This morning Mayor de Blasio will release the names of the new appointees to the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB), a long-overdue measure following important reforms passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio last month. While we are pleased to see fresh faces on the VAB--including our own NYC Veterans Alliance advisory board member, former Army combat medic and current student veteran advocate Samuel Innocent--we are disappointed that important veteran advocates from the NYC community are not represented among the appointees.Read more
On March 19, the NYC Veterans Alliance was honored to have Samuel Innocent testify in support of the NYC Council's resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass and the Governor to sign the Veterans' Education Through SUNY Credits Act. Innocent is a former Army sergeant and combat medic who has gone on to become an advocate for student veterans both as a student and now as a professional. He shared some of his powerful personal story in his testimony to illustrate the importance of legislation that ensures all NY State institutions properly grant credit where it is due for military education and experience.
Success!! Yesterday the NYC Council passed three bills (Ints. 611, 619, & 600) that the NYC Veterans Alliance pushed for, discussed at length, and testified on earlier this month. This was a proud day for us, and we were invited to attend Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's press conference on these important reforms. Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone all spoke in detail on these bills that they helped to develop with community input, and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito introduced Kristen Rouse to speak as a veteran advocate who helped with pushing these bills toward their final passage yesterday.
On Wednesday, the NYC Council held a hearing on NYC's Veterans Treatment Courts in City Hall's Committee Room. Aynisa Leonardo, an experienced clinician who has served veterans for more than eight years, and who also has extensive experience with clients in the Veterans Treatment Courts operating in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, testified on behalf of the NYC Veterans Alliance, and represented your responses thus far on the 2015 Survey of NYC Veterans Priorities. It was a long, but important hearing, and Aynisa followed testimony by a number of judges and government officials, to include Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and a U.S. Army veteran asked to read the statement of Public Advocate Letitia James in support of establishing a Veterans Treatment Court in Manhattan.Read more