UPinion: The Canary in the Coal Mine

By A J Sidransky

Trinity Cemetery Washington Heights

(Photo: Briana E. Heard)

Shortly after the massacre that occurred last week at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Led Black asked me to write a piece about my thoughts relative to this terrible tragedy. I have to say for starters, that I am so disturbed about what happened that it has taken me five days to be able to sit down and write about it. That’s a lot of disturbed.

I am so upset and overwhelmed by the massacre, that I am considering whether I can continue to live in the land in which I was born. Though many of you may find this surprising, I never felt very American. I am the grandchild of four European-born Jewish immigrants. Three of my four grandparents lost nearly their entire families to the Holocaust. Those relatives number more than 100 souls. I am named for two of my maternal grandfather’s brothers, both of whom were murdered in Auschwitz.

I am also old enough to have experienced anti-Semitism myself. As a teenager in the 1970’s, living in Trumbull, Connecticut, my Jewish identity was enough to make me ‘the other’ to many of my schoolmates, one of them even signing my yearbook, “To the nicest Jew I’ve ever met.” So, the attack on Tree of Life has me scared, angry and thinking what possibilities exist for me and my family if the time comes that we have to leave. You know there’s an old Jewish joke about why Jews always wear their hats. The punchline is, “because we never know when we will have to leave in a hurry.” And before I continue, let me say to my Jewish brethren, you may think that the Republican Party is our friend. Clearly, not. Understand, they prefer the voting support of those who would murder you, while taking your donations. Wake up.

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Chef Ed’s Mixtape: The Recap

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

Red Rooster in Harlem continues to amaze and astound. I had the distinct honor of attending the first ever Chef Ed’s Mixtape dinner at Ginny’s Supper Club, which is the subterranean speakeasy that exists on the lower level of Red Rooster, on Sunday, October 7. More than a meal, Chef Ed’s Mixtape was a wonderfully curated experience that transported revelers to the early 90’s to the golden age of Hip-Hop. With classics tunes being spun by DJ Masai and PhearNone getting busy on the violin, diners were treated to a Hip-Hop inspired menu that was expansive, innovative and downright delicious.

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Uptown Love: The Nike Air Force 1 De Lo Mío Edition

The popular Dominican phrase, de lo mio, means one of mine. It infers a close camaraderie between friends. The Dominican warmth that is implied with that phrase has been transformed into some serious footwear heat courtesy of Nike. The Nike Air Force 1 De Lo Mío edition is a celebration of Dominican culture. The much buzzed about kicks will be available in certain select Nike retailers this November.

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The Uptown Tweet of the Week: Nothing scarier than Republicans in office

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Uptown Talk: Latinos Out Loud – Hip-Hop Lotto Losers

On the latest episode of the award winning Latinos Out Loud podcast the crew discuss the billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot, female Halloween costume no-no’s and how China is trying to launch a fake moon. The special guest this week is digital media maven Melissa Sweets.

We invite you to subscribe to the weekly Uptown Love newsletter, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter & Instagram or e-mail us at UptownCollective@gmail.com.

11/03/18: NoMAA’s Technical Assistance Institute 2018

Listen up folks, NoMAA’s Technical Assistance Institute 2018 goes down on November 3, 2018 at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (530 W 166th St) from 9 am to 3 pm. You don’t want to miss this full day of professional development and networking for the creative and civic minded. Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, who is a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, will deliver this year’s keynote address. The Technical Assistance Institute 2018 also boasts some powerhouse panels that touch on such topics of tech, female artists, gentrification and the arts as healing practices.

Panels:

Technology: Bridges to New Engagement with Marco Castro Cosio, Lisa Daniell, Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez and Monica O. Montgomery

Women on the Frontlines with Blanka Amezkua, Minerva Diaz, Juanita Lanzo and Yelaine Rodriguez

Gentrification and Cultural Preservation with Tomie Arai, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Edwin Pagan and Adrián “Viajero” Román

The Arts as Healing Practices with Nancy Bruning, Dominic Dupont, Marcus Smalls and Curtis D. Young

For more info: 11/03/18: NoMAA’s Technical Assistance Institute 2018

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The Bodega Blues

Porfirio Mejia helps a customer at the register. (Photo: Derek Saffe)

Porfirio Mejia helps a customer at the register. (Photo: Derek Saffe)

 

Porfirio Mejia has been the owner of 128 P&L Deli Grocery on Audubon Ave for over six years. Nearly 40 percent of his customers were SNAP recipients. SNAP is the government assistance program that was formerly known as food stamps. Mr. Mejia, like many bodegas owners, offered certain customers, like the elderly, credit until the month’s benefits kick in. This crucial workaround for poor people raised alarms in the algorithm used to track fraud by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The result is that he has been permanently banned from accepting food stamps, which in turn has led to him to reduce the hours of his employees. He is now working 14- and 15-hour days just to keep the business afloat. Claire Brown of The Intercept penned a must read and exhaustive piece on the how the algorithm used by the government to detect fraud are unfairly hurting small local businesses and the poor customers they serve.

Check out: How An Algorithm Kicks Small Businesses Out of the Food Stamps Program On Dubious Fraud Charges | The Intercept

Related:

Nothing Can Replace the Bodega | NY Times

Bodegas: Living the American Dream

New York City Bodegas And The Generations Who Love Them | NPR

Bodegas Declining in Manhattan as Rents Rise and Chains Grow | NY Times

The Chopped Cheese’s Sharp Rise to Fame | NY Times

We invite you to subscribe to the weekly Uptown Love newsletter, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter & Instagram or e-mail us at UptownCollective@gmail.com.

Casting Call: In The Heights Movie

Lin-Manuel Miranda In The Heights

That’s right ya’ll, the In The Heights movie is looking for actors for the film that will once again shine a light on our beloved Washington Heights. Uptown superhero, Lin-Manuel Miranda, made the announcement himself on Twitter. Right now they are looking for a handful of actors for the much-anticipated film that is being put out by Warner Bros and is scheduled to be in theaters in the summer of 2020. It gets better folks, all you need is your smartphone, so get to it. Click below for more info. You have until to November 7th to submit.

For more info: Casting Call: In The Heights Movie

Related: Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Next Lion of New York | NY Times

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10/22/18: Take On America @ Riverside Church

OZY Take on America @ Riverside Church
Join the global digital magazine Ozy for a televised debate on Monday, October 22 from 6 pm to 9 pm at the venerable Riverside Church. The new show Take On America will be making a stop in our neck of the woods for a town hall-style discussion that looks to shine a spotlight on the perspectives and views of groups and voices that are often overlooked. Politicians, celebrities and thought leaders, including actor John Leguizamo and Congressman Adriano Espaillat will be a part of this crucial discussion that will touch on immigration, family and generational differences. The event is free but RSVP is required.

RSVP: viviane.feldman@ozy.com

We invite you to subscribe to the weekly Uptown Love newsletter, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter & Instagram or e-mail us at UptownCollective@gmail.com.