Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, as well as Latino and Jewish leaders from all over the city and the tri-state area, to The Bronx to kick off this important conversation, which builds on my recent trip to Israel with a citywide delegation of Latino leaders. The Latino and Jewish communities of this city have demonstrated a deep commitment to one another for decades, and this event will help strengthen and expand on those connections," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"The Latinos in The Bronx are going to become the majority, not as Latinos but as Americans. And we would like that both friends, American and Israeli, be together because we symbolized the way of how to fulfill and act according to the rules of democrats,” said the President of the State of Israel, H.E. Mr. Reuven Rivlin, at the event.

Borough President Diaz and President Rivlin discussed the Jewish history of The Bronx, the roots of the state of Israel, Israel’s role in the fight against terrorism, ways the bond between Latino and Jewish communities can be built even stronger and the important of strengthening the ties between the Jewish and Hispanic community.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Leadership in the NYS Assembly

"As the members of the Democratic conference of the New York State Assembly consider the future of their leadership, one thing must be clear throughout the process: the next speaker of the Assembly must be elected from New York City.

“New York City has always been at the forefront of Democratic Party polices and principles, and the New York State Assembly has traditionally led the charge on issues this city holds dear, be it rent control and tenant protections, the minimum wage, public education and transportation funding, to name a few.

"Without an Assembly Speaker from the five boroughs, no leadership position in the legislature would be held by a legislator from New York City. Abandoning that tradition would be of grave concern to the 8.5 million residents of the city of New York," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz Visits Western Wall in Israel

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. prays at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem during his visit to Israel on January 22, 2015. The borough president led a delegation of Latino business and civic leaders from across the city on the week-long visit, which was hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Governor Cuomo’s ‘State of the State’ Address

“Gov. Cuomo continues to outline a strong agenda for the entire state, especially for The Bronx. Our governor continues to put forward policy proposals that have real impact on the lives of people in my borough.

“His continued support of our proposal to expand Metro North services to the East Bronx is incredibly welcome, and shows his commitment to creating new transit options and new opportunities for investment in our borough. While I appreciate the governor’s suggestion that one of these new stations bear my name, his considerable support of this proposal is all the recognition I need. I am grateful that Governor Cuomo has already outlined significant funding for this proposal in his budget, and I will continue to work with the governor, the MTA and the State Legislature to bring this transformative transit proposal to life.

“The governor’s expansion of employment programs in our borough, specifically for young adults of color, is also a major victory for The Bronx. In August, I joined Governor Cuomo, the State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation to launch the ‘Bronx Works’ strike force, which is putting unemployed Bronxites in direct contact with the employers who need them. New projects are taking root every day in The Bronx, and this $10 million proposal will ensure that more Bronx residents, especially young adults of color, will be prepared for the jobs we are creating.

“Governor Cuomo’s plan to raise the minimum wage statewide, and to increase the minimum wage to a higher rate in New York City, shows that the governor continues to understand the realities of living in the five boroughs. The cost of living is considerably higher in The Bronx than upstate, and this increase would allow more New Yorkers to make ends meet.

“Governor Cuomo understands what is important to this borough: economic development and job creation, making sure Bronxites are getting the jobs we create, and making sure those jobs pay a decent wage. I will continue to work with my good friend, our governor, and his administration to enact strong policy proposals and affect positive change for the people of The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Borough President Diaz in Israel

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stands with United Nations soldiers monitoring the border between Israel and Syria on Monday, January 19. Borough President Diaz visited the site following an Israeli strike against Hezbollah terrorists who were planning an attack on the Golan Heights. The borough president is leading a delegation of Latino business and civic leaders on the week-long visit, which is being hosted by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

“Why I am Visiting Israel”
by Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Borough President

The people of the United States have stood strong with the people of Israel from the day that country was founded in 1947. As the only democracy in the Middle East, and as our key ally in the fight against terrorism, Israel holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans. This is especially true in New York City, which has shared a unique and significant relationship with the Jewish people and the state of Israel for decades.

Tomorrow, I will travel to Israel with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, leading a delegation of our city’s growing Latino population. This group, which includes business, civic and non-profit leaders, will spend a week discovering what Israel has to offer, learning about why Israel’s continued strength is so important, and exploring the growing relationship between the people of the Promised Land and Latinos across the world.

