Introducing Vendy Plaza @ La Marqueta!

Please join us this Sunday (and every Sunday through November 23rd) for an exciting new event at La Marqueta: Vendy Plaza, presented by La Marqueta Retoña. Vendy Plaza is an outdoor food market with live Latin jazz and a cash bar. Stop by La Placita at 115th Street and Park Avenue anytime between 12 noon and 6 pm for great food and a great time. Please help us spread the word on social media!

Updated Marqueta Art

Discretionary Funding Process for Fiscal Year 2015

The discretionary funding process for Fiscal Year 2015 is underway and deadlines are fast approaching. Please find application instructions below.

EXPENSE FUNDING

To apply for expense funding, please visit http://council.nyc.gov/html/budget/application.shtml. Please be sure to follow all instructions carefully.

The deadline for submitting your expense funding application and all required documents is Friday, March 21, 2014. There will be NO exceptions made to this deadline. Please complete the application on time.

CAPITAL FUNDING

• City Capital Projects: Schools and other city facilities interested in applying for capital funding should send an e-mail request to aking@council.nyc.gov and mvelez@council.nyc.gov.

• Non-City Capital Projects: All groups interested in applying for non-city capital funding (except cultural organizations) should visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/capgrants/capgrants.html.

• Non-City Cultural Projects: If you are a cultural group interested in applying for non-city capital funding, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/funding/capital.shtml.

The deadline for submitting your capital funding application to the City Council is Wednesday, April 9, 2014. There will be NO exceptions made to this deadline. Please complete the application on time.

Join Us at Our Annual Peace March This Friday

 

This Friday, we will hold our annual El Barrio/East Harlem Peace March, which will be led by local youth and is sponsored by Melissa and Senator Jose M. Serrano. We will gather on 116th Street and Madison Avenue at 5:00 pm and will depart promptly at 5:30 pm. From there, we will head east on 116th Street, south on Lexington Avenue and east on 106th Street, where we will end at the East Harlem Tree Lighting at 3rd Avenue.

Please join us and stand up for peace in our community!

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NYC Council Passes Resolutions to Help Students Facing Exorbitant Student Loan Debt

We’ve all heard about the student debt crisis in our country. The New York City Council passed two resolutions on Monday related to our ballooning student debt. Melissa sponsored one of the two resolutions, in support of the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, which would reduce the interest rate of federal subsidized Stafford student loans for one year from the current 3.4% to 0.75%.

Want to show your support for reducing student debt? Click here to sign a petition by Senator Elizabeth Warren, in support of her bill, which would allow students to pay the same rate that banks pay to borrow money from the government for one year.

If Congress does not act before this coming Monday, the interest rates of all federal student loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%, a move that would have devastating impacts across the country. The federal legislation supported by these Council esolutions can allow students to refinance their student loans as well as lower interest rates to those offered to U.S. banks by the Department of the Treasury.

Currently, over 38 million people have student loan debt obligations, amounting to close to $1 trillion. Over the last 10 years, student loan debt has quadrupled from $240 billion in 2003. With the planned increase in federal Stafford loans, more defaults are expected as currently, students are not able to refinance their loans.

“Our two resolutions send a clear message from New York City that we demand action in Congress on measures that will lower student loan debt. We must continue to invest in our young people without asking them to assume such a high level of debt in return, especially in today’s economy. The planned doubling of interest rates will only discourage prospective college students from seeking to better themselves through higher education. That is why I am supporting Senator Warren’s proposal to lower interest rates to the same level that banks pay for at least one year, as well as Senator Gillibrand’s legislation for a long-term fix. We cannot continue to be held hostage by forces in our country that want to do nothing else but impede our President’s agenda while turning a blind eye to our most vulnerable. Senators Gillibrand and Warren are both showing incredible leadership on this issue and I thank them as well as Higher Education Chair Rodriguez for ushering these resolutions to passage in the City Council.”

Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

SNS_1210-header2_0Stop ‘N’ Swap is coming to East Harlem! A Stop ‘N’ Swap is a community-based event where residents bring in items they no longer want, and come to take things they do want. The events are free and residents don’t have to bring something to take something.  The items are sorted upon arrival, and at the end of the day all leftovers are either donated or recycled.

WHO: GrowNYC’s Office of Recycling Outreach and Education and the Urban Garden Center
WHAT: Stop ‘N’ Swap
WHEN: Sunday, June 30, 2013. 12 PM – 3 PM
WHERE: La Placita at La Marqueta (116th St & Park Ave) with Urban Garden Center’s FleaMarqueta
Click here for the flyer in English and Spanish.

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Please note that NYC’s plastic recycling guidelines just got a whole lot easier! Recycling is one of the simplest and most effective ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, so please – do your part. If you have any questions about what you should or should not be recycling, you can refer to NYC Recycles.

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Immigration Reform Roundtable: What New Yorkers Need to Know

Please join us on Saturday, June 29th at MIST Harlem for a free community forum and resource fair – Immigration Reform Roundtable: What New Yorkers Need to Know. This event is a chance to hear from and speak to the experts about efforts to establish federal immigration reform, how to avoid becoming a victim to immigration fraud, and learning your rights from the law enforcement and deportation aspect. Additionally, there will be many resources and services available to the immigrant community at this forum. Spanish, Chinese and French interpretation services will be  provided.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, African Services Committee, African Advisory Committee, Asian American Federation, Casa Puebla, Centro Civico Cultural Dominicano Inc, Chinese American Planning Council, Coalition for Asian American Children & Families, Dominican Sunday,  Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Manhattan Immigrant Rights Task Force, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights and New York Council of Imams
WHAT: A community forum and resource fair – Immigration Reform Roundtable: What New Yorkers Need to Know
WHEN: Saturday, June 29th – 8:30 AM to 1 PM. 8:30 AM Doors Open/Breakfast; Program 9:30 AM Sharp
WHERE: MIST Harlem – 46 West 116th Street (between Lenox and 5th Avenues)

RSVP to Kate Spaulding at kspaulding@manhattanbp.org or (212) 669-2094

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

SOUTH BRONX: Apply to NYC Summer Quest 2013

summerquestNYC Summer Quest is a free, five-week, full day summer learning program that provides elementary and middle school students with fun, hands-on enrichment experiences while strengthening their academic skills. DOE teachers and educators from community-based organizations collaborate to offer students Common-Core aligned instruction, enrichment activities, sports and recreation, and field trips. Last summer, 90% of parents surveyed reported that NYC Summer Quest was a good balance of fun and learning, and 90% of parents would recommend the NYC Summer Quest program to other parents.

For Summer 2013, the program will be offered in 11 schools in Community School Districts 7, 9, and 12 in the South Bronx. The following Bronx schools and community-based partners have been selected to offer the program:

  • PS 5 Port Morris/LEAP (Learning thruogh an Expanded Arts Program)
  • PS 153 Jonathan D. Hyatt/YMCA of Greater New York – Bronx
  • PS 179/BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)
  • PS 63 Author’s Academy/BELL
  • PS/IS 218 Rafael Hernandez Duel Language Magnet School/BELL
  • CS 211/Children’s Aid Society
  • CS 300 School of Science and Applied Learning/Good Shepherd Services
  • JHS 162 Lola Rodriguez de Tio/Oasis Children’s Services
  • South Bronx Academy for Applied Media/Partnership with Children
  • Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science/Wingspan Arts
  • IS 313 School of Leadership Development/Oasis Children’s Services

All elementary and middle school students attending public school in Districts 7, 9, and 12 are eligible to sign up through July 11, 2013. Capacity is limited. Priority enrollment is offered to students who attend the schools listed above. 

If your child attends one of the schools listed above, contact your school principal or parent coordinator to learn more and to apply. If your child attends an elementary or middle school in Districts 7, 9, and 12 and you would like further information, please email: nycsummerquest@schools.nyc.gov.

You can read more about NYC Summer Quest at this link.

Click here for a PDF flyer with the above information in English & Español.

Did You Know That The G.E.D. Test Will Change in 2014?

On January 1, 2014 the G.E.D. exam is going to change, which means that if you’ve been working towards your G.E.D. but have yet to complete it, your scores will become invalid and you will have to start all over again. Come learn about the changes and how you can finish your G.E.D. in 2013 at the Union Settlement Association Youth Center at Washington Houses (1775 Third Avenue at 98th Street) on Wednesday, June 26th from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.

Whether you are planning to continue your education, find better employment, or want to assist a family member with his or her studies – obtaining your G.E.D. is an essential step in the process. Regardless of when you dropped out of high school, now is as good a time as ever to complete your G.E.D., especially if you already began the process.

GEDWHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
WHAT: Finish Your GED in 2013
WHEN: Wednesday, June 26th – 5:30 to 7:30 PM
WHERE: Union Settlement Association Youth Center at Washington Houses – 1775 Third Avenue (at 98th Street)

For more information, contact Lauren Quinones at (212) 828-9800 or lquinones@council.nyc.gov.

BRONX YOUTH: NYC Justice Corps & DYCD Building Trades Program Open House

The Phipps Turning Point Center will be holding two upcoming open houses for Bronx youth, next week. The NYC Justice Corps will be in attendance, which is a program that serves court involved youth ages 18-24. As will the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Out-of-School Youth’s (OSY) Building Trades Program (Electrical/Plumbing) that serves youth ages 16-21. Both programs offer Education (GED/College/Vocational Trade), Workforce (internship/job placement) and Life Skills development.

These are great opportunities for young people, ages 16-24, that are currently out of school and out of work. Interviews will be held on the spot, so we would advise that applicants come prepared.

474699_10151623920342978_364044482_oWHEN:   Monday, June 17, 2013 11 AM to 12 PM; and Tuesday, June 18, 2013 11 AM to 12 PM
WHERE: Phipps Turning Point Center, 1409 Fulton Avenue (between East 170th St and Third Ave), Bronx

Melissa Speaks at the Committee on Finance & Public Housing Hearing

housinghearing1NYCHA’s Section 8 housing subsidies have been drastically cut by $205 million because of  the federal sequester, which will lead in 500 lay-offs, a hiring freeze, community center closures, and program cuts.  This travesty is just part of the bigger picture, which Melissa talked about earlier in the Chambers of City Hall during the Committee on Finance & Public Housing hearing that took place this morning. The Republican party is holding our nation hostage because of politics and preventing our President from moving his agenda forward. We need to come together as a city and tell Congress that we will not allow our community to suffer.

Welcome to Our Temporary Blog!

As many of you may know, due to social media guidelines that are in place during the 2013 election season, we are taking a hiatus from mmviverito.com but will continue to post on Melissa’s work as the Council Member of District 8 as well as any events, etc. in the community on this brand new, temporary blog – mmviveritoD8.wordpress.com.

If you would like to subscribe to our blog or email blasts, you can still do so at mmviverito.com. At this time, we cannot provide email updates, so to receive up to the minute updates we would recommend that you follow Melissa’s Twitter (@MMViverito) or Like Melissa on Facebook.

Now that we got that business out of the way, let’s have a great summer!

Join Melissa in the Bronx to Rally to Save Child Care & After-School Programs, Tomorrow

Melissa, along with Council Member Annabel Palma, Campaign for Children, The Children’s Aid Society and Good Shepherd Services will be holding a rally to save child care and after-school services in the Bronx tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12th at 4 PM outside the Bronx courthouse.

Because of the Mayor’s budget cuts, over 47,000 more children will lose child care and after-school programs. Click here to read the Campaign for Children’s full report: “NYC is Going Backwards: What the Mayor’s Budget Cuts to Child Care and After-School Mean for New York’s Children and Families.” This budget cut is simply unacceptable – there is too much at stake.

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WHO: Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito and  Annabel Palma, Campaign for ChildrenThe Children’s Aid Society and Good Shepherd Services
WHAT: Bronx Rally to Save Child Care and After-School Programs
WHEN: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 4 PM
WHERE: Bronx Courthouse, 861 Grand Concourse

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

NEW DATE: Join Us For The 7th Annual Power of Aging Well Health Festival

We have identified a NEW DATE for the Power of Aging Well Health Festival for our older adults. It will take place on Thursday, September 5th from 10 am to 2 pm at Thomas Jefferson Park. Please join us!

In one week from today, Thursday, June 13, 2013, from 10 AM to 2 PM, Melissa, in collaboration with Metropolitan Hospital Center and NYC Department of Aging will hold their Power of Aging Well Annual Health Festival at Thomas Jefferson Park. Please join us for this annual festival that’s dedicated to our senior population. It is always a enjoyable day filled with entertainment, art, exercise and even health screenings. Please help us spread the word to your older family members or neighbors who could benefit from this festival. We hope to see you there!

Senior Fair 2013 English Senior Fair 2013 Spanish

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Metropolitan Hospital Center, NYC Department for the Aging, NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation, and Metroplus Medicare
WHAT: The Power of Aging Well Annual Health Festival
WHEN: Thursday, September 5, 2013. 10 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Thomas Jefferson Park (First Avenue between East 112th and East 114th Streets)

El Barrio/East Harlem: Volunteer to Clean Up Our Streets!

It is not news that East Harlem faces a challenge with littering. This is a problem that Melissa has previously addressed and is now calling for your help. If you are as tired of litter in our community as we are, please volunteer and  join Melissa and our office on Saturday, June 22nd from 10 AM to 1 PM  in sweeping our sidewalks, showing our community that we take pride in our neighborhood! For the full flyer and schedule of the days events, please click here. We hope to see you there!

