NEW YORK (April 27th, 2017) - In response to the news of the Friday visit of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Central Islip, local residents and communities issued the following statement of unity:
“This is a dark and difficult moment for our community. We are appalled by the violence that has taken these young lives, and we are coming together as Long Islanders to address these tragedies. We are working closely with our neighbors and local officials to respond to the violence and make sure that nothing like this happens again.
“What we need in this moment is for local leaders and law enforcement to invest in building stronger ties with immigrant communities who are vulnerable to this violence, and to resist the rhetoric of criminalization coming down from Washington. We also need to address the root causes of violence by ensuring all young people are able to thrive in safe and supportive communities, which requires resources for job and internship programs, robust community based and after-school programs that allow them to explore their interests, welcoming and safe schools and parks and green spaces.”
“What we do not need is a divisive figure like Jeff Sessions coming up from Washington to try to turn our tragedy into one of his polarizing political talking points. Suffolk County residents have lived through what happens when divisive politicians try to scapegoat immigrants and turn us against each other. We have the scars to prove it, and we refuse to return to that chapter of our history.
“We reject Mr. Sessions’ visit, because it’s clear from his anti-immigrant track record that he is coming to paint immigrants as criminals, not to help our community solve our problems. While we are working to bring our community together and build the trust we need to make our community safe, Mr. Sessions is coming to score political points and turn us against each other. We refuse to be divided. We will stand together in the face of this tragedy, and we will work to heal and build together towards a brighter, safer future for our families.”
The letter was signed by Islip residents and representatives of the following community organizations:
- Centro Corazon de Maria-Hampton Bays
- Common Cause-NY
- Empire Justice Center
- Long Island Civic Engagement Table
- Long Island Progressive Coalition
- Long Island Wins
- Make the Road New York
- Neighbors in Support of Immigrants
- New York Communities for Change
- New York Immigration Coalition
- Planned Parenthood-Nassau County
- Sisters of St. Joseph-Brentwood
- SEPA Mujer
- STRONG Youth, Inc.
- 32 BJ SEIU
- Working Families Party
- New York Congressional District 2 Democrats
- Action Together LI (ATLI)