Dem Rep Requests $1.4 Million Earmark For ‘Social Justice’ Activist Center

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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A left-wing Congressman is asking for a $1.4 million earmark that will fund an activism center for “social justice” in New York City.

Democratic Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, who represents parts of Manhattan and the Bronx, submitted a request for the funds to the House Appropriations Committee in advance of the markup for budgetary legislation. The money, intended for the “St. Luke AME Center for Peace and Social Justice,” would be used to fund a “co-working space for community organizations, and innovation labs for art and activism” in the space of an “historic police precinct,” according to Espaillat’s website. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Asks For $10 Million Earmark To Bankroll Green Conservancy, Upgrade ‘MLK Fountain’)

The center, housed within a building run by St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church, is administered by the church’s local pastor, Rev. Stephen A. Green, who also chairs “Faith for Black Lives,” a group that espouses “racial justice” from a religious standpoint. That group’s website exhibits several social programs that it operates, such as “Shots for Tots,” a drive to vaccinate young children in minority communities against COVID-19, and a “Hunger Strike for Voting Rights” against GOP-led measures to reform voting laws in states.

Per the church’s Instagram page, it has hosted left-wing speakers such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, and has criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority for rulings that they claim have “failed America.” The church also called for “expanding the Supreme Court” to counter the “threats of fascism,” per its Instagram page. Green, the pastor, has also called for reparations for slavery, per its Facebook page.

The location of where the earmarked funds would be directed, moreover, is also the New York headquarters of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a left-wing group seeking to counter “environmental racism” in North Manhattan and which has called for restrictions on the use of gas stoves, per its website. WE ACT’s executive director, Peggy Shepard, is the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Co-Chair within the Biden administration.

Espaillat’s proposal did not specify how $1.4 million was estimated as the cost of the work required, or justify how the project was related federal policy.

Espaillat is regarded as one of the most left-wing members of Congress, with a lifetime score of 98.68% according to Progressive Punch, a left-wing website, which also ranks him as the 11th most progressive member in Congress. He is also the first illegal immigrant to serve in Congress, having overstayed in the United States on a tourist visa starting in 1964, later becoming a permanent resident and U.S. citizen.

The use of earmarks in Congress, where spending is directed to a specific recipient as opposed to general allocations, is controversial among conservatives, who argue that the money leads to “pork-barrel spending” and fosters patron-client relationships between members and their districts without any public policy value. “Earmarks are the currency of corruption,” wrote Grover Norquist, a longtime fiscal conservative activist and president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Espaillat, Green, and WE Act have been contacted for a comment.

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