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Boys and Girls Harbor, SCAN NY La Isla Beacon Program, ABV and more to be announced.
WHAT: East Harlem Community Clean-Up
WHEN: Saturday, June 22, 2013. 10 AM to 1 PM
WHERE: Meeting at 10 AM at Council Member Mark-Viverito’s District Office (105 East 116th Street, between Lexington & Park Avenues)
RSVP OR FOR MORE INFO: Email NewsFromMelissa@gmail.com or call (212) 828-9800

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Melissa Co-Sponsored a Memorial Day “Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament” in East Harlem

0_0_0_0_250_185_csupload_48858404On Monday, May 27th , Melissa co-sponsored Hoops by the River’s annual ‘Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament‘ which was attended by over 300 youth in East Harlem’s Jefferson Park. Melissa has been a very strong supporter of the Hoops by the River (HBTR) basketball league, which provides hundreds of children and teenagers with quality and competitive sports programming, serving as a tool for youth development to combat violence and obesity in the community. League Director Will Kelly presented an award to Melissa for her continuous support.

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Melissa recently allocated $300,000 to renovate the Jefferson basketball courts, after the proposal won over 500 community votes as part of our district’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. This was largely due to the participation, hard work and advocacy of HBTR director Will Kelly and his son, Will Kelly II, in the PB process. The upgraded courts will provide East Harlem’s young athletes with a safe and attractive space to compete year round.

Melissa is Outraged About the Use of the Puerto Rican Flag on Beer Cans

Photo Credit: Latino Rebels

Photo Credit: Latino Rebels

Just two years after MillerCoor’s offensive EMBORÍCUATE ads (that were ultimately pulled down due to the mass outrage on social media outlets) the Puerto Rican flag is now being placed on cans of Coors Light as a “stamp of approval” from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. Coors Light’s sponsorship and marketing for the Parade directly correlates our culture to an offensive stereotype of alcoholism, which is especially shocking when the theme of this year’s parade is Health.

Melissa has wrote a letter to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade’s Chairperson, Madelyn Lugo, along with four fellow Puerto Rican elected officials, expressing their disappointment of the Parade’s board and sponsors. Instead of focusing on the positive attributes and contributions of the Puerto Rican community, the sponsors that are working with the Parade have misrepresented our culture as a whole.

Here is a copy of the letter sent to Ms. Lugo, below:

If you are as equally disturbed as we are, share your concerns with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (Twitter: @PRparadeNYC/Facebook), who has chosen to align themselves with MillerCoors.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS IN THE NEWS:

Join Melissa for East Harlem Family Day on Saturday, June 1st

Melissa will be attending East Harlem Family Day on Saturday, June 1st at PS 7’s playground on East 119th & Lexington Avenue. East Harlem Family Day is going to be a day filled with fun activities for the entire family, like rock climbing and pro basketball training – so make sure to stop by!

EHfamilyday

WHAT: East Harlem Family Day
WHEN: Saturday, June 1, 2013. Noon – 4 PM
WHERE: East 119th Street & Lexington Avenue (P.S. 7’s playground)

Let’s Combat Stigma, Homophobia & Transphobia in Our Community

Melissa, State Senator José Serrano, and the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network are sponsoring an all-inclusive roundtable discussion entitled “Bridging the Gap; Expanding the Dialogue” that will be held on Friday, June 7th from 9 AM to 11:30 AM at the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence. This dialogue is intended to broaden conversations about sexuality and gender identity in El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. This is a chance for you to have an interactive discussion between elected officials and other members of the community about the best ways we can combat stigma, homophobia and transphobia in our community.

bridgingthegap

WHO: Sponsored by: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, State Senator José Serrano, Jr., the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network; along with co-sponsors: Anti-Violence Project, Bailey House, Harlem United, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
WHAT: Bridging the Gap; Expanding the Dialogue: Combating Stigma, Homophobia, and Transphobia in our Communities
WHEN: Friday, June 7th from 9 AM to 11:30 AM
WHERE: East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence. 161-169 East 110th Street, 1st floor (between Lexington & Third Avenues)
MANDATORY RSVP: Joe Pressley at (212) 828-9800 or jpressley@council.nyc.gov 

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa’s Plans to Keep East Harlem Clean

Melissa and NYC Department of Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty unveiled a set of upgraded litter baskets on 18 corners in El Barrio/East Harlem on Friday, in an effort to reduce litter along the 3rd Avenue commercial corridor. Melissa allocated $10,000 in discretionary funding in the current fiscal year to cover the cost of the baskets. The upgraded litter baskets offer 25-30% more capacity and help discourage individuals from using these public baskets to deposit commercial or household refuse. Melissa funded the litter baskets after hearing from many residents about the persistent litter problem in the community, including during neighborhood assemblies that are held annually as part of the district’s Participatory Budgeting (PB) process. We would like to thank the Sanitation Department their swift response once we brought the concerns to their attention. 

“We have been hearing from across the community a level of frustration regarding the amount of litter on our streets and sidewalks, and I share that frustration,” said Melissa. “Efforts to reduce litter must be multi-pronged and my office is prepared to work with other concerned community stakeholders in seeking to address this persistent problem. The upgraded litter baskets are an important first step in a larger community response to this issue.”

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Check out the segment on the upgraded litter baskets on NY1.

This is just the beginning of Melissa’s efforts to keep East Harlem clean. Our office will be undertaking three programs, in collaboration with the community, to discourage littering and to keep East Harlem clean.

  • Adopt-A-Basket Program
    Melissa and our office are engaging in efforts to increase participation in the Department of Sanitation’s “Adopt-A-Basket” program among El Barrio/East Harlem businesses. The program is a volunteer program, in which a business, organization or individual agrees to monitor an existing DSNY litter Basket to help prevent overflowing of baskets in areas of high pedestrian traffic. The Department supplies plastic bag liners, a collection schedule and a contact person at the Department’s local district operations office. Participants change the liners when the basket is three quarters full and place the full securely tied liners next to the basket for collection. We hope that East Harlem businesses will commit to sponsor additional upgraded baskets for the community.
  • Community Clean Sweep Day
    Melissa and our office will work with a committee of concerned residents to organize a “Community Clean Sweep Day,” currently scheduled for Saturday, June 22, 2013, which will focus on key areas in the El Barrio/East Harlem neighborhood to not only sweep up litter, but to raise the visibility of anti-littering efforts. 
  • Local Heroes Campaign
    We will be moving forward with a public campaign to celebrate those who go the extra mile to keep the community clean by designating them “local heroes.” Stay tuned for more details.

If  you are interested in getting involved in any of these efforts and/or would like to share other ideas of how to address littering in the community, please contact us through this form.

Affordable Apartments in East Harlem: Apply by June 27th

Applications are currently being accepted for 172 affordable housing rental apartments now under construction at 1951 Park Avenue & 121 East 131st Street in East Harlem.  The size, rent, and targeted income distribution for the apartments are listed here.

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Harlem River Point North, Artist Rendering

These buildings are being constructed through the Low Income Rental Program (LIRP) of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development, the Low Income Affordable Marketplace Program (LAMP) of the New York City Housing Development Corporation, and the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (SLIHC) of New York State Homes & Community Renewal (HCR).

Manhattan Community Board 11 has made the cover letter and application available for download here. You can also visit www.HRPNorth.com for more on the building, as well as the cover letter and application in two different downloadable PDF files.

Completed applications must be returned by regular mail only to: Harlem River Point North, LLC, P.O Box 820, New York, NY 10113, and must be postmarked by June 27, 2013. Applications postmarked after June 27, 2013 will be set aside for possible future consideration. Applicants will be selected by lottery. Applicants who submit more than one application will be disqualified. Disqualified applications will not be accepted.

Eligible households that include persons with mobility impairments will receive preference for 2% of the units. Current and eligible residents of Manhattan Community Board 11 will receive preference for 50% of the units. Applicants who can document displacement by Hurricane Sandy and/or or its related storms will receive preference for 25% of the units; and eligible City of New York Municipal Employees will receive a 5% preference.

Please see Community Board 11 of Manhattan for more information.

We Spoke & They Listened! #NoMoreGhettoTours

The Post has reported that the Real Bronx Tours company is no longer providing the “GHETTO” tours they once boosted, in fact they are not providing any tours in the Bronx — and we have YOU to thank! Between Melissa and  Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s letter to the tour company and your shared outrage, sparking more vocal support (like through Change.org), we have influenced change. You can find the Post’s original article detailing the insulting and demeaning tour at this link. Going forward we hope all tour companies conduct tours that highlights the Bronx’s “diverse ethnic groups and neighborhoods, cultural institutions and surprising natural beauty,” as Real Bronx Tours’ website claimed. The fact is that there are many tours you can take around the borough that do just that.

I-Love-The-BronxThe Bronx Tourism Council highlights many great guided tours throughout the borough (ilovethebronx.com/tours). One unique tour is the Bronx Culture Trolley that takes place on the first Wednesday evening of every month – check out the flyer for the schedule of stops on the upcoming tour on Wednesday, June 5th. And don’t forget to check out the Bronx Tourism Council calendar for upcoming events throughout the borough.

If you know of any other fun or informative tours or activities that highlight the South Bronx, please feel free to comment with the website and contact information! Or just let us know what you LOVE about the Bronx. What we love about the South Bronx is you – our constituents! We asked for your help yesterday and you not only helped but spread the word fast. There’s nothing greater than a community that sticks together for a good cause.

Volunteer for Search & Care and Help A Local Senior

31133_121696691179678_7861730_nEver wonder who’s helping that frail elderly person in your building? Search and Care is probably the answer. Search and Care is a local nonprofit social service agency that provides free help for seniors who want to stay in their apartments but have a hard time managing on their own in East Harlem, Yorkville and Carnegie Hill. They will be holding an open house tomorrow, Saturday, May 18th, looking for volunteers who want to make a difference in a life of a senior. Volunteers help in many essential ways.  As one of Search and Care’s volunteers, you might choose to a visit with a neighborhood senior, walk a dog for an elder, read to a client who is legally blind, help a frail senior get to and from doctor appointments, or shop for someone who is homebound. If you’re 18 or older (bilingual is a plus) and want to know if this would be a great way for you to give back, or if you want to learn about Search and Care’s services, please RSVP to attend and bring a friend or neighbor. Refreshments will be served.

Courtesy of Search and Care

Courtesy of Search and Care

WHO: Search and Care
WHAT: Volunteer Open House
WHEN:  Saturday, May 18th, 11 AM – 12:30 PM
WHERE:  St Francis De Sales Church, 135 East 96th Street (down the stairs)
RSVP:  Robin at 212-289-5300 X203 or by email to strashun@searchandcare.org

PHOTO: AP

Join Our Community Briefing on Proposed Immigration Reform Legislation, Next Thursday

Melissa, along with the East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, CUNY Citizenship Now, Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition, will be conducting a community briefing regarding pending federal-level legislation concerning immigration reform on Thursday, May 16th at the Union Settlement Association. Please join us in reviewing the overview of the proposed legislation and discussing everything from the good to the bad and how you can advocate for it.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, CUNY Citizenship Now, Make the Road New York and the New York Immigration Coalition
WHAT: Community Briefing on Proposed Federal-Level Immigration Reform
WHEN: Thursday, May 16th from 9:15 AM to 11:30 AM
WHERE: Union Settlement Association (237 East 104th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
All attendees should RSVP to Joe Pressley at jpressley@council.nyc.gov or via telephone at 212-828-9800.

Intro 410: The Immigrants Voting Rights Bill

The New York City Council is holding a hearing today about Intro 410: The Immigrants Voting Rights Bill, which would allow 1.3 million voting-age, tax-paying New Yorkers to vote in NYC municipal elections. Melissa is a strong supporter of Intro 410, along with 34 other council members. This is a very exciting time in our city and will directly affect around 27,000 individuals in District 8 alone! You can watch the hearing live at 1 PM on the City Council’s website, or stop by the Council Chambers at City Hall to show your support.

Read more about Intro 410: El Diaro NY and ivotenyc.org

Age Smart Employer to Honor Innovative NYC Multigenerational Workplaces

522631_152567761568336_1471581872_nAre you a NYC employer who has innovative practices and strategies that optimize the multigenerational workplace or do you know of one? With over 700,000 of NYC’s workers over the age of 55, they hold a disproportionate percentage of jobs that support and drive NYC’s economy. Organizations that have implemented strategies that utilize older workers’ strengths, talents and skills, have seen an increase in productivity and profits. The Age Smart Employer Award is about embracing a multigenerational workplace and being age smart.  Please click on this link to lead you to the Age Smart Employer website, where you’ll find more information, such as eligibility and selection criteria. 

A selection committee comprised of business and civic leaders in NYC will choose winners in September 2013. Winners will be honored at a ceremonial gala in October 2013. They will also receive city-wide recognition and have exclusive use of the Age Smart Employer Award 2013 Winner logo graphic, as well as receive promotion at national and international conferences and meetings.

Applications are due July 1, 2013 – so apply today or nominate an organization that you feel deserves this honor.

Healthy Moms = Healthy Babies

healthymomshealthybabiesIt is a sad fact that mothers and newborns living in low-income communities like East Harlem suffer from preventable illnesses and serious health risks that tragically take or undermine lives. Just because there are mothers and babies that live in poverty and do not have access to health care or may lack the presence of family or mentors that can help and teach them how to keep their babies well, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to knowledge about completely preventable health problems. The Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA) has made it their priority to bring maternal awareness to this travesty. And there are two ways you can get involved:

  1. LSA is hosting a Virtual Baby Shower through Amazon.com, where you can donate necessities to those who need it most – it includes everything from diapers to baby formula.
  2. Additionally, they are holding a Mother’s Day Haiku and Short Poem Contest. The deadline is May 10th at noon, and you can submit your work (Spanish and English accepted) online or tweet it to @LSA_EastHarlem. The First Place prize is a $100 Macy’s gift card; Second Place prize is a Mother’s Day brunch for two at Kings’ Carriage House; and Third Place prize is a beautiful spring bouquet by Kathy Flowers.

We hope you have a very Happy Mothers Day this weekend & don’t forget about the mothers and babies in our community that could use an extra hand.