This is of critical importance, given not only the continued vitality of the Jewish population at home, but the longstanding history of Jewish acceptance in countries like the Dominican Republic and growing Jewish population in places like Argentina, Brazil and Panama, as well. On this trip, I will lead a discussion about the future of Jewish/Latino relations, both here and abroad, and take the first steps toward cementing a lifetime bond between these two communities.

I have been to Israel before. I have seen, firsthand, the attacks the Israeli people face every single day. But the people of Israel persevere. Now, more than ever, their example deserves our praise and our support.

The horror of the attacks on the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket—and the subsequent exodus of Jews from Paris—show us just how critical our support of Israel is right now. As Martin Niemöller wrote, reflecting on the Nazi atrocities of World War II, “First they came for the Jews…”

Following these acts of terror, the Paris Grand Synagogue closed for the first time on Shabbos since World War II. The meaning behind such imagery cannot be understated. Israel is one of our strongest allies. Israelis and all Jews must know that our Latino community, and in fact the American people, are on their side during these troublesome times. As we saw world leaders standing arm-in-arm in solidarity following these attacks, we too stand arm-in-arm with Israel and the world’s Jewish population.

Does a borough president have an interest in promoting Israel?  Of course.  At one point more Jews lived in The Bronx than in Israel, and our Jewish community remains vibrant and strong. Across the entire city, Jews and Latinos are already working hand-in-hand on the issues that unite us, be it economic development, housing, education and more.

Israel has produced and continues to work on some of the most amazing technological and scientific advancements the world has ever seen.  Israel is a partner in our security, and what keeps their country secure helps keep our borough and our city secure. Israel is worthy of not only our respect, but our support.

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. next week, we must also remember his message that we are all God’s children, including the people of Israel. "Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity,” said Dr. King. “Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality."  

Both the nation of Israel and Jews everywhere around the world are under perpetual attack. Their peace today, as Dr. King so eloquently put it, requires our commitment to their continued security. I will work to join the Latino and Jewish communities together in new bonds of strength, and I will help create new friendships during difficult times.

Israelis do not let terrorism and hate keep them down. Neither do Americans, and neither do I.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Gov. Cuomo’s Property Tax Relief Plan

“The negative impact that high property taxes have on homeowners and renters in The Bronx cannot be overstated. It’s time that we see real property tax relief for the working and middle class families that need it most, and I am very encouraged by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax credit proposal. The Governor’s plan is based on a progressive income scale – so individuals who earn less and pay more will see the help they need – and I am pleased to see the Governor addressing this issue head-on,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: IDNYC Municipal ID Launch

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. signs up for his own “IDNYC” municipal identification card at the Bronx Library Center at its launch on Monday, January 12, 2015.

“The people of The Bronx can now represent their borough and their city with great pride by signing up for the new IDNYC municipal identification card, which launches today.

“The program, which will not only provide people with a legal identification recognized as a valid form of ID, but it will also help the 1.4 million residents of The Bronx gain access to city programs such as discounts on prescription drugs, libraries across three boroughs, movie tickets, fitness and health centers as well as free memberships to some of our borough’s amazing cultural institutions such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.

“I congratulate Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and the entire City Council on the implementation of this incredible, groundbreaking program, and encourage all New Yorkers to sign up, just like I did today. If you live in New York City, show that you’re a real New Yorker and sign up for IDNYC,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

For more information about IDNYC and how to sign up, visit: http://on.nyc.gov/1CTMkvz.

Health Department Launches New PrEP & PEP Campaign:
New Ways to Prevent HIV

New PrEP & PEP Detailing Kit to Reach 600 Practices Citywide

Health Department Issues Health Alert to Providers Showing Benefits and Guidelines of PEP

The Health Department today launched a new outreach campaign, PrEP & PEP: New Ways to Prevent HIV, at The Oval Center at Montefiore Medical Center to provide primary care and infectious disease practices with resources to support pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP). Each year, approximately 3,000 New Yorkers are newly diagnosed with HIV. PrEP and PEP are highly effective in preventing HIV when taken as directed. PrEP is a pill taken daily to prevent HIV infection when used in combination with other risk reduction strategies, while PEP is a combination of pills taken daily for 28 days to prevent HIV infection immediately after a high-risk exposure to HIV.

“I am delighted to see DOHMH showing great leadership in fighting HIV/AIDS in The Bronx,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “My office has been actively engaging community based and health organizations in our borough to promote HIV testing (including our new initiative, Bronx Realness After Dark - where we have been testing people where they are during the overnight hours). I convened an HIV Roundtable to advise me and my staff last year, and recently released a survey to query medical facilities and CBOs on their knowledge of, and ability to connect clients to, PEP and PrEP and will be sharing the results in late February. We will continue to partner with DOHMH and Bronx providers to combat HIV and reduce HIV transmissions.”

