Our Latest

VA Must Welcome ALL Veterans

At a time when the VA itself is reporting that 70% of veterans who have died by suicide have not been in recent VA care, and that women veterans in particular are nearly twice as likely as other veterans to die by suicide--it is essential that the VA do all that it can to mitigate the crisis of veteran suicide by ensuring that ALL veterans are welcomed in to receive quality care. 

While the VA has made great strides in making programs and care more accessible, the VA has nevertheless firmly resisted the most basic way of welcoming in all veterans--to simply acknowledge them in the VA motto.


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Veteran Suicide Remains a Crisis in NY and US

Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released national and state-level findings from its most recent analysis of Veteran suicide data, from 2005 to 2016. Key points include: 

-- An average of 20 current or former service members die each day—a rate of 30.1 per 100,000. This is more than twice the rate of our civilian counterparts. 

-- Of these 20 veteran suicides per day, six have received recent VA health care and 14 have not.

-- Rates of suicide were highest among younger Veterans (ages 18-34) and lowest among older Veterans (ages 55 and older). However, because the older Veteran population is the largest, this group accounted for 58.1 percent of Veteran suicide deaths in 2016.

-- The rate of suicide among 18-34-year-old Veterans continues to increase -- The use of firearms as a method of suicide is high and increasing. The percentage of suicide deaths that involved firearms was 67.0 percent in 2015 and 69.4 percent in 2016.

In the State of New York, the rate of veteran suicides is 19.0 per 100,000—significantly lower than the national average. This also corresponds with New York having an overall lower suicide rate (general population) than the national average. But it must be noted that New York’s veteran suicide rate of 19.0 is significantly higher than rate of suicide for New York's general population, which is 10.4.

What this new data makes clear is that veteran suicide continues to be a crisis in New York as well as the U.S. as a whole.

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Pushing Against Closures at Brooklyn VA Town Hall

brooklynvatownhall.jpgFollowing outcry by veterans who rely on the Brooklyn VA Hospital for care, Martina Parauda, Director of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System (VANYHHS), took questions for more than two hours in a standing-room-only Town Hall at the Brooklyn VA on Wednesday, July 18. 

Last month, a coalition of veterans organizations, led by President of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72, Danny Friedman, sent a letter to Director Parauda and Joan McInerney, Director of the Veteran Integrated Services Network (VISN) overseeing NY and NJ, asking them to hold a town hall to answer questions from veterans about facilities closures and reductions in services at the Brooklyn VA Hospital in recent years. The letter is HERE.

VISN Director McInerney declined to attend, but Director Parauda agreed to host the July 18 Town Hall, to which political officials and members of the media were invited.

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Including Veterans & Families in the City Charter

The City Charter defines in its seventy-five chapters the roles and responsibilities of our city officials, agencies, offices, boards, bureaus, and commissions. Yet as of summer 2018, only one active chapter mentions veterans, military members, and their families: Chapter 75, which defines the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services and the Veterans Advisory Board.

The City Charter revision efforts set forth by the Mayor and City Council in 2018 offer an opportunity for the whole of our city government to better reflect how integral our veterans, servicemembers, and families are to our city’s social and economic fabric by integrating our community’s needs and priorities in the City Charter.

Based on the priorities of our members and our 2018 Action Agenda, we urge the NYC Charter Revision Commission to include the following revisions:

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Air Force Veteran Now Serves as Director of Community Outreach

adrienne_nyse.JPGAdrienne Brammer, a 14-year veteran of the United States Air Force, is newly promoted into the role of Director of Community Outreach for the NYC Veterans Alliance. As the first staff member to join the newly formed NYC Veterans Alliance, Adrienne has served for nearly three years building and developing the regional community calendar and information hub, OurVeterans.NYC.

Last fall, Adrienne was honored for her innovative, steadfast service to NYC veterans and families with the 2017 "Service to Veterans" award by the United War Veterans Council, presented at the New York Stock Exchange. Building upon her tremendous service and dedication, Adrienne is now taking on further programmatic development of the Alliance's digital platforms as well as building and strengthening community partnerships more broadly across the NYC veterans community as the Director of Community Outreach.

