ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

May 28, 2011

2011.05.28: Remembering Bob Zuss on his 68th Birthday (Today)

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 7:14 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Saturday, May 28, 2011 5:14 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Remembering Bob Zuss on his 68th Birthday (Today)

For the final twenty years of his life, Robert Zuss (1943-2006) was a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in New York City.

Zuss helped forge leadership within the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) that promoted democratic decision-making; membership mobilization conducted jointly with support staff members of 1199SEIU; and racial, economic and social justice — at home and abroad.

May 27, 2011

2011.05.27: 5-7 p.m. Tonight: Protest v. Cop’s Rape Acquittal

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Police Abuse,Womens' Rights — nyclaw01 @ 10:17 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:17 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: 5-7 p.m. Tonight: Protest v. Cop’s Rape Acquittal


Time Friday, May 27 · 5:00pm – 7:00pm


Location 100 Centre St New York NY


Created By Permanent Wave, Heidi Vanderlee, Lori Adelman, Niina Pollari


More Info When: Friday May 27, 5-7pm

Where: In front of the Manhattan Criminal Court building at 100 Centre Street.

How: Public Transportation Directions:
…Take the No. 4 or 5 train to the Brooklyn Bridge Station; the C, N, R, 6 train to Canal Street; the 1 train to Franklin Street.
Take the 1, 6 or 15 bus line.


1. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly must institute sustained and comprehensive trainings for every incoming class of officers on rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and proper police conduct. A single training session, or a simplistic lecture not to rape, is NOT acceptable.

2. The NYPD must institute a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexualized behavior while on the job. While this case illustrates an extreme example of police officers using their power to abuse women, too many of us have witnessed officers behaving in sexually inappropriate ways while on the job. There is no excuse for that behavior, and the police force must take it seriously. We want an easily-accessible reporting mechanism for sexual assault and harassment at the hands of police officers, and a demonstrated commitment to punishing officers who exploit their position to harass and assault the people they are supposed to protect.

3. The NYPD must be accountable to the New Yorkers they serve in a transparent process for implementing the above two demands. They must keep community leaders, local politicians and New York City residents informed about the initiatives they institute, and how they are working to make sure that an incident similar to the one involving former officers Mata and Moreno does not happen again.

Even if you can’t make the protest please sign our petition and share far and wide:­tions/tell-the-nypd-train-­your-cops-about-sexual-ass­ault

Why: On Thursday May 26, New York police officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata were found not guilty of charges that Moreno raped a woman in her apartment while Mata kept guard, despite the fact that the amount of evidence against the officers in this case was overwhelming. Instead, the jury convicted both officers of official misconduct for entering the woman’s apartment, but found them not guilty of all other charges, including burglary and falsifying business records. This despite the fact that one of the officers had been recorded on tape admitting to using a condom when having sex with the woman who made the accusation. The cornerstone of the defense required that the woman was too drunk to have a credible account of the incident, but sober enough to consent to sex.

Join us in protest. Because raping a drunk women while on patrol is more than “official misconduct”. Because calling 911 should not be an invitation to be raped. Because NO behavior, including being drunk, is an invitation to be raped. Because rapists do not deserve the protection of our tax-funded police department and city officials. Because we recognize this incident as part of the NYPD’s long, horrific history of violence – sexual and otherwise – often and disproportionately against people of color. Because the people of NYC will not accept victim-blaming, cronyism, and a culture of silence that allows rapists to roam free, without consequence.

For more information:
Read more about the case here:­1/05/26/breaking-new-york-­police-officers-acquitted-­of-rape/
and here:­1/05/27/nyregion/two-new-y­ork-city-police-officers-a­cquitted-of-rape.html?_r=1

Direct questions about the protest to, or

May 26, 2011

2011.05.26: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 3:13 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events

Thurs., May 26, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.:
Tell the LGBT Center it can’t censor queer political organizing
This is the convergence of two serious issues: first is queer institutions getting increasingly conservative and slamming the doors on radical or progressive queers. Second is fear-mongering about Arabs and Muslims — whether general demonization or specific claims of Arab/Muslim homophobia — that allows the stewards of our public spaces to say that discussion of the rights and demands of Palestinians, including Palestinian queers, is somehow “too scary.”
LGBT Center, 208 W. 13 St., Manhattan

Fri., May 27, 3 p.m.
Solidarity with the People of Yemen
Please join the Yemeni American Coalition for Change and Freedom Supporters as we stand in solidarity with millions of Yemeni People in their struggle for democracy and human rights as they demand the immediate DEPARTURE of the repressive Saleh regime.
United Nations, 47 St. and 1 Ave., Manhattan!/event.php?eid=222945901064579

Fri., May 27, 4-6 p.m.
The Egyptian Revolution Belongs to the Whole World
Support our sisters and brothers in Egypt as they are taking it to Tahrir square again on 5/27 to force the army generals to give up their support of the fallen Mubarak regime.
Egyptian Mission to the UN, 44 St. and 2 Ave., Manhattan
Sat., May 28, 12-3 p.m.