FREE Screening Of “A Place at the Table” on Thursday

The NYC Food Policy Center, Hunter’s Graduate Student Nutrition Club and the NYC Coalition Against Hunger will be hosting a FREE screening of A Place at the Table, a new groundbreaking film on hunger in America, on Thursday, May 9th  from 2 to 4 PM at the CUNY School of Public Health.

From the people that brought us An Inconvenient Truth, The Help, Food Inc. and Waiting for Superman, this documentary examines the issue of hunger in America. It is in our best interest that we make healthy food available and affordable because right now we are facing serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation. One in four children in the United States do not know where their next meal is coming from.

flyer

WHO: NYC Coalition Against Hunger, Hunter’s Graduate Student Nutrition Club and the NYC Food Policy Center
WHAT: FREE Screening of A Place at the Table
WHEN: Thursday, May 9th from 2 to 4 PM
WHERE: CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College,  2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street
RSVP HERE

Immigration Reform: What You Need To Know

We are happy to share with you a very clear rundown on Immigration Reform, provided by CUNY Citizenship Now:

immigrationreform

Visit CUNY Citizenship Now’s website. It’s a great resource to learn about everything from  protecting yourself from immigration fraud to finding English language classes and preparing for the citizenship test.

You can download the PDF of this flyer to share with your network through this link.

Teens: How Would You Like to Spend Your Summer at Randall’s Island?

Get creative this summer at the Bronx Museum’s The People Make the Park Teen Summer Program at Randall’s Island! This is your chance to spend July with teens just like you, interviewing community members, park staff, artists, activists and professionals in order to create audio podcasts that will be placed on exhibit at Randall’s Island Park. Additionally, there will be free lunches on program days and a stipend for your travel and hard work. Think of the people you could meet and uncharted experiences to be had — sounds like a winning college application essay! Check out The People Make the Park 2012’s Tumblr for a better idea of the program.

TeenSummerProgramFlyer

Applications are due by Sunday, June 9, 2013 – so apply today. You must be entering the 10th, 11th or 12th grade in the fall of 2013. The program will be held from July 8 – 26, 2013, Mondays through Thursday, 1 PM to 5 PM.

Scholarship & Student Recognition Opportunities

There are two fantastic opportunities available whose deadlines are nearing. Please share this news with anyone that you deem to be eligible and whom would benefit from these opportunities.

COMITE NOVIEMBRE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

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Comité Noviembre will be awarding a $1,000 scholarship to exceptional Puerto Rican youth who are making a difference in their community. Applicants should have a minimum of one-year of volunteer community service experience and be between the ages of 17 and 25 years old. DEADLINE: May 31, 2013. Link to application. 

NEW YORK LEAGUE OF PUERTO RICAN WOMEN’s 2013 COLLEGE AWARDS

Logo-Green-Aqua-32-399x400The New York League of Puerto Rican Women (NYLPRW) Inc. is currently accepting applications for their 2013 College Awards which will be given out during their annual College Awards Gala Dinner Dance in the Bronx on August 22, 2013. NYLPRW is looking to recognize undergraduate Puerto Rican women for their academic excellence and service to the community. DEADLINE: June 7, 2013. Link to application. 

Take a 10-Day Trip to Puerto Rico with Comité Noviembre

This will be the seventh year that Comité Noviembre (CN) will be holding their Annual Trip to Puerto Rico – Buscando Nuestras Raices VII. You must be 21 or older to partake in this 10 day/9 night trip that will take place from Tuesday, August 6, 2013 to Thursday, August 15, 2013. Enjoy all that Puerto Rico has to offer with educational workshops, films, live entertainment and guided tours through San Juan as well as small mountain towns, coastal landmarks and museums. CN is a non-profit organization that keeps the Puerto Rican life alive in NYC through celebrating its’ social, cultural, educational, economic and political accomplishments.

Space is limited so if you are interested, reserve your spot now or contact CN for more information. Early Bird Special must be paid in full on Monday, May 6, 2013. That is also the same date that a deposit of $500 is due to hold your reservation.

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Contact Information:
Teresa A. Santiago – 914.263.6599 – tascommunicationsllc@gmail.com
Angel Santini – 212.677.4181 – angel.santini@iprhe.org
Lourdes R. Torres – 646.541.8326 – ltorres@hostos.cuny.edu

For the high-res PDF flyer – click here.

Calling Bronx Artists: The BCA is Taking Applications for the Bronx Terminal Market Pedestrian Bridge Art Project

The Bronx Terminal Market is a need of your creativity and artistic abilities. Whether you’re an emerging or seasoned professional artist, the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) and Bronx Terminal Market are looking for you –  a Bronx resident with experience working with community members, landscape architects, businesses and government entities. (Although preferred, this vast amount of experience is not mandatory)

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The BCA is planning on installing artwork to be displayed along the Pedestrian Bridge at Bronx Terminal Market in the South Bronx. The bridge is located off River Avenue, near 151st Street, and its entrance is marked by a tall pylon sign post that features the Bronx Terminal Market name and logos from featured stores and restaurants. You can click here to see the images.  The project will be completely installed in Fall 2013. The deadline for the application is April 30, 2013. 

The installation should heighten awareness of the Bronx Terminal Market and create a physical space for Bronx community involvement and exchange – it should be a call for community engagement.

Below is the necessary information and forms:

  1. Information: Artist RFP
  2. Guidelines and Application
  3. Required Image Sheet
  4. Images of Pedestrian Bridge

Why Are NYC Public Schools Failing Gym? Melissa Joined the Panel to Discuss the Issues

Last Monday, Melissa spoke on a panel entitled “Healthy Minds in Healthy Bodies: The Case for Implementing a Full Physical Education Curriculum in NYC’s Public Schools,” hosted by the Women’s City Club of New York. The panel was convened in response to a number of recent studies showing that NYC public schools are failing to meet State guidelines for physical education.

This issue prompted Melissa to write a letter to the Department of Education last year, signed by thirty-five Council Members inquiring about the DOE’s plan to improve the quantity and quality of gym class in City schools and to address the disparities between schools. Melissa was joined by education chair Robert Jackson along with other phys ed experts, all of whom discussed the many evidence-based benefits of PE, including improved academic achievement along with physical health.

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Melissa expressed her strong stance on this issue:

“Providing quality physical education in our public schools is critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic! It is shocking that according to the City Comptroller’s Audit none of the 31 elementary schools visited were meeting State requirements for gym class, due to factors such as co-locations and budget cuts. This issue is particularly important to low-income communities of color such as the South Bronx, East and Central Harlem, and Bedford-Stuyvesant which are disproportionately impacted by higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other related illnesses. The issue of gym class is a symptom of the overall direction the DOE has been headed over the last decade. Budget cuts, a lack of gym teachers, an overemphasis on high-stakes test prep, and the co-location of charter schools, have all served to undermine physical education in our schools.”

Bike Tour Through the South Bronx, This Saturday

Garbagia-LandIt’s Spring! And that means that it’s time to take advantage of all that Spring weather has to offer. This Saturday, Friends of Brook Park and South Bronx Unite will be giving a leisurely bike tour that will include all the “beautiful natural wonders of the waterfront, community gardens and art, historic places” and cherry blossoms! Beyond the natural beauty and history, the tour will be visiting the site for the proposed truck-heavy Fresh Direct location. This is your chance to see the vast possibilities for this space from which the community would benefit. This is a great chance to learn more about your community or if you’re not from the neighborhood, then to explore it for the first time. We can’t think of a better way to get informed on issues than being active and riding our bikes!

bikes tracks

Photos courtesy of Friends of Brook Park

WHAT: South Bronx Bike Tour
WHEN: Saturday, April 20th, 12 PM noon
WHERE: Brook Park, E. 141st St & Brook Ave (ride returns to the park)

For more information, visit friendsofbrookpark.org and southbronxunite.com

Join Melissa Tonight At Bronx Town Hall Meeting: Community Safety & NYPD Accountability

We are now a month into Flyod v. City of New York, the federal class action law suit filed against the NYPD that claims they engaged in racial profiling and uncalled for stop and frisks on law-abiding New Yorkers – and the impact that stop and frisk practices have on African-American and Latino communities is more prevalent than ever. Mott Haven’s 40th precinct has one of the highest rates of stop and frisk in the city.

This evening, Melissa will be at a Town Hall meeting in the Bronx that she is co-sponsoring, demanding there be an end to discriminatory NYPD practices and calling for a more effective approach to community safety and the passage of the Community Safety Act. It’s time that the NYPD takes accountability for their actions. The Bronx Defenders and the Vacamas Programs for Youth will be hosting tonight’s meeting.

bronx town hall

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Senator Gustavo Rivera, Council Member Annabel Palma, Bronx Defenders Organization, Vacamas Programs for Youth, Morris Justice Project, SOS South Bronx, Justice Committee, Picture the Homeless, New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE), and VOCAL-NY
WHAT: Bronx Town Hall Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, April 18, at 6:30 PM
WHERE: Vacamas GLOW Classic Center, 286 East 156th Street (at Morris Avenue)

* Food & childcare will be provided
Spanish translation will be available

Looking Back on Our Second Year of Participatory Budgeting

Melissa unveiled the 2012-2013 Participatory Budgeting (PB) vote results for the 8th Council District on Monday evening at a celebration featuring San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto. In response to the growing participation and excitement around the process in its second year, Melissa nearly doubled her initial commitment of $1 million to the process. This year, 1,770 District 8 residents voted in the process, as compared to just over 1,000 last year.

The $1.9 million in projects funded through PB for the Fiscal Year 2014 budget are:

  1. Security cameras for Douglass, East River, Johnson and Millbrook houses — 964 votes
  2. New Laptops for 9 Schools in District 8– 857 votes
  3. Technology Centers for Seniors and Youth — 706 votes
  4. Mobile cooking classroom for SMART  (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/HIV Research and Treatment)   — 534 votes
  5. Solar powered Greenhouse — 533 votes
  6. Hoops by the River — upgrade Jefferson B-ball Courts — 501 votes

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“I could not be more thrilled with the level of participation or the results,” Melissa said. “The winning projects are a reflection of the community’s concerns about public health, safety, youth, seniors and public parks. I thank all of our incredible partners in this process including Community Voices Heard, the Participatory Budgeting Project and the budget delegates for their hard work throughout the process.”

The tireless dedication and commitment from the community volunteers, otherwise known as ‘budget delegates’, was truly inspiring. Delegates came together from all different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds to work as a team of urban planners, community organizers, and decision-makers. Together they analyzed hundreds of project ideas, and through a long and grueling process they narrowed them down to twenty-one project proposals to address a wide variety of community needs such as more access to technology in our public schools, senior-friendly spaces, safe public housing, quality recreational spaces, transportation improvements, community gardens and urban agriculture.

One story that stands out in this process was the engagement of formerly incarcerate youth of color who worked on the education committee and developed one of the winning project proposals for new computers and technology in local schools. Another is that of Susan Rodriguez who works with SMART (Sisterhood Mobilized for AIDS/ HIV Research and Treatment), who has been very concerned about public health and the lack of nutritious food options in her community.

“First of all, just meeting and speaking with the Mayor of San Juan and knowing that she wants to bring PB to her city was one of the highlights of the evening!” said Rodriguez.  “Of course, I was overjoyed when SMART’s Mobile Cooking Classroom won and I thank everyone who came out to vote! This has been an extraordinary process for me, meeting and working with other budget delegates, community organizers and residents, especially in Millbrook Houses/Mott Haven, and learning how to make our community and city the best it can be.”

Last year, which was the first year of PBNYC, Ray Figueroa proposed a solar-powered greenhouse to teach urban agriculture to court-involved youth in the South Bronx, but it did not receive enough votes to win. This year however, the greenhouse pulled through.

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“Participatory Budgeting re-enfranchises the dis-enfranchised,” said Figueroa. “It reaches out to the most marginalized residents in the most underserved sectors of our community and honors them as the experts of our community.  Participatory Budgeting respects their human dignity in this regard, and, by so doing, helps to galvanize their sense of ownership as community stakeholders and re-defines what it means to be civically engaged.”

DSC_0437The last winning project with 501 votes, was the Jefferson Park basketball courts which have not been renovated in decades. These courts are heavily used by the Hoops by the River basketball league, run by Will Kelly and his son, Will Kelly II. “It is wonderful that we were able to mobilize our youth and community residents to finally make these much needed safety upgrades to this court,” said Kelly. “This way we can run a quality league and expand our work to combat youth violence and promote health.”

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More information on all of this year’s projects is available here

The full voting tally is available here.

Learn About the Mott Haven Choice Neighborhood Initiative on Saturday and Next Wednesday

If you live, go to school, do business, or provide services in Mott Haven – we have great news for you! Mott Haven has been selected for the Choice Neighborhood Initiative to transform the neighborhood by improving job opportunities, public safety, education, health, housing, and more.

Come learn how to be part of the initiative at one of the kick-off events — you can come at 2 PM on Saturday, April 20, or at 6 PM on Wednesday, April 24. See more details in the flyer below (la versión en español también esta adjunta). Everyone is welcome: residents, students, parents, business owners, local organizations, churches, etc. Light refreshments will be served. See you there!

CN - Community Kick-off Meeting flyer.English

Senior Health Fair for Living Healthy & Aging Actively, Tomorrow

Hope Community will be holding a Senior Health Fair tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17th from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Carlos Rios Community Room. Stop by and take advantage of the free health screenings that will be held throughout the day and the “Eating for Good Health” cooking demonstration at 12:30 PM.

snr health fair

WHO: Hope Community, Inc., Visiting Nurse Services Legal Aid Society, Elder Smile Program, Iris House, IPRO, Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, Mt. Sinai Medical Center (H.E.A.L.S.), NY Coalition for Smoke Free NY

WHAT: Senior Health Fair for Living Healthy and Aging Actively

WHEN: Wednesday, April 17th from 10 AM to 3 PM

WHERE: Carlos Rios Community Room, 335 East 105th Street (between First & Second Avenues)

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa Rallies For Safe Streets in Mott Haven

Photo: Stephen Miller

Photo: Stephen Miller / Source: StreetsBlog.org

On Saturday, Melissa joined Friends of Brook Park, South Bronx Unite and other concerned community members in marching on 138th Street and St Ann’s Avenue, demanding safer streets and protesting illegal truck traffic.