Adrienne has served on Air Force bases across the U.S., South Korea, Iceland, and Italy, as well as serving as combat videographer in Iraq and Afghanistan, often accompanying troops on convoys and foot patrols.

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Will Robert Wilkie Support ALL Veterans?

wilkie.jpgToday the president's nominee for the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, appears before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, and we raise concerns about his nomination based on information about Mr. Wilkie that has come to light in the media over the past 24 hours. We hope to hear today from Mr. Wilkie that he sincerely supports ALL veterans--regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or other characteristics that are fundamental to veterans' personal identities. Veterans need to know that the VA, from the top down, is ready to provide quality, bias-free care and benefits for all those who have served our nation.

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Standing Up for Veteran Street Vendors

Today's NYC Council Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing held a hearing on three different bills proposing to restrict access of street vendors around the World Trade Center and downtown Flushing, as well as a ban on a certain type of char-broiler used by food vendors. Details of the hearing and these bills are HERE.

As part of our 2018 Action Agenda, we are continuing to speak up for veteran street vendors. We were unable to attend today's hearing, but submitted the following letter to the committee:

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Wins for Veterans & Families in FY 2019 City Budget

Today the NYC Council released the finalized Fiscal Year 2019 Budget for the City of New York, which contains important wins for veterans and families! Here are the highlights:


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Rep. Donovan Joins NYC Veterans Alliance, VVA Ch 72, and IAVA in Opposing Clinic Closure at Brooklyn VA

On June 1, Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) joined NYC Veterans Alliance, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America in opposition to further closures and reductions at the Brooklyn VA Hospital. As with last year's plan to close outpatient surgeries at the Brooklyn VA, the plan to close the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) clinic this month comes as yet another reduction of services for veterans who rely on this crucial facility. View the full video here:

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NYC Veterans Alliance Members Lead Advocacy for Voting Reform

voterday_1.jpgOn Tuesday, May 8th, NYC Veterans Alliance joined with the NYC Campaign Finance Board and more than 100 advocates with the Vote Better NY Coalition to advocate for vital reforms to bring New York State's voting laws into the 21st century.

Five of our members served as team captains, leading meetings with NYS legislators and staff on a busy day in Albany. Our member Troy Olson spoke eloquently at our press conference in the Capitol's stairway:

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NYC Veterans Alliance Efforts Lead to National Proposal

180503_crowley_medium.jpgBuilding on the progress we made last year to enshrine protections for veterans and military members in NYC law with passage of Local Law 119-2017, NYC Veterans Alliance today stood in support of a new bill being introduced by Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14) to protect student veterans using GI Bill benefits from housing discrimination nationwide. 

We gathered for a press conference at the stunning Bronx Victory Memorial in Pelham Bay Park, which commemorates the troops from the Bronx who lost their lives in World War I. Joining Rep. Crowley was NY State Assembly Member Mike Benedetto, Assembly Member Nathalia Fernandez, Council Member Mark Gjonaj, and members of the NYC Veterans Alliance.

Dubbed the "Students LIVE (Live Irrespective of Veterans Educational Assistance) Act," Rep. Crowley's bill proposes to amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to prohibit discrimination against veterans on the basis of their VA educational benefits as their source of income. We fully support this legislation as a national extension of protections we worked to emplace here in NYC, and it advances the policy priorities set forth by our members for this year.


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Run for Your County Committee!

votehere.jpgThe NYC Veterans Alliance encourages members of our veterans community--veterans, family members, and civilian supporters alike--to get active as civic leaders in neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Especially if you live in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, you have a unique opportunity this year to make democracy work better in your community by running to serve as a member of your political party's County Committee.

County Committees are the basic building block for political governance in NYC and were originally created so that New Yorkers can have a real say in their political parties. But they are only as effective as the energy and enthusiasm that we, the people, put into making them work for our communities.

