Things That Matter

A Judge In NY Has To Decide If Unvaccinated Children Should Be Allowed In School Risking The Lives Of Other Children

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Just two months ago, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that mandates vaccination for children old enough to attend schools, and participate in education with other children, unless otherwise advised by a doctor. The legislation came after the spread of misinformation about vaccines caused a series of measles outbreaks in the spring. Scientific literature based on decades worth of data from tens of thousands of children has proven vaccination safe and effective for the public.

Attorney’s Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Michael Sussman filed a class action suit for about three dozen parents who claim that vaccinating their children goes against their faith. Wednesday, Albany courtrooms were packed with over 1,000 anti-vaxxers who wanted to hear how the judge would rule in a debate around religious freedom vs. public health.

The crowd of anti-vaxxers wore white in reference to the Argentine mothers who wore white as they protested their government’s brutal killings and disappearances of their liberal children.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

The anti-vaxxers feel that the implication of the government forcing them to vaccine their children from measles is tantamount to the Argentine government killing or “disappearing” 30,000 young, leftist political activists from existence in the 1970s. 

In April 1977, 14 mothers, wearing images of their missing children’s faces around their neck, marched around the Presidential Palace in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. They took a stand against a violent government in a defiant act to demand justice for their children.

These New York parents also feel the law doesn’t allow enough time to find proper education for their children. 

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

The demonstrators told Gothamist reporters, Gwynne Hogan and Claire Lampen, that “the new law effectively disappeared their children from the school system.” If the religious exemptions aren’t upheld, their alternative would be to homeschool their children or move to a different state.

“[We’re] hoping that our kids are granted the right to go back to school. Our children have been kicked out,” Long Island mother Amy McBride, 41, told Gothamist. “We’ve all been meeting, trying to look at curriculums, understand how to make it work, what the regulations are, understanding what it takes to actually do that…Our beliefs are steadfast and sincere and true and we’re not going to cave.”

The lawyers in the case argued that legislators demonstrated “active hostility toward religion.”

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

“[These children] are going to have nowhere to go to school…They have no idea what they are going to do with these children,” Sussman said. New York State attorney Helena Lynch refuted that claim. “The actual legislative record is so clear that the motivation was public health,” Lynch said. “The right to religious expression does not encompass the right to place others in danger.”

Lynch also expressed that legislators aren’t targeting religious groups but are genuinely “skeptical” that those choosing not to vaccinate their kids were expressing personal beliefs rather than religious ones. The crux of the argument seems to rest on public health risk for allowing the religious exemption, especially when an approximate 26,000 children would be unvaccinated in New York schools.

The bill’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Brad Hoylman from Manhattan, specifically wanted to eliminate the religious exemption as the key reason for the recent spread of measles.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

You have a First Amendment right to practice your own religion, but you do not have the right to endanger your children or worse other people’s children,” he told a press conference. Already, 14 percent of pre-school aged children in Williamsburg are estimated to be unvaccinated for religious reasons or otherwise. Another 28 percent in Rockland County were unvaccinated.

The anti-vaxxers expressed that they wished New York followed in California’s suit by allowing a year for the law to take effect. But public health advocates cite a sense of urgency for public safety measures, “This needs to be done, not tomorrow, not in a week, not in a month, and not in a year,” said one activist. “It must be done immediately, the numbers are gaining strength.”

Crowds packed even this overflow room as they waited for the judge’s answer.

Credit: @GwynneFitz / Twitter

They never heard it. Judge Hartman hasn’t made her decision yet about whether to allow 26,000 unvaccinated children go to New York schools in time for school start dates just three weeks from the hearing. The anti-vaxxers want her to put a stay on the state law which would allow those children to go to school while she continues to hear the case and make a final, permanent decision.

READ: A 12-Year-Old Mexican Boy Hilariously Trolled Anti-Vaxxers In This Viral Video

News Outlets Are Flooded With Terrifying News, But Here’s A List Of Really Good News That Is Affecting Latinx

Fierce

News Outlets Are Flooded With Terrifying News, But Here’s A List Of Really Good News That Is Affecting Latinx

We Are / Getty Images

Every day, television, print, and social media news bombard us with the worst of the world’s major updates and reports. From news of global warming and racism to accounts of mass shootings and political in-fighting, it’s hard to see any good news in these daily publishings. It can get overwhelming and downright depressing. It begins to feel like there is nothing but negativity and bad news in the world. 

