Join Community Voices Heard in Following Black Women

Community Voices Heard writes:

We are on the precipice of change. President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson signals confirmation of a true commitment to change and representation in our nation’s highest court.

We know Black women are an extremely powerful voting bloc, and we also understand the critical role we play in our families and communities. We also know that outside of our communities the contributions of Black women have often been overlooked and undervalued. The Biden Administration is continuing to show that it believes in Black women, and in the wisdom of following our lead. This nomination is long overdue, and we look forward to a swift confirmation, so Ms. Brown Jackson can get down to the business of justice.

While getting the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court is monumental, there is still work to be done and more reason why we must continue working to elect and have representation at all levels that center the voices of communities like ours.

To do that, we need to hear from you! Complete the Follow Black Woman Survey so that we gain more insight into the issues that you care about. Our goal is to survey 5,000 Black women and to engage in discussions that explore the key concerns and priorities. 

Thank you for being a partner in this great work.

Continue Fighting,

Juanita O. Lewis
Executive Director
Follow Black Women Survey

Fallout Shelter is Rat Infested

An article from the New York Times in 1963 specifically mentions conditions in a series of East Harlem tenements that were designated as Cold War-era fallout shelters:

The article goes on to point out that sanitary conditions were not considerations in the designation decision-making process.

Today one of the buildings mentioned on East 131st Street is gone (now private openspace), but the others remain:

To read the full article, see:

Black Women Bicycling

Photo: Baltimore Afro-American newspaper, 1928. Addison Scurlock, photographer. Photographcourtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

NMAAHC historian, Marya McQuirter, uncovered this amazing story about five black women who biked cross-country in the mid-1900s while working on her PhD dissertation. 

Nearly 87 years ago, five friends; Marylou JacksonVelva JacksonEthyl MillerLeolya Nelson and Constance White biked from New York to Washington, DC during Easter weekend. 

In 1928, these five black women biked over 250 miles in three days — an unusual feat for black women at the time. They started out on the morning of Good Friday in Manhattan, where they all lived, and biked 100 miles (a century in bike terms) to Philadelphia. They spent the night at the Philadelphia Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). On Saturday morning, they biked 40 miles to Wilmington, where they spent the night, and on the morning of Easter Sunday, they arrived at the nation’s capital. While in DC, they did some sightseeing on the National Mall and at Howard University. And they also posed for the above photograph in front of the Washington Tribune newspaper building at 922 U Street, NW. Addison Scurlock, founder and owner of the popular Scurlock Studio, was the photographer. Scurlock was known for documenting the life of African Americans in the nation’s capital.  

To learn about the history of the Scurlock Studio, check out the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibit, The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise.


Photo: “Phillis Wheatley YWCA” by AgnosticPreachersKid – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

They spent the night at the Phillis Wheatley YWCA at 901 Rhode Island Ave, NW. The next day they returned to Manhattan via train.  

These women made a conscious decisions to master one of the 19th century’s foremost technological advances for pleasure, mobility, sport and visibility.

I’ve collected some quotes from the cyclists about their journey: 

  • On pleasure: when asked why they took the trip, they responded that it was for the “love of the great out-of doors.”
  • On mobility:  they chose the bicycle as their vehicle for traveling ‘down south’ at the same time that when women, men and children were fleeing the south to escape white terror
  • On sports:  they challenged women 21 years and older to replicate their trip in less time
  • On visibility:  they wanted their feat to be shared with the masses, hence securing features in the Baltimore Afro-American, the New York Age and the Washington Tribune newspapers.

And to this latter point, they weren’t the only ones. I have found dozens of examples of other black women with bicycles who have sought visibility, whether through studio portraits, family photographs, publicity shots, vacation pictures and more.  


Photo:Howard University coeds use bicycles to teach elementary school students how to calculate the circumference of a circle. c. 1930s Addison Scurlock, photographer. Photograph courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

I have been inspired by the 5 cyclists to share the larger story of individuals who mobilized multiple technologies—bicycles and photography—for their own needs. To that end, I am curating a book of historical photographs of black women and bicycles, from the 1880s to the present.

