Hakeem Jeffries

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Hakeem Jeffries


Hakeem Jeffries, entered Congress with the 2012 elections, as an (New York Democrat, District 8).

Background

Prior to his election to the Congress, Hakeem Jeffries served for six years in the New York State Assembly. In that capacity, he authored laws that included protecting the civil liberties of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters, encouraging the transformation of vacant luxury condominiums into affordable homes for working families, and improving the quality of justice in the civil court system.

In 2010, successfully sponsored legislation that prohibits the New York Police Department from maintaining an electronic database with the personal information of individuals who are stopped, questioned and frisked during a police encounter, but not charged with a crime or violation. This law is widely regarded as the only meaningful legislative reform of the police department's aggressive and controversial stop and frisk program.

That same year, Jeffries sponsored and championed groundbreaking civil rights legislation to end prison-based gerrymandering in New York State, a practice that undermined the democratic principle of one person, one vote. With its passage, New York became only the second state in the country to count incarcerated individuals in their home communities for purposes of legislative redistricting, rather than in the counties where they are temporarily incarcerated.

Jeffries obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he graduated with honors for outstanding academic achievement. He then received his master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Thereafter, he attended New York University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and served on the Law Review.

Following the completion of law school, Jeffries clerked for the Honorable Harold Baer, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he practiced law for several years at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, an internationally renowned law firm, and then served as counsel in the litigation department of two Fortune 100 companies, Viacom Inc. and CBS. He also worked as of counsel at Godosky and Gentile, a well-regarded litigation firm in New York City.

Hakeem Jeffries was born in Brooklyn Hospital.

He is nephew of CUNY professor Leonard Jeffries.[1]

Prison gerrymandering bill

The Rev. Al Sharpton, Senator Eric Schneiderman and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries joined forces with a statewide coalition Jan, 28, 2010, to announce a new organizing campaign plan to end prison-based gerrymandering in New York State before the 2010 Census.

The coalition’s goal was to organize across the state to pass Senator Schneiderman’s bill that would require New York State to count incarcerated persons in their home communities--rather than in the districts where they are incarcerated--for purposes of drawing legislative district lines. If passed, it would be the first law in the nation to count prisoners in their home communities for districting purposes.

“It’s an absolute injustice that New York currently counts people in the districts where they are incarcerated, rather than in their home communities. I am proud to be here to join forces with Sen. Schneiderman, Assm. Jeffries and this coalition to end this unconstitutional practice. If we do not act soon, it will be 10 long years for another opportunity to right this wrong. We cannot afford to wait,” said Rev. Al Sharpton.

“Equal representation under the law benefits everyone,” said Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, the lead sponsor of the bill to end prison-based gerrymandering. “The practice of counting people where they are incarcerated undermines the fundamental principle of 'one person, one vote' - it's undemocratic and reflects a broken system. This legislation is as simple as it is fair: it requires that legislative districts at every level of government contain an equal numbers of residents. The time to act is now.”

Assemblyman Jeffries was the bill's lead sponsor in the Assembly.[2]

WFP endorsement

With the help of several local unions, the Working Families Party of New York backed a candidate to challenge longtime Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-10th), whose district is in Brooklyn. Towns announced he would not seek a 16th term. He didn't say why, and one of his campaign strategists claimed "he would have won," but some political observers believe the congressman bowed out because he knew he couldn't beat two challengers.

“This is a guy who historically has always been pretty unresponsive to labor and his own constituents. He has a long record of being in bed with the tobacco companies," says WFP Co-Chair Bob Master, who is also political director of CWA District 1, which includes New York. "In recent years he hasn’t met a trade agreement he doesn’t like or support.”

WFP of New York, founded in 1998 with the support of some unions, endorsed New York State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries earlier in 2012. “Hakeem Jefferies is...a real champion on workers issues,” says Master. “The right wing is never afraid to take on Republicans that they are thinking are insufficiently devoted to the ultra-right wing agenda. Too often like we are willing to tolerate people that are barely with us...just because they have a big letter D at the end of their name.”[3]

The Working Families Party backed Jeffries in 2014.[4]

Brooklyn power players

Letitia James, the newly elected public advocate and the first black woman elected to a citywide office; Ken Thompson, who’ll be Brooklyn’s first black district attorney, and Eric Adams, who’ll be Brooklyn’s first black borough president, all hail from central Brooklyn.

