Press Conference Saturday – NOW NYS will speak out against Hiram Monserrate

January 29, 2009 by

Earlier this month, I reported on Hiram Monserrate’s being sworn in to NY State Senate despite a felony assault charge for cutting his girlfriend’s face with broken glass. We have received notice of NOW’s plans to hold a press conference to address this grave matter. We encourage any TNA members who are in the area to attend the press conference on Saturday on behalf of The New Agenda. If you are able to do that, please advise us.

Dear Supporter of Women’s Rights:

On Saturday, January 31 at 1:00 PM, the National Organization for Women-NYS will hold a press conference at 155 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY. The subject will be Violence Against Women as it relates to newly-elected State Senator Hiram Monserrate.

Something disturbing has happened in the New York Legislature. As many of you know, Senator Hiram Monserrate was arrested for allegedly beating his girlfriend. The victim reportedly received twenty stitches and said at the hospital that Monserrate had abused her. As many such victims do, in fear of retribution, she later retracted her accusation. In addition, there are reports of a video showing the victim at the scene of the crime, banging on doors and begging neighbors for help. Sadly, no one helped.

NOW, in spite of pending charges, NY State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith has appointed Monserrate Chair of the Consumer Protection Committee. Although there is probably no legal bar to Monserrate’s being seated in the NY Senate, his elevation to a leadership position is a slap in the face for every woman in New York State.

Certainly Monserrate should not be in a leadership position until this issue is investigated and resolved. And Senator Smith’s inability to recognize this fact is profoundly insensitive. It proves that our Senate leadership is either uneducated on domestic violence or worse doesn’t care.

So we hope you will join us to speak out against these recent events. I was contacted by Senator Malcolm Smith just after the report reached the newspapers. He assured me that the Democratic leadership would be investigating this situation, but that he believed a person was “innocent until proven guilty.” This is, of course, true, but there is no reason to gratuitously elevate to leadership someone against whom such charges are unresolved.

The goal of our press conference will be to call upon all NYS Legislators to stand with us in opposition to Violence Against Women. We will also call for Monserrate to be removed from his leadership position. We will use as an example that it is inexplicable that our former Governor Spitzer was forced to resign for having sex with a prostitute while Senator Monserrate is allowed to continue in a leadership position. Does this mean that it is more OK to beat your girlfriend than to have sex with a prostitute?

It is time for every single NYS Legislator, including Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senator Malcolm Smith, and Governor Paterson, to stand up and say NO to Violence Against Women. Democrats hold a majority in our State government and they must use the power of their pens to stop violence against all women, both through strengthened legislation against these crimes, and through passage of laws that will punish perpetrators for all sorts of Violence Against Women and girls. Even the term “domestic violence” implies that a lovers’s spat has gone bad, and does not convey the true meaning of these crimes. Domestic violence is a hate crime, and we should tell the truth about these injurious actions women.

So stand up for the women of NYS to say STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN!  Please feel free to invite friends who support this action; and let me know if you’ll be attending and making a statement to END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

Marcia A. Pappas, President
National Organization for Women-NYS
1500 Central Avenue
Albany, NY  12205
Phone: 518-452-3944
Fax: 518-452-3861
cell: 518-469-2661
Presidents Email: NewYorkStateNOW@aol.com
General Email: Info@nownys.org
www.nownys.org

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