"When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that door of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you."Michelle Obama
HCO: BRIDGING THE EQUITY GAP
Hamptons Community Outreach (HCO) works to bridge the equity gap experienced by underserved youth, families, and others across the East End. Its programs foster a more inclusive community across four areas of outreach: Food Outreach: Children, Mental Health, Crisis Outreach, and Youth Development. Under the direction of founder Marit Molin, a licensed social worker, HCO has achieved tremendous impact changing families’ lives. HCO’s efforts have drawn local and national media attention, and Ms. Molin was recognized as Suffolk County’s 2021 “Woman of Distinction.” HCO understands that the shame cycle of poverty can be disempowering and overwhelming. Most of its programs are delivered on site as a way to meet people where they are, bringing essential services directly to the communities that need them most.
“These programs are an absolute necessity on the East End where those with so many resources live alongside a huge underserved population, often unaware of these disparities”Judi CaronSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and co-chair HCO
i-tri: EMPOWERMENT THROUGH TRIATHLON
i-tri is an empowerment program for middle school girls through the sport of triathlon. i-tri girls learn to believe in themselves, and that can change everything. Along the journey to the finish line of a youth distance triathlon, i-tri girls discover that they are capable, strong and brave. They make connections that show them that while they are unique, they’re definitely not alone. Side by side, with new friends, i-tri girls learn to go inward to find their own strengths and to help others find theirs. All equipment, training and transportation are provided for free to every girl because i-tri believes personal circumstances should not hold any girl back from reaching her potential.
“I am in awe of the quality of this program and the vision of Theresa Roden, i-tri Founder and Chief Visionary officer. It literally has changed the lives of the girls that are lucky enough to be in the program. When they finish the triathlon, they have the confidence to conquer their fears and inhibitions which they carry into adulthood”Judi CaronSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and co-chair i tri girls
NEIGHBORS IN SUPPORT OF IMMIGRANTS
Since its inception about 15 years ago, NISI has locally and nationally advocated for legislation, policies and practices that improve the quality of life for immigrants. In addition to calling and writing to our elected officials, NISI has provided holiday gifts for children of farm workers, transportation to summer camp or summer school for children whose parents are not able to drive them, and scholarships to a SCOPE camp program on Hampton Bays Elementary/Middle School campus. Until Covid19, NISI raised funds through appeal letters to supporters and by the organization’s annual Celebration of Immigration each spring. NISI supporters and a Southampton Town Human Services grant enabled the team to continue its mission this year.
“NISI is an amazing organization! Year after year they provide bus service for camp or summer school so young immigrant children can be outside playing who otherwise would be locked in their homes alone while their parents are working. You have no idea how much this means to both the children and their parents”Ron KlausnerSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and NISI Board Member
HELPING SENIORS AND MINORITIES GET VACCINATED
Like many people around our district, SHDems are pitching in to help seniors and members of minority communities schedule appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine. With online appointment systems as a roadblock and only one New York State site in Suffolk County, SUNY Stony Brook, it was difficult for East End residents to get vaccinated. It has gotten a bit easier. NYS opened new sites at SUNY Stony Brook at Southampton and Suffolk County Community College. In addition, more local pharmacies are now offering vaccinations as well as Northwell Health in Riverhead. For information on appointment availability and to schedule an appointment, go here or here . For helpful hints on how to manage the online systems and for assistance, turn to the Long Island COVID-19 Vaccination Information group on Facebook.
“After getting appointments for myself and my family and seeing just how much it has lessened our anxiety about our health, I knew I wanted to try to give that gift to as many of our neighbors as I could. This amazing Facebook group was enormously helpful”Barbara Weber-FloydSouthampton Town Democratic Committee
RACE RELATIONS & SOCIAL JUSTICE
On January 18th, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork and the Social Justice Committee co-sponsored a program called “Shared Legacies,” featuring the film by that name and a zoom panel discussion afterwards to discuss the content of the film, race relations and social justice. The panelists were Reverend Kimberly Quinn Johnson, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork; Rabbi Daniel Geffen, Rabbi of Temple Adas Israel, and Peter Geffen, life-long civil rights activist who worked for Dr. King and the civil rights movement during the summers of 1965 and 1966. Andrea Klausner, Co-chair of the Social Justice Committee and Second Vice Chair of the SHDems moderated the discussion. The discussion covered such topics as the close-knit bond between the Black and Jewish communities during the Civil Rights Era; the subsequent erosion of that bond and why; the rise in racism, antisemitism and white supremacy domestic terror during the past 8 years; voter suppression and the rise of youth involvement in getting out the vote.