By 2013, power players in Brooklyn’s black political establishment include Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Assemblyman Karim Camara, chairman of the powerful Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, and City Councilman Jumaane D. Williams of Flatbush, who recently threw his hat in the ring for Council speaker.

All are Democrats and all are relative newcomers, elected for the first time between 2003 and 2006.

However this group doesn’t want to be viewed as a bloc. In fact, some of them don’t even like each other.

“I think it’s coincidental that Ken Thompson happens to be my neighbor,” Letitia James said. “I think it’s coincidental that Eric Adams happens to live in my district, as well as Hakeem Jeffries.”

Instead, James said she wanted to align herself with a different group. “I owe my victory to women,” she said.

The politicians are united more by ideology than racial identity, said Adams spokesman Evan Thies. “Even more so than race, each of those candidates represent progressive values that have become mainstream in Brooklyn,” he said.

The rising Brooklyn stars have sided against each other more often than they have leaned on each other for support. Neither James nor Adams supported Thompson’s bid for DA. Instead, they endorsed his rival, longtime incumbent Charles Hynes.

James also worked for Jeffries’ rival, Roger Green, in Assembly races in 2000 and 2002. Both times, Jeffries lost.

Jeffries and Thompson, who are close friends, appear to be the only true allies in the group.

“I’m proud to have worked closely with Councilwoman James throughout the years and supported her campaign for public advocate, as well as supported the campaign of Ken Thompson,” Jeffries said.

“We’ve acquired significant political power in Brooklyn,” said Jeffries. “We can build upon the house that Harlem created in terms of black political empowerment and take it to the next level.”[5]

Swearing in ceremony

At the local swearing-in ceremony for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries January 2013, , Sen. Chuck Schumer was effusive in his praise of Jeffries.

Schumer spent more than ten minutes singing his praises, saying Jeffries "has amazing talents," and could "have made a whole ton of money and moved out to the suburbs and forgotten Brooklyn, but that is not in his bones.

Assemblyman Karim Camara, the master of ceremonies, had a hard time keeping up with all the elected officials who had come to recognize the rising star.

Rep. Jerry Nadler celebrated the fact that Jeffries would be joining him on the Judiciary Committee.

Public advocate Bill DeBlasio was in attendance, just a few hours after announcing his mayoral campaign, and, midway through the proceedings, Camara announced the arrival of Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Rev. Al Sharpton was listed as a scheduled speaker but got stuck in traffic and arrived shorlty after the event was over; his substitute in the program was state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

There were two borough presidents, Brooklyn's Marty Markowitz and the Bronx's Ruben Diaz; one Independent Democrat, State Senator Malcolm Smith; and at least four Council members, Letitia James, Brad Lander, Jumaane D. Williams and Steve Levin.[6]

MUNA Civic Engagement Banquet 2013

Hakeem Jeffries, left

The importance of the community involvement was mentioned by American Congressmen, State Senators and City Councils at the Civic Engagement Banquet Program arranged by MUNA ( Muslim Ummah of North America) held on Friday night, October 27th The purpose of this event was to strengthen the relationship between Muslim community and the American Politicians by increasing the representatives among the policy level of this country.

This event was led by the community leader Dr. Sayeed Chowdhury which was a successful event with many speakers deliberate their valuable speech. The Speakers were Congressmen Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries, New York State Senator Jose Peralta, James Senders, Jr., Nominated President for Queens Borough Melinda Kurtz, Brooklyn Borough Attorney Charles Heinz and Councilman Robert Jackson, CAIR NY president Ryan Mahni, Nominated Comptroller of NY City Hisham Al Melighy , Letitia James.

The overall situation of American Muslim Community was presented by Naji Al Montasser, President of New York Muslim Voter and Information Club, Abu Ahmed Nuruzzaman, President of MUNA, Debbie Al Montasser, leader of Muslim Consultative Net World, Mohammed Rijvi from Council of People Organization, Imam Hammaued Al Selwi from Muslim American Society, Naeem Beg, President of Islamic Circle of North America, Imam Shamsi Ali, Imam Abu Taleb, from Jamaica Muslim Center, student Samihah Islam, Community Activist Umayer Khan, M. Bari Khan, Jahangir Kabir, CPA Ainul Hoq, Delwar Hossain.[7]

Congress

On November 6, 2012, Hakeem Jeffries overwhelmingly won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the newly redrawn Eighth Congressional District of New York. He succeeds a thirty-year incumbent in a district largely anchored in Brooklyn and parts of Southwest Queens.

