NYC City Councilman Keith Power has re-introduced a bill, Intro 632-2022, to ban the use of criminal background checks in rental & sale applications. This bill is supported by both Councilmembers Jordan and Ayala.
You can participate in VoterVoice to voice your opinion (for or against) bill, Intro. 632. VoterVoice will allow you to send messages directly to your Council representative:
The Fordham Hill Owners Corporation (a majority Black homeowners group in the Bronx that has worked with HNBA on the issue of oversaturation) sent the following to HNBA, regarding the proposed ‘No Criminal Background Checks’ bill, Intro 632-2022:
Hello All, I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful and safe holiday with your loved ones. It has been some time since we communicated. I am reaching out to you all in regard to another battle I ask you to join the fight on as we continue to try to take back our city that is being destabilized right in front of our eyes. By now you all have probably heard of the Fair Chance Housing Bill that the progressive wing of the New York City Council is aggressively trying to get passed. An earlier version of the bill died in another Council committee at the end of last year when bill creator Councilmember Kevin Powers introduced it. He has now found an audience in the City Council to actually move this bill forward. What is so scary about this bill is it is just like bail reform; it is not fully thought through. This bill seeks to protect criminal offenders but doesn’t take families or law abiding citizens into consideration. This isn’t about redemption, for me I am all about rehabilitation and second chances, but this is once again about elected officials not engaging their constituency before passing legislation. This isn’t just troubling for landlords and all of us but also for condos and cooperatives that have been formed by visionaries to create living quarters, an investment that provides the quality of life that has often been lacking for many working and middle class in this gilded city. Especially for people of color, a co-op like Fordham Hill Owners Corporation, offers our shareholders an opportunity to acquire an asset that they can safely call their home and gain equity. Here are several troubling callouts about this bill:
Criminal background checks on sex offenders is only regulated to New York State. If you are an out of state offender and seek residence in NYS you will go undetected.
Murder, attempted murder, robbery, and other unethical white color crimes will be hidden from the view of landloards and boards.
There is no probationary clause in the bill that model behavior has to be proven. (For instance 7-10 years of no offence and providing work/school history since entry back into society).
Modestly priced coops and rentals (often in communities of color) will most likely receive more of these applicants making us more vulnerable.
I am not sure among us what position is being taken and who has galvanized their communities. Feel free to reach out to me. Communities and organizations can testify next Thursday, December 8 at 10:00 am at the Civil Rights Committee. Please register to speak at https://council.nyc.gov/testify/Please organize your communities to reach out to your council members. Elections are coming up so we do have leverage here. Let’s join together and try to pull a victory out of this one. We at least can make the City Council go back and make the proper modifications to this bill. Thank you, Rachel
Marcus Garvey Park Tree Lighting
On Thursday, December 8th, at 5 PM, bring your family and neighbors to meet at 124th Street and 5th Avenue to celebrate Marcus Garvey Park’s tree lighting ceremony and multi-cultural celebration:
In 1914, an otherwise non-descript tenement in East Harlem looked like this:
The location is on Lexington Ave. near 103rd Street East, and remarkably, they repaired this damage – rather than tear down the building (admittedly, the building was only 4 years old at the time – it was built in 1910):
At 9:16 a.m. on July 4, 1914, a premature dynamite explosion in an anarchist bomb factory blew the roof off a tenement at 1626 Lexington Avenue, near 103rd Street, wrecking three floors, killing four people, injuring a score of others and spewing debris for blocks.
The police identified the intended target of the homemade bomb as John D. Rockefeller. Protests were staged at their homes, offices in Manhattan and at their estate in Pocantico Hills in Westchester County, where two of the alleged bomb-makers had once wound up on trial.
The police linked the deceased bombers to the Industrial Workers of the World, specifically to Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, radicals who a few years later would be deported to Russia.
The 1914 explosion killed Charles Berg, Arthur Caron and Carl Hanson, all linked to the Rockefeller assassination plot, and Marie Chavez, who rented a room in the sixth floor apartment but was not believed to have been involved in the conspiracy.