This comes in response to the hit-and-run that killed two pedestrians on Bruckner Boulevard, last Monday; marking the third recent fatal crash involving pedestrians and trucks in Mott Haven. Back in February, Melissa sent letters to the DOT and NYPD about her concerns on illegal oversize trucks, hoping to open up conversation about traffic enforcement. She will be following up with the respective agencies about these matters.

Each of these deadly crashes have taken place near or around 138th Street, which is a notoriously dangerous thoroughfare, known for the crowds, speeding trucks and lax traffic enforcement by the local 40th Precinct. Although 138th Street is designated as a “local truck route,” that implies that it should only be used for in-borough deliveries, the reality is that truck drivers take advantage of 138th Street and other neighborhood streets as a way to avoid Major Deegan Expressway traffic. As per the the most recent data available, in February 2013, the 40th Precinct issued 449 tickets for tinted windows and a mere 4 tickets for trucks that strayed from designated routes, which really highlights to lack of enforcement that needs to be addressed. Something needs to change.

DYCD is Taking Applications for the 2013 Summer Youth Employment Program

625472_10151351850632344_122226527_nThe Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is a six-week program open to all NYC residents between the ages of 14-24 – and the application is available now. We highly encourage District 8 youth to apply to SYEP because of the one-of-a-kind work experience they can receive in a variety of jobs, ranging from government agencies, community-based organizations, private sector businesses and more. Last summer, DYCD employed around 30,000 teenagers and young adults and placed them at 5,677 work-sites. Click here to download the paper application in PDF; and if you have questions, you can download the 2013 SYEP FAQ here as a PDF.

As per DYCD’s website, SYEP is designed to:

  • Emphasize real-world labor expectations
  • Increase awareness of services offered by local community-based organizations
  • Provide opportunities for career instruction, financial literacy training, academic improvement, and social growth

Apply today! 

Bike Helmet Fitting & Giveaway This Saturday

As many of you know, we in East Harlem/El Barrio love bike lanes; which means that bike safety is a top priority in our book. As the beautiful weather rolls in, we need to practice bike safety whether it’s while enjoying a leisurely bike ride or on our daily commute. Melissa is sponsoring a Bicycle Helmet Fitting Event this Saturday, April 13th from 10 AM to 2 PM in Union Settlement’s garden area. You can be one of the 300 recipients of free bicycle helmets that will be given out to both adults and children.  There’s only one (very reasonable and responsible) catch: you must first properly learn how to fit the helmet for optimum safety. Please join us and bring the family!

Helmets

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, NYC DOT, and Union Settlement Association
WHAT: Bicycle Helmet Fitting Event
WHEN: Saturday, April 13th from 10 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Union Settlement’s Garden Area. 237 East 104th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Rain Site: Union Settlement’s Auditorium.

Click on the corresponding link for the PDF flyer in English, Spanish and Chinese.

And The Winners Are…

We want to thank everyone that participated in PB this year, whether you volunteered, were a delegate, voted or even talked about the PB process to a neighbor. It’s because of District 8’s participation that our second year of PB was such a great success. And because of that, Melissa decided to allocate a whopping $1.9 million to the projects that were chosen and voted on by you, the people.

Last night Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto spoke at our Participatory Budgeting Unveiling Celebration. We were thrilled to hear her affirm that she would be launching the first PB process  in San Juan, Puerto Rico soon; where select areas in the city would decide on how to spend $1.5 million. Stay tuned in the coming days  for photos and reflections on the PB celebration and the Mayor’s visit. 

So without further ado, we are proud to present the winning projects:

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PB Celebration PPT_laptops

PB Celebration PPT_tech

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Total Vote Counts:

7. Play for All: PS 155 Playground Renovation (#1 – 416 Votes)
8. Air Conditioning Wiring for PS 72 (#9 – 362 Votes)
9. SMART Board Technology for Schools (#8 – 355 Votes)
10. Lighting Upgrade in Douglass (#5 – 353 Votes)
11. Auditorium Upgrade at Manhattan Center HS (#10 – 307 Votes)
12. Upgrades for Gaylord White Senior Center (#15 -304 Votes)
13. Peaceful Valley Community Garden (#3 – 301 Votes)
14. Playground Upgrades at Washington (#6 – 285 Votes)
15. New Fitness Equipment for Cherry Tree Park (#14 – 278 Votes)
16. Safety Upgrades at the Heckscher Building (#13 – 231 Votes)
17. History/Media Lab for PS 171 (#11 – 215 votes)
18. Backyard Renovations for UPACA 6 (#16 – 199 votes)
19. Layered Access at UPACA 6 (#17 – 148 votes)
20. New Subway Canopy (#21 – 139 votes)
21. Multi-Media Information Kiosks (#20 – 106 votes)

Bronx Constituent Hours Are Now Every Friday

To our Mott Haven community members –

Please note that we have updated our Bronx Constituent hours to every Friday at Millbrook Houses Community Center (201 St. Ann’s Avenue), between 10 AM and 12 PM, noon. We look forward to meeting with you on a weekly basis. Click here if you’d like the PDF flyer.

BronxHours

 

Join Us for the Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration, with Special Guest San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto

PBNYC vote image small_1It has been a great week in District 8, with hundreds of community members coming out to vote for projects that they believe in. If you haven’t had a chance to vote yet, there’s still time – check out the list of voting sites and times on our PB site, www.mmviverito.com/pbnycTo conclude the weeklong voting process, the Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration, unveiling the winning projects, will be held on Monday, April 8th from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Avenue).

We are very excited to announce that our Second Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration will feature a very special guest, San Juan’s Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto.  As you may remember, Melissa had the honor to deliver the keynote at her inauguration. Mayor Carmen Yulín  has pledged to implement a PB process in San Juan and is coming to see how the process works in our district.

“It is an incredible honor for me to welcome such an incredible woman and inspiring leader to our city for the first time since being elected Mayor of San Juan,” said Council Member Mark-Viverito. “Mayor Carmen Yulín is bringing a new style of democracy to San Juan. I am truly excited that she has committed to roll out a PB process in the city, which will help bring transparency and direct public input in how the government allocates resources. I look forward to continued collaboration with the Mayor’s administration in continuing to strengthen ties between our two cities and across the Puerto Rican diaspora.”

PB Celebration Flyer_eng

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

WHATSecond Annual Participatory Budgeting Celebration
WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, PBNYC, and Community Voices Heard
WHEN: Monday, April 8th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
WHERE:  Johnson Community Center (1833 Lexington Avenue)
RSVP: mmvbudget@gmail.com or (212) 828-9800

Tato Laviera, the “Chronicler of Life in El Barrio,” Needs Our Help

Nuyorican poet Tato Laviera’s works have reached out to the hearts and souls of the Puerto Rican community and nourished us for decades. Now this poet, novelist and cultural icon needs us to reach out to him.

Tato Laviera has been in intensive care for two and a half months and his health is deteriorating rapidly. Doctors have not been able to identify his illness and he needs financial support. His family is reaching out to literary and cultural groups, friends, colleagues and Laviera fans for help with donations.

Three years ago, Laviera became homeless after undergoing brain surgery. At that time, community members helped him secure the living conditions necessary for him to continue to work. Since then, he has kept busy until his more recent illness, producing  the play The King of Cans, a musical that takes place in New York City and tells the story of homeless can collectors who strive to rebuild their lives while dealing with day-to-day survival on the streets. He also completed a draft of the novel, El Barrio.

The writer, poet, essayist, playwright, who was born Jesus Abraham Laviera in Puerto Rico and has lived has lived in New York City since 1960, committed himself to the social and cultural development of Puerto Ricans in New York. He has taught creative writing at universities. His poetry and plays are linguistic and artistic celebrations of Puerto Rican culture, African Caribbean traditions, and life in the city.  Laviera writes in English, Spanish, and Spanglish and has been dubbed as a “chronicler of life in El Barrio.”

If you can help with a contribution of any amount to this literary legend who has done so much for us, please click here to find out where you can send a check to. 

Source: Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro)

Manhattan CB 7 Hosts “Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Study,” Next Thursday

Melissa, along with with Council Members Gale Brewer and Inez Dickens are sponsoring Manhattan Community Board 7‘s ‘Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Study,’ which will be held this Thursday, April 4th.

Join us in discussing ways to improve the blocks of West 94th to 100th Streets and Central Park to the Hudson River, in order to help create safer streets on the Upper West Side. Refreshments will be served.

CB7

WHO: Manhattan Community Board 7 and Council Members Melissa Mark-Viverito, Gale Brewer and Inez Dickens
WHAT: Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Study
WHEN: Thursday, April 4th, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
WHERE: Goddard Riverside Community Center, 593 Columbus Avenue at 88th Street
(OPTIONAL) RSVP

Safer Neighborhood Streets: Apply for a Slow Zone by May 31st

slowzoneNeighborhood Slow Zones reduce the speed limit on residential streets from 30 mph to 20 mph. Slow Zones grant local families peace of mind because they know drivers in their communities will stick to safer speeds. Communities that apply for a Slow Zone can get safety improvements that reduce traffic crashes, cut-through traffic and traffic noise, making residential streets safer for biking and walking.

NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is currently accepting applications to the Neighborhood Slow Zone program. Community boards, civic associations, BIDs, or other community institutions such as schools or churches can apply. If you’re interested in applying, you can download the application, and follow NYCDOT’s application instructionsApplications must demonstrate local support for the Neighborhood Slow Zone. Applications that include letters of support from key community stakeholders will be prioritized.  

Applications are due by Friday, May 31st. Are you interested, but don’t know where to begin? Need help drumming up local support? Transportation Alternatives will help! E-mail safety@transalt.org, or call at (212) 629-8080.

Join Melissa & Other Puerto Rican and Dominican Elected Officials in Watching the World Baseball Classic Final Uptown

If you follow Melissa on Twitter, then you know she’s been following the World Baseball Classic (WBC). And tonight, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will meet in the World Baseball Classic title game at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Sparks will fly as local Dominican and Puerto Rican elected officials will be joining together to watch the finals of the WBC tonight at 809 Lounge in Washington Heights at 8 PM. Join Melissa, Council Members Rosie Mendez and Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Assembly Woman Gabriela Rosa and more. All are invited to attend and celebrate the two Caribbean countries’ advancement to the finals and cheer for your respective country or country of choice! It is sure to be a fun experience for everyone, excitement is encouraged!

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PS: Go Puerto Rico!

Participatory Budgeting Voting to Commence In April

Starting Monday, April 1st, voting for Participatory Budgeting (PB) projects in our community will be open to all residents of District 8 that are 16 years of age and older. Not sure if you’re in the district? Check the map or look it up on the City Council website. You’ll need to bring at least one document proving current address and age. You can check out our PB page (mmviverito.com/pbnyc) for a list of examples of documents that will be accepted at the voting polls. This is your chance to vote on how we should spend $1 million in our community! Can we get your commitment to vote? If we can count on your vote, please fill out this form for us.  

MOBILE VOTING SITES:

This year, mobile voting sites will be held throughout the district. We will post the dates and locations as they are announced. Keep checking back for updates.

PB

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Join Us For A Town Hall Meeting About Stop And Frisk

On Monday, March 18th, please come join us at a Town Hall Meeting in the Bronx, where you can share your thoughts about Stop and Frisk practices. We are looking forward to having open conversation about ways to improve public safety and working towards a real solution.

townhallmeeting

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller John C. Liu, Senators Jose Serrano and Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Members Vanessa Gibson and Eric Stevenson, Council Members Fernando Cabrera and Helen Foster; and community partners
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting
WHEN: Monday, March 18, 2013. 6 to 8 PM
WHERE: Latino Pastoral Action Center. 14 West 170th Street, Bronx, NY 10452

Learn About Free Elementary School Options in East Harlem

This Saturday, East Harlem Scholars Academies will be hosting a School Choice Carnival where you can learn about free elementary school options in East Harlem and even apply on the spot. Of course, there will also be obligatory carnival fun for the whole family to enjoy. This free event is on, rain or shine.

schoolchoice
WHO: East Harlem Scholars Academies, DREAM Charter School, NYCA Charter School, and Amber Charter School
WHAT: School Choice Free Carnival
WHEN: Saturday, March 16th – 11 AM to 2 PM
WHERE: Jackie Robinson Educational Complex, 106th Street between Park and Madison Avenues
For more information, contact Theresa Cothern at tcothern@ehtp.org or 212.831.0650
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Join NYCHA For Their Infill Development Meetings: Washington & Douglass Houses

NYCHA has already held their first public meeting about “Infill Development” at Carver Houses this week, but there are two additional upcoming meetings – one at the Washington Houses and the other at the Douglass Houses. NYCHA is proposing to lease their land to private developers so that they can create ’80-20′ housing  (80% market-rate and 20% affordable/low-income) that will fill critical budget shortfalls and meet its capital obligations. This is an opportunity for residents and community members to ask questions and express their opinions before NYCHA submits their Request for Proposals (RFPs) for their target properties by the end of April. If approved, this will impact District 8 residents and community members of Carver, Washington and Douglass Houses, and the surrounding community. 

While NYCHA is not privatizing the developments or taking anyone’s apartments away, this is an important community issue, and we encourage all concerned residents to attend this meeting.

