Saturday, October 22, 2005


UP FRONT News October 28, 2005
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittngham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”

Brenda Stokely and I became acquainted in 1989 when she and I were both employed as social workers at the New York Association for New Americans (widely known as NYANA, a Jewish philanthropy-supported “non-profit” agency with the U.S. State Department-authorized task for the New York City resettlement of Jewish refugees from the then disintegrating Soviet Union and Tibetans managing to escape Genocide in their Chinese Communist-occupied “land of the snows.”

Ms. Stokely and I maintained a fairly amicable relationship for a few weeks. (She and I shared an interest in unionism, a very live issue at corporate NYANA.) The cordiality ended one day when the two of us went to lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Greenwich Village (where NYANA was located then; it subsequently moved further downtown to what is now the Ground Zero area). We were talking about politics when I said something uncomplimentary about Lenora Fulani, whose racism and Lyndon LaRouche, Jr.-style fascism I had written and spoken openly about. Ms. Stokely never said a civil word to me again. Indeed, from that point on, it became a war.

Ms. Stokely was not pleased that I was elected and re-elected as a shop steward in Dis- trict Council 1707, adopting a position that all efforts should be made in labor-manage- ment negotiations to assure a major pay raise for the lowest paid workers in an agency whose attitude towards labor might be similar to Dick Cheney’s views on pacifists. In- deed, Stokely, collaborating with a totally corrupt Union official named Flo Stern, arranged to have me temporarily removed as a shop steward in a maneuver that a top Dis- trict Council 1707 official described as a “lynching.” Brenda’s tenure as Lady Hoffa at NYANA didn’t last long as, at the next shop steward election, I was re-elected and she finished a very dead last. Stokely pretty much confined herself to recurrently collaborat- ing with management and occasionally shrieking at me at staff meetings, to the often eye-rolling amazement of other staff to whom she became anathema.

One day, after both Stokely and I had been working at NYANA for several years, a Russian refugee lady came up to me in the hallway, having no doubt heard my name as a source of help, sobbing, and spilling out a complaint about her social worker, Brenda Stokely. The Russian lady claimed that, in the privacy of Ms. Stokely’s small office, which provided privacy, the social worker had spent several minutes berating the family for its Jewishness, made uncomplimentary comments about their body hygiene and told them to go back to Russia. In the coming weeks, I heard similar stories from others, both clients and other staff, including translators, who sat in on almost every social work/client contact. There was no way, knowing Brenda Stokely’s propensity for shrieking tantrums in public, that I was going to approach my “colleague” directly. And so, stating that I had not personally witnessed any of the client incidents, I felt it necessary to request that the administration, then led by a total bureaucrat named Mark Handelman, look into the matter. From an administration that, in order not to ruffle State Department and Chinese Communist feathers, chastised me for using the word “Genocide” in UP FRONT News (a well known media source at NYANA), and which took a dim view of my pro-labor activism, I expected little. My expectations were fulfilled, as a high level adminisrator, unwilling to put anything into writing, would only confirm that there had been a serious problem and that it had been discussed with Ms. Stokely. The very diligent
Jewish clients, having had their share of racists in Russia and other places, reportedly having become aware of the racist at NYANA, reportedly tried to maneuver matters from the distance of the USSR in the weeks and months prior to their departure for the U.S. and NYANA so as not to wind up on Brenda Stokely’s case load.

Brenda Stokely seems to have a way of turning up at some meetings organized by City Councilmember Charles Barron and also those connected with the apparently still Farrakhan-led Million More March organization. To me and other readers of UP FRONT News, the negative irony of Brenda Stokely appearing and speaking at a City Council press conference honoring the iconic non-racist Rosa Parks is apparent. Ms. Parks, who passed away earlier this week, is not even in her grave yet and, in consideration of Brenda Stokeley, is already, at least metaphysically, spinning in it.

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