By Michelle Deal Winfield Photos by: Anthony J. Finkel
On Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 10 a.m., the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management (CECM) and Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), held a hearing to afford the community an opportunity to comment on proposed new 2017 street fair rules. At first glance, it appeared to be chaotic with hundreds of people, seated, standing and the extra room equipped with a monitor and sound system was overfilled too. There were 89 people who signed up to speak. Their supporters cheering until quieted by the staff, were reminded the speakers’ 3 minutes time limit would include applause. Wally Rubin, District Manager, Community Board (CB) Five M, supported the committee’s rule changes of reducing the number of street fairs to only 10 fairs a year in a Community Board area. Mr. Rubin stressed there was a lot of congestion in the Times Square area due to street fairs blocking the streets. The crowd booed.
Fred Arcaro, a resident from Community Board Six M, on the eastside, opposed the new rules stating, he volunteered with two organizations: the Manhattan East Community Association, MECA in Murray Hill and the 17th Police Precinct Council. The MECA used funds from the street fairs to beautify the neighborhood by planting flowers. The 17th Police Precinct Council’s only source of funding came from the street fairs and supports the Night Out Against Crime, provides updates about how to protect yourself and honors police officers in the area. Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer, made her way to the front to provide an analysis of what was wrong with the new 2017 street proposals. Calmly, Hon. Brewer, enumerated:
Norman Seigel, an attorney representing Mardi Gras Festival Productions. Inc., stated, “The 2017 street fair rules are discriminatory and capricious.”
A host of vendors, majority of women and immigrants, recalled stories of how they had come to America searching for the American dream. Pleading, “I support my family as a vendor at the street fairs. I am an artist and cannot afford a brick and mortar store. Please don’t take my job.”
Joe Giovanni, Mardi Gras Festival Productions, refuted the claim that the street fairs caused the congestion in the Times Square area. “The gridlock was caused when the Times Square Alliance Bid closed off the Times Square area to cars.”
At the close of the meeting, it appeared 97 % testifying, were opposed to the new 2017 street fair rules proposed by the committee. To read the proposed rules visit nyc.gov/nycrules. A deadline to respond to the new street fair rules has been extended to October 27, 2016. Send comments to: Website. You can submit comments to SAPO through the NYC rules Web site at www.nyc.gov/nycrules.
By Michelle Deal Winfield Published: Town and Village Newspaper
On Friday, September 30, a celebration was held to honor Jane Schreibman, a professional photographer, who reported finding a bombing device on September 17 in Chelsea. The event was held at the Fashion Institute of Technology and coordinated by Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer.
At the event, Brewer presented a Proclamation from the City of New York naming Friday, September 30th “Jane Schreibman Appreciation Day” in the borough of Manhattan. Jane had found a pressure cooker with a cell phone attached in a plastic bag, a secondary bombing device, on 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The proclamation was unusual because it contained multiple gold seals and multiple signatures of elected officials. Brewer read from the Proclamation, the “rigged device was ready to explode.” And called Schreibman her “Shero.”
In accepting the proclamation along with a bouquet of flowers, Schreibman said, “After calling 911, I initially apologized to the dispatcher not knowing whether the device was real or not. The dispatcher taking the report reassured me she would have the NYPD look into it.”
Then Schreibman ended with, “If you see something, say something,” to which she received a standing ovation.
Taking turns praising Schreibman at the podium were numerous elected officials including Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and a representative for Council Member Corey Johnson. NYPD Chief Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney and Detective Dorrian, Community Affairs from the 13th Precinct, were also in attendance.
By Michelle Deal Winfield
On Monday, October 3, 2016, Fox News aired a segment of Watters’ World: Chinatown that interviewed Asian Americans in New York City’s Chinatown. An interviewer from the O’Reilly Factor’s program attempted to present a humorous piece, but failed as he mocked the accents and challenges of daily living of the elderly in the Chinatown community.
Assemblyman Ron Kim from the 40th NYS Assembly District from Queens coordinated a protest rally held at the Fox News building at 1211 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. declaring, “We are calling on Fox News to issue an official apology and completely retract the clip. We are prepared to boycott all corporations that sponsor this show.