Members of County Committees are elected officials--their names appear on a party's primary ballot, and County Committee members must win votes in their election district. But in too many cases these seats go vacant, or the elected County Committee member is inactive--causing the County Committee to not fully deliver on its responsibilities to its constituents. 

Are you ready to make democracy work better in your neighborhood? 

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A Successful March to City Hall Week!

marchpic.jpgThanks to all who participated in making our March to City Hall Week a great success! March to City Hall Week is the premier civic leadership event of the NYC Veterans Alliance, mobilizing our membership as speakers and advocates committed to making NYC the best city in the country for veterans and their families. Members and staff advocated for our 2018 Action Agenda, a detailed list of policy solutions we are pressing our NYC Council Members, NY State delegation, and Congressional delegation to take action on.

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Our 2018 Policy Priorities

cityhall_400.jpgBased on input and feedback from our membership, as well as our founding mission and values, we are proud to announce our Policy Priorities for 2018. These priorities are the framework upon which our legislative initiatives, public testimonies, and advocacy are based. 

Our nine priorities are:

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Making Change in NYC Government Workshop

Join us on Saturday, February 3rd, for Making Change in NYC Government, a one-day, nonpartisan educational and networking workshop produced by the NYC Veterans Alliance. Sessions are tailored for an audience of veterans, family members, and civilian allies who want to advance their involvement in and understanding of NYC government. We'll cover community boards, political party leadership, local elections, policy & legislative advocacy, and more--all in good company where you'll be able to connect with experienced leaders and others eager to make a difference in their communities.


We're proud to announce that our distinguished speakers include:

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Summary of Town Hall at Manhattan VA

20180130_100710.jpgOn Tuesday, January 30, 2018, Martina Parauda, Director of the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System, held a town hall for veterans and the Manhattan VA. Here is a brief summary of the information she provided for our community:

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NYC Veterans Advisory Board Must Meet Its Obligations

The meeting of the NYC Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) scheduled for today in Brooklyn--which would have fulfilled the VAB's chartered mandate to hold at least one meeting open to the public in each borough on an annual basis--has been cancelled. The meeting has been rescheduled for January 23, 2018, for a Brooklyn location that is not yet identified.

This cancellation is unfortunately consistent with the VAB’s pattern of lagging behind in its ability to fulfill its chartered mandate:

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Vouchers for Homeless Veterans Must Be Protected

homelessvet.jpgYesterday the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs announced a plan to immediately slash the HUD-VASH program, a $265 million supportive housing voucher program intended to end veteran homelessness--until outcry from advocates and veterans organizations caused them to reverse that decision late last night. Although this shocking cut is off the table for right now, it will be back on the table for 2019. This is unacceptable and could potentially worsen the national scourge of veteran homelessness.

The NYC Veterans Alliance urges our community to call upon the VA and our Congressional delegation to protect the HUD-VASH voucher program in order to keep recently homeless veterans stable in permanent housing and to sustain a program that has effectively reduced veteran homelessness in NYC and nationwide. 

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Testimony on Intro. 6880: Extension of Eligible Funds Tax Exemption

On November 15, 2017, the NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony in support of Intro. 6880, a bill proposing to extend the current Eligible Funds Tax Exemption for veteran property owners to include school tax, which would bring this older program into alignment with the Alternative Tax Exemption expansion passed earlier in the year. 

Below is our testimony before the NYC Council:

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Anti-Discrimination Law Takes Effect on November 18, 2017

Starting on November 18, 2017, the NYC Human Rights law went into effect to provide new protections for veterans and servicemembers from discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodation. Take a look at our Lunch & Learn conversation with the NYC Commission on Human Rights, NYC Department of Veterans' Services, and the NYC Veterans Alliance about this important new legislation, and see important details below:

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NYC Veterans Alliance Announces 50 Bricks Challenge, a Matching Capital Campaign

Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund Jumpstarts Challenge with a $50,000 Gift

NEW YORK - Oct. 18, 2017 - PRLog -- NYC Veterans Alliance (www.nycveteransalliance.org), a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that empowers military veterans and their families to become civic leaders, today launched its 50 Bricks Challenge, a $100,000 matching capital campaign. The Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund kicked it off with the lead donation of $50,000.

