Where It All Started • Harlem, NYC November 2017. Harlem Brew Fest was the first festival in the world to connect all brewers, artists, chefs and DJs in celebration of Black Brewing culture and featured: Sankofa Beer, Black Frog Brewery, Island to Island Beer, 1947 Beer, Harlem Brewing and Rams & Parrot Distillery.
This black and white documentary of a Harlem family was made in 1968 by the famous photographer and filmmaker, Gordon Parks. Using his still photos for Life magazine, Parks illustrated the crushing effect poverty had on every member of this Harlem family who lived on Frederick Douglass Blvd., in the 130’s.
Gordon Parks noted that “I saw that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all sorts of social wrongs. I knew at that point I had to have a camera.”
Public hearings on the proposed new City Council districts begin next week. This is a critical stage of the redistricting process that ensures the views of Harlem and East Harlem are reflected in the drawing of council district lines.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to look at the draft maps proposed by the districting commission, you can do so by clicking here. You can also check out the CUNY website Redistricting and You, which allows you to easily compare the old and the proposed council lines, along with various other dynamics of your district. In addition to the Commission’s preliminary map, you can also see other proposals, like the Unity map, created by the advocacy organizations LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF).
The commission will hold five public hearings in one week, starting on Tuesday August 16. You can sign up to testify here. Each hearing will be hybrid, meaning you can testify virtually or in person. There will be one hearing held in each borough, but if you cannot make your borough’s hearing, it is OK to testify on any date. You can indicate any translation or accommodation needs you may have as you sign up to testify.
Queens: Time: Tuesday August 16, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm Location: Museum of the Moving Image, Sumner Redstone Theater, 36-01 35 Ave Astoria, Queens 11106
The Bronx: Time: Wednesday August 17, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm Location: Lehman College (CUNY), Gillet Auditorium, 250 Bedford Park Blvd West, The Bronx 10468
Staten Island: Time: Thursday August 18, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm Location: Staten Island Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace Rm 125
Brooklyn: Time: Sunday August 21, 2022 @ 3:30pm to 7pm Location: Medgar Evers College (CUNY), School of Science Health & Technology, Dining Hall, 1638 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn 11225
Manhattan: Time: Monday August 22, 2022 @ 5:30pm to 9pm Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd., Harlem, Manhattan, 10037
Testimony Email: If you would like to submit written testimony, you can do so at any time by emailing [email protected]
Recent Advocacy: In response to reports about possible backroom deals between appointing authorities, and their influence over mapping decisions, Citizens Union along with several other advocacy organizations, sent a letter to the Commission urging them to hold mapping deliberations as part of an open public meeting and provide the public with a detailed explanation of how and why the new Council lines are drawn. You can read and promote that sign on letter here.
If you have any questions, or if we can help in any way, contact:
Make sure to plan on attending the virtual and/or in-person events during Harlem Week 2022.
Sponsored by The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, HARLEM WEEK is now 48 years old. Since its founding, the festival has grown to showcase the diaspora of African, Caribbean, Hispanic and European cultures, alongside Harlem’s rich social, economic, and political history.
There will be 10 days of live and virtual celebrations of the people, arts, culture, and entertainment that reaffirm Harlem as the source of this nation’s cultural heartbeat. The theme this year is “INSPIRATION. IMPACT. LEGACY,” and there will be events for seniors, teens, families, music lovers, film buffs, live performances, virtual dance parties, as well as a jobs and careers fair.
Virtual Dance at Home Party every night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., beginning Friday, August 12, 2022. The dance parties will feature DJs spinning a wide spectrum of music that definitely will make you want to dance!
Uptown Saturday Nite Virtual Concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022.
Charles B Rangel Systemic Racism Summit at noon (ET) on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. This summit will feature the tough discussions the entire country needs to continue. It will offer an unfiltered examination of systemic racism in our country and probe the effects on the African-American, Caribbean-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American populations.
Economic Development Day on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. The live and virtual summit will feature key discussions on community development, cyber security, digital development, and inclusion of small businesses.
Virtual Health Summit at noon (ET) on Thursday, August 18, 2022. This summit will bring together some of the foremost medical experts to discuss the effects of health issues and disparities on communities of color, including the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also will cover alternative medicine modalities and mental health issues
Arts & Culture/Broadway Virtual Summit at 3 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, August 18, 2022. This summit features conversations with actors, producers, directors, and those behind the scenes, discussing The Impact of Building a Culture of Diversity on Broadway–Environmental Justice
Healing, Joy, and Liberation: Mental Health and the ArtsVirtual Gathering at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, August 18, 2022. Presented by The Apollo Theater; the CUNY School of Medicine at the City College of New York; the American Composers Orchestra; the National Black Theatre, and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.This event features artistic rituals for healing, visual art, musical performances, and a panel discussion with mental health experts to encourage participants to get, keep, and spread joy.
And if you’re anywhere near Harlem, be sure to check out these in-person events:
Percy Sutton Harlem 5K Run & Anti Gun Violence Health Walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022. Sponsored by New York Road Runners and The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, the event starts at 135th Street and Nicholas Avenue.
Great Jazz on the Great Hillfrom 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at Central Park’s Great Hill.
