New York, NY

Acorn study: Minority loan rejection high

November 13, 1998
Acorn, a national organization
of community groups, released a report this week showing minorities were rejected for home mortgages at a much higher rate than white applicants from 1995-1997.
     Rejection rates for minorities rose even as a strong economy, low interest rates, and easy terms allowed many families to buy homes for the first time.
     Acorn (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) studied data filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by 9,041 lenders in 35 cities. During the three years studied, the lenders examined took 4.91 million applications for conventional and government-backed home-purchase mortgages and originated 3.48 million loans.
     Acorn's study found nearly 33 percent of applications from blacks were rejected in 1997, up from 15 percent in 1995. Rejections of applications by Hispanics rose to 28 percent from 22 percent in the same period. 

Cop fired for riding racist float

October 10, 1998
Police Commisssioner Howard Safir followed through on his threat Saturday to fire a police officer for riding on a racist Labor Day parade float in Queens.
     ``It is my considered decision that Police Officer Joseph Locurto does not deserve to wear the shield of a New York Police Officer and should, in fact, be dismissed,'' Safir said in a statement issued early Saturday afternoon.
     The city suspended Locurto and two firefighters without pay on September 11 after they were identified as being among the nine people on a Labor Day parade float in Broad Channel, a predominantly white community in an isolated area of southern Queens.
     The men wore blackface and Afro-style wigs, threw watermelon and fried chicken and mocked the bias murder of a black man in Texas, all under the banner ``Black to the Future 2098.'' 

Giuliani suspends firefighters for parade

September 12, 1998
Reacting to what he called a "a disgusting display of racism," Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani suspended two firemen today and said he will soon suspend a policeman for riding in blackface on a Labor Day float that mocked last June's grisly dragging death of a black man in Texas.
     The Republican mayor, rushing to separate his administration from what he described as the behavior of "a few misguided, possibly sick, individuals," said the three men committed a "vicious kind of stereotypical displaying of African Americans" and "can no longer be trusted to be public employees of the city of New York." Giuliani said all three will likely be fired.

Signs claiming "racist quotas" cause furor

August 09, 1998
Signs celebrating New York's "battles for justice" have created a furor of their own because one of them accuses the Housing Authority of using "racist quotas" in Brooklyn to favor Hasidic Jews.
     The sign in the Williamsburg section has sparked several complaints and has twice been yanked down by city officials.
     Its status is up in the air as city officials try to persuade the sponsor, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, to tone down the language. 

Another bank merger drawing fire from activists

June 25, 1998
Community groups who say that Citicorp and Travelers Group don’t do enough business in low-income neighborhoods are lining up to oppose the proposed merger of the two financial giants.
      The latest salvo was fired Wednesday as a national community organization filed complaints in 11 cities with the federal department of Housing and Urban Development against the two companies.
      ACORN and other groups are expected to argue that Citibank, Citicorp’s banking subsidiary, has no better record in poor and minority neighborhoods than Travelers’. “Both parties are poor actors when it comes to servicing low- and moderate-income residents,” said Patrick Woodall, policy director for ACORN. “Here are two entities with bad records serving low-income communities, and it is very poor public policy to put them together.”

ACLU sues Yeshiva over refusal to rent to gay couple

June 24, 1998
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Wednesday against Yeshiva University, accusing it of discrimination for barring gay people from living in campus housing with their partners. The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, was brought on behalf of Sara Levin and Maggie Jones, medical students at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, which is a division of Yeshiva.
     "New York city and state law simply does not allow this type of discrimination against lesbian and gay couples," American Civil Liberties Union lead attorney Michael Adams told a news conference. "Because Yeshiva University has refused to comply with the law, we have no choice but to take legal action."

Organization files discrimination suit against Brooklyn realtors

March 13, 1998
The Open Housing Center of New York has filed a federal class action lawsuit accusing a Brooklyn realty company of illegal housing discrimination against African Americans. In the suit, the Open Housing Center seeks to require the realty firm to stop discriminating and to offer minorities equal opportunity at rental units. It also seeks monetary damages to pay for fair housing training and advertisements in minority media to inform minorities of rental units in the Bay Ridge area.

Anti-gay violence on the rise nationwide, watchdog groups say

March 03, 1998
As the media focused more attention on homosexuals last year, anti-gay violence and harassment also increased, a gay advocacy group said. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs said Tuesday that the number of such incidents it counted around the country increased by 2 percent in 1997 over the previous year.

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