An Attempt to Scare Residents and Prevent Passage of the Bill?
Binghamton, NY -- Misinformation is being spread by the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the police union, about the content of the Police Modernization Law being considered by the Binghamton City Council. The public, including many human services and advocacy organizations and religious leaders, has demonstrated strong support for this legislation, and it has the support of a majority of city council members. This week, however, a memo from the PBA was circulated among the rank and file members, residents and business owners on Binghamton’s West Side stating that if the law is passed, police will no longer be able to respond to information provided by the victim of a crime and will no longer be able to present suspects to crime victims for identification. These statements are completely false and this memo appears to be an unfortunate scare tactic intended to shift public support away from passage of the law.
In addition to the memo, it has been reported that some Binghamton police officers are telling residents that the law will require them, during minor traffic stops, to ask intrusive questions about their religion and sexual orientation. These statements are also completely untrue. The law does not require the police to ask anyone about anything.
What the law does say is that racial profiling and bias-based policing are wrong and illegal and that a person's race alone cannot be used to assign suspicion. The law still allows police to use race as part of the description of a suspect as long as they have probable cause to believe that the suspect (of that particular race) is linked to specific illegal activity. What the law does do is establish the following priorities: tracking, analysis and reporting of data collected during standard police investigations; cultural competency and anti-bias training for our officers; and development of a plan to diversify the police force. And it allows the specific plans for implementation of these priorities to be developed over 6 months, through dialogue and cooperation among the police, city leaders, and the community. These are all proactive and positive measures to provide our officers the resources and support they need to build trust between the police and residents of color in our community and to prevent a racially charged tragedy, like we’ve seen in the national headlines, from happening in our city.
The Police Administration has stated on multiple occasions that the Binghamton police do not racially profile. We applaud their commitment to fairness and justice, and ask: if they do not racially profile, why are they so opposed to a law making racial profiling illegal?
The current draft of the legislation can be found here on the City of Binghamton website: http://www.binghamton-ny.gov/city-council-business-meeting-61 or at tinyurl.com/PoliceModernizationAct.
There will be a Public Hearing on the Police Modernization Law (LL15-2) on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 6:30pm in City Council Chambers.
Two murals created at Mural Fest and used here on a boarded up building as part of a blight mitigation project funded by the Chenango Co Arts Council, NYS Decentralization grant and the Hoyt Foundation. The Dept of Public Art, a group of volunteers dedicated to public art, are placing original murals on boarded up properties in Binghamton, in an attempt to bring attention to buildings that can be re-purposed and to bring art to neighborhoods with blighted properties. Three other properties have been chosen for new murals and artists may submit proposals by August 19th. Info binghamtonbridgeATgmail.com.
Photo Left mural panel painted by Jesse Ryan, and on the right by Mural Arts Students, Bracken, Zizak and Yetsko.
First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City would like to invite you to an extraordinary event: A Free Concert for Johnson City on Sunday, September 27th featuring Brother Sun. Fusing folk, Americana, blues, pop, jazz, rock, and a cappella singing, Brother Sun is an explosion of musical diversity and harmony, in the finest of male singing traditions.
After viewing the February 10, 2015 Press and Sun Bulletin article, Johnson City and Binghamton in Top 10 Most Dangerous Places in NY, the congregation decided to raise hope and fellowship within our community. Brother Sun compositions promote love, social justice, and faith in humanity, “where unsung heroes struggle and sometimes win the daily battles of life and love.” The event is totally free, so please invite family, co-workers, and friends.
First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City is covering the first $500 of the $2500 cost of the event. We are asking Johnson City business owners to contribute a $500 match to offset expenses in exchange for a placard demonstrating your donation in support of the Johnson City community.
If you are able to contribute to this event in any way, please contact Diane Olmstead immediately at 759-0467.
The following sponsorships are also available:
$400 Advertising in television, radio, and print media
$300 Lodging for the three musicians
$200 Printing of posters and flyers for distribution
$100 A meal for performers and workers the day of the event
We hope you will join us in spirit and in person for the this wonderful opportunity to deliver a message to those residing and working in the Johnson City and Binghamton area that we are still a neighborhood of caring people.
Photographers Bill Gorman and Geof Gould Exhibiting New Work at the Cooperative Gallery 213
September Song: Portraits of Autumn, the title of Bill Gorman’s latest exhibit, will be sharing space at the Cooperative Gallery 213 with Geof Gould’s latest work titled Southern Exposures. Both photographers, who have exhibited together over the years, work in vibrant colors and spectacular landscapes. The exhibit will open with a reception, open to the public, on Thursday August 6th from 5 -8 PM, will continue through First Friday on August 7th from 3-9 PM and will close on Saturday, August 29th.Through the month of August the Gallery is open to view the exhibits on Fridays from 3-6 PM and Saturdays from 12-4.
Gould’s exhibit Southern Exposures will feature photographs of people as well as a few nature photos. Most of the images are from Chile, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Jamaica, and Peru with a few from the American Southwest. Geof is known as a landscape photographer and in this show he focuses on people to great effect.
Gorman’s September Song; Portraits of Autumn will feature a number of large scale photographic portraits of autumn leaves of late fall as well as leaf portraits printed on canvas. According to Gorman, “The show is really about the passing of time, about aging and the complex beauty of aging.” The Kurt Weil-Maxwell Anderson song inspired the exhibit: “The autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, ...when the days come down to a precious few...September, November.” Some of his leaf photos are hugely enlarged and are sharp in details and colors.
