Can’t Stop, Won’t It: The 2019 Riverside Jam

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

The 2019 Riverside Jam is now on the books. The word epic is overused but it is most-definitely apt in this case. Folks came from all over Washington Heights and beyond this past Saturday, June 8 to take part in the storied Riverside Jam and they were not disappointed.

The More Fire DJs and the mighty I Love My Hood movement somehow made magic happen against all odds. For that Uptown should be thankful for. Our traditions still live.

As you neared the designated tunnel in Riverside Park you could hear the deep grumbling of the base.

DJ Tiny Tim was on the set and was masterfully weaving his spell on those within hearing range. With each selection, Tim showed that he was in absolute control of the crowd. Slowly working his crowd into a frenzy, the vibe in the place was almost transcendental.

Out of nowhere a female dancer began twirling light lassos, which added an otherworldliness to the whole experience. Then as if on cue, my boy Joel comes out dancing with an oversized Breaking Bad mask on. It was a straight up amazing moment. No beef, no bullshit. Just pure, unadulterated Uptown Love.

Just when it was getting good, the boys showed up and just like that the epic Riverside Jam had come to a close. Shut down by the cops as usual but this time it was way too early. The cops usually let the jam go on until the wee hours of the morning but this time they had no intention of letting us rock. With that said, folks left Riverside Park sad and dejected. As we were leaving, droves of people were still making their way to the park.

And then it happened.

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Justice for Mya | Bronx Free Press

By Gregg McQueen

Bullied to the end.

Parents of a Bronx high schooler who committed suicide after enduring bullying and sexual abuse have sued the city’s Department of Education (DOE), alleging that school officials knew about the abuse but failed to intervene.

Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios, a ninth-grader at Harry S. Truman High School, jumped off the roof of her mother’s apartment building on Feb. 28, 2018, after being forced to perform oral sex on two other students in the school’s auditorium, according to a lawsuit filed last week by the girl’s parents.

The 15-year-old had endured a pattern of bullying, body-shaming, and physical assault for five months, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Bronx Supreme Court. Although Vizcarrondo-Rios reported the bullying to a guidance counselor, the counselor failed to report it to the parents or act to prevent further bullying, causing the “student severe emotional pain and depression,” court documents said.

At a City Hall rally on May 31 organized by advocacy group Girls For Gender Equity (GGE), advocates and lawmakers slammed the DOE for its failure to protect Vizcarrondo-Rios.

“The Department of Education failed her from the bottom up,” remarked City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, who said the DOE should have done an investigation after the bullying was initially reported. “The guidance counselor did not tell her parents what was going on, and did not give Mya the support she needed,” Rosenthal said. “It’s incredibly disappointing.”

Attorney Katrina Feldcamp of Legal Services NYC, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family, said Vizcarrondo-Rios was treated with “shocking indifference” by school officials.

Read more: Justice for Mya | Bronx Free Press

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Landmark deal reached for rent reform | Manhattan Times

The state legislature has reached a landmark agreement to renew New York’s rent laws and expand tenant protections.

Key components of the deal include a permanent extension of the rent regulation laws, which were set to expire on June 15, as well as a repeal of vacancy bonus and vacancy deregulation.

The agreement was reached on Tuesday evening, with Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie releasing a joint statement about the deal.

“These reforms give New Yorkers the strongest tenant protections in history. For too long, power has been tilted in favor of landlords and these measures finally restore equity and extends protections to tenants across the state. These reforms will pass both legislative houses and we are hopeful that the Governor will sign them into law. It is the right thing to do,” the statement said. “None of these historic new tenant protections would be possible without the fact that New York finally has a united Democratic Legislature. Our appreciation also goes to the tenant advocacy groups and activists that fought so hard to make this possible.”

Read more: Landmark deal reached for rent reform | Manhattan Times

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The Uptown Tweet of the Week: Support El Conuco Restaurant

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The Mueller Report Comes Uptown…

“If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention” – Heather Heyer

Seriously folks, you NEED to be outraged by the ongoing disaster that is the Trump regime. With that said, the good folks at the Up Theater Company are putting together a marathon reading of the complete Mueller Report at Word Up Books (2113 Amsterdam Ave @ 165th St) starting at noon on June 22 and 23. To accomplish that herculean task, the Up Theater Company has enlisted such Uptown luminaries as Brian Lehrer, Mino Lora, Jon Michaud, Veronica Liu, our very own Led Black and many more. So mark your calendar and let us remind ourselves that this is NOT normal.

For more info: The Mueller Report Comes Uptown…

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Netflix Love: When They See Us

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

When They See Us, the latest project from the paradigm shifting director Ava DuVernay, is difficult to watch. In fact, in the first few minutes of watching the searing series you will feel the white-hot anger boiling up inside you and you will feel scorching tears streaming uncontrollably down your face.

What you are witnessing is a media-fueled legal lynching that took place just 30 years ago. 5 young boys of color, ranging in age from 14 to 16 years old, had their lives taken away from them for simply being a person of color and for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When They See Us meticulously details the trials and tribulations of these young men who were labeled a “wolf pack” and deemed guilty way before they ever had their day in court.

With no real evidence but wicked collusion between the police and the prosecutors, these five boys were railroaded and they all served between 6 to 13 years. This series is a must watch to see the way the system treats people of color. In the words of the Ava DuVernay, “the system’s not broken, the system was built this way.” In other words, the system is not broken; it was designed to break us.

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Heights comes Home | Manhattan Times

Photos by Cristóbal Vivar

Un montón.

It’s how many times he – and so many others – cried.

As creators Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes (with their families), joined by film director Jon Chu, and a host of uptown families watched, In the Heights finally came home.‎

Students from the George Washington Educational Campus in Washington Heights put on a rousing performance of musical In the Heights last Friday, eliciting laughs and tears as the cast parried in English and Spanish (and a lot in between) about the meaning of home, gentrification, small business – and 96,000 dollars.

Read more: Heights comes Home | Manhattan Times

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