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A Win in Brooklyn! No Closure of Brooklyn VAMC Services

In August, our members sounded the alarm on a proposal by the VA NY Harbor Healthcare System to close inpatient surgeries at the Brooklyn VAMC, which rallied local politicians to take action. We are proud to announce today that we've heard from Congressman Dan Donovan's office that this plan has officially been abandoned! 

“We applaud the leadership of Congressman Donovan and the bipartisan advocacy of the many Brooklyn elected leaders who stood against closure and contraction of services at the Brooklyn VAMC," said Kristen Rouse, U.S. Army Veteran, Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, and Brooklyn resident. "As our leaders and our community are well aware, we must focus on improving VA care for our city's veterans, not reducing available options. We are pleased to see that the veterans who rely on the Brooklyn VA can rest assured that all existing services will remain open and available for them.”

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Advocating for VA Home Loans with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday we joined NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer for his announcement of a new partnership with RBC GAM Access Capital to create a first-of-its-kind program to support affordable housing for veterans in New York City. Each year at least $5 million will finance mortgages guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans and their families living in New York City. This is an encouraging move by NYC government, and one that we hope will increase the ability of veterans to access and use the VA Home Loan they've earned here in the city they call home. 


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Holding the NYC Department of Veterans' Services Accountable

city_hall.jpgOn Monday, October 2, the NYC Council held an oversight hearing on the NYC Department of Veterans' Services (DVS). We offered testimony assessing the progress and budget of DVS for FY 2017 and the current FY 2018 budget year. Despite much needed and encouraging growth, our overall assessment is that this richly funded agency has demonstrated disappointing lapses in its basic responsibilities and is as yet failing to fully deliver on programs that highly paid staff have been working to deliver for many months.

For specifics, please see the testimony below of our Founding Director. 

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NEW YORK, NY -- August 26, 2017 -- The Coalition to Protect American Servicemembers (CPAS), a group of organizations joining together in a nonpartisan effort, dedicated to honoring and protecting all those who have served and are currently serving in the military, today released the following statement in response to the announcement that President Donald Trump signed a policy memo restricting transgender individuals from serving in the military:

“We stand with SPARTA, a leading organization of LGBT servicemembers and veterans, and their statement: ‘As transgender service members, we are and have always been soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen first. We serve our country honorably, in good faith. Transgender service members are currently deployed to various locations around the world in defense of our Nation. The average transgender service member has eight years of service and served two or more deployments. Deployments are a staple of military life. Transgender service members have shown they are fully capable of doing the job they are called upon to do, and so we will continue until directed otherwise.’

In addition, we, the Coalition to Protect American Servicemembers, call on President Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense to rescind this discriminatory policy and let our troops get back to focusing on their jobs.

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Join Us: First Annual Battle of Brooklyn March!

washington_brooklyn.jpgOn Saturday, August 19th, we're convening a group of NYC Veterans Alliance members and supporters to commemorate the 241st anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn, the largest battle of the American Revolution, with a 17.76-mile march (walk) through neighborhoods, parks, and historic sites in Brooklyn. We'll also be celebrating the 2nd birthday of the NYC Veterans Alliance, and we're asking for your support to help us continue growing into our third year!

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Supporting Tax Relief for Disabled and Senior Citizen Homeowners

On August 8, 2017, the NYC Council Committee on Finance held a hearing on raising of the eligible income threshold for disabled and senior citizen homeowners qualifying for property tax exemption under the city's Disabled Homeowners Exemption and Senior Citizen Homeowners Exemption programs, of which many veterans take part. 

