Long Island City residents Missy Bieri Winter and Laura Jeffords Greenberg turned their anxiety about the results of the recent presidential election into a group that is working to mobilize voters who share their concerns.
Bieri Winter and Jeffords Greenberg, who met at a prenatal yoga class in Long Island City last summer, both attended the Women’s March in January – Winter attended the march in New York City and Greenberg the march in Washington, D.C.
“After the march, I was so inspired but felt like, ‘Now what?'” Winter said. “To build on the march’s momentum, I sent an email to my friends asking them to meet and brainstorm actions that we could take to resist the Trump administration. Laura was really excited and offered to help in any way she could. After the first meeting, we decided to build on that momentum and hold weekly meetings to keep our members (and ourselves) accountable, as well as build a safe and welcoming community.”
LIC Coalition was formed and the organization now has 75 members. The group meets every Sunday at 11 a.m. at to stay informed about political events on all levels. After the first meeting, organizers realized that members needed a “Government 101” crash course and worked together with LIC Opposition, another group with a similar goal and the Hunters Point Civic Association.
The meeting acted as a primer where constituents learned about “the basics of government and our representatives and their powers from president down to City Council,” the founders said.
Every Sunday, members discuss legislation being proposed at the state and federal level. They have also set up a meeting with state Senator Michael Gianaris to talk about issues on a state level.
“Most of our actions are member driven,” Greenberg said. “If a member has an idea then we work to make that happen.”
Last week, the group participated in a national “Ides of Trump” postcard writing campaign, where they sent more than 500 postcards to the White House expressing their opposition to certain legislation. On March 25, LIC Coalition will work to raise money for the International Refugee Assistance Project.
A concert featuring raffle prizes, bake sale and crafts for kids will take place at Gantry Loft from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Andy and Suzanna will perform at the space located at 2-03 Borden Ave. All proceeds will go to the International Refugee Assistance Project.
“We want Long Island City to become the most politically active area in the nation,” the founders said in an email. “To do this, we want to form relationships with all of the groups in Long Island City – which is something we are continually working on.”
Members are also working on ways to save the Affordable Care Act (ACA). They are asking Long Island City residents to share stories about how the ACA has positively impacted their lives and how a repeal would affect them. The House of Representatives will vote on the American Health Care Act on Thursday. To participate in the ACA Storybook, email ACAStorybook@gmail.com.
There are other initiatives in the works like representative calling parties, postcard design projects and other arts and crafts that parents can participate in with their children.
Western Queens residents have become more politically active since the election forming groups like Indivisible Queens, Indivisible Astoria, New York City Indivisible Action Council, Jackson Heights Resistance and Women’s Action Group of Forest Hills.
Since each group member is interested in different issues, the organization is aiming to form specific groups to help focus energy on a variety of topics. The founders said they are also working to create relationships with the many groups in Long Island City.
“Specifically, for LIC Coalition, our aim is to be a group where everyone is included and can use their skills to make the world a better place,” the founders said. “Our next steps will be to form smaller interest areas around the environment, reproductive health, immigration, civil rights, voter rights and education. We are going to fight to ensure rights and protections are maintained. We want to progress forward, but right now we are fighting to maintain the status quo established by the Obama administration.
As the 2018 mid-term elections come closer, the founders said they will work on voter registration, campaigning and canvassing for Long Island City’s district and other districts that can be flipped from Republican to Democrat.
For more information, visit the LIC Coalition website or email LICCoalition@gmail.com.