Written by Marya McQuirter., Historian, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 


CALL  212-331-3126 for immediate assistance to have your AC installed 
Priority given to residents who have one or more of these risk factors: 

Chronic health conditions including:
◻ Cardiovascular or respiratory disease
◻ Obesity (BMI > 30) 
◻ Diabetes 
◻ Chronic mental illness 
◻ Cognitive or developmental disorder

Have difficulty thermoregulating
◻ Diuretics 
◻ Anticholinergics 
◻ Neuroleptics 
◻ Drug or alcohol misuse 
◻ Socially isolated or with limited mobility
Applicants who meet income requirements, receive SNAP benefits, or other criteria can apply for cash payments from the NY State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to purchase and install an air conditioner. These are available now until August 31, 2021.Applications can be printed or will be mailed to the person. Completed applications must be mailed to NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA). At this time, HEAP funds cannot be used to pay electric utility costs.
CALL  212-331-3126 
for immediate assistance 
to have your AC installed 

✓Encouraging heat-vulnerable people without air conditioners to call 311 or the HEAP Conference Line at 212-331-3126 to ask for a HEAP cooling assistance application.

The application can also be downloaded at:

✓Provide the required written documentation of increased risk for heat-related illness due to a medical or psychiatric condition or use of medications that increases risk. CALL  212-331-3126 
for immediate assistance 
to have your AC installed 
For Additional Assistance

March for Homeless Rights

Black Women Entrepreneurs

Businesses owned by Black women are growing at six times the national average. These women-owned businesses currently generate $51.4 billion in total revenues and employ more than 375,000 people according to Donna Walker-Kuhne:

Whose blog introduced me to the film She Did That which highlights Black women entrepreneurs.

HNBA’s very own LaShawn Henry recently moved into the entrepreneurial space and describes her company: Urban Strategies as an MWBE Consultant company that specializes in assisting its clients in building diverse and inclusive workforces.

She writes:

Our goal is to create a more inclusive workforce that benefits companies looking to fill positions and communities by improving access to employment opportunities. We connect with local partners and community groups to create a pipeline of talent that is ready to enter the workforce. We develop our pipeline of talent by working with historically marginalized groups, LGBTQ, non-binary, transgender, youth, formerly incarcerated, women, local companies, and unemployed populations We believe to revolutionize the workforce then we must build wealth in underrepresented spaces.

We cannot close the wealth gap, build our communities, and end systemic racism without changing who we hire. We do not have inclusion until all marginalized persons and groups have a seat at the table. We cannot be selective in our definition of inclusion. At the core of our work is fighting gender discrimination, more women are entering the Construction industry, but they often are met with bias. We are confronting this challenge by providing direct support to MWBEs.

Our goal is to build a pipeline of MWBE talent to fill open contracts and educate subcontractors on the bidding process through educational workshops and resources The strategy is to engage our current network and create new partnerships with institutions that have direct contact with MWBE communities.  Through direct outreach and targeted promotion, we can form new partnerships with those who align with our goals. Urban Strategies believes diversity and diverse workforces are not only good for communities, but diverse workforces make better, more sustainable decisions that help a company’s bottom line. Diversity is good for society and good for business.

Eyesore to be Demolished

An eyesore on 115/3rd is going to be demolished, finally. This boarded up building has stood and exemplifying blight for as long as most neighbors can remember.

See: for more.