Below is the testimony offered by our Director of Operations:

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Supporting Transgender Veterans & Troops

When we founded the NYC Veterans Alliance just two years ago, we committed to the inclusion of ALL veterans--we leave no veterans behind. We've stood in defense of veterans with bad paper. We've stood up for lesbian, gay, and bisexual veterans who were unjustly discharged. And last week we stood up for the transgender troops who are serving honorably across the world, as well as the countless numbers of transgender veterans who deserve recognition and respect for their service to our nation.

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Celebrating Passage of Anti-Discrimination Bill

On June 26, 2017, we held a press conference with Public Advocate Tish James and officials from the NYC Commission on Civil Rights and NYC Department of Veterans' Services celebrating the unanimous passage of Intro. 1259, which will protect veterans and servicemembers from discrimination in housing, employment, and other facets of life in NYC. Our members took the stage to talk about their personal experiences with pervasive discrimination, and why this law will make a tremendous difference in their lives:

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We Did It! Historic Bill Passed by NYC Council!

intro1259.jpgWE DID IT! Intro. 1259 is our FIRST BILL to originate with our membership--and it was passed today by NYC Council! 1259 was developed by our team, brought to introduction, pushed by our membership, opened to hearing, and finally voted to passage today thanks to the hard work of our members and team. We give our hearty thanks and congratulations to all of our members who gave input, took action, and supported our efforts with your dues and donations. This would not have been possible without you!

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Supporting Veterans' Access to Services

On June 20, 2017, the NYC Council Committee on General Welfare held a hearing on Int. 855-A, which proposes to automate access to services for the most vulnerable New Yorkers. 

Below is the testimony of our Director of Operations:

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Supporting Veterans in Small Business

On June 20, 2017, the NYC Council held a hearing in consideration of the needs of veterans in small business. Below is the testimony of our Founding Director:


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NYC’s 2018 Budget – What’s In It For Veterans?

cityhall_flag.jpgAfter negotiation with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, the NYC Council announced today that the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget is now finalized.

Earlier this year we set a Spring Agenda that included protecting and increasing NYC's budget for veterans, and adoption of a needed exemption from rising school taxes for veteran homeowners. We're both proud and grateful to our members and allies who helped us achieve results for our community.

Take a look at what's in the new budget for veterans, which will take effect on July 1, 2017:

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A Win on the Veterans Alternative Tax Exemption!

rally_500.jpgA key piece of our Spring Policy Agenda was inclusion of the Alternative (School Tax) Exemption for Veterans in the city's budget for Fiscal Year 2018--and we're proud to announce that this was included in the final $85 billion budget deal reached by the Mayor and NYC Council last Friday evening!

Thanks to our member, Vietnam veteran, longtime advocate, and proud Staten Islander Lee Covino for leading the charge on this. Thanks to everyone who lobbied with us this spring, who rallied with us at the "Love Our Veterans" Rally on Valentine's Day, who testified and rallied and supported this legislative effort last December, who called and wrote letters to their representatives last fall, and who initially met with us at our stakeholder meeting on this important issue last July.

Special thanks to Council Member Steven Matteo for leading on this in NYC Council and his continuous advocacy for the more than 58,000 veteran homeowners who will now be entitled to long overdue tax relief. 

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A Successful NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop!

workshop_main.jpgOn April 29-30, we hosted more than 30 veterans and spouses at the first-ever NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop at Civic Hall, an intensive training event that included guest speakers, panels, and interactive conversations and activities with political and communications professionals and current and former elected officials. 

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The Honorable Patrick Murphy and the Honorable Charlie Rangel Speak on Veterans in Public Office

On Friday, April 28, 2017, the NYC Veterans Alliance, in partnership with Civic Hall and Veterans Campaign, hosted a Conversation on Service-Driven Political Leadership featuring Hon. Patrick Murphy, the first post-9/11 veteran elected to the U.S. Congress, and Hon. Charles Rangel, a decorated Korean War veteran who served 46 years in Congress.