However, we know that isn’t true. No matter how bad it seems, there are daily triumphs that we should celebrate as sources of positivity and hope in our world no matter how small these wins seem. We asked our FIERCE readers to share with us some of the good news that is happening in their lives. Hopefully, their stories of success will rejuvenate you and remind you of your own personal victories.

1. Dad deserves some rest and relaxation.

Instagram / @securedretirementradio

“Dad told me today he is preparing to retire in December! This man, like many of our fathers/grandfathers, was up every day at 5 AM working hard to make sure I had everything – now he can relax and let me (try) to make sure he has a nice retirement ❤️” @mianoel18

2. They grow up so fast.

Instagram / @mainan.anaktoys

“My two-year-old started preschool today. The regional center is paying for 2 days. It took a lot of work to get to this point. I’m a single mom ❤️” @xochitl_esperanza

3. An educated Latina.

Instagram / @nataliemcortes

“Graduating with my Ph.D. soon. Proud First-gen Mexicana ❤️ !! ” @ana_kaboom

4. You are worthy of good things.

Instagram / @thecleverbabecompany

“I’m currently applying to medical school and my imposter syndrome was hitting me pretty hard but after my first interview, I’m excited about the rest. (I got interviews at schools I thought would flat out reject me)” @elizpicazo

5. Making her dreams come true.

Instagram / @johnmarkgreenpoetry

“This 43-year-old mother of two just passed her first-year law school exam! Less than 20% of those who take it pass. In three years I’ll be taking the California bar exam! It’s never too late to go after your goals!” @mujerlaw

6. Congrats, you’re a homeowner!

Instagram / @abbieimagine

“Officially done paying my house as of this month 🙏🏼😭🙏🏼😭🙏🏼” @teresasole48

7. A reunion worth waiting for.

Instagram / @donia_artwork

“I haven’t seen my best friend in two years and she bought her plane ticket today to join me for Thanksgiving and I am SO EXCITED 😍😍😍😍”   @katie.i.cannon

8. Pay it forward.

Instagram / @deepalshah01

“A job opportunity at this place I volunteer for opened up and I’m really excited about it. I applied it’s a legal advocate position to help innocent victims of all crime. I just really want to pay it forward and be who I needed when I was younger. I’m just asking for prayers and good vibes this way 🙏🏽”   @pieldecanela__

9. Get that bread, girl!

Instagram / @j.duh

“I am starting my first job after college on Monday! I will help in launching a Latinx outreach program! I am so excited” @bookwormweirdo

10. Support those Latina-owned businesses. 

Instagram / @lovelyeventsbyvon

“My gringo esposo and I started a Paleteria @gringojakespaleteria and we entered a competition to win our own shop with free rent for a year! 👏🏽👏🏽 Even if we don’t win, we’ve learned so much and conquered our fear of public speaking! 💗” @oliviamsal

11. A multitude of blessings.

Instagram / @roccaboxuk

“I just graduated from UW-Madison (just announced #13 public university in the country). I am a first-gen college student so I am so so proud of myself. Still looking for a job (accepting all prayers/good vibes thx 😊). My parents have been looking for their first house for months and are set to close and move in at the end of the month!” @april_rose13

12. So much to be thankful for.

Instagram / @the.sarasa

“I nailed the audition for @tedxevansville and will be speaking about our Latinx community on November 8th! I just moved across the country too, and I both my company and myself are starting new projects and getting more business 🙏🏽❤️ @officiallawtina also my parents are opening the first authentic Latin American restaurant (Serving 9 countries’ foods) in September 17th in a small town where it is finally starting to diversify more and become more inclusive, and this is a HUGE step for the community!” @cindypetrovalfaro

13. Celebrate Latina creators.

Instagram / @weallgrowlatina

“My film @hyphenfilm is hitting the film festivals! Even up for a film star award 🙂 @riaservellon

14. Travel feeds the spirit.

Instagram / @evolution_of_spirit

“My Ma and sis got to travel to Spain 🇪🇸 🙏🏽 We are not rich rich so to us this is Amazing!!!! @jjj259 @essjayyvee 💕 have fun love you!!!” @jayyvee_xo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n-R07zlz1g