International Women’s Day Petition

Get Ready! International Women’s Day (March 8) will be here before we know it! What better way to celebrate and honor the women in your life than to make International Women’s Day a New York State holiday!  
The Red Carpet for Justice Coalition needs your help in the campaign to get the New York State Legislature to adopt March 8 as a state holiday. Please sign the petition!   
Please share this link with your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. networks or download a pdf and print and circulate the petitions in person. Printed petitions can be scanned and emailed back to either Minerva Solla ([email protected]) or Michelle Keller ([email protected]). Thank you!
Sign the Online Petition!
Download a Printable Petition (Letter Size) 
Download a Printable Petition (Legal Size)
Download a Printable Petition in Spanish 

Preserving Places of Significance for Black History

New York City has a great interactive map and article on site within the 5 boroughs that are important for our collective history, and Black history in particular. The site: is a great resource and the interactive aspect of the map allows you to focus on whichever aspects of the built landscape you’re interested in viewing.

Harlem Restaurant Week

Harlem Restaurant Week kicked off on Valentine’s Day, with some 50 restaurants across Harlem participating with takeout, delivery, outdoor and indoor dining.

Organized by Harlem Park to Park, this year’s campaign runs through February 28 and features $25 specials to celebrate the 25% capacity return to indoor dining, plus “Best In Harlem $10 Eats.”

Participating East Harlem restaurants include: Au Jus Oklahoma BBQChu Ros ThaiDear Mama CoffeeEast Harlem Bottling Co.El PasoEvelyn’s KitchenGAUDirJaguarMalii Thai KitchenOllinSantiago’s Beer Garden and Teranga. For menus, see

Protest at The Lucern

You likely have heard how some residents of the Upper West Side raised a significant amount of money to fund a legal campaign to force homeless New Yorkers out of the Lucern Hotel which the DHS had contracted to house homeless New Yorkers so they wouldn’t be at risk of COVID in congregant shelters

Today members of HNBA and The Greater Harlem Coalition attended a protest and press conference to note that our community – East Harlem and Harlem – has had more than its fair share of shelters for decades, and that all communities in New York need to take their fair share of shelter residents in this pandemic until permanent residences can be built/found.

As the 2017 NY City Council Report on Fair Share noted:

Residential Beds in East Harlem

Manhattan Community District 11, with 52 beds per 1,000 residents, or 4% of all residential facility beds in the city, embodies the legacy of decades of poor planning by and coordination between City and State governments and the failures of Fair Share. A low-income community of color, it is third in the city’s beds-to-population ration.

Manhattan CD11, composed primarily of East Harlem and Wards/Randall’s Island, is home to 1,082 chemical dependency treatment beds, 1,312 mental health treatment beds, and 2,691 shelter and transitional housing beds. The community hosts 5% of all Department of Homeless Services (DHS) shelter beds, 19% of all State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)-licensed beds, and 11% of all State Office of Mental Health (OMH)-licensed beds in the city.

Distributional equity does not only mean equity between community districts, though that is a reasonable unit of analysis, but also equity within community districts – as the Fair Share Criteria recognize in their directive to specifically consider facilities within one half-mile of a proposed facility as well as the total number of facilities within the community district. Yet Manhattan 11 fails this test of equity too, with one-third of the DHS, OASAS, and OMH beds in the district located between 116th St. and 126th St. between the East River and Park Avenue. If facilities were perfectly evenly distributed between the City’s 59 community districts, each district would host 1.7% of each facility type.

Fair Count

The voices of the Black community must NOT be silenced or lost in this upcoming election

Lift your voice & be heard at the polls! Vote early. Vote safely.

Take a 60 sec animated journey with us on why we must VOTE

#RiseUpAndVote at now!

To learn more about Black Women Animate Studios, the group behind this video, see: Black Women Animate Studios

Harlem’s 11th Restaurant Week

Harlem Restaurant Week returns for the 11th consecutive year, running through October 31.

Dozens of establishments throughout East, West, and Central Harlem are taking part in the event including chef JJ Johnson’s fast casual spot FieldTrip, Indian restaurant Chaiwali, cozy date spot Ruby’s Vintage, Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster, the poultry-focused East Harlem spot Mountain Bird, and the Harlem outpost of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Restaurants are running $25 lunch and $35 dinner prix fixe menus along with a host of other specials priced under $10.