Mr. Murphy talked with us about his service as a Solider in Iraq, followed by his service in the U.S. Congress from 2007 to 2011, as well as his work as Acting Secretary and then Undersecretary of the United States Army 2016-2017. Mr. Rangel told us some of his lesser-told stories of service in the Korean War, including his harrowing experience in the Battle of Kunu-ri and his actions as a private first class for which he was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor.



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NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop - Speakers & Guests

Presentation1.pngOn April 29th and 30th, 2017, we will host the inaugural NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop in partnership with Veterans Campaign and Civic Hall. We will provide nonpartisan training for approximately 40 veterans and spouses from NYC and around the country to teach them the fundamentals of running for elected office.

CLICK HERE to help individual participants of our workshop as they "crowdraise" their tuition costs!

We've brought in a number of highly accomplished speakers, presenters, panelists, and distinguished visitors with diverse political and professional backgrounds to provide the highest quality training to our weekend participants:

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Press Release: NYC Veterans Alliance Kicks Off Inaugural NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop With Hon. Patrick Murphy & Hon. Charles Rangel

A Conversation on Service-Driven Political Leadership will kick off the NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop, Taking Place in the Heart of Manhattan in Partnership with Veterans Campaign and Civic Hall

NEW YORK - April 20, 2017 -- NYC Veterans Alliance, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that empowers military veterans and their families to become politically active, in partnership with Veterans Campaign, a nonpartisan, non-ideological organization whose mission is to encourage, mentor, and prepare veterans for a “Second Service” in civic leadership, and with Civic Hall, a collaborative civic innovation center that advances the use of technology for the public good, are hosting “A Conversation on Service-Driven Political Leadership” on Friday, April 28 to kickoff their 2017 NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop at Civic Hall, 118 W. 22nd Street, New York, NY.

NYC Veterans Alliance today announced the Honorable Charles Rangel, Korean War veteran and one of the longest-serving members of Congress, and the Honorable Patrick Murphy, the first post-9/11 veteran to serve in U.S. Congress, former MSNBC host and contributor, and recent Acting Secretary and Undersecretary of the U.S. Army, will be headlining this event, which will be open to the public. As veterans who have served in U.S. Congress, Murphy and Rangel will lead an evening of conversation on service-driven political leadership discussing their experiences as candidates and public officials, and the importance of veterans serving in elected office.


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Talking Back at "Our Trojan War" at BAM

Throughout our history, the voices of our veterans and families have been essential in conversations on American democracy, governance, and the role of everyday Americans in protecting and preserving our values and systems of civil society. This is why we're proud to partner with the veterans and civilians of Aquila Theatre and The Warrior Chorus in their NYC production of Our Trojan War.

As part of our Civic Engagement program, we're organizing and leading "talk back" panels following each performance of this important and timely exploration of ancient and modern concepts of democracy, freedom, leadership, and citizenship. The play itself was crafted by veterans, and veterans are among the cast members. Our talk back conversations will be interactive with the audience on themes of the play. Please join us for these special performances and conversations with veteran artists, activists, and leaders! Ticket information is below.


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Press Release: NYC Veterans Alliance Announces Intersections International as Fiscal Sponsor  


NYC Veterans Alliance Hits Major Milestones in 2016, Realizes Multiple Legislative & Policy Victories and Doubles Membership

Announces Intersections International as Fiscal Sponsor  

NEW YORK, NY – March 13, 2017 – NYC Veterans Alliance, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that empowers military veterans and their families to become politically active through four engaging programs – Policy & Legislative Advocacy, OurVeterans.NYC, Civic Leadership, and Get Ready to Run – today announced significant Organization milestones as well as a fiscal sponsorship with Intersections International, a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building community relationships and forging common ground.


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Announcing: NYC Veteran Candidate Workshop, April 2017

We welcome veterans of any era and spouses from NYC and around the country, and regardless of political affiliation, to apply for our non-partisan workshop held in Manhattan on April 29-30.