Hakeem has recently been appointed to the Budget and Judiciary Committees. In the 113th Congress, he looks forward to promoting economic growth, reforming the criminal justice system, preventing gun violence and assisting neighborhoods in the district that were devastated by Superstorm Sandy.[8]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In January 2013, Hakeem Jeffries was listed as a new member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[9]

Congressional Black Caucus

Hakeem Jeffries is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[10]

Immigration activism

Hj-reform520x300.jpg

In early 2013, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., addressed a rally sponsored by the New York City Immigration Coalition.

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and several Senators. Yvonne Hilton was assigned as contact for Rep. Jeffries.[11]

"Hands up"

Four Democrats took to the House floor December 23, 2014, to display the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that has come to be symbolic of the Ferguson protests.

Expressing solidarity Monday night with Michael Brown, the young man shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., were Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Al Green and Sheila Jackson-Lee.

Jeffries, called the gesture and chant “a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence.”[12]

Left pressure on Iran nuclear deal

In a rebuff to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, four key Brooklyn congresspeople, three of them African American and one Latina, representing large concentrations of Jewish voters, came out in support of the Iran deal. Early defense of President Obama's diplomacy by the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus played a role., as well as the work of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office. But energetic organizing by grassroots peace organizations in Brooklyn also played an important part.

A national day of action on August 26, initiated by MoveOn, focused on meetings with congresspeople who were still on the fence. The grassroots group Brooklyn For Peace played a particularly important role in mobilizing on short notice over 200 constituents to meet with undecided Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, and Nydia Velasquez.

At coordinated pro-deal rallies outside the congressional offices, demonstrators carried "Defend Diplomacy" placards, chanting "Hey, Yvette, Support the Deal, That Is What The People Feel!" As if to illustrate this, BFP organizer Matt Weinstein later handed Rep. Clarke 1,629 petition signatures gathered from her constituents in the 9th Congressional District.

As pedestrians passed by on Linden Boulevard, street speeches for "Jobs, Not War" rang out, loud and clear. "Honk for peace" signs inspired many honks by passing motorists, both black and white.

These signatures had been gathered at street tables, town meetings, house meetings and farmers markets in central Brooklyn throughout the hot days of August. Petitioners wore MoveOn T-shirts that read "60 Days To Stop A War," and leaflets were distributed warning of the harmful consequences if there was a "no" vote.

A protest demonstration at Chuck Schumer's office on Aug. 10 featured several hundred members of MoveOn, Jewish Voice for Peace, Peace Action and Brooklyn for Peace, among others, in a show of unity. The media coverage this received was a much needed counterpoint to AIPAC'S big money blitz.

Before this, the prevailing wisdom among elected officials in Brooklyn, even among the most liberal, is that you challenge the power of the AIPAC Israel lobby only at the risk of your own re-election.[13]

CBC/Black Lives matter

September 2015, D.C.'s Convention Center was the site for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 45th Annual Legislative Conference where the development of the #BlackLivesMatter movement was given intense attention from many different perspectives. More than 70 education, health, civic engagement and economic empowerment sessions under the theme, "With Liberty and Justice for All?" filled September 16-20 during the day as concerts, receptions and networking gatherings filled the evenings.

Thursday's first event was the National Town Hall: "Black Lives Matter-Ending Racial Profiling, Police Brutality and Mass Incarceration." Roland Martin, Managing Editor of TVOne NewsOne Now moderated a panel which included Congressional Representatives Elijah Cummings, Sheila Jackson Lee, Hakeem Jeffries, and G.K. Butterfield. Others on the panel included Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Network (#BLM); Alphonso Mayfield, president of the SEIU Florida Public Service Union; and Val Demings, former police chief of Orlando, Fla., the first woman to hold the position.

Roland Martin reminded the audience that while 24 criminal justice reform bills have been passed since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., no action has yet been taken by the prosecutor in Cleveland one year after Tamir Rice was gunned down. Ms. Garza underscored that the criminal justice system as currently instituted "is not broken; it is designed to work just as it does work." And Rep. Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn, N.Y. declared, "Black men are viewed as economic commodities. Democrats and Republicans built a prison industrial complex and then filled it through mass incarceration."

The People's World was represented at the conference by participants from DC, Daytona Beach, St. Louis and Baltimore.

We learned that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has met with #BLM about strengthening accountability mechanisms within police departments, but that the DOJ has put on record that their mandates at a local level are "too high."

