Jan 242017
 
Women's March with VID

Gathering for the Women’s March: “Today is the first of many days to take a stand against this monster!” declared Erik Coler, the young new president of Village Independent Democrats, from atop the steps in front of the Gandhi statue in Union Square.”

200 people joined the Women’s March NYC, through a combined effort between VID, Downtown Independent Democrats (DID) and United Through Action, on January 21st.

Women’s March participants in Washington DC included VID members Keen Berger and Nancy Shambam among others.  It was, around the world, a glorious show of unity with more than 3,000,000 people participating.

Lincoln Anderson covered the New York March thoroughly in The Villager.

In their chants and on their signs, the marchers voiced a potpourri of concerns, from Black Lives Matter to the environment to Trump’s relationship with Russia’s Putin. More than a few signs showed the two men kissing.

The police didn’t have a heavy presence — or at least it didn’t feel that way. Apparently, they weren’t expecting violence from the Women’s March, one woman observed.

So, now the heavy lifting begins.  All sorts of sites have sprung up to assist in finding direction:  Indivisible, a practical guide for resisting the Trump Agenda founded by former congressional staffers revealing best practices for making Congress listen; OneClickStandUp.com, one stop shopping for anyone who feels the urgency of getting involved right away on behalf of causes  that are targeted to become vulnerable in the coming years – we love their “Contact Elected Officials” page.  And then, of course there are the daily suggestions and actions found on Village Independent Democrats Page and Group on FaceBook.  Join the conversation, sign up, send postcards, make calls.

“The answer I can definitively give is that we, the VID, intend to fight back against Donald Trump. But our fight against Trump is going to be impossible alone. We need people like you to become more involved,” says VID President Erik Coler in a recent editorial in WestView News.

 

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Jan 182017
 

VID Officer Elections completed on Jan. 12th

In a well-attended meeting which also featured a thorough presentation on how to protect rent-stabilized tenants, VID members voted for the remaining slate of Officers and the 2017 Executive Committee.  Now, VID Officer Elections are complete.

President 
Erik Coler

Vice Presidents
Jen Hoppe
Laurie Hardjowirogo
Barbara Ruether

Treasurer
Tony Hoffmann

Recording Secretary
Kathy Slawinski

Corresponding Secretaries
Jonathan Geballe
Ed Yutkowitz

Fmr. President
Nadine Hoffmann

Executive Committee Members
Alec Pruchniki
Erik Bottcher
Nat Johnson
Linda Jacobson
Chaim Leggiere
Nancy Shamban
Frieda Bradlow
Franny Leggiere
Susan Gottesman
Eli Hausknecht
Katharine Wolpe
Tom Connor
Marlene Nadle
Lois Rakoff
Frank Savits

Don’t forget to check out our new Facebook Page or you can join the discussion on our FaceBook Group

 

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Jan 052017
 

VID praises New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for his end-of-the year decision granting clemencies to more than 100 people.  These included pardons for many youthful offenders convicted of minor crimes, and the commutation of sentences for several elderly prisoners, including Judith Clark.

VID Candles for ClemenciesThe Governor’s decision was the culmination of years of effort for VID.  New York’s venerable progressive club is a major sponsor of Candles for Clemency, which since 2009 has led a campaign for criminal justice reform.  Prior to last week, clemencies had not been a priority for the Governor.  Club members were among the organizers and participants in the movement to inspire the Governor to recognize the plight of prisoners.

“We are proud of the role VID played in making this day possible,” said Tony Hoffmann, co-chair of Candles for Clemency and a former President of Village Independent Democrats.  “We have been and will continue to be leaders in the fight for social, economic, and criminal justice in New York City and throughout the nation.”

“This is a proud moment for New York.  Our efforts show what we can achieve through our activism and commitment.  Governor Cuomo’s heroic actions should serve as a model for our nation,” said Allen Roskoff, Candles for Clemency founder and co-chair and president of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club.

All the recipients of clemency have been rehabilitated and taken responsibility for their crimes.  One, Judith Clark, has earned multiple degrees during her incarceration, and has taught prenatal parenting classes for pregnant women, co-founded a ground breaking organization to address the AIDS epidemic, and raised and trained over a dozen guide dogs for law enforcement agencies and disabled veterans.  

“VID is delighted with Governor Cuomo’s just and wise decision,” said Erik Coler, President of VID.   “We hope he will continue to release deserving prisoners, especially the elderly and infirm, who are languishing in jail because of unfair and inhumane sentencing rules of the past.”

Governor’s Press Release

New York Times Coverage

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Dec 132016
 

New Leaders elected at VID for 2017NEW LEADERS FOR NEW ERA AT VENERABLE VILLAGE POLITICAL CLUB

With a nod to our past but looking to the future, Village Independent Democrats, the oldest progressive club in New York City, elected 25-year-old Erik Coler as our youngest president ever.

His election took place at VID’s December general meeting.  At the same meeting, Laurie Hardjowirogo, Jennifer Hoppe, and Barbara Reuther were elected as vice presidents for the coming year.

“The Village Independent Democrats has a storied history,” says Coler.  “For nearly 60 years, this club has fought for human rights and dignity, for the integrity of our city’s political process, and for the quality of life in our community and our city.  It’s a privilege to carry its agenda forward in these challenging times.”

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Erik’s agenda for the upcoming year will focus working with like-minded organizations to fight Donald Trump’s threats to the social safety net, the environment, and basic civil liberties, including voting rights and marriage equality. “VID will have to work harder than ever to defeat the president-elect’s radical and destructive agenda,” he said.  “We have our work cut out for us, but we’re on the right side of this fight.”

Born and raised in the Village, Erik is Deputy COO of Mercer Partners, a tenants-rights advocate and co-founder of the New York State Education Initiative, a foundation that develops afterschool programs to enrich students’ lives.  In its premiere program this year, the Initiative helped teach more than 250 South Bronx middle schoolers the basics of financial literacy.  Erik has served as Vice President of the Village Independent Democrats, and currently serves as an executive on Community Board 2. 

Barbara Reuther has lived in Greenwich Village since 1956, worked in various positions at St. Vincent’s Hospital for more than five decades, and helped organize the opposition to its closing.  A fellow member of VID has described her as the “conscience” of the organization for her commitment to her community and her fellow citizens.

Jen Hoppe has been a Villager for two decades, and an activist even longer.  She has served VID as a judicial delegate and gala chair, and played a key role in canvassing Democratic voters in Pennsylvania in 2017.  Her activism began in high school, and continued in college, where she majored in journalism.  For many years, she’s been a leader of Big Brothers Big Sisters Young Professionals in New York City. 

A New Yorker since 1974, Laurie Hardjowirogo is a mother of two.  Her day job is graphic designer at Penguin Random House, but in her she’s a full-time activist.  For the last 15 years she’s worked in fundraising and development for a public school on 15th Street.  She also helped start a school in the Bronx, worked in the office of New York Councilman Corey Johnson, and has been active in both national and local political campaigns.

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