WASHINGTON HOUSES:

This Thursday, March 14, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, NYCHA will be at the Union Settlement Association’s White Community Center (237 East 104th Street, between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) to speak about their infill development proposal for two sites affecting Washington Houses’ residents:

  1. Southeast Corner of East 99th Street & 3rd Avenue (Parking Lot & Community Center)
  2. North Side of East 99th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues (East of El Barrio Artspace PS109)

NYCHA

DOUGLASS HOUSES I & II:

Next Thursday, March 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM, NYCHA will be at the Douglass Community Center/Children’s Aid Society (885 Columbus Avenue on 104th Street) to speak about their infill development proposal of three sites affecting Douglass Houses residents:

  1. West 104th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot)
  2. West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot, Garden and Play Area)
  3. Manhattan Avenue between West 101st & 102nd Streets (Parking Lot)

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Melissa Reaches Out to the NYPD & DOT After Last Week’s Fatal Accident

In the wake of last week’s tragic accident that resulted in the death of a 6-year-old boy named Amar Diarrassouba, it is imperative that we address and correct the causes of this tragedy to ensure that an accident like this does not happen again in our district. Melissa, along with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and State Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, held a press conference outside of Diarrassouba’s school. They called on the DOT and NYPD to take a zero tolerance measure against large trucks on non-designated streets, such as the narrow, one-way residential East 117th Street towards First Avenue, where the accident occurred; and to address the possible need for additional crossing guards at busier intersections.

Council Member Viverito During the Press Conference on Six Year Old's Death at an East Harlem Intersection 2-Credit to William Alatriste New York City Council

Following the press conference, Melissa wrote to Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan of the DOT and Commissioner Ray Kelly of the NYPD, to open up conversation about traffic enforcement and to make some requests. Please find the letters below. We will make sure to keep you updated on our further collaborative work with the DOT and NYPD on this matter.

Pictures From Our Black History Month Celebration

Melissa hosted a Black History Month celebration at Taino Towers last Thursday, which was co-sponsored by Senator Jose Serrano, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

The evening was filled with friends and neighbors, along with excellent entertainment. East Harlem Repertory Theatre Company singers and actors paid tribute to Madam CJ Walker, Marvin Gaye, Harriet Tubman and Michael Jackson with dazzling and moving performances. Additionally, we had the opportunity to honor two extraordinary women in our community with the Black History Month AwardPrincella Jamerson, a South Bronx community activist, community safety advocate and the President of Millbrook Houses Resident Association; and Kioka Jackson, an East Harlem community activist, youth services advocate and the Chair of the Tony Mendez Houses Tenants Board.

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Millbrook Community Center’s After-School Program Thanks Melissa

Last week, Melissa paid a visit to the Millbrook Community Center, where she has fought hard to keep their after-school programs, ranging from head-start to teen programs, open after Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts. Last year, Melissa and constituents across the district rallied at the Children’s Aid Society to restore the budget, which Melissa was ultimately able to do for the FY13 Budget.

The children of the after-school program wanted to thank Melissa for her work, so along with our staff, they plotted their surprise! And it was a success – when Melissa arrived at the Millbrook Community Center, they surprised her with handmade collages and cards that highlight just how special and important the after-school programs are to them.

A heartwarming visit, like the one last week, is definitely a major job perk!

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Free Digital Mammograms and Clinical Breast Exams on Friday, March 8th

The American-Italian Cancer Foundation and Multi-Diagnostic Services (MDS) will be providing no-cost mobile breast cancer screening services to East Harlem on Friday, March 8th, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Early detection of breast cancer can save lives, so call to make an appointment today – (877) 628-9090. Your results will be sent to you and/or your doctor within 10 business days.

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Professional medical services from MDS:

  • Mammogram performed by a certified, licensed mammography technologist.
  • Clinical breast exam and instruction in breast self-exam by a trained professional.
  • Radiological interpretations performed by Board Certified Radiologists.

For more information about MDS, you can visit their website or call (877) 628-9090

ON THE DAY OF YOUR VISIT:

  • You are recommended to wear a two-piece outfit.
  • Please do not use any oil, powder, deodorant, or perfume in the breast, underarm or chest area.
  • If you have Medicare, Medicaid or other health insurance, you must bring your card with you. Your insurance will be billed for services; however you will not be charged a co-pay and will not receive a bill.
  • For women without health insurance, services will be paid for by the Screening Partnerships of the New York State Cancer Services Program (NYS CSP) or through generous contributions by the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s donors. For more information about the NYS CSP, please call (866) 442-CANCER (2262).
  • Comparison radiological studies are important. If you provide MDS with previous mammogram films, this comparison will be performed. In some cases, it can eliminate the need for additional testing.
  • If you would like your results sent to your doctor, please provide MDS with his or her full name and address.

WHO: New York City Council, The American-Italian Cancer Foundation, Multi-Diagnostic Services, East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc. Bilingual Head Start, Avon Foundation Breast Health Outreach Program, National Breast Cancer Foundation, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, The Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and New York State Department of Health
WHAT: Mobile No-Cost Breast Cancer Screening Program
WHEN: Friday, March 8, 2013. 9 AM to 4:30 PM
WHERE: East Harlem Council for Human Services, Inc.  Bilingual Head Start – 440 E 116th St (between 1st Avenue and Pleasant Avenue)
AN APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY – CALL (877) 628-9090
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa Responds To Accident Killing 6 Year-Old Boy in East Harlem

Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito released the following statement in response to the tragic accident that resulted in the killing of a 6-year-old boy at 117th Street and 1st Avenue in El Barrio/East Harlem this morning.

“This morning’s heartbreaking accident which led to the death of a 6-year-old boy is an absolute tragedy,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “My office has been in touch with the local police precinct throughout the day as investigations continue so that we can understand the specifics of what took place and see what action might be needed to prevent a similar horrific accident from occurring in the future. I offer my most sincere condolences to this child’s family in this extremely difficult time.”

Join Us At Our Upcoming Participatory Budgeting Project Expos

Yesterday marked the first Participatory Budget (PB) Project Expo in District 8 for 2013 – our second year partaking in the PB process. Yesterday’s expo was the first of three, where our Budget Delegates unveil the projects that will appear on the ballot for a public vote this April.  Nearly 100 residents came out in East Harlem to learn about the unveiled projects, which range from new computers for schools and youth centers, basketball court renovations and new community gardens.

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Who are our budget delegates & what do they do?  The budget delegates are volunteers who come from all different ethnic and economic backgrounds, and walks of life. Although they are all members of our community, it is because of PB that many of them crossed paths for the very first time.  And for the past few months they have worked together to analyze all of the great ideas that were generated in the neighborhood assemblies. Splitting up into seven different committees (including our awesome Youth Committee), the budget delegates assessed our community’s needs and delved deeper into 20 amazing project ideas that they are presenting at the Project Expos.

If you weren’t able to make it to yesterday’s Project Expo, please join us at either of our upcoming expos. PB gives local residents the power to decide how at least $1 million gets allocated in our community; and the Project Expos gives you a chance to be an informed voter. We hope to see you there!

  • Tuesday, March 5th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Frederick Douglass Center (885 Columbus Avenue)
  • Thursday, March 7th from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM at Millbrook Community Center (201 St Ann’s Avenue, Bronx)

Council To Pass Melissa’s Street Vendor & Secure Communities/ICE Bills Tomorrow

We are happy to announce that two bills sponsored by Melissa will be passed by Council tomorrow.

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STREET VENDOR BILLS (INTRO 16)

Intro 16 will require the reporting of data related to vendor licenses and permits, as well as the outcomes of vendor adjudications. This bill is integral to the future of the reforming vendor policy in NYC because of the information collected. In addition to Intro 16, Council Member Steve Levin’s bill, Intro 434, which Melissa has supported, will also be passed tomorrow. Intro 434 will cap the maximum fine at $500 and reform the unfair escalation of fines. These bills are a critical first step towards efforts to provide greater support to our vendor community who has played an essential part of the fabric of NYC life for generations. Today, punitive fines leveraged against vendors can easily add up into the thousands, making it nearly impossible for vendors to make a living.

“Our city needs to support and not criminalize our hardworking street vendors,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I am proud that the Council is taking a stand to lower the punitive fines that make it difficult for vendors to earn a living and I thank the Street vendor project for their incredible advocacy. Under the bill I am sponsoring, the Council will receive annual reports on vending licenses and fines. My hope is that this data will help inform future policy changes to our city’s vending system. I thank Speaker Quinn, Council Member Levin and Chair Koslowitz for their leadership and support.”

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SECURE COMMUNITIES/ICE BILL (INTRO 989)

We’ve previously discussed our objection to Secure Communities in this blog. Melissa’s Intro 989 amends current law to ensure that immigrants that pose no danger cannot be detained by the Department of Correction. Intro 982, sponsored by Speaker Quinn and co-sponsored by Melissa, focuses on being detained by the NYPD. Whether we like it or not, we are still in the secure communities program. But with this legislation, we will not use our personnel or resources to hold immigrants that pose no danger to our city.

“Today, the Council reaffirms its commitment to protecting our immigrant communities,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “We will not allow our city’s resources to be used to facilitate the unjust deportations of hardworking New Yorkers that pose no threat to public safety. These pieces of legislation place limits on our city’s collaboration with the Secure Communities enforcement program, as we await Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I thank Speaker Quinn and Chair Dromm for their leadership on bringing this legislation forward, as well as the Bloomberg administration for their support. I also thank Make the Road New York and the Cardozo Law School for being a critical driving force in passing these important bills.”

Re-Imagine The East Harlem Waterfront, This Thursday

How do you envision the East Harlem Waterfront? Please stop by and share your ideas and learn about community resources and opportunities for the East River Esplanade/El Paseo/El Malecon, on Thursday, February 28th at the Johnson Community Center. Refreshments will be provided.

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WHO: Trees New York, Greening The Gap, Hunter College Urban Planning Studio, and CIVITAS
WHAT: Re-Imagine The East Harlem Waterfront Community Visioning Session
WHEN: Thursday, February 28, 2013. 7 PM – 9 PM.
WHERE: Johnson Community Center; 1820 Lexington Avenue (btwn East 112 & East 115th Streets)
RSVP HERE

WIN $100– Do you live or work in East Harlem?  Please complete this survey to share your opinion about the East Harlem waterfront, and to be entered into a drawing to win a $100 prize.

East Harlem High School Students: Sign Up For MCNY’s Free SAT Prep Classes & More

mcny-whiteWe are urging East Harlem high school students to take advantage of the Museum of the City of New York’s excellent and free Saturday Academy program. Saturday Academy is a free six-week program for students in grades 8 – 12 interested in American History or SAT preparation. There’s no homework or testing and all course materials are provided. Saturday Academy was the recipient of the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House, and was featured in New York Magazine’s “Best of New York 2011” issue.

Spring 2013 courses meet on Saturdays April 6, 13, 20, May 4, 11, and 18. Course offerings include:

  • Activist New York
  • Public Art in East Harlem: Interpreting Latino-American History in the 20th Century
  • Performing History: The Federal Theater Project and the Great Depression
  • The Many Meanings of Feminism in the 20th Century
  • Freedom and Slavery in the Age of the American Revolution
  • Bell Curves SAT Skills

For more information on the courses offered, please click here.

All applications must be received online. TO APPLY, please click on this link  and fill out all the required information. The application deadline is Tuesday, March 12. Although East Harlem and Central Harlem students will be given priority seating, enrollment is first-come, first-serve, so please apply early since space is limited!  Should you experience any trouble applying online, you may email Saturday.academy@mcny.org or call 917-492-3401 to request that an application be mailed to your home address for you to fill out and return to the Museum of the City of New York.

A Special Message From Melissa: 2012 Annual Report

Though we are already well into the new year, I thought it would be important to reflect on 2012 and some of the important accomplishments that we all achieved together. We held the first-ever Participatory Budgeting vote in the City of New York. We united to defend our community from district lines that would have cut out some of our most vital institutions. We also won protected bike lanes for First and Second Avenues, and helped save two of our local public schools from closure. And those are just a few examples.

Last year was an exciting one for our community and for my office. And there’s a lot to look forward to in 2013.

Purchase Your Shares in the South Bronx Community Supported Agriculture Program Today!

280508_167393829994113_6020953_oFriends of Brook Park announced today that shares are still available for their 10th year of the South Bronx Community Supported Agriculture Program at Brook Park.  Growing in popularity around the nation with demand significantly outpacing supply, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) offers community members the opportunity to buy fresh, local, seasonal food directly from a farmer by purchasing a “share” in the farm. Shareholders “buy into” the farm as members at the start of the growing season, and in exchange receive a weekly allotment of the farm’s harvest.  Shareholders and farmers share in both the risks and the many rewards of the growing season, which include weekly access to delicious, locally grown, nutritious vegetables – all grown without synthetic chemicals or pesticides.

THE UPCOMING 2013 SEASON:

This year’s South Bronx CSA season will begin in June and run through late October. Share pick-ups are scheduled on Wednesdays from 2 PM – 7 PM at Brook Park located on East 141st Street and Brook Avenue in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx. Shares are just the right size for two or three adults or a small family.  Local organizations, community centers and tenant groups that order four of more shares can have it delivered by a non polluting bike cart and trailer.

CSA crops have included: cilantro, jalapenos, arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, broccoli raab, carrots, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cabbages, sweet corn, chard, collard greens, celery, celery root, cucumbers, edamame, eggplant, escarole, fennel, herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, marjoram, parsley, summer savory, sage), kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, onions, potatoes, peas, pie pumpkins, parsnips, peppers, radishes, radicchio, sweet potatoes, spinach, scallions, summer squash, salad turnips, tomatoes (slicing and cherry),  watermelon, winter squash and zucchini. There will be supplemental crops sometimes provided from the organic youth farm at Brook Park.

Click here to register for your share in South Bronx CSA. In an effort to make healthy foods available to everyone, they offer sliding scale prices based on individual’s incomes, accept payment installments, and welcome SNAP (food stamps) and EBT. The bulk payment early in the season is typical of the CSA structure because it brings in the necessary cash flow that is needed to purchase expensive equipment, such as machinery, fertilizers, and seeds.