Free Oscar Lopez Rivera Community March in the South Bronx
The ProLibertad Freedom Campaign and The National Boricua Human Rights Network are organizing a community march in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the arrest of Oscar Lopez Rivera; one of the longest held Puerto Rican Political Prisoners.
La Casita de Chema, 499 E. 157 St. (2/5 to 149 St. and 3 Ave.), Bronx

Sun., May 29, 8-11 p.m.
Palestine: Commemorating 63 years of al-Nakba** with Haneen Zoabi
Haneen Zoabi is Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset. She was aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla when it was attacked by Israeli commandos in international waters; nine activists were killed and dozens injured.
Widdi Catering Hall, 5602 6 Ave., Brooklyn

Mon., May 30, 7 p.m.
“Hip Hop is Bigger Than the Occupation”: Screening
New film about a ten day journey of artists traveling through Palestine. Includes M1 of Dead Prez, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of Soul Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, Lowkey, Jody McIntyre and Trinidad, Brandon and Lavie from the South West Youth Collaborative/University of Hip Hop Chicago.
Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St., Dumbo, Brooklyn

Tues., May 31, 7 p.m.
Art Opening: Mavi Marmara Memorial Exhibit (open through June 3rd)
Join us in commemorating nine peace activists (Turkish citizens, including Furkan Dogan, also an American citizen) who were killed by Israeli soldiers when they sailed on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, 2010. The Mavi Marmara Memorial will mark the one-year anniversary of the attack on the flotilla.
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver St., 4 Floor, Manhattan

Fri., June 3, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Rally to Defend CUNY Funding & Hearing of the Higher Education Committee
Please come out and join us on the steps of City Hall, as we speak out in support of public higher education, and afterwards at 250 Broadway, where we will examine the impact these cuts will have on CUNY students and staff.
Steps of City Hall, 250 Broadway and Murray, Manhattan


**About the Nakba

Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, or, democratic Israel at work
While we are still desperately concealing, denying and repressing our major ethnic cleansing of 1948 – over 600,000 refugees, some who fled for fear of the Israel Defense Forces and its predecessors, some who were expelled by force – it turns out that 1948 never ended, that its spirit is still with us.

Palestinian Nakba: Forever a memory
Referring to these refugees, Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion famously said that “the old will die and the young will forget”. In fact, rather than “forgetting”, the Nakba has become one of the central foundations for activism by Palestinians – and their supporters – around the world.

Map: Palestinian Loss of Land 1946-2000

The shrinking map of Palestine

Interactive map of Palestine villages destroyed in Nakba
Interactive map that allows you to see information about any of the more than 400 Palestinian cities, towns and villages depopulated and destroyed during the Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionist and later Israeli forces from late 1947 into 1948.

Nakba day: we waited 63 years for this
Like the rest of the Arab people who have taken their fate into their own hands — and in doing so provided lessons and models in the meaning of democracy and citizenship to the rest of the world for years to come — the Palestinians have demonstrated, quite perfectly and with great courage, what it is to be fully human, and how to hold on to one’s humanity in spite of more than six decades of violent oppression.

Obama’s speech to AIPAC affirms commitment to Israel and US policies that doom it
Palestinians “west of the Jordan River” are not interlopers or intruders. They are indigenous people of the country. Instead of searching for ways for Israel to escape them by gerrymandering a bantustan, Obama should be calling for full and equal rights, nothing less.

2011.05.26: Activists Get $50, 000 for FBI & St. Paul Police Raid Prior to 2008 Republican Convention

From: Morris, Susan
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 2:01 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: Activists Get $50, 000 for FBI & St. Paul Police Raid Prior to 2008 Republican Convention

For Immediate Release:
May 26, 2011
Contact: Plaintiff Kris Hermes 510-681-6361

Activists Get $50,000 for FBI & St. Paul Police Raid Prior to 2008 Republican Convention
Preemptive, politically motivated raids are emblematic of police tactics used to suppress dissent

St. Paul, MN — Three activists and their attorneys won a $50,000 settlement today in a lawsuit that challenged an August 30, 2008 police raid on a St. Paul home in advance of that year’s Republican National Convention (RNC). The plaintiffs in the case — Sarah Coffey, Erin Stalnaker and Kris Hermes — are giving most of the award to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and the formation of a national legal defense fund for political activists. The St. Paul house raid was one of several police actions taken against protesters days before the RNC began, including the search and seizure of a central political meeting space, which is also the subject of pending litigation.

