In a direct response to many of the pending political shakeups happening around the country and locally, Brooklyn 9th district Congresswoman Yvette Clarke held the second in what promises to be a series of town hall meetings. On Wednesday night, hundreds packed into Union Synagogue in Crown Heights. This meeting addressed the new administration’s first thirty days in office as well as climate change, health care, and immigration with several key experts.
This ambitious agenda brought together many concerned Brooklynites. Over 800 people packed into the synagogue and overspill for the meeting ran onto the third floor of the synagogue, where TV coverage of the event was provided. The Brooklyn Public Library also accommodated those who were not able to make it into the venue for this event with a live stream. About 1,500 people were reported to have attended.
Lola Lorraine, a resident of the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood and owner of Salon Lola, waited in line to attend the town hall. “Issues listed on the meeting invite were topics I care about—health care, immigration, climate change,” said Lorraine. “But more so, I’ve felt deep despair since the election, and want to heal by being part of a change movement. These things start at a local level—although I do feel we most need awareness influence in red states, where working class people, who elected this robber baron, are so misinformed about who’s promoting their interests!”
Clarke’s camp held an emergency meeting on January 28, two days after Trump announced his immigration ban. And in a week where dozens of other members of Congress have held other town hall style meetings, Congresswoman Clarke’s town hall received more cheers than boos compared to her republican counterparts.
Following a similar format to the previous meeting in January, the congresswoman brought together: Tahanie Aboushi, Esq. Partner at The Aboushi Law Firm, Lisa Sbrana director of the office of marketplace counsel from the New York State Department of Health, Veronica Aveis Political Director of Planned Parenthood of New York City, Dr. Michael Lucchesi, chairmen of the department of emergency medicine SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Dr. Michael Shank, assistant professor of sustainable development at the NYU Center forGlobal Affairs and head of communications at the UN Sustainable Development Network, and Jordan Wells, Esq. Staff Attorney at the NYCLU.
At times the crowd was rowdy, booing and jeering when Trump was mentioned throughout the night. The experts that Congresswoman Clarke assembled discussed a myriad of issues in rapid fire succession. Each panelist spoke for about ten minutes then proceeded to take questions from the crowd for over an hour that the congresswoman also answered. The town hall covered a lot of ground from health care concerns for people in New York state and reproductive health, to climate change, immigration, and social justice issues.
Veronica Aveis the political director of Planned Parenthood said, “It’s great to see so many energized folks who came out to talk about what we can do together. It’s also great to hear a room full of people boo harmful policies like the Hyde Amendment and the Global Gag Rule.”
The Hyde Amendment which was passed in 1976, blocks federal Medicaid money from being used for abortion services. However in the case of incest, rape, or when there is a threat to the women’s life, this amendment does not apply.
After the event the Congresswoman said on her Facebook, “Tonight was incredible. Thank you to everyone who showed up or watched online. Over 1,500 of you waited in line and packed Union Temple and made sure your voices were heard. Thank you, Brooklyn. See you soon!” This is the first in a series of halls that the Congresswoman and her staff are planning to host across Brooklyn’s 9th district.