Elijah Cummings praised Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore's elected prosecutor for her bravery in pursuing legal remedies in the Freddie Gray police murder trials. "We want to be sure that the wheels of justice turn and are not stopped," he said.

Moderator Roland Martin encouraged voting as the answer to racism in the criminal 'injustice' system, since so many District Attorneys are elected. "Having a Black DA matters, but that doesn't happen if Black folks don't vote." Martin said that as a result of a new DA in one district, there have been more innocent African Americans freed in one year than in the 20 previous years.

Alicia Garza said that it is a requirement for activists to fight for "the right of Black people to live in our full dignity and our full humanity," at every level, including in federal, state and local government. In terms of police departments, she said that Black and progressive police are fighting police injustice from within, attempting to change a culture of racism and 'police loyalty' and replace it with police integrity.

What was clear from the panel discussion was that the Congressional Black Caucus strongly supports the Black Lives Matter Network in the work it is doing. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee stated, "I'm proud that we the CBC have had the wisdom to follow Black Lives Matter. It engenders a diverse, generational movement. As we do the policy, I believe Black Lives Matter can be the catalyst-like the movement that brought about voting and civil rights legislation in the '60s."

During Q & A, the first question to the panel at the Town Hall was that Black on Black violence had not been addressed. Garza's answer was that people will reach for power, whether it be against their neighbor or against the real forces keeping them down. Other panelists answered that white on white crime is also greater than interracial violent crimes.

Collective bargaining, stated one member of the audience, can act as a bar to getting police accountability. Mayfield of the SEIU offered that contract negotiations are with City governments and thus can be influenced by citizens. He countered other panelists, declaring that police can be suspended without pay for misconduct under some contracts.

Other questions resulted in the panel talking about widening the struggle to include the right to a good education and creating the labor force to fill the 1.4 new technical jobs that will be needed in the next five years.[14]

Flag protest

Dozens of Mississippians protested outside the U.S. Capitol on Flag Day, June 2016 , hoping to generate enough national support to pressure Mississippi lawmakers to change the state flag, the only one in the country that still features the emblem of the Confederacy. Critics of the flag say it's a symbol of hate and a reminder of the South's segregationist past.

“The real issue for all of us is the symbol that that flag represents,’’ said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who spoke at the rally. “It doesn’t matter whether it flies in the Capitol or whether it’s on a cemetery or a (Veterans Affairs) hospital — all those symbols need to be pushed aside. … But you know, it’s a tough row to hoe.’’

But House lawmakers blocked another attempt by Thompson last week to also remove from House grounds all other items featuring the Confederate flag, including statues.One of the speakers was Carlos Moore, an attorney from Grenada who filed a federal lawsuit asking the court to declare the Confederate flag unconstitutional. “Historically, the federal courts have been the only way we have got any civil rights advanced in Mississippi,’’ he said.

Celebrities, congressional lawmakers and others joined Tuesday's protest. Actress Aunjanue Ellis, star of the TV series "Quantico" and a McComb resident, sponsored the trip for dozens of Mississippians.

Michael Eric Dyson, a professor at Georgetown University, called the flag a "byproduct of hate and not heritage."

“This flag must come down because it represents everything that America is supposed to not be,’’ he said. “When that flag comes down, love goes up.’’

Legislation to change or remove the flag haven't made it to the floor of the state Legislature.

State Rep. Kathy Sykes, D-Jackson, plans to reintroduce her bill next year — when the state celebrates its bicentennial and opens a civil rights museum — that would adopt a flag designed by Laurin Stennis, granddaughter of the late Democratic Sen. John C. Stennis of Mississippi. Sykes held up the Stennis flag at Tuesday's rally.

[15] |

Jackson Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries also spoke. Students from colleges such as Tougaloo and Jackson State also made the trip to Washington.[16]

Palestine delegation

Rep. Jimmy Panetta March 30 2018:

Our delegation held a roundtable with Palestinian youth in Jerusalem.

Palestiniand.JPG

March 30, 2018 Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) returned today from a Congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan, Jordan, and Israel. The focus of the trip was on global and regional security and cooperation issues.

In Afghanistan, Congressman Panetta and the delegation traveled to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Lighting which is the temporary home to the Southeast Advisory Security Task Force under the command of Brigadier General David M. Hamilton. The visit to the FOB in the Paktia Provence allowed Congressman Panetta to talk to and thank the service members on the front line who are training and advising Afghan security forces. The delegation then traveled to Kabul and met with General John W. Nicholson, Jr., Commander, Resolute Support Mission and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, who briefed them on the current military strategy and security situation in Afghanistan. The delegation also met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at the Presidential Palace.

