Melissa Mark-Viverito And Jumaane Williams Named Human Rights Heroes

Human Rights ain’t just for the third world.

That’s the message the Urban Justice Center is sending today after they released their report card of the human rights record of the 51 members of the New York City Council. The list focuses on what they are say are local human rights concerns like worker’s rights and housing, and they give both council members Melissa Mark-Viverito and Jumaane Williams a rare A+ for their efforts.

Mark-Viverito gets high marks, the report says because “she introduced a prevailing wage bill, and two others to address housing concerns. During budget negotiations, she worked to restore services for seniors, youth, immigrants and low-income families.”

Williams meanwhile, was honored because he “supports legislation to expand supportive housing opportunities for youth involved with the criminal justice system, and another requiring that school lunches be donated.”

They note as well that Williams was recently arrested for protesting the Arizona immigration bill.

The center notes that overall the Council’s performance on human rights has improved, writing that, “there are many signs of an emboldened council increasingly willing to defend human rights of New Yorkers in the face of powerful opposition.”

This is the third year that the center released a report card. Last year, Tony Avella scored the highest, and the previous year, Letitica James did. This year, Staten Island Republican James Oddo and Democrats Peter Vallone and David Greenfield scored the lowest. The center based its grades on Council members’ votes and sponsorship of legislation in the last 12 months, this year considering stances on fights like the Kingsbridge Armory and Broadway Triangle developments, paid sick days bill, and living wage bill. 

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Melissa Mark-Viverito And Jumaane Williams Named Human Rights Heroes