Public Advocate visits Morris Innovative Senior Center

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Public Advocate Letitia James visited BronxWorks’ Morris Innovative Senior Center on August 14th. The visit was part of a community town hall “Talk to Tish” series of discussions on issues relevant to various audiences from the perspective of her long experience in city government. She was introduced by Fernando Cabrera, New York City Councilman from the Bronx, as a “champion of the people.”

Although it was expected that Ms. James’ topic would be Mayor DeBlasio’s new Vision Zero program for stepped-up enforcement of traffic laws, she rapidly moved to another subject of great interest to the seniors and the public nationwide: immigration and the influx of undocumented children seeking asylum in the U.S.

She called on attorneys to represent these minors pro bono in court, stating that she plans to do the same.  As Ms. James pointed out, it doesn’t matter how or why the children crossed our borders, “what matters is that they are here and I am working to insure they will have proper legal representation.”

Ms. James (left) presented Maria Rivera, director of senior services at BronxWorks, with a Proclamation from the Office of the Public Advocate commending her for her service to the seniors of the Bronx, praising Ms. Rivera’s devotion and “higher calling” in the field of service.  Later the floor was opened to a question-and-answer period.  The afternoon’s visit included a song performance by one of the seniors, 62-year-old Linda Pedrosa, a regular at the center who is legally blind.

It was Ms. James’ first visit to the senior center in her current position; Mayor de Blasio visited the Morris ISC during his tenure as public advocate.

Ms. James was previously a member of the New York City Council where she introduced the Safe Housing Act, legislation that ensures families in rental buildings get prompt, full repairs to their apartments.  She also worked to strengthen the power of small businesses to do business and contract with the city. Earlier she was counsel and chief of staff to State Assembly members Roger Green and Al Vann.  She was the first Assistant Attorney General for Brooklyn in 1999.

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