“The City of St. Paul and the federal government were forced to pay for their politically-motivated attack on organizers,” said Sarah Coffey, one of the plaintiffs. “Rather than spend years in court fighting the government over its political surveillance program, we decided to use settlement money to invest in projects that oppose such repressive tactics.” The lawsuit, which was filed in August 2009 and accused the St. Paul Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of violating plaintiffs’ First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights, is so far the largest settlement of its kind stemming from the convention protests. “We hope this sends a message to law enforcement officials who would enter homes illegally or suppress political dissent,” said Coffey, “there is a cost to their actions.”

The raid garnered significant media attention at the time due to an hours-long standoff between 10 activists and residents and a heavily armed police force that had surrounded the duplex. Because the police attempted to raid the home without a search warrant, those inside refused them entry. After allegedly getting verbal authority from a local judge, the police used force to enter 949 Iglehart Avenue and detained everyone inside. The owner, several tenants and activists, including members of the I-Witness Video collective were detained for hours. No illegal items were found, no one was arrested and nothing was visibly seized, although computers and camera equipment were searched.

The search warrant affidavit, which was under seal until a month after the raid in a likely attempt to avoid media scrutiny, relied solely on a confidential informant who made the claim that weapons were being shipped to 951 Iglehart using the U.S. Postal Service. In a sensationalist move, the police also tried to tie property owner Michael Whalen to a defunct 1970s political group, the Symbionese Liberation Army, in order to bolster the warrant’s outrageous claim of arms shipments. However, once inside 951 Iglehart, police discovered that the boxes contained only vegan literature. Unsatisfied, police broke through a locked attic door to enter the neighboring but separate 949 Iglehart, which plaintiffs claimed was the operation’s true objective.

St. Paul Police Officer David Langfellow was in charge of the operation as a cross-deputized FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) agent. Langfellow testified during a deposition that although the FBI had been surveilling the duplex for more than a week before the convention, the investigation was not targeting Whalen, the main subject of the search warrant affidavit. Langfellow either was not told or refused to reveal details about the underlying investigation, which plaintiffs speculate had nothing to do with the shipment of boxes.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys also contributed a portion of the award to the Impact Fund, which provides money to small law firms and nonprofits for lawsuits involving issues of civil rights, environmental justice, and poverty.

Further information:
Settlement agreement:
Lawsuit complaint:
Deposition of JTTF agent Langfellow:
Search warrant affidavit:
AP photo of raid (Matt Rourke):

2011.05.26: What Bob Zuss Would Say

Filed under: Zuss — nyclaw01 @ 12:52 pm

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 12:52 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: What Bob Zuss Would Say

Miles Davis birthday broadcast streaming

May 24, 2011

2012.05.24: RE: Anyone know [Anti-Defamation League]

Filed under: Racism — nyclaw01 @ 10:02 am

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:02 AM
Subject: RE: Anyone know

The Anti-Defamation League, as well, is against affirmative action.


From:  C.

Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 4:11 PM


Subject: RE: Anyone know

Doesn’t Anti-Defamation League still do this?


From:  H.

Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 3:45 PM


Subject: RE: Anyone know

I don’t know who we pair up with, but it’s hopefully not the American Civil Rights Institute (, which is a right-wing group that’s working to dismantle affirmative action. One of its leading figures is Ward Connerly, who’s been instrumental in fighting against affirmative action in California.

H., Esq.


From: R.

Sent: Monday, May 23, 2011 3:40 PM


Subject: Anyone know

the name of the organization that Legal Aid pairs up with (if they still do) that does those “race relations”/cultural sensitivity trainings for junior high and high school students -is it the Civil Rights Institute?

May 18, 2011

2011.05.18: RE: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events/ Nakba?

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 3:33 PM
Subject: RE: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events/ Nakba?

Encouraging a constructive *tone* of discussion is helpful.

But telling people (on a union email list in which virtually *every* other topic is freely discussed) to “take this argument to private e-mail NOW” — rather defending their contractual free speech rights — only serves (in Bahar’s words) to effectively “silence the Palestinian perspective and erase the Palestinian voice.” As shown by recent events at CUNY, those days are over.