Read the complete press release.

Senator Jeff Klein, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Bronx Chamber of Commerce: Graduates of Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivors Program Start New Internships in The Bronx

New Year Means New Start & New Job for Six Local Domestic Violence Survivors

Graduates of the Bronx H.I.R.E. Domestic Violence Survivors program will start new internships at small businesses and city and state offices across the borough, State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and Bronx Chamber of Commerce executives announced today. The two-part initiative includes a six-week job training course followed by a six-week paid internship program geared toward increasing job readiness, preparing survivors for the workplace and putting women on a path to financial independence.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said: "Today, we welcome our first Bronx H.I.R.E. Survivor Program intern who will join my executive office to hone the administrative skills she was trained in.  My hope is that the real life, high intensity experience she will gain over the next six weeks will serve her well in her permanent job placement and future success.  Financial  independence is the surest way to keep survivors of domestic violence empowered and free from abusive, dependent relationships.”

Read the complete press release.

BP Diaz & CM Espinal Introduce Legislation on
'Nail & Beauty Salon' Grading System

Today, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Council Member Rafael Espinal, chair of the City Council’s Committee on Consumer Affairs, officially unveiled a legislative package relating to the creation of a letter grading system for cosmetology businesses, including nail salons, spas, barber shops, beauty parlors and other similar establishments throughout the five boroughs.

This legislative package, which was officially introduced in the City Council at Wednesday’s stated meeting, includes a resolution calling on the state to allow New York City to create a letter grading system for salons and spas, as well as a bill creating a “Customer’s Bill of Rights” for salon and spa patrons. A third item, a resolution, calls on the New York State Division of Licensing Services, which provides licensing for cosmetology professionals, to expand its health and safety training options.

“While most salon and spa owners operate clean, reputable establishments, some do not, and they are putting the health and safety of their customers at great risk. The procedures used in many salons can almost be medical in nature, yet oversight of these businesses is currently very minimal. We have to change that,” said Borough President Diaz. “The health and safety of the people of this city is our top priority, and these bills will go a long way towards protecting New Yorkers from unhealthy, potentially dangerous conditions. I look forward to working with all of you to make our city’s salons and spas safer for everyone.”

Read the complete press release.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: Police Shooting in the 46th Precinct

“Last night, two police officers were shot in the 46th Precinct. Reports indicate that their injuries are not life threatening, and for that we are incredibly grateful. My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families as they recover.

“The Bronx is not a safe haven for criminals, and we cannot and will not tolerate the criminal actions of thugs. To that end, I urge anyone who has information about this crime to call NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS and share what they know, to help take down those individuals who would commit such reprehensible acts.

“The men and women of the NYPD put their lives on the line each and every day to keep the people of The Bronx, and the entire city, safe. We respect their sacrifice, and we will continue to work with our police to make our borough an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

For more details about last night’s shooting, including a photo of one of the suspects and reward information, visit http://bit.ly/13W6TrL.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: 2014 Crime Statistics

“Mayor de Blasio’s announcement today—that New York City saw in 2014 the lowest number of homicides since modern policing began in 1993—shows us just how far The Bronx and the entire City have come in so short a time.

“This year, for the second straight year, the number of murders in The Bronx was lower than 100, a level of success in policing this borough had not seen since the early 1960’s. This would not be possible without a deeply committed, highly professional police force like the NYPD, working hand-in-hand with the citizens of our borough and our city. It is worth noting that this continued reduction in overall crime occurred alongside a dramatic decrease in the use of ‘stop & frisk,’ which proves that effective crime fighting and strong police work does not require questionable tactics.

“As the people of this city continue to examine the role of law enforcement within their communities, we must not forget the important role that the police department and its dedicated membership play in keeping our communities safe and secure. I will continue to work with our mayor, Commissioner Bratton and the New York Police Department to build on the continued efforts to make The Bronx an even safer place to live, work and raise a family,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Statement from Borough President Diaz
RE: The passing of Mario Cuomo

"Mario Cuomo was a great governor and a great man, and the people of our state owe him a debt of gratitude for his lifelong commitment to serve New York. My thoughts and prayers are with the governor and his entire family during their time of grief," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.