Melissa Responds to Mayor Bloomberg’s Marijuana Arrest Proposal & Stop and Frisk Rhetoric

Melissa released the following response to the Mayor’s comments on marijuana arrest policy and stop and frisk:

“In today’s State of the City Address, Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to change the city’s marijuana arrest policy while we await action by the State Legislature to finally decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in public view. Under the new policy, anyone who is able to present identification and clear a warrant check will be released with a desk appearance ticket, rather than being held in custody overnight.

“This policy shift is greatly encouraging and a step in the right direction. I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly for recognizing the fundamental problem with the city’s marijuana arrest policy, which has resulted in record numbers of arrests – up to around 50,000 per year – of mostly black and Latino males. The way the city has carried out this policy in recent years is a corruption of the intent of state law, which decriminalized small amounts of marijuana decades ago. I still recall a time when we were not seeing this level of openness within the administration and the NYPD to look at what the City could do to reduce the number of marijuana arrests. I also thank the Drug Policy Alliance, VOCAL-NY and all of the advocates who have brought this issue to the forefront, and I look forward to continuing to advocate for this change at the state level to completely end small-time marijuana arrests.

“In spite of the welcome news on marijuana arrests, I was disappointed by the Mayor’s delusional defense of the city’s stop and frisk policy. The suggestion that without our current stop and frisk policy New York’s murder rate would equal Detroit’s is absurd and unfounded. It is time to stop irresponsibly cultivating fear as a way of drumming up support for this policy, which has damaged community-police relations and has made our young black and Latino men feel more alienated than ever.”


The State of the City Address doesn’t begin until around the 35-minute mark.

Learn About NEW Local Legislation To Further Protect Arrested Immigrants, Next Thursday

Please join Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network and Make the Road New York in learning about new local legislation that will further protect arrested immigrants on Thursday, February 21st, 9:15 AM at the Hunter School of Social Work.

The proposed City Council legislation will:

  • Further limit unfair deportations;
  • Build on existing local law and is meant to promote public safety and community engagement; and
  • Relieve damaging effects of the federal government’s Secure Communities initiative.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, and Make the Road New York
WHAT: NEW Local Legislation To Further Protect Arrested Immigrants Informational Session
WHEN: Thursday, February 21, 2013. 9:15 (prompt) to 11:30 AM
WHERE: Hunter School of Social Work at East 119th Street and 3rd Avenue. Second floor classroom.
For more info and/or to RSVP, please contact Joe Pressley in the Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito at 212-828-9800 or via email at jpressley@council.nyc.gov.  

Participatory Budgeting: Join Us At An Upcoming Project Expo

We are about to enter the third phase of the Participatory Budgeting (PB) process – Project Expos. In the first phase, we held seven neighborhood assemblies, which were attended by hundreds of community members and where we gathered even more great ideas on how to spend $1 million in District 8. Then in the second phase, the budget delegates worked hard on turning the ideas you helped generate in our neighborhood assemblies into concrete proposals for a public vote.

Please join us at one of our Project Expos, where our budget delegates will unveil the projects that will appear on the ballot for a public vote this April. This is a great way to learn more about the projects before you cast your vote. Hope to see you there!

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Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

For more information on PB in District 8, visit mmviverito.com/pbnyc.

Melissa Calls On DOE To Comply With New York State Guidelines for PE

Last week, Melissa spearheaded a press conference, covered by NY 1, calling on the New York City Department of Education to be in full compliance with New York State guidelines for physical education (PE) in New York City public schools.  Recent reports from the American Heart Association and the Women’s City Club of New York have demonstrated a clear need to improve the quality and quantity of PE in New York City.  The benefits of PE are far reaching evidence shows that school-based PE leads to improved academic achievement, increased state standardized test scores and a student’s health and overall well-being. PE also improves a child’s cognitive ability and behavior.

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Melissa expressed her concern regarding this critical issue saying:

“Providing quality physical education instruction for our children is absolutely critical in a time when our City is facing a staggering childhood obesity epidemic!  It is unacceptable that teens in East Harlem (which I represent) are nearly three times less likely to attend a daily gym class than teens in more affluent neighborhoods!  And we wonder why our community has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the city.  This is why I spearheaded a letter to the DOE signed by 35 of my colleagues, asking the department about its strategy to improve the quantity and quality of PE instruction in our schools and demanding a plan to address the disparities between schools that have sufficient PE programs and those that do not.”

Melissa Celebrates Breaking Ground at The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning

Melissa joined Harlem RBI , Jonathan Rose Companies, Enterprise, NYCHANYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Housing Development Corporation, Chase, and the New York Yankee’s Mark Teixeira in celebrating the groundbreaking of The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning today.

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Official NYC Council Photograph by William Alatriste

The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning is located on 104th Street, between Second and Third Avenues on the land within the Washington Houses complex. Thanks to additional Participatory Budgeting funding, Harlem RBI’s K-8 DREAM Charter School will have a permanent home in this new development – and a 54,000-square-foot home to boot. Joining the DREAM Charter School at The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning will be 11-stories that consist of 89 affordable housing units and 6,000-square-feet of non-profit office space. The housing component of this project will be named Yomo Toro Houses, after the legendary Puerto Rican musician who died in July 2012.

The development will further serve the East Harlem community, where the unemployment rate is 16.8% and a median income of $23,000 per year, by providing jobs at Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School. There will be additional benefits to NYCHA residents of Washington Houses, including a 50% set-aside for the children of Washington Houses for the Harlem RBI charter school enrollment lottery and new playground equipment and trash compactors.

“Harlem RBI continues to find new and innovative ways to help make El Barrio/East Harlem a better place for our youth and families,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “This groundbreaking is an incredible milestone on a project that will provide so many benefits to our neighborhood from affordable housing, to improved community space and parkland for El Barrio/East Harlem residents. I thank Harlem RBI for their continued commitment to East Harlem, as well as Jonathan Rose Companies, the Yankees’ Mark Texeira, and of course all the city agencies involved in making this project happen.”

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Official NYC Council Photographs by William Alatriste

The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning’s affordable apartments are scheduled to open in August 2014, with the school and office facilities opening for the 2014-2015 school year. To read more about The East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, click here.

Bring The Kids to PS/MS 165’s Winterfest Saturday, February 23rd

*Please note that Winterfest has been rescheduled, ironically, because of the winter (Nemo)*

On Saturday, February 9th, from 11 AM to 2 PM Saturday, February 23rd, from 11 AM to 2 PM, stop by PS/MS 165 for the first ever Winterfest. Winterfest will be held indoors and is jam packed with fun carnival games; complete with prizes, art, food and music by Tom Knight and magic by Magic Evan.

Winterfest

WHAT: Winterfest
WHEN: Saturday, February 9th; from 11 AM – 2 PM Saturday, February 23rd; from 11 AM – 2 PM *RESCHEDULED BECAUSE OF NEMO*
WHERE: PS/MS 165; West 109th Street, between Broadway & Amsterdam
Admission is free; and activities and food start at only $1.
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Mott Haven’s PS 369 is Saved from the DOE’s Chopping Block

Back in November, the DOE was threatening to phase out PS 369, the Young Leaders Elementary School, in the South Bronx. Melissa immediately rallied in solidarity with the parents, students and teachers. “Studies have shown that school closings disrupt the community and fail to improve the education of our students. We need to invest in our schools, not shut them down,” Melissa said back in November. She also joined the parents in a meeting with DOE officials to make clear her strong support for keeping the school open.

We are happy to announce that the DOE heard our voices, with the fantastic help of the Coalition for Educational Justice and strong advocacy from parents and students, PS 369 will be kept whole and will not be shut down.

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Bronx Parents: Learn More About Kindergarten Admissions, Wednesday, February 6th

Bronx Parents –

School District 7 having a Kindergarten Admissions Fair on Wednesday, February 6, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 PM at P.S. 5 Port Morris (564 Jackson Avenue). The fair will provide families with information about the District 7 kindergarten admissions process and the various school options within the district. The District 7 Fair provides a great opportunity for students and their families to meet with potential schools.

District 7 Elementary School Directory
Families can pick up the District 7 Directory at any public elementary school in District 7 or at the Enrollment Office (1 Fordham Plaza, 7th floor). We also have it available here in English and here in Spanish.

More Ways for Families to Apply
Starting this year, families applying to kindergarten programs in District 7 will have three ways to submit applications:

  1. In person at the District 7 Enrollment Office (1 Fordham Plaza, 7th floor)
  2. Online at www.nyc.gov/schools/kindergarten
  3. Over the phone by calling the Office of Student Enrollment at 718-935-2009

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WHO: NYC Department of Education
WHATKindergarten Admissions Fair for School District 7
WHEN: Wednesday, February 6, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
WHERE: P.S. 5 Port Morris; 564 Jackson Avenue, Bronx, NY
Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Help End Discriminatory Policing

Please join us tonight, Tuesday, February 5th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM for a Know Your Rights! training that will be hosted by Picture the Homeless. Here, you will learn your rights with the NYPD and how to exercise those rights as safely as possible. We will also be holding a Cop Watch! training next Tuesday, February 12th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, hosted by the Justice Committee. At this training, we will learn how to observe and document police activity in your neighborhood. The ultimate goal of these trainings are to help end discriminatory policing – we believe in standing up and being a part of the solution.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Picture the Homeless, The Bronx Defenders, Justice Committee, and Communities United for Police Reform
WHAT & WHEN: East Harlem Stand Up! Trainings

  • Know Your Rights! Training: Tuesday, February 5th; 6:30 – 8:30 PM
  • Cop Watch! Training: Tuesday, February 12th; 6:30 – 8:30 PM

WHERE: Taino Towers, Crystal Room. 240 East 123rd Street (4/5/6 to 125th St)
For more information or to RSVP:

  • Know Your Rights! Training: shaun@picturethehomeless.org
  • Cop Watch! Training: info@justicecommittee.org

Celebrate the Chinese New Year With Us on Friday, February 8th

Please join us in celebrating the Chinese New Year and welcoming the Year of the Snake on Friday, February 8th at the Union Settlement Association. There will be food, refreshments and entertainment; so make sure to come by for an enjoyable afternoon.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The Carter Burden/Covello Senior Center, City Hall Senior Center Dance & Chorus Group, Tahl Propp Equities, Union Settlement Association, and the Yorkville Common Pantry
WHAT: Celebrating the Year of the Snake
WHEN: Friday, February 8, 2013. Noon to 2 PM
WHERE: Union Settlement Association, 237 East 104th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
For additional information, please call 212-828-9800

Please click here for the flyer in Chinese

Melissa Responds to the Arrest of a Suspect in Eight Muggings of Asian American East Harlem Residents

Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito released the following statement today in response to the arrest of Jason Commisso, the suspect in a string of eight muggings targeting Asian American residents of El Barrio/East Harlem:

“Today, we are all breathing a sigh of relief as the suspect behind eight vicious muggings of Asian American East Harlem residents has finally been apprehended by police. These brutal robberies have shaken all of us in the community, but I am happy to say that we had a unified response and came together to denounce this kind of violence.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, and all of the officers of the 23rd Precinct, who demonstrated such a strong response to this string of attacks. I would also like to thank all of my colleagues in government, Asian American community leaders and residents of El Barrio/East Harlem, who joined me in distributing flyers in the neighborhood this weekend. In particular, I would like to thank Comptroller John Liu and Asian Americans for Equality.

“We will all continue to remain vigilant and ensure that no group of people within our community is made to feel unsafe. All of us in El Barrio/East Harlem, and in every community throughout the city, have the right to live without fear.

“I urge the District Attorney’s office to prosecute this individual to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated.”

UPDATE: New Photo of Robbery Suspect Targeting Asian Americans in East Harlem

Police have just released a new photo of the suspect responsible for eight vicious muggings in over a week against our Asian American neighbors in East Harlem (see below).Please share this widely as we continue our efforts to spread the word and help police locate this attacker. If you have any information, please call 1-800-577-TIPS.

Today, we hit the streets for the second day in a row, this time with Comptroller John Liu and other elected officials, to distribute flyers. Please check the blog regularly for any additional updates.

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Emergency Press Conference Tomorrow: Denounce Violence Against Our Asian American Neighbors

Melissa will hold a press conference in El Barrio/East Harlem on Saturday morning to denounce a series of vicious muggings against our Asian American neighbors and to urge the community to join in efforts to identify the suspect behind these attacks. Over the past week, this suspect has brutally beaten and robbed six Asian American residents in elevators, including two incidents yesterday alone.

Please join us on the corner of 106th Street and 3rd Avenue at 11:00 a.m. to join in our message that this type of violence Asian Americans or any group of people in our community will not be tolerated!

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After the press conference, Melissa will invite participants to distribute flyers in order to help police find the perpetrator of these vicious muggings. Crime Stoppers is currently offering up to $2,000 in cash for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person responsible for these crimes. If you have information, please call 1 (800) 577-TIPS.

According to literature distributed by police, “The perpetrator attacks victims of Asian descent by following them into elevators, assaulting them repeatedly by punching them in the face and head and forcefully removing their property. The perpetrator is described as a light skinned male black or male Hispanic, 6’0”- 6’2”, 200 – 230 lbs and wears a black jacket and a black doo-rag or skull cap.”

East Harlem Stands Up Against Discriminatory Policing

Last Thursday, Melissa addressed over 200 East Harlem and South Bronx residents at Taino Tower’s Crystal Room at the East Harlem Stand Up event co-sponsored by Melissa, Justice Committee, Picture the Homeless, and the Bronx Defenders. The town hall forum was meant to address discriminatory policing in our community.

The event included speeches by Comptroller John Liu, as well as organizers who educated participants on their constitutional rights, and what to do and say if you are stopped or harassed by the NYPD. Residents were also given the opportunity to speak out about their experiences with stop and frisk.

Melissa called for the East Harlem community to unite and fight this unconstitutional practice:

“East Harlem has had over 17,000 stops in our 23rd Precinct alone, the highest number in Manhattan.  This policy is criminalizing an entire generation of young people in our community!