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Update on Spring 2017 Policy Agenda

meeting.jpgSince the kickoff of our Spring 2017 Policy Agenda with our Lobby Week and “Love Our Veterans” Rally in February, we’ve been pushing NYC Council Members to support our priorities by email, direct mail, and in-person meetings with Council Members and staff. Here’s a preliminary update on how we’re doing on each of our agenda items and how you can help:

1. Protect the Budget for NYC Department of Veterans’ Services:

Update: In FY 2017, $2.9 million was allocated for 35 staff members to launch NYC’s newest agency. The Mayor’s initial budget proposal for FY 2018 reduced that amount by one staff member and $318k. Following our community’s outrage, his office announced that the position and funding will be restored in his Executive Budget that will be released in May 2017. We have been urging NYC Council members—in our public testimonies and private meetings—to likewise protect this funding level in further budget negotiations to ensure that the budget passed this June will reflect $2.9 million for DVS. We are continuing to monitor this.

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Preliminary Budget Hearing: NYC Council Committee on Veterans

On Monday, March 6, the City Council’s Veterans Committee held their preliminary budget hearing on funding for the Department of Veterans Services. Commissioner Loree Sutton of the Department of Veterans’ Services testified before the Committee, as did Kristen Rouse, Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, and Barbara Johnson Stemler, Senior Manager of Access Programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.


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Testimony at the Veterans Committee Preliminary Budget Hearing

On Monday, March 6, 2017, the NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony at the Preliminary Budget Hearing held by the NYC Council Committee on Veterans. Below is the prepared testimony of Kristen Rouse on behalf of the Alliance:


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Questioning NYC's Newly Announced $1.3 Million Public Artist in Residence Program

This past Wednesday, it was announced that Bryan Doerries has been named the new Public Artist in Residence with the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs on a 2-year grant of $1.3 million to fund artistic productions of ancient Greek drama that bring veterans and civilians together in community dialogue and healing.

Aquila Theatre's "Philoctetes"

NYC's Aquila Theatre produced Sophocles' "Philoctetes" with veterans as paid cast & contributors

We commend the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services for their commitment to promoting public dialogue on veterans issues through the arts. Those of us who have taken part in our community’s amazing and diverse artistic productions in recent years can attest to the transformative power of art and dialogue in our own lives. Yet we are concerned that this large grant and public program elevates an artist and production model that, although outwardly successful, are yet notable for specific problem areas:

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"LOVE OUR VETERANS" Rally at City Hall

On Valentine’s Day, the NYC Veterans Alliance, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 72, Veterans of Foreign Wars Richmond County Council, Operation Warrior Shield, and other veterans, family members, service providers, and advocates rallied on the steps of City Hall to call on Mayor de Blasio and NYC elected officials to LOVE OUR VETERANS in the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

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Announcing Our February (Spring) 2017 Agenda

cityhall.jpgWe have work to do for veterans this month! 

NYC government has entered the budget-making process for the 2018 fiscal year, which starts on July 1st. There is legislation on the table that needs to get passed. And more than anything, our City government needs to hear from veterans that we need them to not just tell us our service & sacrifice matter to them—they need to show us.

What can you do?

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Testimony on OurVeterans.NYC Calendar at Oversight Hearing

On February 7, Adrienne Brammer, OurVeterans Program Manager, testified on behalf of the NYC Veterans Alliance in response to the recommendation in the VAB's annual report for NYC government to establish an ongoing community calendar for the veterans community. Adrienne outlined the value and milestones of the community calendar that the NYC Veterans Alliance has created and maintained since August 2015, which is now at www.ourveterans.nyc.

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Get Ready to Run: January 2017 Recap!

We are immensely proud of our newest class of Get Ready to Run Fellows! January 6-9 was their challenge to push themselves through four days of intensive, long days and nights of training, networking, and working with their cohort members to grow and learn and develop as rising leaders getting ready to run for elected office.

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Our January 2017 Fellows!

We’re proud to announce our new cohort of “Get Ready to Run” Fellows who will be traveling to Washington, D.C., this Thursday for four days of intensive training on how to run for elected office!


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