The Cooperative Gallery 213 is located in downtown Binghamton on State of the Art, 213 State Street. For more information and newsletter sign up go to: www.cooperativegallery.com or to the Cooperative Gallery 213's Facebook page. Regular hours are First Friday 3- 9 pm, other Fridays 3-6pm, Saturdays, 12-4pm, and by appointment with the artists.
1 Dressed for a Procession by Geof Gould
This Topsy Turvy Bus is headed to Windsor. They do environmental education about sustainability. The bus runs on vegetable oil from restaurants. It was originally created by Ben of Ben & Jerry's to protest federal aid for war but not education. Teva is a Jewish Environmental project which goes on tour to educate people, especially young people. More info at ?#topsyturvybus? and FB Topsy Turvy Teva Bus Tour.
Artist Ruth Harasta’s lifetime of art will be the subject of a special four day retrospective exhibit at the Cooperative Gallery 213 from July 30-August 2nd, 2015 as part of the gallery's Fifth Weekend series. “Harasta’s art stands the test of time,” commented Peg Johnston, President of the gallery, “and this is a wonderful opportunity to see her body of work.” The gallery has special hours for the Ruth Harasta: Retrospective: Thursday July 30th, 5-8 pm; Friday July 31st from 3-9 pm with a reception from 6-9 pm; Saturday August 1 from 12- 8 pm; and Sunday August 2, 12-5 pm.
Cooperative Gallery member Nancy Ryan is Harasta's daughter and an accomplished artist who will also be exhibiting along with other family members, Dori Murnieks, and Audrey Ryan. Ryan and her siblings have recovered several of her mother's work for this show. Many pieces of her work were damaged during the flooding, but the gallery will be filled with abstract pieces as well as drawings, prints, and fashion illustration from Harasta’s tenure as a fashion illustrator at Fowler, Dick and Walker Dept. store.
The Cooperative Gallery is sponsoring special exhibits and events in the months that have 5 weekends in them. The Cooperative Gallery, a popular stop on the First Friday Art Walk, located at 213 State Street in Binghamton, is open on Frist Friday 3- 9 pm and regularly Fridays from 3-6 and Saturdays from 12- 4 pm. See also Facebook at Cooperative Gallery 213 and sign up for the weekly e-newsletter at www.cooperativegallery.com or on the Facebook page.
Ruth Harasta Biography
Ruth Harasta was born August 17, 1926 to Doris M. and Warren E. Pratt. She lived on her family’s farm on Oakdale Road in Johnson City until 1945 when she married John Harasta. They raised four children in the home that John built a short distance from her parents.
A keen interest in art motivated Ruth to develop skills in drawing and painting. Self-educated in the area of visual arts, and a lover of books, she studied the works of old and modern masters. Her personal artistic interests were based largely in the abstract expressionist movement and she produced large works on canvas in this genre.
In the late 1950s she was hired at Fowler Dick and Walker department store where she worked as a fashion illustrator until the store’s closing in 1980.
Local memberships included the Fine Arts Society of the Southern Tier, the Stevens Square Gallery and The Artists Guild. In the 1970s she became interested in printmaking and began attending classes at SUNY Binghamton. At that time she became a member of Manhattan Graphics in New York City. She enjoyed exhibiting in a number of solo and group shows locally, national, and internationally. She was proud to have participated in nearly every Mini Print International, an annual exhibition put on by the Studio School and Art Gallery.
In 1989 Ruth became an employee of the Discovery Center of the Southern Tier, where she painted numerous exhibits until her retirement in April of 2006.
In 2008 Ruth suffered a near fatal accident from which she never fully recovered. She passed away on February 2, 2015.
Glenda Blake's exhibit, The Body Electric takes as its inspiration the Walt Whitman poem, I Sing the Body Electric, and she thoughtfully reprinted the poem in poster size. It's a long poem and, written in 1855, it seems bold in its sensuality, but also in its praise of not just men's bodies (Whitman was a lover of men), but also women's bodies.
This excerpt is a good example of Whitman's love of the male body:
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.
His description of women's bodies is erotic:
Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love, white-blow and delirious juice,
Bridegroom night of love working surely and softly into the prostrate dawn,
Undulating into the willing and yielding day,
Lost in the cleave of the clasping and sweet-flesh’d day.
He goes on to say:
Be not ashamed women, your privilege encloses the rest, and is the exit of the rest,
You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.
The poem also tackles slavery from the sheer physicality of the commonness of humanity.
Within there runs blood,
The same old blood! the same red-running blood!
There swells and jets a heart, there all passions, desires, reachings, aspirations,
(Do you think they are not there because they are not express’d in parlors and lecture-rooms?)
Heady inspiration for an artist. Glenda clearly has immersed herself and her talent in the human figure. As someone at her show remarked, "you know how the body works!" It's a good show to spend some time with, to notice your own body and the feel of weight and strength and pressure.
It's only up one more week --Friday 3-6 and Saturday 12-4 and by appointment. Also appearing with Chuck Haupt's engaging black and white photos of London. Will be time well spent.
(poetry quoted from the Poetry Foundation http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174740)