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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Cuomo

A photo of Hudson River Park taken at sunset.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

In June of 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo established a commission to seek out a design for a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida that had happened earlier that month. Submissions were accepted in October, and on Sunday, June 25th 2017, the winning design was announced

Anthony Goicolea, the victorious designer, was perhaps destined to win it. A Cuban-American who grew up in the south and now shares a Brooklyn home with his husband, he is a part of the communities hit hardest by the shooting, which stands as the deadliest civilian incident of gun violence in the United States.

His design is an arrangement of nine boulders, most of them bisected by thick, polished layers of refractive glass. The glass slices will act as prisms, using any available light to throw rainbows in all directions. The boulders, in their loose circle, will remind visitors to the space of ancient sites, like Stonehenge and burial mounds.

“This monument will serve as a communal space filled with light, color, and hope where the visitors can sit, mourn, love, and remember for years to come,” Giocolea stated. 

The site of the new monument, Hudson River Park, is Giocolea’s home turf. He often runs there. And it is an important place to the LGBT community as well; the Stonewall Inn is only a short walk away.

“It feels like there are certain shapes and patterns that are encoded in our DNA as humans that transcend any particular culture and speak to how we are unified in the larger scheme,” Giocolea added. “I wanted to create a space that feels familiar, even though it is new.”

While the announcement of the winning design was timed to coincide with NYC Pride festivities, there is currently no official date for the completion of the installation.

A photo of a LGBT parade. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stands among the advocates.

Photo credit: Lev Radin / Shutterstock

New York City is seeking submissions as we speak for an art installation to memorialize LGBT “victims of hate, intolerance, and violence,” with a nod towards New York’s part in the history of queer activism. The memorial will have its place in Hudson River Park.

“New York has a storied history of being at the forefront of the fight for equal rights and it is essential that we always honor the people who sought to achieve fairness for the LGBT community,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on October 20th in a prepared statement.

This memorial will be one of Cuomo’s own projectshe personally established the LGBT Memorial Commission after the June 12th Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. The Commission will be the ones to review and select a shortlist of designs, and Cuomo will select which one will go forward.

Cuomo’s commission is hearteningit features representatives from LGBT activist groups and LGBT health groups, CEOs of nonprofits for women and minorities, and the commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

Cuomo’s record on behalf of his LGBT constituents show that this memorial is more than an empty gesture. It was under his hand that New York passed its Marriage Equality Act in 2011, and in 2015, Cuomo signed into law regulations protecting transgender individuals in their jobs, their homes, and in business. He has also made a political commitment to making New York the first state to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, ban conversion therapy, and ensure equal rights to insurance and health care for trans individuals.

Whichever artist is chosen (and anyone from the state is welcome to submit) will have access to a budget of $800,000 to design, fabricate, install, and promote the memorial. Hopeful applicants have until November 21st to apply. A decision will be reached in December.

Image: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Image: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that repealed every local LGBT anti-discrimination law and requires individuals to use the bathroom that matches with the biological gender written on their birth certificate.

Because of this, the state of New York just joined other cities in the nation including Seattle and San Francisco in restricting non-essential public-employee travel to North Carolina. Backlash also includes the NBA threatening to pull next year’s All Star game out of Charlotte. Companies including American Airlines, Facebook and Paypal are also against the law.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive order bans “all taxpayer-funded trips trip to North Carolina, unless they’re essential to public health or law enforcement.”

“In New York, we believe that all people—regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation—deserve the same rights and protections under the law. From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Cuomo instituted a similar ban on nonessential state travel. This also happened to Indiana in 2015 following the passing of SB 101, a “religious freedom” bill.

What are your thoughts on Cuomo’s decision?

A 2013 poll from Out and Equal Workplace Advocates revealed that 67 percent of American adults now believe that nationwide marriage equality is inevitable. Happily, this opinion is one that is shared with many politicians, legal advisors and analysts, and policymakers across the country. With marriage equality momentum gaining in states from coast to coast, it appears that the freedom to marry nationwide is in fact inevitable.marriage-equality

Prominent political figures such as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, former Vice President Al Gore, former First Lady Laura Bush, the Clintons President Barack Obama, and many others have come out in support of marriage equality. President Obama once said, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages,” a statement that many politicians have echoed.

Celebrities, attorneys, judges, and social commenters have also been influential in directing the national dialogue about marriage equality. Kendall Coffey, an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law has been gauging the fight for marriage equality through a legal lens, and notes that the momentum is going to continue. Even Florida, an unlikely state to champion marriage equality amid its southern neighbors has had multiple judges vote in favor of the freedom to marry. Coffey and other legal analysts predict that his kind of momentum will only grow, and that inevitably, same-sex marriages will be legally permitted nationwide.

Adam Buska’s NOH8 Campaign is another place that reveals just how many individuals support same-sex marriage. Those who are photographed for the campaign are essentially pledging their support for the freedom to marry; the photographs feature celebrities, politicians, lawyers, television and news personalities, athletes, and other people from all walks of life.

With so many influential figures and the majority of the American public showing their support for marriage equality, hopefully it won’t be too long before same-sex marriages are recognized nationwide.

Image via paintings /