From:  M.

Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 2:53 PM


Subject: RE: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events/ Nakba?

This discussion seems to be settling into the traditional LAS Israel/Palestinian rant.  It seems milder than usual so far, but sooner or later someone is going to complain about a hostile work environment and management will come down on us again.  Could the usual suspects please take this argument to private e-mail NOW, before we get in trouble?

2011.05.18: RE: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1:37 PM
To: [M.]
Subject: RE: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events


Thanks for your message. But as a Jewish American — whose government gives Israel $3 billion a year to bomb, shoot and otherwise inflict “hate” on Palestinians — I cannot remain silent.

The underlying principle was eloquently stated by Martin Luther King Jr. in voicing his opposition to the Vietnam War.* (And isn’t it to stand up for the dispossessed that we work at Legal Aid in the first place?)

Fortunately, such free speech is contractually guaranteed to all union members at the Society. To avoid unwanted messages, you can set up an individual filter in Outlook, or ask ALAA to remove you from the union e-mail list.



May 17, 2011

2011.05.17: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events

From:  Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 3:26 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Upcoming Events

Tues., May 17, 8 p.m.
From Cairo to Madison: The Arab Revolution & a World in Motion
Renowned author Tariq Ali discusses the global implications of the revolts shaking North Africa and the Middle East and assesses their implications for movements around the world for those seeking to challenge neoliberalism and empire.
Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St., Dumbo, Brooklyn

Weds., May 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Protest Islamophobia at Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Kotbi, a waiter at New York’s Waldorf Astoria was forced by hotel management to change his name multiple times to keep him from scaring guests. Earlier this month, Kotbi filed a lawsuit against the Waldorf-Astoria charging that hotel management created a “hostile work environment.” A lot of people out there are dealing with the same issues and they need to know that we stand with them.
Waldorf Astoria Hotel, 300 Park Ave., Manhattan

Weds., May 18, 7 p.m.
Seeds of Nakba: The Continued Plight of Palestinian Refugees
On May 15, Israel shot and killed at least 21 unarmed Palestinian refugees seeking to return to their homes after 63 years in exile. Thus, while commonly referred to as the year in which Palestinians were exiled and dispossessed of their land, the Nakba is an ongoing and continuous phenomenon that both pre-dates 1948 and continues today.
Alwan for the Arts, 16 Beaver Street, #501, Manhattan

Sat., May 21, 12:30-4 p.m.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Author Michelle Alexander. Support work to end mass incarceration and the emergence of the New Jim Crow. Become part of a movement, and refuse to be silent and inactive.
Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive (120th St. and Claremont Ave), Manhattan

Sat, May 21, 7 p.m.
Confronting Police and FBI Repression of Communities of Color & Oppressed Nationalities
Hatem Abudayyeh (Palestinian human rights activist), Speaker from Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), Attorney Shayana Kadidal (Center for Constitutional Rights).
56 Walker St., Lower Manhattan

Weds., May 25, 6:30-10 p.m.
Sunset Cruise in NY Harbor for U.S. Boat to Gaza
Fundraiser for THE AUDACITY OF HOPE, part of the FREEDOM FLOTILLA II to help end the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.
Marco Polo Marina, 23rd St., & FDR Drive, Manhattan

Mon., May 30, 7 p.m.
“Hip Hop is Bigger Than the Occupation”: Screening
New film about a ten day journey of artists traveling through Palestine. Includes M1 of Dead Prez, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of Soul Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, Lowkey, Jody McIntyre and Trinidad, Brandon and Lavie from the South West Youth Collaborative/University of Hip Hop Chicago.
Galapagos Art Space, 16 Main St., Dumbo, Brooklyn

May 10, 2011

2011.05.10: Results of today’s hearing on Sheepshead Bay Mosque

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Civil Rights,Islamophobia,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 11:53 am

From: Letwin, Michael
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 11:53 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Results of today’s hearing on Sheepshead Bay Mosque

Dear friends,

Peace and Greeting:

After a short and incredible argument by Lamis Deek, attorney for Sheepshead Bay Muslim community, the result we were all looking for was given swiftly by the judge! The Bay People case dismissed! Their argument did not have a leg to stand on. I will send a longer email detailing the argument later today.

In the meantime, congratulations to the Sheepshead Bay Muslim community and all who believe in the right to worship anywhere in America.

Lastly, thank you to all of MCN’s friends, allies, and supporters for coming out today to stand with the Muslim community in their quest for religious freedom.


Debbie Almontaser
Board Chair
Muslim Consultative Network


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