A year later, the police found another bomb hidden in the driveway of the Tarrytown home of John D. Archbold, the president of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil.
Natu Camara brings her energetic and very unique blend of West African rock and soul to Marcus Garvey Park on October 16, 3-7pm.
Her blend of rock, soul, and singer-songwriter tunes are infused with rhythms from Guinea, Mali and West Africa more generally. The stories she tells are personal ones that invite listeners into her experiences. The result is Natu builds a unique bond with her audience and transports them into her world. Commentary includes the struggles of personal loss, and the challenge of finding herself alone in a strange city.
Natu Camara will perform several songs from her upcoming album, the most notable transporting listeners back to her youth while spending time with her grandmother in her village. Palatable in the new songs is the sense of longing, distance, and time from this world traveler.
Chalkbeat is reporting on the Puerto Rican Librarian who broke the NYPL color barrier in 1921 to be the first Latina librarian in the country’s largest library system.
Pura Belpré was born and raised in Puerto Rico. In 1920, she came to New York City for her sister’s wedding and never went back. In 1921, Belpré was hired by the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library as an “Hispanic Assistant,” a position created to serve the increasing Spanish-speaking population of Harlem. In 1929, she was assigned as a librarian to the 115th Street branch. Later, Belpré was transferred out to the 110th Street Aguilar branch in 1939.
In 1982, the year she died, Belpré received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Public Library. And every year since 1996, the American Librarian Association has given out the Pura Belpré Award to outstanding works of literature by Latino authors.
Capping a decade of reading-related activism, service, and community building, this year’s Literacy Across Harlem March is a fun and meaningful opportunity for Harlemites of all ages to lead for literacy, deepen your knowledge of our community’s rich literary history and landscape, and celebrate Harlem’s identity as a world-renowned hub of literature by and about Black and Brown people.
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. RALLY FOR READING! Join your neighbors at 12:00 p.m. sharp at your choice of these legendary institutions: El Museo del Barrio (1230 5th Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets) or Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center (1942 Amsterdam Avenue at 156th Street). Then get to know your community from a new perspective on an inspiring tour of Harlem’s reading-related landmarks en route to Marcus Garvey Park. Bring two books to march with: a personal favorite (or current “read”) and a gift-quality children’s book (perhaps one of these) to donate to a local homeless shelter.
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – CELEBRATE with your neighbors at the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater, in the heart of Harlem, with hands-on activities for all ages, raffle prizes, and more!
Um, I have to admit this came as a shock when reading news about the shelling of New York while reading a report on the situation in Ukraine. I did a double take on the map, and sure enough, Wikipedia has a page on it:
Before the war it had a population of 10,000.
Handmaids of Mary
You may remember the convent on the north side of Marcus Garvey Park that was the home for the (predominantly) Black Handmaids of Mary for many years. The building was knocked down and only a field of rubble seemingly remains.
Looking closely in the back right corner, however, you can see a garden raised-bed, a potted tree, and a secluded, outdoor shrine that would have been for private devotion, now forlorn and exposed.
Jazz is an art that has been part of our community since the 1930’s and continues to be appreciated in Harlem to this day. We will continue this tradition Saturday afternoon with State Senator Cleare’s First Annual Jazz Appreciation Jam in honor of jazz legend John Coltrane.
Music will be performed by jazz’s finest artists including; Camille Gaynor, Sweet Lee Odem, Zockia, Yayoi, Patience Higgins and Omar Edwards, who will be playing in the Marcus Garvey Park Amphitheater from 1:00pm-7:00pm
On Sunday, September 25th you are invited to walk with us for the National Day of Remembrance.
In Harlem/East Harlem we will begin our walk at 112th and 1st Avenue ending at City Hall. We walk in honor of our friends, family, and community members that were lost to senseless violence and we walk together to send a message that violence is unacceptable.
We walk together in UNITY!
New Exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery
Make sure to check out the new exhibit at Claire Oliver Gallery (ACP between 134/135)