In Jordan, the delegation met with His Royal Highness King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, as well as other senior defense and foreign affairs leadership who shared their insight into the challenges facing Jordan and the region.

In Israel, the delegation discussed U.S.-Israel relations, the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and regional security issues with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The delegation also met with Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv. Congressman Panetta and the delegation reiterated American support for a two-state solution and for peace in the region.

In addition to Congressman Panetta, the Members of the delegation included:

Release Judy Clark

April 2 , 2019 New York State Board of Parole Supervising Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator Bedford Hills Correctional Facility

Dear Commissioners of the Board of Parole:

We, the undersigned Federal, State, and local elected officials and leaders of civil rights organizations, write to urge the New York State Board of Parole (“Parole Board”) to follow the law and parole guidelines and grant parole to Judith Clark.

During her 37 years in prison, Ms. Clark, through her words as well as her deeds, has transformed herself into a symbol of redemption, hope, and the human capacity for change. She has disavowed violence, accepted responsibility for her actions, and issued heartfelt and public apologies dating back to 1994 when parole was not even a remote possibility.

Ms. Clark participated in an unspeakable tragedy. Three people were killed, including two police officers. Although Ms. Clark was the “getaway” driver and did not fire any weapon, she does not minimize her role or in any way try to absolve herself from guilt. Judith Clark is painfully aware of the irrevocable harm she caused, and for more than three decades has done everything a human being could do to repair, repent and express remorse. She again forthrightly acknowledged her role, accepted responsibility, and expressed her contrition to the Parole Board at her initial appearance before the Board in April 2017.

At age 69 and after 37 years in prison, Judith Clark is among the oldest and longest serving women in New York State prison (only one woman among the almost 2,400 currently incarcerated in New York has served longer than Ms. Clark). We ask that you consider who she is today in 2019, not who she was in 1981, and implore you to grant her release.

Respectfully,

Yvette Clarke, Adriano Espaillat, Hakeem Jeffries, Carolyn Maloney, Gregory Meeks, Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jose Serrano, Nydia Velazquez, Tom Suozzi.[18]

References

  1. Official Congressional bio, accessed November 2013
  2. [http://www.nysenate.gov/press-release/rev-al-sharpton-sen-eric-schneiderman-assm-hakeem-jeffries-join-forces-coalition-annou, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, Assm. Hakeem Jeffries Join Forces With Coalition To Announce New Statewide Campaign To End Prison-Based Gerrymandering Before 2010 Census Posted by Eric T. Schneiderman on Thursday, January 28th, 2010]
  3. /afl-cio_super_pac_wont_primary_moderate_democrats/, In These Times, Thursday Apr 19, 2012 6:15 pm Labor and the Primary Season: AFL-CIO Super PAC Will Focus on GOP, By Mike Elk
  4. ABOUTallsfairinsportsandpolitics ~ #AFiSP Part 32: On New York 14 Tuesday Oct 2014
  5. [http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/power-article-1.1527254, Daily News, Brooklyn the new center of black political power in New York City, BY ANNIE KARNI / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2013,]
  6. CAPITAL, holla-long-diverse-line-democrats-pays-tribute-hakeem-jeffries-swea Jeffries at his swearing-in ceremony. Reid Pillifant BY REID PILLIFANT. Jan. 28, 2013
  7. MUNA, MUNA Civic Engagement Banquet 2013
  8. Official Congressional bio, accessed November 2013
  9. CPC website, members, accessed Jan. 15, 2013
  10. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  11. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  12. The Daily Signal, Democrats Take ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ From Ferguson to House Floor December 03, 2014
  13. PW, Brooklyn reps rebuff AIPAC, back Iran deal by: Chris Butters September 9 2015
  14. [ http://peoplesworld.org/cbcf-national-town-hall-focuses-on-black-lives-matter-movement/PW CBCF National Town Hall focuses on Black Lives Matter movement, by: CINDY FARQUHAR september 21 2015
  15. [https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/06/14/mississippians-rally-washington-protest-state-flag/85876780/Clarion Ledger, Mississippians rally in Washington to protest state flag Deborah Barfield Berry, Clarion-Ledger Washington Bureau Published 6:25 p.m. ET June 14, 2016]
  16. [1]
  17. [2]
  18. [3]