Meng Floats Bill To Help Korean American Families Reunite
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) yesterday introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Secretary of State and the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea Human Rights Issues to prioritize helping divided Korean American families reunite with family members in North Korea.
Meng’s bill, the Divided Families Reunification Act, would require the U.S. Secretary of State—or a designee of the Secretary—to consult with South Korean officials on potential family reunion opportunities for American families and their relatives in North Korea.
The measure would also require the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korea Human Rights Issues to consult bi-annually with representatives of Americans with family members in North Korea about its efforts to support family reunions, and to report to Congress on opportunities to utilize video conference technology to encourage virtual reunions.
Approximately 100,000 Korean Americans have been separated from their relatives in North Korea since the Korean War. Since 2000, South Korea and North Korea have held over 20 family reunions; however, there has not been an official channel for Korean Americans to be included.
“There are so many American families who desperately want to reunite with their loved ones in North Korea and my bill would go a long way towards making that happen,” said Meng. “These families have tragically been separated since the Korean War and that separation has been long and painful. These families deserve to see their loved ones again. Americans who have relatives in North Korea are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s. Time is not on their side which is why we must immediately pass my bill to provide much-needed relief for these divided families.”
Meng has sent two letters to President Trump—one in October of last year and in February—urging him to prioritize helping divided Korean American families reunite with their families in North Korea. The Congresswoman has not received a response from the President.
Addabbo Opposes Williams Pipeline
State Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside, The Rockaways), who represents the communities within the Rockaway Peninsula where the proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) Pipeline would be, will not be supporting the project for several reasons.
“My first concern is for the people who live in the Rockaways and who have valid concerns regarding the project,” Addabbo said. “This pipeline would provide no clear, direct benefit to my constituents, and may actually negatively impact their quality of life. After suffering from Superstorm Sandy, with hundreds of people still not back in their homes more than six years later, I cannot support an initiative that may burden them even further.”
Addax said his primary concerns are the environmental issues and impact the NESE pipeline would have, both during construction and post-construction. Addabbo believes that entities should retreat from pumping climate-changing gases into the atmosphere and that the construction of the NESE pipeline also has the potential to disrupt marine life, in addition to the number of toxins that would be exposed and possibly be released into the waters where residents and visitors swim.
Addabbo also believes the $926 million cost of the project could be monies better spent on renewable and clean energy initiatives.
“While I understand that natural gas is a bridge energy source before we fully integrate to cleaner energy forms, it does not mean we have to spend close to a billion dollars on advancing natural gas projects. It seems to me we are moving backwards instead of moving forward environmentally,” said Addabbo.
Lancman, Community Leaders to Unveil Street Renaming to Honor Jamaica Muslim Center
City Council Member Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica), along with representatives from the Jamaica Muslim Center, and community members today will hold a ceremony to announce a street renaming in honor of Jamaica Muslim Center to “JMC Way.”
Lancman introduced the renaming designation last year and the city council passed the measure on December 20, 2018. Starting today, 168th Street from Highland Avenue to Gothic Drive will be known as “JMC Way.”
The street renaming is slated for 1:30 p.m., today, March 15 at the Jamaica Muslim Center, 85-37 168th Street in Jamaica.
Ulrich To Bring No-Cost Mammograms to Ozone Park
City Council Member Eric Ulrich (D-Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven) later this month will partner with the American-Italian Cancer Foundation to bring no-cost mammograms to Ozone Park.
It has been a decade since Ulrich first brought this initiative to his district in 2009.
“As many as one in eight women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime,” said Ulrich. “I am proud to partner with the American-Italian Cancer Foundation to bring free breast cancer screenings to Ozone Park. This decade-long relationship has helped save lives with its sophisticated early detection methods. I encourage eligible constituents to take advantage of the no-cost screenings being offered.”
The eligibility requirements include women aged 40-79 with health insurance, women aged 50-79 without health insurance, currently living in New York City and no mammogram in the past 12 months
There are no co-pays required and deductibles are waived. Uninsured patients also welcomed. Appointments are required.
The event is slated for Friday, March 22, in front of Ulrich’s Ozone Park District Office, 9306 101 Avenue in Ozone Parke. To schedule an appointment, call the American-Italian Cancer Foundation at 1-877-628-9090.