Jobs & Career Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, at City College of New York.
HARLEM WEEK/Imagenation Outdoor Film Festival on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park.
The two-day NYC Children’s Festival begins Saturday, August 20, 2022, from noon to 5 p.m. at the Howard Bennett Playground on West 135th Street, between Malcolm X Boulevard and 5th This live event for children, ages 5-12, and their family members, will include storytelling, dance performances, step shows, theater, poetry and vocalist. There also will be arts & crafts, a double-dutch competition, face painting and information on health services.
The Alex Trebek Children’s Spelling Bee will also be held August 20, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for children in first through fifth grades. The event will take place at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture.
If you haven’t watched this short film (black and white, shot on 16mm film stock in 1948) you should, just to get a sense of East Harlem in the immediate post-war era.
Puerto Ricans and Italians make up the majority of the people (often children) filmed via small, hidden 16 mm film cameras. This unique record of East Harlem street life shows the joy and vibrancy found in one of Manhattan’s poorest neighborhoods.
Redistricting Changes to Harlem
The boundary between KRJ and Diana Ayala as it currently exists:
The proposed boundary for the next election cycle:
And the boundaries superimposed on the same map (note the color purple is the new proposed boundary whereas the blue line is the current boundary):
Here is the interactive map to test out. Move the slider at the top, left and right:
Dan, who presented on Redistricting at one of our spring HNBA meetings, writes:
I hope everyone is having a great week so far! As you all have likely seen, the NYC Districting Commission released it’s first draft maps of the proposed Council district lines on Friday. The folks at CUNY have uploaded these draft maps to their website Redistricting and You, to make it easy to compare the new proposed lines with the current districts.
The new maps made changes to districts all over the city. Some of the most impactful decisions the commission made were:
Staten Island – Staten Islanders lobbied hard to keep three full council districts on the island, without having any district cross-over to Brooklyn or Manhattan. The commission abided their requests. Staten Island was under-populated, so to accommodate this request the commission lowered the population maximum for every other council district in the city. This was done to ensure that every district met the legal criteria requiring no more than a five percent population deviation between the smallest and largest districts. The end results were that the three districts in Staten Island are substantially smaller than nearly every other district, and that the commission had much less flexibility with population sizes for the rest of the districts.
South Brooklyn – The commission united the Asian-American communities in Bensonhurst and Sunset Park, to create an Asian majority district. To do this, the map makers redrew several districts in southern Brooklyn, including changing CD 38 to include Bay Ridge, and moving Red Hook into CD 39.
Western Queens and UES – The draft plan creates a new crossover district uniting CD 26 with Roosevelt Island and parts of the Upper East Side.
Keeping neighborhoods intact – The commission united several neighborhoods that had previously been split between multiple council districts – for example Van Nest in the Bronx. Other neighborhoods currently intact in one council district got split, such as Hell’s Kitchen.
Citizens Union will conduct a closer analysis of the proposed map in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on the maps. Please feel free to email [email protected] to share any thoughts or comments.
New Yorkers will have 30 days to look through these draft maps before the Commission takes comments. The next round of borough-specific public hearings will be on August 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 22ndfrom 4pm-7pm. This round of hearings will be critical in determining the ultimate council lines. If you are unhappy with the maps, we encourage you to testify; similarly if you like the new lines in your district, that is also very important to tell the commission.
To submit written testimony to the Districting Commission, please contact: [email protected]
If you’d like to read more, here is some recent press about the new maps, with more expected over the coming week:
The Staff memorandum has a good overview of why they chose the lines they did ten years ago
Here is a mapping software called representable, which allows you to create your own maps, including the population counter.
One tool that is user friendly for people already comfortable with Google is the google map software. That said, the google software does not include a population counter. There is also DistrictR
Click here to view the NYC population fact finder tool, which allows you to view demographic data for specific census tracts and other geographic parameters. It also allows you to create your own map, which can allow you to see the demographic data for any areas of interest.
Click here to see demographic data for your City Council district, and view how it has changed since the last census.
Click here to look at the website “redistricting and you”, which allows you to compare the old council lines with new proposals. It also allows you to look more at the dynamics of your district.
Click here to read Citizens Union’s full report on the council redistricting process.
Here is a recording of a training given to a group in Manhattan last month. It can be sent to people who missed HNBA’s training, but still want to find out more.
Here is Citizens Union’s NYC Council redistricting website which will include everything in this email, plus additional resources as the process unfolds.
Testimony Submission: If you would like to submit written testimony, you can do so by emailing [email protected] at any time.
With state and congressional redistricting dominating the headlines, we want to make you are also informed about the council redistricting process, which is currently underway.
You are invited (on May 17th at 7pm on Zoom) to a presentation and training on council redistricting. The training will last 45 minutes with 15 minutes for questions. You can register for the training here.
The training will include:
The basics of Council redistricting. Why engaging in the Council redistricting process is important. An overview of the process and the criteria used to draw the maps. How to look at and create your own maps. How to testify before the Council’s Districting Commission. The essential elements of an effective testimony.
Considering the impact of new district boundaries, we welcome you to get involved and make your voice heard. See more information about our work at CitizensUnion.org/NYCRedistricting