The NYS Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Caucus joined as one voice to speak out against a segment of a program that mocked and ridiculed Asian Americans. Politicians, community leaders and the press showed up to witness a city standing together, shouting down bigotry. Hon. Kim demanded an apology from Fox News and asked the crowd, “When do we want it?” The crowd responded, “Now!” NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, said, “New York City is a diverse community and attacking one group will not divide us. We know our differences make us stronger. There is no place in our community for bigotry.” NYC Public Advocate Letitia James stood at the podium, saying, “Fox News missed an opportunity to explore the real challenges in our communities – Love trumps hate.” Hon. Kim again, called for a response, “What do you want?” Answered: “An apology!” “When do you want it? The crowd yelling, “Now!” Congresswoman Grace Meng was clearly dismayed by the Watters’ World segment saying, “The segment crossed the line. This public mocking was offensive and disrespectful to Asian Americans. Asian Americans add to the rich and diverse fabric of American life and they should never be treated as second-class citizens.” NYS Assemblyman Walter Mosley added, “I know what hate is and I have experienced it.” Speakers from the NYC Council Margaret Chin and Peter Koo expressed disappointment at Fox News for passing off racist stereotypes as fun.
In a letter sent to Rupert Murdoch, CEO, Fox News from twelve members of the New York State Assembly, it reads: “Chinatowns are a storied part of American history, and not a prop for Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Watters to show their xenophobia and prejudice against an entire race of people.…We ask you to take a stand, issue an apology, and remove all forms of this segment from Fox News.”
A quote from Martin Niemoller:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
By Michelle Deal Winfield
The Fair Housing Justice Center, FHJC, held a preview of the film “America Divided: A House Divided,” on October 5, 2016 at the School of Visual Arts Theater at 333 West 23rd Street in Manhattan. At the reception, Gene Capello, Esq., President of the, FHJC Board and Board members greeted guests. The world renown Executive Producer, Solly Granatstein spoke freely about his work with Norman Lear, Common, Shola Rimes and the actors participating in the five-part series with eight stories woven to share the inequality in housing, education, healthcare, labor, criminal justice and the political system.
“Discrimination affects us all.” Executive Producer Solly Granatstein
The FHJC, located at 30-30 Northern Boulevard, Suite 302, Long Island City, NY 11101 is a nonprofit civil rights organization, dedicated to eliminating housing discrimination and strengthening enforcement of fair housing laws; celebrates its 11th year.
With the help of FHJC’s investigators, the America Divided team went undercover in New York City to expose the dirty secret: New York City is the 3rd most segregated city in the nation.
The dramatic scenes, showed Norman Lear (white) and L.B. Williams (black), individually requesting apartments in New York City. Both were treated differently during each encounter. Lear was offered an apartment and Williams was graciously told, “There are no apartments available.” The audio and video interactions are used during upcoming litigation, if necessary.
During the question and answer period the divisions within our communities were revealed: New York City’s segregation is due to discrimination in the city. Newly built apartments are quickly bought by foreigners hiding their wealth for sums of 23 million or more for a 4 bedroom apartment. Some landlords have a whites-only policy and others warehouse apartments waiting for the highest bidder. Nicole Hannah-Jones award winning writer from The New York Times, recalled the achievements of Montgomery County, Maryland. In the County, the city required Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, MIH. The plan required every project built consist of housing for low income and middle income residents. Homes built side-by-side were made of the same type of construction materials. The result has been clear: The achievement gap in schools has been reduced among low income residents.
After a landlord is revealed discriminating against an applicant, counsel for FHJC first talk about stopping the practices of which are in violation of fair housing laws. If the practice continues, a case is filed which includes injunctive relief and a settlement agreement. The structure of an agreement to change policies/practices is then supervised by the courts. FHJC has an expert team of lawyers; they have never lost a housing discrimination case.
On Thursday, October 15, 2015, a ceremony to rename the New York City Municipal Building in honor of David N. Dinkins was held near the arch of the municipal building at One Centre Street, New York City.
