Not long ago, Melissa learned about an annual art festival held in Puerto Rico where murals are simultaneously painted throughout the neighborhood of Santurce. Beginning this Monday, August 19th, this festival will come to El Barrio and the South Bronx for the first time. Next week, Melissa will join El Museo del Barrio in welcoming a host of artists from right here in New York City, Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America, to our district to help bring some of our empty walls to life.
We hope all of you will join us at this weeklong international art festival. Click here for the latest information on the planned activities, including a free concert and block party on Saturday, August 24th, and a community tour of all the completed murals the following day.
Our neighborhoods are home to so many vibrant and historic murals, and these artists look forward to adding to our communities’ public art, focusing in particular on one common theme that resonates with so many of us: diaspora. We’re particularly thrilled to be able to continue to build and strengthen linkages between our communities and Puerto Rico.
For all the latest information on Los Muros Hablan, stay connected with www.losmuroshablannyc.com.
Please join us on Tuesday, August 20th from 1 pm – 4 pm for our 7th Annual Step Up, Speak Out, Take Action East Harlem Youth Fair! As always, we’ll have food, music, live entertainment, back to school giveaways and a chance to connect with local organizations offering services in our community. Don’t miss it!!
Melissa released the following statement in response to today’s federal court decision declaring that stop and frisk violated the civil rights of New Yorkers:
“Today’s ruling is a validation for all of us – elected officials, advocates and New Yorkers across our city – who have seen stop and frisk for what it is: an unconstitutional police practice. I applaud Judge Scheindlin for calling for a federal monitor of the Police Department, who will surely institute a series of much-needed reforms over a policy that has relentlessly targeted low-income communities of color under the Bloomberg administration’s watch. Coupled with the pending veto override of the Community Safety Act, this is a truly historic time that will shape the future of police-community relations in our city for years to come. Safety only comes with a true community partnership along with police practices that respect the civil rights of all members of our community and are not based on the suspension of rights of one large segment of our population. This ruling validates that position.”
On Tuesday, August 20th, Melissa will host a Tenants’ Forum in Mott Haven with the Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD). The forum will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Judge Gilbert Ramirez Houses (Please note the updated address: 623 E. 138th Street).
Please join us for information on getting repairs, housing court issues, rent subsidies, housing benefits for seniors, NYCHA housing, Section 8, dealing with bed bugs, tenants’ rights and more. This forum is open to all. Contact Joe Pressley at Melissa’s office for more information at (212) 828-9800 or email@example.com.
This month, Melissa will sponsor an international urban art festival right here in El Barrio and the South Bronx entitled “Los Muros Hablan NYC.” This weeklong festival, which involves the simultaneous painting of murals throughout the community, is based on a similar festival held annually in Puerto Rico. This first-time event in New York City will be held from August 19th through August 25th. Melissa is sponsoring the event in conjunction with El Museo del Barrio.
While additional details are still forthcoming, one of the artists, Viajero, will hold a community conversation this Wednesday to gather ideas that will inform the design of his mural. All of the new murals will be designed around the common theme of “diaspora.” Next week’s meeting will give us the opportunity to share what diaspora means to all of us. Please join us at El Museo’s Third Floor Taller on Wednesday, August 7th at 6:00 pm!
After SuperStorm Sandy we witnessed what climate change will look like for New York City’s communities and it’s just the beginning. Tomorrow, Melissa will be speaking to the youth attendees at the 3rd NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit: Frontline Resistance, who will spend Friday and Saturday exploring these important issues.
The summit will include learning circles, interactive panel discussions, performances, and much more! The goal is to engage YOUth, ages 12-24, to start building local community resilience and becoming their community’s frontline resistance to climate change. At the conference, there will be food, giveaways and performances, as well as agencies, organizations, and other groups that would be able to offer internships, fellowships, and potential employment. The NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit is completely free of charge.
For more information check out this website: www.uproseyouthsummit.blogspot.com. REGISTRATION is now OPEN, the organizers urge everyone who intends to attend the summit to register.
WHAT: The 3rd NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit: Frontline Resistance
Check out thisvideo for more info:
In response to concerns expressed by community and at Melissa’s urging, the city’s Economic Development Corporation has announced a process whereby the community can reserve space at the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center. This process is expected to be in place until a final agreement is reached between the City and the new operator of the space. EDC will begin accepting reservations on Thursday, July 25th. Please note that reservation requests must be made at least 14 business days prior to the event.
Click here to download this document from EDC for information on the process. Community organizations interested in renting the space should review these guidelines carefully and contact Julliard Lin, Project Manager at 212-312-3728 or firstname.lastname@example.org, with any questions.
Early detection of breast cancer can save lives. Recognizing this important fact, Soluna Holistic Spa (143 E. 103rd Street) will be hosting a mobile care clinic on Wednesday, July 31st from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm in El Barrio/East Harlem. You must sign up by July 8th by calling 877-628-9090. This event is being coordinated in conjunction with the American Italian Cancer Foundation. For more information, please contact Soluna Holistic Spa at 212-876-1326.
Only women age 40 and older who have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months and have a New York City mailing address qualify for these no-cost mammogram services.
Please help spread the word to your family, friends and neighbors!
Last night, in a historic City Council session, we not only adopted the Fiscal Year 2014 budget (more on that soon!) and overrode a mayoral veto on the Earned Sick Time Act, but we also passed the Community Safety Act with a veto proof majority. In a meeting that extended past 2:00 a.m., legislation that would create an Inspector General for the NYPD and add teeth to the city’s ban on bias-based profiling, passed with the 34 votes needed to override the mayor’s expected veto. Melissa joined lead sponsors Council Members Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander in co-sponsoring both pieces of legislation.
Click here to watch the three-hour video, but feel free to skip ahead to the 44:30 mark to watch one of Melissa’s floor speeches from last night.
These bills came out of a sustained grassroots movement in response to the city’s overzealous stop and frisk policy, and could help make a real difference in combating unjust police practices at a more systemic level.
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.”