Say ‘Goodbye’ To Dishwashers And Bedrooms: A List Of Things You Shouldn’t Expect To See In A Small NYC Apartment

Entertainment

Say ‘Goodbye’ To Dishwashers And Bedrooms: A List Of Things You Shouldn’t Expect To See In A Small NYC Apartment

Television shows like Friends and Sex and the City lead you to believe that every NYC apartment is spacious and affordable, equipped with plenty of space on an affordable price tag. Unfortunately, the reality is a bit harsher. Between landlords’ strict rental qualifications, exorbitant broker fees, and sky-high rental prices, your apartment options are pretty narrow in the end. Usually, by the time you find an apartment that’s within your budget range, you’re left with a group of apartments that are affectionately called “cozy” (i.e. shoe-boxes). But not to despair! There are plenty of shoe-box apartments in New York City that are both highly livable and adorable. 

Still, if you’re one of the thousands of people that move to New York City each year from small towns, the reality of small-apartment life in the big city can nonetheless be jarring. The things you’ve taken for granted in your rural-America homes can now seem like downright luxuries. So, in order to soften the blow, we’ve compiled a list of all of the things you shouldn’t expect to see in a small New York City apartment. Take a look below for a friendly reality-check! It might make all the difference. 

1. A Dishwasher

@kitchstudios/Instagram

You’d be hard-pressed to find a small apartment anywhere in New York City in which the kitchen was equipped with a dishwasher. If you’re planning to live in the Big Apple on a budget, you better get used to cleaning those dirty dishes the old fashioned way: with a bit of elbow grease. 

2. A Closet

@friederikchen/Instagram

Some newbies are shocked when they start apartment-hunting in the City That Never Sleeps and they discover that a chunk of smaller apartments don’t even have closets. On the bright side, if you do opt for a closet-less apartment, you can use it as an opportunity to use your clothes as decor. Just make sure your clothes are worthy of being displayed…

3. Counter Space

@tinyinteriorz/Instagram

If you’re a cooking enthusiast and you’re looking to rent a small apartment in New York City, be warned: it is a rarity to find a kitchen with plenty of counter space. A lot of small NYC kitchens have two tiny slabs of counter space on either side of the sink. It’s a pain in the butt, and many people avoid cooking and relying on feeding themselves through takeout and TV dinners. Welcome to the New York way of life!

4. Elevators

@la_kathi/Instagram

There are a ton of smaller apartment buildings in New York City that don’t have elevators. At all. This is especially unfortunate for handicapped apartment-hunters who are forced to constrain their search to buildings with the proper accommodations. It’s unfair, to say the least.

5. Outdoor Space

@ni2_estudio_de_interiores/Instagram

Yes, we’ve all dreamed of having our very own apartment with an adorable veranda where we can entertain friends and look at the stars, but the reality is a bit bleaker than that. If your budget is restricting you to a tiny NYC apartment, you’re likely not going to have a cute little balcony. You’ll be lucky if you can swing a window or two!

6. Bathtubs

@inside.number2/Instagram

If you’re used to winding down at the end of the day by soaking in the tub, the apartment prospects in the Empire City might be a bit jarring for you. Many (if not most) small bathrooms in New York City offer shower-only options. 

7. Plenty of Outlets

@quirky_pivot_power/Instagram

If you’re renting a super-small apartment in NYC, chances are, the building is old. And old buildings are notoriously short on outlets. You’ll likely be forced to buy extension chords and power strips.

9. A Bedroom 

@moda.misfit/Instagram

Yep, you read that correctly. There may be space to put a bed, but there probably won’t be a dedicated room for a bed. Studio apartments are much cheaper and cost-effective housing solution for bargain-hunters.

10. A Dining Area

@meuape_0km/Instagram

If you’re planning on renting a small apartment in New York City, say goodbye to the dream of hosting grown-up dinner parties for your cosmopolitan friends. Small apartments in the city have little-to-no room for dining. In fact, most tiny-apartment-dwellers probably eat on their couch (or, more realistically, their futon). 

11. A Washer and Dryer

@inordertosucceed/Instagram

If you currently live in New York City, you know that having a washer and dryer in unit is pretty much a pipe dream. Heck, having a washer and dryer in the apartment building is even a luxury! Many people are forced to slog to the lavanderia to do their laundry with everyone else. What can we say? It’s a jungle out there.