Dinkins’ family, former workers, politicians and hordes of friends filled the outdoor area confirming, this was a glorious day.
Carl Weisbrod, Chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, welcomed the audience saying he had worked in the Dinkins administration as well as, presently in the de Blasio’s administration. First Lady Chirlane McCray followed by expressing her emotional tribute, as she wiped away tears, sharing how she wrote speeches for Mayor Dinkins non-stop.
“I want to set the record straight…history must reflect the accomplishments of Mayor Dinkins”, stated Mayor deBlasio. It was David Dinkins that along with NYC Council Speaker Vallone who went to Albany and demanded money for “Safe Cities, Safe Streets,” which amounted to an increase in police officers and a reduction in crime. Mayor de Blasio praised Dinkins for signing the most lucrative sports contract ever in the history of NYC, the U.S. Open Tennis arena and for the increase in affordable housing units during his tenure.
Honorable Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council congratulated Dinkins on behalf of the City Council saying, the former mayor always connected with people and was one of the first to marry a same-sex couple.
The audience was entertained by melodies from the New York City Police Band and the energetic dancers from the El Puente Beacon Junior Dance Ensemble.
The 106th Mayor David N. Dinkins rose to thank fellow New Yorkers for gathering to celebrate him. The former mayor did not disappoint the crowd when he humbly accepted the honor bestowed upon him saying, “I have been the beneficiary of the kindness and inspiration of so many great men and women upon whose shoulders I stand. Today I remember the vision and daring courage of Percy Sutton, the inspired resourcefulness and brilliance of Basil Paterson and the rumpled genius of Bill Lynch in whose footsteps we walk and my brother Congressman Charlie Rangel.”
Dinkins paid homage to his beautiful bride, Joyce, our first African American First Lady of the City of New York, his son Davey, his daughter Donna and his grandchildren. He reassured us he never sought fame or fortune, nor a building to be named after himself but his reward was the satisfaction in giving service to our city, a gorgeous mosaic. Dinkins ended by saying, “I am but a single tile in that thrilling exhibition we call New York City.”
Together Mayor de Blasio and Hon. David Dinkins unveiled the plaque that will be placed forever on the Municipal Building. The crowd rejoiced. Earlier Dinkins had asked his fellow New Yorkers, “When someone points to the David N. Dinkins Municipal Building plaque, I’m counting on you to explain our shared history.”
A reception followed at the Tweed Courthouse building at 52 Chambers Street.
Mayor David Norman Dinkins and Mrs. Rachel Robinson celebrates the unveiling of a Forever Stamp in honor of Dr. Maya Angelou
By Michelle Deal Winfield and photo credits
On August 24, 2015, the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections, ESPER held a celebration in cooperation with the African Burial Ground National Monument and the United States Postal Service. The festivities were held at 290 Broadway in New York.
Jane Tillman, Mistress of Ceremonies provided a clue to the pronounication of Angelou. Ms. Tillman had previsiously interviewed Dr. Maya Angelou and the ‘u’ in Angelou was not pronounced.
A special thank you to Don Neal, Editor from ESPER Reflections. Mr. Neal executed an inspiring program, as the standing room only crowd enjoyed the speakers, music and gift bags which contained memorabilia depicting the life of Dr. Maya Angelou.
Shirely Mc Kinney, Superintendent of Six New York Historical Sites
Jane Tillman Irving, WCBS-AM News Radio 88, Mistress of Ceremonies
Susan Taylor, Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-in Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazine
Ms. Lorraine G. Castellano, District Manager, United States Postal Service. New York District
Steven Fullwood, Archivist, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Miss Maya Williams, Spoken word
Marsha Thompson, Soprano
Rev. C. Imani Parker, Actress
Dr. Juanita Howard, Actress, Singer, Educator
Mr. Don Neal, Host
Rev. Dr. Johnny Youngblood. Executive Pastor- Benediction
Mayor David Norman Dinkins and Mrs. Rachel Robinson, wife of the late Jackie Robinson, helped unveil the Forever Stamp.