Op-Led: Uptown Love in the Time of Coronavirus – 100 Days & Counting

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

We are now less than one hundred days away from either ending our long national nightmare or making it permanent. No less than the entire American Experiment itself is at stake. It is our last chance to stop this despot who has destroyed, defiled and upended so much in less than four years. No nation, no matter how great, can withstand two terms of Trump. World renowned scholar, linguist and author Noam Chomsky put it best: “This is the most important election in human history.”

And indeed, it is. We are living through what looks and feels like a second Great Depression. The unemployment rate here in NYC rose to 20.4% in June. So, while there is no official definition of an economic “depression,” an unemployment rate near or above 20% is a pretty good indicator that things are decidedly depression-adjacent. That means 1 in 5 of your fellow New Yorkers are currently out of work.

And there is also the minor matter of a pandemic that is still ravaging the rest of the country and will most likely end up back in our backyard because of the negligence and outright incompetence of this feckless and criminally culpable President and administration. The rest of the first world has gotten their act together but we continue to muddle away as Tyrant Trump puts his re-election and his ever-so-delicate ego above the welfare of the nation. Did I forget to mention the secret national police that is actively involved in quelling legal protests in Portland?

In October 2019, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit released the Global Health Security Index, which assessed “each country’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies.” Out of 195 countries, the United States was ranked at the top as the country most prepared for a pandemic.

What went wrong, you might ask? Trump went wrong. From deriding the pandemic as the Democrat’s new hoax, to saying it would disappear, to telling people to inject bleach, to still (after 6 months) not being prepared, to calling it the Kung Flu, Trump could not have made matters worse. We are at an impasse and only regime change will make us whole once again.

With that said, please don’t let the polls that show Biden with a lead give you any false comfort. The polls have been wrong before. In addition, the Republican Party has for quite some time been busy working on an extensive and coordinated campaign of voter suppression. The only way we win this time around is by a total electoral tsunami that completely cleanses this country of Trump and his ilk for good. So, let’s get to it people, we have a democracy to save.

Pa’lante, Siempre Pa’lante!

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UC Must-Reads: The John Lewis Edition

“Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.” John Lewis

John Lewis made his transition on July 17, 2020, but his legacy and example resonate now more than ever. As the late great John Lewis was dying, he had the vision to pen an Op-Ed that was published on the day of his funeral in the NY Times. It is quite a read to say the least. The searing essay puts into proper prospective the work that still needs to be done to redeem the soul of America. Check it out here ASAP. By the way, one of our favorite NY Times columnists, Jamelle Bouie, wrote a simply superb piece on John Lewis and his final communique to the American people entitled John Lewis Was the Anti-Trump. Lastly, please check out the video below of our forever President Barack Obama eulogizing the conscience of the Congress, John Lewis.

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Advocates plan to appeal Inwood rezoning decision | Manhattan Times

By Gregg McQueen

The legal battle over the city’s attempt to rezone Inwood is headed to the state’s highest court.

On Thursday morning, community stakeholders announced they would file a motion to appeal a recent decision by the New York State Supreme Court to uphold the rezoning.

The matter will now be handled by the New York Court of Appeals, the highest-ranking court in New York.

In a 5-0 ruling issued on July 23, a panel of Appellate Division judges reversed an earlier decision by Supreme Court Justice Verna Saunders to nullify the city’s rezoning plan, which was contested in a lawsuit by advocacy group Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale and other plaintiffs.

The suit contended that the city failed to properly study the rezoning’s impact on residents of color and minority-owned businesses, as well as other consequences.

Inwood Legal Action, a constituent group of Northern Manhattan Is Not For Sale, voted unanimously on Wednesday evening to request an appeal of the July 23 decision.

Cheryl Pahaham, Co-Chair of Inwood Legal Action, said in a statement that the rezoning, approved by the City Council in August 2018, would cause widespread displacement of residents of color.

“The Inwood rezoning will displace Dominican, Black, Asian, and other Latino residents and small business owners, and we believe the City should have examined the racial impact of the Inwood rezoning, though it refused. We believe federal fair housing law requires the City to do so, despite its refusal,” said Pahaham. “We will continue to fight in court until we exhaust all avenues to force Mayor de Blasio to hear the people who live and work in Inwood, and to be true to his commitment to racial equality.”

Read more: Advocates plan to appeal Inwood rezoning decision | Manhattan Times

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Teachers, activists launch petition against NYC school reopening plan | Bronx Free Press

By Gregg McQueen

A coalition of teachers, health care professionals, parents and students have launched a petition asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to rethink the city’s plan to reopen public schools in September.

Led by the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), the petition states that the city’s schools, plagued by underfunding, do not have the resources to open buildings safely during the pandemic.

It calls for the de Blasio administration to keep school buildings closed until New York City has experienced no new coronavirus cases for 14 days, and schools are given additional funding and a sufficient contact tracing and testing plan.

The petition had garnered nearly 4,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Our sinks are still broken, our class sizes are too large, our rooms are still poorly ventilated, we still don’t have full-time counselors and nurses in every building and we have seen no evidence that contact tracing and testing for school communities will be adequate,” the petition reads. “Forcing school buildings to reopen before we have the resources we need will put staff in the untenable position of having to enforce public health directives without resources or an expectation of them actually working, and could further put our Black and Brown students at risk of being criminalized and/or traumatized by schools.”

Read more: Teachers, activists launch petition against NYC school reopening plan | Bronx Free Press

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Uptown Video: History of Isham Park

This week, the always erudite Cole Thompson gives us another outstanding video. This one expounds on the colorful history of Isham Park.





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Jeff Kinney’s Socially Distanced Adventure Book Tour Comes To Word Up Books

That’s right familia, Jeff Kinney is coming to Word Up for his only NYC stop! On Monday, August 3 Word Up will be celebrating the release of “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure” by having an outside, socially distanced book pick-up event with the best-selling author.
The $16 ticket includes a PRE-SIGNED copy of “Awesome Friendly Adventure” and admits ONE child and ONE adult. Tickets will be sold in 30-minute time slots. Any other books purchased with the ticket by Jeff will also be signed ahead of time

Read more: Jeff Kinney’s Socially Distanced Adventure Book Tour Comes To Word Up Books

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When DR. J Came To Harlem

Before Dr. J became an NBA legend, before he went pro, before he even had the moniker Dr. J, Julius Irving came to Rucker Park to establish himself as one of the best players of a generation. In fact, it was at Rucker Park that his out-of-this-world skills on the court earned him the name Dr. J. Click below for a short documentary on one of the most epic visits to Rucker Park ever.


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