This is why I introduced a resolution in support of a change in state law that would end the NYPD’s enforcement of small-time marijuana possession during stop-and-frisks, where police would routinely ask individuals to empty their pockets, and upon finding marijuana would arrest them.

This practice was leading to the arrest of more than 50,000 New Yorkers each year, costing over $75 million, money which should instead be invested in youth programs.

This administration has been closing our schools, cutting our after-school programs, and then cracking down on our kids when they’re on the street. This is racial discrimination at its finest! 

If the city wants to combat violence in our communities than we have to look at the Root Causes: poverty, unemployment, lack of decent affordable housing or health care or education or recreational programs for our youth.  ”

Learn How To Apply for a Play Street in Your Neighborhood

Transportation Alternatives and the New York City Department of Health are hosting a public workshop to assist and educate community based organizations with the Play Street application process. Play Streets are weekly one-day street closures in the summer that give children access to a safe, fun and supervised place to engage in physical activity. Many neighborhoods throughout New York City lack access to parks and open space, making it difficult for children to get the proper amount of exercise each day. Play Streets address this problem by empowering community groups to create their own places for children’s recreation and encourages a healthy active lifestyle.

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The workshop will provide participants with the knowledge, tools and assistance to win a Play Street for their neighborhood. Additionally, you will be guided through the application process and they will work with you on developing strategies to ensure a successful program. They will also provide you with information about improvements you can request from the City to make your neighborhood streets safer and more welcoming for walking and biking.

WHO: Transportation Alternatives and the New York City Health Department
WHAT: Play Street Permit Process Workshop
WHEN: Thursday, January 31, 2013; 4 PM – 6 PM
WHERE: 40 Worth Street, 5th floor, room 5.2/5.2
RSVP: playstreets@transalt.org or 646-839-6483

Be A Part of the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Public Workshop on Wednesday, January 30th

You are invited to attend an MTA public workshop regarding the construction of the Second Avenue Subway.

The goal of this workshop is to maintain an open dialogue between the MTA and the community at large. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage project representatives about current construction activity and the initiatives implemented by the MTA as a direct response to community input from the previous SAS public workshop.

MTA employees and contractors will attend the workshop to facilitate discussion and answer questions.

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WHO: MTA
WHAT: Second Avenue Subway Quarterly Public Workshop
WHEN: Wednesday, January 30th from 6:45 to 8:30 PM
WHERE: Temple Israel, 112 East 75th Street (between Park & Lexington Avenues)
RSVP: Reserve your seats online here or by calling (646) 564-5866.

* The capacity of the facility is 200 people and seats are filling quickly, so reserve yours today.
* Photo ID will be required for entry.
* Facility is ADA accessible.

Join Us on Tuesday in Celebrating ‘Las Octavitas,’ the End of the Puerto Rican Christmas Season

As some of you may know, the Christmas season in Puerto Rican culture stretches out into January. First with the celebration of Three Kings Day and then, days later with Las Octavitas; the holiday season in Puerto Rico is the most extensive in the world.

With that being said, we hope you can join us on Tuesday, January 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 PM, in celebrating Las Octavitas with traditional Puerto Rican food and live music. This event is not a religious ceremony, but a celebration of Puerto Rican cultural heritage.

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller John C. Liu, Representative Charles B. Rangel, Senator Bill Perkins, and Assembly Member Robert J. Rodriguez
WHAT: Las Octavitas Celebration
WHEN: Tuesday, January 22nd; 5:30 – 7:30 PM
WHERE: Taino Towers, 240 East 123rd Street (Gymnasium); between Second & Third Avenues
RSVP: Please reply to the Comptroller’s Office of Special Events: (212) 669-4466; TTY: (212) 669-3450; or eventsrsvp@comptroller.nyc.gov

Handicap-Logo8To arrange special accommodations, please call (212) 669-4315. Fully accessible facility. 

Melissa Speaks at the Inauguration of Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto of San Juan

Yesterday, Melissa was honored to speak at the inauguration ceremony for Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, the newly elected mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For so long we have watched and hoped for a moment like the one in which we find ourselves right now. A moment that is truly a transformative one for Puerto Rico and all its people. The people are demanding that their government represent the needs of the majority and not that of a small sector of interests. Some people have compared this moment in Puerto Rico to the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement, which literally helped reshape and reframe the public discourse around income inequality and government representation…

Her message has been simple but powerful: “Un San Juan Para Todos” (“A San Juan for All”). Her inclusive vision for the future of San Juan extends to all – old and young, women and men, poor and wealthy, members of the LGBT community, immigrants… everyone. Even those that did not vote for her. Those who historically have not had a voice in our society are included to bring forth a new future for San Juan, together with our inspiring mayor.

All this means that new ways of doing business must be put in place. I am proud to say that Mayor Carmen Yulín – who I consider a sister in struggle – has committed to engaging in a participatory budgeting process here in San Juan, a way to turn the power over to the people and their communities to decide how to spend public dollars. I was among the first Council Members to engage in this process in New York, which is only the second city to do so in the U.S. It was an honor for me to invite Carmen Yulín to City Hall to discuss this initiative with her, and I look forward to seeing it happen here in San Juan.

To watch Melissa’s speech, commence at the 38:30 mark:

For the full transcript, in English & Spanish, click here.

Preparing For The Potential School Bus Driver Strike

The Amalgamated Transit Union 1181, representing about 8,800 New York City school bus drivers and matrons, is planning to go on strike this Wednesday. Below is updated information from the NYC Department of Education (DOE) about what to do in the event that they do strike:

METROCARDS

  • All students who currently receive yellow bus service may receive a MetroCard.  These MetroCards are being made available at your local school and should be requested through each school’s general office.  Schools will distribute student MetroCards beginning Tuesday, Jan. 15th.
  • Parents of pre-school and school-age children with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) requiring transportation from their home directly to their school as well as parents of general education children in grades K-2 may also request a MetroCard for the parent or guardian to act as the child’s escort to school.  Parent MetroCards will be distributed beginning Wednesday, Jan. 16th.  These cards can be used on subways beginning Wednesday, Jan. 16th and on buses beginning Thursday, Jan. 17th.

TRANSPORTATION REIMBURSEMENT

  • The DOE is offering reimbursement for actual transportation costs (subject to DOE guidelines) for students in grades K-6 who receive yellow bus service from home or a school bus stop and live in areas where public transportation is not readily available.
  • Parents who drive their children to school will be reimbursed at a rate of 55 cents per mile.
  • Parents who use a taxi or car service to transport their child to school will be reimbursed for the trip upon completion of reimbursement forms that includes a receipt for provided services.
  • Requests for reimbursements should be made weekly on forms that will be made available on the DOE website and in each school’s general office.

ROUTE FINDER

CLASS MATERIALS

  • In the unfortunate event that students cannot get to school, the DOE will be posting materials online for every grade and core subject so that students can continue their learning at home during the strike.

Please contact your local school, 311 or the Office of Pupil Transportation at (718) 392-8855 for additional information. 

Get Involved By Joining a Community Board

If you have something to say about the neighborhood you live in, one of the greatest forums you can join is your local community board. This Thursday, Transportation Alternatives and Bronx Health REACH are hosting a FREE informational session, Community Board Join Up, where you can learn about your community board and how to apply to be a member. Hear from the Bronx Borough President’s office about just how integral community boards are in the decision making process within their neighborhood.

Enjoy snacks and drinks while meeting like-minded New Yorkers interested in joining their community board. You can fill out an application while you learn about the process. This Community Board Join Up will happen in the Bronx, but anyone is welcome to attend.

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WHO: Transportation Alternatives and Bronx Health REACH
WHAT: “Community Board Join Up” informational session
WHEN: Thursday, January 10th – 6:30 to 8 PM
WHERE: Cornell University Cooperative Extension, 432 East 149th Street, 4th floor. Bronx, NY 10455
RSVP: Please click this link to RSVP through Transportation Alternatives

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa Testifies to Keep East Harlem Whole

Yesterday, Melissa testified at the NYC Districting Commission’s Manhattan public hearing. In front of the Commission and District 8 constituents, who were the overwhelming majority of those in attendance, Melissa had another chance to speak before the Commission’s next map revision comes on January 23rd.

Melissa testified:

My community of El Barrio/East Harlem has a clear message: we want to remain united within one district. We are asking for the full restoration of the current East Harlem boundaries in the 8th District, which will protect a historic community of interest, keep our public housing developments united and encapsulate critical community and cultural resources within one district. We are also asking for the restoration of Randall’s and Wards Islands and the preservation of Central Park within District 8. All of this is accomplished by the Common Cause map, while greatly expanding District 8’s portion of the Bronx, something I fully welcome. I strongly urge the Commission to use the Common Cause map as the basis for the reconfiguration of the proposed District 8.

For the full testimony, please click here. 

To watch Melissa’s testimony, please fast forward to around the 52-minute mark:

Thank you to everyone who came out to testify and signed our petition. We presented a petition with over 150 signatures to the Commission calling for the full restoration of the East Harlem boundaries. For those who were not able to make it out to testify, the final hearing is on January 15th, so there is still time to submit written testimony to hearings@districting.nyc.gov.

Read more about yesterday’s hearing from City & State.

Learn About HIV Prevention Efforts in Immigrant Communities

Join us on the morning of Thursday, January 17th at the Hunter School of School of Social Work to The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network’s “Maximizing HIV Prevention in Immigrant Communities in 2013 – Programs and Policies Affecting East Harlem and Beyond” panel. Melissa will be speaking at the event, in addition to the Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Iris House and the NYC Department of Health/Mental Hygiene.

Find out about the impact that the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other policies can have on maximizing HIV prevention in immigrant communities as well as what resources are available for residents, and more. Did you know that even though death rates due to HIV have decreased in East Harlem in the past decade, our community still has the second highest HIV-related death rate in the city? Stop by to get informed.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network, Harlem United Community AIDS Center, Iris House and the NYC Department of Health/Mental Hygiene
WHAT: “Maximizing HIV Prevention in Immigrant Communities in 2013 – Programs and Policies Affecting East Harlem and Beyond” Panel
WHEN: Thursday, January 17th, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
WHERE: Hunter School of Social Work, East 119th Street & 3rd Avenue, 2nd floor
*For more information & to RSVP, please contact Joe Pressley in the Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito at 212.828.9800 or via email at jpressley@council.nyc.gov OR contact Thierry Ekon at the NYCDOH/MH Harlem District Public Health Office at 347.396.7776 or via email at aekon@health.nyc.gov

The East Harlem Immigrant Service Network is an initiative launched by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Office out of a desire to support each other as service providers and advocates working with the immigrant community in District 8. The network is open to organizations interested in collaborating and sharing information relating to programming and services, and in discussing issues of immigrant rights, the political environment, and the challenges facing the immigrant community in the district.

Sign Up for An Allowable Political Activity by Nonprofits Course

The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development’s (ANHD) Affordable Housing Institute will be hosting an Allowable Political Activity by Nonprofits course on Wednesday, January 9th. This training will address the ability of nonprofit, tax exempt organizations to engage their communities in election related activities. While 501(c)(3) organizations cannot endorse or oppose candidates, they can run voter registration and Get Out The Vote campaigns, highlight community issues, and encourage civic engagement. The training will be conducted by Harvey Epstein and Ted De Barbieri, attorneys at the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project.

WHO: ANHD and Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project
WHAT: Allowable Political Activity by Nonprofits course
WHEN: Wednesday, January 9th – 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
WHERE: ANHD – 50 New Street, suite 1125, Manhattan
COST: $50 per organization (free for ANHD members), admits two people. If cost is a concern fee reductions may be available, feel free to ask.
REGISTER: Email the form found here to Rita Mazza – rita.m@anhd.org. Please make checks payable to the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.

Melissa Named 2012 NYC Streetsies’ Elected Official of the Year

streetsies_2012_smallPersistence and hard work does pay off. We ended 2012 with the honor of having Melissa’s hard work recognized with a Streetsie for Elected Official of the Year. If you don’t know, Streetsies are given by Streetsblog NYC, which covers all things sustainable transportation and advocates for “progressive policy changes that are saving lives and creating a more sustainable future for New York.”

The winner and Streetsblog’s Elected Official of 2012 is Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. This was the year that the East Harlem representative’s persistent advocacy for safer streets in her district finally paid off, when the first protected bike lane above 96th Street was installed on Second Avenue. From speaking on the City Hall steps in 2010 to facing down the misinformation campaign against the project in 2011, Mark-Viverito was at the center of the effort to bring complete streets to East Harlem. This wasn’t the first time she’d taken a stand for livable streets, either. Mark-Viverito was the council’s clearest voice for congestion pricing in 2008, and she’s a big proponent of Bus Rapid Transit. If every City Council member was so willing to embrace change, progress would come to NYC streets a lot faster.

Link: http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/12/31/the-2012-nyc-streetsies-part-3/

Thanks Streetsblog! Here’s to a great 2013 and more progress on bringing transportation improvements to communities throughout NYC.

Speak Out Against Discriminatory Policing at East Harlem’s Town Hall Event on Thursday, January 17

On Thursday, January 17th, Melissa will be co-sponsoring a town hall event about discriminatory policing with the Justice Committee. At “East Harlem Stand Up!”, community members will be encouraged to speak out against the NYPD’s Stop & Frisk policy, and the program will also include Know Your Rights training and a discussion of the Community Safety Act which Melissa is co-sponsoring. East Harlem is disproportionately impacted by this policy, with the highest number of stops in Manhattan.

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WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, The Bronx Defenders, Picture the Homeless, and the Justice Committee
WHAT: Town Hall on Discriminatory Policing
WHEN: Thursday, January 17th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
WHERE: Taino Towers in the Crystal Room – 240 East 123rd Street
* For more information, call 347-676-1878 or email yul-san@justicecommittee.org  
* Spanish translation, childcare and free food will be provided!