“The discussion was so engaging that we have scheduled a follow-up zoom call so that the audience may have the opportunity to engage with the panelists and ask questions.”Andrea KlausnerSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and Southampton Democratic Club
PROVIDING FOOD TO LOCAL LATINX FAMILIES
The Social Justice Committee is partnering with OLA to provide food to local LatinX families that are food vulnerable due to the Covid pandemic. We have “adopted” a number of families to whom we provide groceries in a weekly basis for a minimum commitment of 3 months. Prior to the new year, we had approximately 50 volunteers serving 8 families for almost 6 months. We currently serve 4 families, and could take on more families with more volunteers. The food delivery is done with all privacy and safety protocols in place. Volunteers are assigned a day and time each week to drop off their food in the labeled bins at Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, and the families are given a window of tone to pick up their food after the volunteers have left.
While many of these families are able to obtain canned food from other sources, our SJC / OLA cooperation is the only source of fresh food, including meats, vegetables, fruits, milk and eggs.
“OLA has been very lucky to have your support and all the care that you are putting into each week’s offering. These families have never reached out for such support before this crisis. You are showing them kindness and respect. We cannot thank you enough!”Minerva PerezSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and Executive Director OLA of Eastern Long Island
CONNECTING STUDENTS WITH FAMILIES IN NEED
Democrats in Southampton joined with the Southampton Rotary Club in a COVID-related food drive that connected students with families in need. The huge food drive was initiated through the schools where students decorated boxes and then filled them with groceries that were distributed to over 150 families, first for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. Southampton Rotary has helped to organize young person Rotarian clubs for the Southampton schools, with clubs in the elementary, middle and high school grades.
“I have been the secretary for the Southampton Rotary for 15 years and it is always our mission to help the community in times of need. This initiative, connecting students across all grades, elementary to high school, was particularly gratifying. Their decorated boxes were then delivered to five different food pantries in the Hamptons.”Alexis MayerSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and Southampton Democratic Club
HELPING LOCAL FOOD BANKS
Some of our members work closely with the Social Justice Committee of Temple Adas Israel, to help build bridges throughout the East End. The Social Justice Committee is instrumental in helping our most vulnerable populations through assistance with food, toy drives, gleanings at farms to donate fresh produce to local food pantries, mentoring youth, providing food and clothes for the homeless as well as sponsoring educational programs on racial injustice. Should you like to get involved, no need to be members of Temple Adas Israel or even to be Jewish. Just bring time and positive energy. Just be a mensch.
“It really lifts the spirit to see people of all ages and backgrounds come together to help their neighbors in need. This is community-building at its best.”Andi KlausnerSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and Social Justice Committee Temple Adas Israel
SUPPORTING FAMILIES IN NEED
Inspired by the benevolent work of Temple Adas Israel in Sag Harbor, the J.P. Spata Southampton Town Democratic Club responded initially by reaching out to the Eastern Long Island NAACP. They provided the names of two families in March, 2020. Members Ed Pavlak, Barbara Weber-Floyd and Joy Flynn purchased and delivered groceries to these two families in need, a senior citizen named Anna and a single mom with a five-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter. Once the single mother got on her feet, they began working with the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center which sent them weekly notices of food and supplies needed. The Club also received donations from other members to further provide more assistance.
“Anna was always concerned that she was asking for too much and was always extremely thankful for each delivery. I was happy to help her. She is an example of the grace and appreciation of those in genuine need.”Ed PavlakSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and Eastern Long Island NAACP
POSTCARDS TO VOTERS
We continued our voter outreach after Election Day with a get-out-the-vote action for the Georgia runoff, helping to elect Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the U.S. Senate and hand Democrats the Senate majority. In only two months, over 3500 messages were sent to voters. Volunteers worked with several groups, including Postcards to Voters (PTV). PTV began in 2017 with a small group of volunteers mailing postcards in support of Ossoff’s congressional race and has grown to a nationwide effort of over 75,000 volunteers and 8 million postcards.
“I first started working with PTV for the midterm election in 2018. They make it easy to get involved, emailing you the scripts and the addresses and I love personalizing my postcards to voters with stickers and drawings.”Barbara Weber-FloydSouthampton Town Democratic Committee and Postcards to Voters (PTV)
GETTING OUT THE VOTE
Southampton Democrats worked tirelessly before the general election to help get-out-the-vote in the battleground states for Biden-Harris and other Democratic candidates in House and Senate races. With phone calls, text messages, letters and handwritten postcards, we helped generate the Democratic turnout that won the election. Many worked on a postcard initiative organized by East End Action Network (EEAN), spearheaded by JP Spata Southampton Democratic Club and EEAN member, Sharon Adams. Working with a long list of organizations – Postcards to Voters, Postcards to Swing States, Moms Rising and many more – Sharon assisted 80 writers mail postcards for the 2020 election.
“We did it! Thanks to our group of volunteers who wrote 8,048 postcards to Democrats to help get-out-the-vote, we voted out the worst president in modern history by the highest turnout of voters ever.”Sharon AdamsSouthampton Democratic Club and East End Action Network