Para ver el volante del evento en español, haga clic aquí.

Melissa Hosts Three Kings Day Luncheon Celebration

Flyer - 3 Kings Day 2013 (1)
Please join us for a Three Kings Day Luncheon Celebration hosted by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito next Friday, January 4th, following the annual parade in El Barrio. The luncheon begins at 12:30 and will be held at the Cora Texidor Bonifacio Senior Building (7 E. 116th Street, between 5th and Madison Avenues). Traditional Latin cuisine and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. There is limited space and RSVP is required. Please call our office at 212-828-9800 or e-mail lquinones@council.nyc.gov. We look forward to seeing you there as we celebrate Three Kings Day!

One Last Chance to Be Heard

Back in October, during the last Districting Commission hearing, Melissa and our office were so moved by how many community members, children included, came out to testify against the commission’s proposed new lines for District 8. Under the original proposed map, East Harlem would be split up beyond recognition. Due to your efforts, the commission revised their lines to bring La Marqueta back to El Barrio, where it belong. There is more work to do though – over 30 blocks in East Harlem have been cut out of the district.

We have one more opportunity to make our voice heard on this important issue. The Districting Commission is holding one more round of hearings in January before passing a final set of district lines. We’ve already showed them how united we are as a community and are being given another chance to prove it to them. Please save these dates and join us in the fight to defend the integrity of our community:

El Barrio/East Harlem Town Hall on Redistricting
Sponsored by Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito
Thursday, January 3rd | 6:30 pm
Children’s Aid Society (130 E. 101st Street, between Lexington and Park)

Manhattan Districting Commission Hearing
Monday, January 7th | 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hunter College (695 Park Avenue, Auditorium)

Bronx Districting Commission Hearing
Wednesday, January 9th | 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Hostos Community College (500 Grand Concourse, Repertory Theatre, Building C)

  redistricting_english     Districting Flyer - Spanish

To view the latest District 8 lines, please follow this link and click on District 8.

We hope to see you all at these important meetings to make clear that splitting up our neighborhood is unacceptable.

Melissa Joins the Call for a Citywide Gun Recovery Initiative

In the wake of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, so many across the country are clamoring for aggressive action to tighten restrictions around guns at the federal level. Right here in NYC, leaders and Council Members are also calling for a large-scale gun recovery initiative.  This initiative would be a way for the city government to do its part and honor the memories of the 20 children and 6 adults whose lives were cut short last Friday by ensuring that we take steps to reduce the scourge of gun violence.

Melissa supports and stands behind a gun recovery initiative that will help prevent another tragedy, like in Newtown, and instances in our district, from happening again. District 8 has not been a stranger to unnecessary gun violence and tragic murders. The fact is that as crime in NYC has been decreasing, it has been increasing in East Harlem, as per NYPD statistics. Just this Monday, a 57 year old woman was wounded by a stray bullet on 116th and Fifth Avenue and not even an hour later, a 17 year old boy was shot in the face on 109th Street and Second Avenue. This is completely unacceptable and scarily becoming the norm.

A parent should never have to question their child’s safety at school or on a street in their neighborhood – a change must be made and Melissa remains dedicated to the cause. By strengthening and implementing gun buyback programs and a homicide reduction program, we can make the streets a safer place. “This is something we all have a role in. This is something we are tired of. We want peace in our streets,” Melissa said.

“We cannot afford to lose one more child in this city to senseless gun violence,” Melissa added. “To truly tighten gun control, we need the help of our partners in state and federal government, but there are things we can do here in New York City to help make our streets safer. A citywide gun recovery initiative is one of those things. The killing of so many young children in Newtown was an unspeakable tragedy. On so many occasions, our communities have also experienced the pain of children being taken from us too soon as a result of gun violence. I thank Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and all of my colleagues who are adding their voice to this effort.”

Safe Streets Rally in the South Bronx this Saturday

This Saturday we will meet on East 138th Street & St. Ann’s Avenue in Mott Haven to rally for safer streets. Just last week, it was on the corner that we will meet that a 69 year old man, who lived around the corner, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer in the middle of the afternoon. Please join us in remembering this Mott Haven resident and rallying for less truck traffic that proves time and time again to be bad for pedestrians and the Bronx.

southbronxrally

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, South Bronx Unite, Casa Atabex Ache, Community Connections for Youth, Friends of Brook Park, Heketi Community Charter School, Mothers on the Move, Transportation Alternatives, and United Federation of Taino People
WHAT: Safe Streets in South Bronx Rally
WHEN: Saturday, December 22, 2012 – 12 PM to 1:30 PM
WHERE: East 138th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue
For more information, connect South Bronx Unite at 646.648.4362

Reflecting On Last Week’s March for Peace in East Harlem

This past Thursday, December 13th, ironically the night before the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, Melissa marched with over 70 young people through El Barrio/ East Harlem calling for peace in our streets and an end to the senseless violence among young people that we’ve seen in recent years.

Everyone could feel the energy and passion in the air as the  teens and their family members chanted  in unison, “Put the Guns down, Throw ya Peace Signs Up,” and “No more silence, Stop the Violence!”, amplifying their voices throughout the neighborhood.

The march ended at 106th Street and 3rd avenue where Melissa spoke, along with Reverend Sean Gardner from East Ward Baptist Church, and several youth about why they were there as well as their visions for positive alternatives to violence. Melissa told us about her experience attending a grief session earlier that afternoon for Aubrey Jackson, a teenager who died last week after having been in a coma for 6 months due to an assault in the Taft Housing Development.  She reiterated that violence and death cannot be tolerated as the norm for East Harlem’s younger generation.

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We could have never foreseen what tragedy would strike the very next morning just 60-miles north of our community.  This tragedy will only strengthen our commitment to ending gun violence and standing up for peace in our community and across the country.

Melissa Receives Top Human Rights Report Card Score For the Third Consecutive Year

MMV human rights report cardThe Urban Justice Center’s Human Rights Project works tirelessly to improve the lives of New Yorkers living in poverty by monitoring and advocating for human rights, especially those related to employment, housing, health, food and education. For the past five years, the Human Rights Project has released an annual Report Card. This Report Card is designed to advance the use of a human rights framework in policy evaluation and advocacy; as well as measuring the commitment of the New York City Council to promoting human rights in New York City.

We are all very proud to announce that for the third year in a row, Melissa has been one of the highest scored City Council members in human rights as per the Human Rights’ Report Card. With her passion and commitment to advancing the rights of our city’s most vulnerable populations and building a more just city for all, this is a major honor that underscores all her hard work in these areas.

Melissa Announces New Legislation To Protect Unjust Deportation of Immigrant New Yorkers

Today, Melissa joined her colleagues in announcing a new legislative action that will reduce the unjust deportations of immigrant families due to the federal Secure Communities program. Building on legislation sponsored by Melissa which became law last year, the two new pieces of legislation that will be introduced this month will limit the city’s ability to hand over immigrants who pose no threat to public safety for deportation proceedings. Melissa is the lead sponsor of one of the two new bills, which should receive a hearing within the first quarter of 2013. The other bill is sponsored by Speaker Christine Quinn.

Because of the current Secure Communities program in NYC, once an immigrant encounters the criminal justice system, they are at automatic risk of deportation. Under the current system, regardless of immigration status, age, criminal record or the accused crime, immigrants can be detained and deported – constantly living in fear. With this proposed legislation, the city would only be able to honor a detainer request from the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) if the person poses a threat to our city or has serious criminal charges pending. It would specifically ensure that immigrant youth and individuals that only have old or very minor convictions, or convictions directly related to their immigration status like driving without a license, are not funneled into the deportation system.

Melissa commented:

“New York City continues to be at the forefront of protecting our immigrant communities from unjust deportations. I am proud that this Council is again ushering through legislation that expands our city’s ability to have discretion in its collaboration with federal immigration enforcement. This legislation comes in response to the forced roll out of Secure Communities in our state, which threatens to funnel immigrant New Yorkers directly from central booking to deportation centers. We must extend to our police precincts the same protections we put in place in our city’s jails to prevent the unfair deportation of immigrant New Yorkers. We also want to strengthen the current law to ensure that immigrant youth and immigrants with old or minor convictions are clearly protected from deportation. I thank Speaker Christine Quinn and Immigration Chair Danny Dromm for their leadership, as well as Make the Road New York and the Cardozo Law School for their continued advocacy.”

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This legislation will surely serve as a model for other municipalities throughout the U.S. as we await for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. We will keep you all updated on this piece of legislation.

March For Peace With Us This Thursday

Please march with us this Thursday to support peace in El Barrio/East Harlem. “PUT THE GUNS DOWN, THROW THE PEACE SIGNS UP.” We’d love to see you there with anti-violence signs and noise makers. Let’s unite to support peace in our community!

peace march

WHO: Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito & the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force; to be joined by youth, parents, schools, families, CBO’s and elected officials
WHAT: El Barrio/East Harlem Community Anti-Violence Peace March
WHEN: Thursday, December 13, 2012; 4 PM – 6 PM. Leaving promptly at 4:30 PM.
WHERE: At 4 PM, we will meet at 116th and Madison. Departing promptly at 4:30 PM, we will head east on 116th Street, south on Lexington Avenue and east on 106th Street to 3rd Avenue, where the march will end at the East Harlem Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Melissa Brings #TodosSomosJoseEnrique and #BoicotLaComay Campaigns to the City Council

795_10151340699522324_1226723458_nCouncil Member Melissa Mark-Viverito brought the “Todos Somos José Enrique” and “Boicot La Comay” campaigns to the floor of the City Council today, where she made the following statement:

“About a week and a half ago, the City celebrated a full 24 hours without a single murder, stabbing or shooting. Such an occurrence is rare on the island of Puerto Rico, which is half the size of NYC at 4 million people but last year suffered over 1,000 murders. Puerto Rican people on the island, here in NYC and beyond are simply fed up with this sad state of affairs. Fueled by the drug trade, police corruption and high unemployment, this enormous wave of crime has taken far too many lives. One of the latest victims which has inspired a mass movement is José Enrique Gómez, who was forced to withdraw $400 from an ATM machine before he was beaten, doused with gasoline and set on fire. Since then, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans have been organizing online under the banner ‘Todos Somos José Enrique’ or ‘We Are All José Enrique’ and held large demonstrations on the island and here in New York as well.

“Embroiled within this mass movement is a huge pushback against a show on Puerto Rican network WAPA-TV which is shown here in New York. This program, which features a puppet called La Comay, has long been criticized for its use of vile homophobic slurs. In April of 2010 the Council’s LGBT Caucus, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and I wrote to the FCC to call for an investigation into this offensive language which prompted an apology from the show.

“This show crossed another line when it attacked Jose Enrique Gomez and suggested that he was killed because he was on a street known for prostitution. This latest controversy has ignited a historic boycott that has pressured sponsors, including Walmart, to pull advertising from the show. Clearly, the network is now feeling the pressure. But the truth is that we’ve heard enough apologies. Nothing short of taking this show completely off the air would be acceptable.

“We are more united than ever in fighting to stop the violence in Puerto Rico and stop the hatred that is regularly spewed on this offensive television program.

“It is my sincere hope that with all of this pressure and with a new change in leadership coming in the new year we see positive changes on the island moving forward. ¡Basta ya con la violencia! ¡Todos Somos José Enrique!”

Melissa Will Be On The City Limits Panel to Discuss “Latinos and the Mayoralty: Searching for El Primero”

logo_newCity Limits will be hosting a discussion panel, “Latinos and the Mayoralty: Searching for El Primero on the morning of Wednesday, December 12th. Melissa will be joined by featured panelists to discuss the past, present, and future of Latino political engagement in New York City. Come join the discussion!

WHO: Jarrett Murphy, Editor of City Limits will moderate. Panelists include: Melissa Mark-Viverito; Ed Morales, author and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race; Lucia Gomez Jimenez, the Executive Director of La Fuente; Ramona Hernandez, Director of CUNY Dominican Studies Insitute and professor of sociology at CCNY; and Angelo Falcon, President and Founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy.
WHAT: Latinos and the Mayoralty: Searching for El Primero
WHEN: Wednesday, December 12, 2012. 9:30 AM Panel Discussion & 9 AM Networking
WHERE: The Community Service Society, 105 East 22nd Street, 4th Floor
RSVP: Click here

Standing United with Car Wash Workers

Despite the intended purpose of car washes, many car wash operators conduct a very dirty business. The New York State Department of Labor investigators found that nearly 80% of NYC’s car wash operators are guilty of wage and hour violations. There’s an exploited workforce of around 5,000 employees for the almost 200 car washes throughout the five boroughs. Working anywhere from 60 to 80 hours a week, overtime is practically non-existent for a majority of these minimum-wage or below-minimum-wage employees. And we haven’t even touched upon the many work-related hazards that employees are exposed to or what actually happens with the money in the tip jar in many cases.

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Car wash employees, regardless of their legal status, want and deserve dignity and respect on the job, which includes improvements in wages and benefits and safer working conditions. To date, four different car wash employees’ have voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and more than 20 car washes are involved with the campaign. The owner of two of the newly unionized car washes has been forced to pay $3.4 million in back pay and damages to workers from 2009 after a federal lawsuit.

2012-11-20dailynews-sunnydayAnd this is only the beginning. Last Monday, Melissa and Senator Gustavo Rivera joined car wash workers at Sunny Day Car Wash in the Bronx, to confront the owner and protest outside. Sunny Day workers staged a previous walkout earlier in November after not getting paid for two weeks and were all subsequently fired – that is when they contacted the RWDSU.

We support the carwasheros in finding the courage to collectively take action. They will no longer be silenced.

IN THE NEWS:

Daily News – Labor dispute at Sunny Day Car Wash in Bronx clouds the holiday season for picketing workers: Local pols join protesting carwasheros to demand their jobs back; November 27, 2012

TO FIND OUT MORE: