Op-Led: Uptown Love in the Time of Coronavirus – Leadership Matters

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

It has been a little over 2 months and some days since Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.3 which basically put the entire state of New York on lockdown. Executive Order 202, issued a few days earlier in March, had declared a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York.

Executive Order 202.3 went further and essentially shut down the entire state. No more in-house dining at coffeehouses, bars or restaurants. Gyms, salons, barbershops, movie theaters, museums; all gone. Just like that, everything stopped. The Empire State came to a grinding halt. The city that never sleeps was induced into a coma.

Uptown, which is usually so vibrant during this time of year, became a ghost town. From one day to the next, everything changed. The world as we knew it came to an end. With a stroke of his pen, the good Governor turned off the greatest city the world has ever known.

Thank God he did. It was because of that fateful decision that we are now flattening the proverbial curve. If NYC had not shut down, we would be in even more dire straits right now. Our hospitals and our valiant healthcare workers would have been completely over run and devastated. We would have lost exponentially more people. The shutdown gave the system enough room that it would bend but not break.

Shutting down the state was a brave but necessary call. That is what you call leadership. We may not have that at the presidential level, but Governor Cuomo has shown it in spades throughout this horrible ordeal. It is a testament to his ability to lead that my eldest daughter Imani, a college student, lovingly refers to the Governor as “the homie.”

When his daily press conferences start, everything in our house stops and the entire family sits there in rapt attention as the Governor informs with humility, humanity and coherence. Whatever his faults and inconsistencies are, and there are many, Andrew Cuomo is a leader. He has led from the front with gusto, lucidity and intellect. His mastery of minutia as it relates to this pandemic has been a balm for the weary soul in these uncertain times. It is in stark comparison to the delusional rantings from Tyrant Trump that force you to question how long the American Experiment will continue to even exist. Leadership matters. Now more than ever.

Pa’lante, Siempre Pa’lante!

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Uptown Video: The Doctor Is In – Meet Columbia University 2020 Graduate, Aury García

The pandemic has changed everything. Even graduation, better yet, especially graduation. Shout out to Columbia University for this wonderful video on one of their accomplished graduates. Meet Aury García, a graduate of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, who grew up in Washington Heights dreaming of the day that has finally come.

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.

06/05/20: We Are Freestyle Love Supreme

Before Hamilton, before In The Heights, there was Freestyle Love Supreme. Freestyle Love Supreme is just that, some supremely talented emcees spreading love with their uncanny freestyle rap abilities. Trust us, their is nothing quite like Freestyle Love Supreme. Check out the documentary on Hulu next week that explores the awe inspiring genesis of this Hip-Hop super group. And if you don’t know, now you know.

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.

¡Uptown Palante! With Mino Lora: Episode 5

It is a tale of two Juans. Listen up folks, it is a must that you click below and check out the 5th episode of ¡Uptown Palante! With Mino Lora. This week’s guests are Mike “Juan Bago” Diaz and Juan I. Rosa. It is a special Census 2020 episode so check it out ASAP.

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The Uptown Tweet of the Week: The Numbers Don’t Lie

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Elegy for a Friend | Manhattan Times

By Arlene Schulman


“There are no strangers here. Only friends you haven’t met yet.” William Butler Yeats

Coogan’s story begins in 1985 in Washington Heights in a New York City community overwhelmed by gunfire, drugs, riots, and homicides, and ended with a city overcome by the coronavirus. The owners — the straightforward and approachable Dave Hunt who kept bartenders and servers on point, twiddled his thumbs when he sat across from you at the table, and hadn’t had a drink in 35 years; Peter Walsh, a poet at heart with a soulful singing voice who collected Irish literature; and the more reserved Tess McDade, who handled catering orders, managed the business, and ceded the front of the house to her two garrulous partners — prove how much a business flourishes based on the personality of its owners. This trio loved Coogan’s and its customers from one eccentricity to another. We all knew that. It’s impossible to say who mourns the other more.

Dave and Peter often pulled up a chair at our table or joined me when I was dining alone. You were never alone at Coogan’s.

In the grand tradition of Irish pubs which serve as a center of the community, you might find a job, close out political deals, write campaign speeches, gather with colleagues, relatives, and friends. Doctors and patients (but not together), generations of police officers and firefighters, politicians and public school teachers, judges and attorneys, poets and writers, actors and actresses, runners and baseball players, all were fed at Coogan’s, which broke down the wall between generations, colors, and backgrounds who dined or drank there together, side by side.

Read more: Elegy for a Friend | Manhattan Times

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Seamless with the Census | Bronx Free Press

Fill out the form- and your appetite.

To motivate the 50% of all city residents who have yet to respond to the U.S. Census, a new partnership between NYC Census 2020 and food delivery service Seamless has been struck.

Ten city residents will be awarded $1,000 gift cards for completing the 2020 Census.

The contest is expected to boost the city’s self-response rate for the Census, which stood at 49.4 percent as of May 20. The nation’s overall response rate is 59 percent.

While New York’s self-response rate still trails the national average, there is a smaller gap than existed during the previous Census in 2010.

During the 2010 Census, 62 percent of New Yorkers responded, while the U.S. average was 76 percent.

Read more: Seamless with the Census | Bronx Free Press

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UC Must-Reads: A split-screen pandemic

4thofjuly - American Flag - Bridge

(Photo: Briana E. Heard)

Journalist, broadcaster and author, Farai Chideya penned a power piece in the Washington Post that delves on how the pandemic has exposed the festering inequality that is so pronounced in our beloved New York City. This sentence from the piece also underscores the righteous anger that has exploded after the cold blooded murder of George Floyd, “To be black in America is to have lived a life of moral injuries, which others tell you to get over even as they continue to inflict them.”

Check out: UC Must-Reads: A split-screen pandemic

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.

Op-Led: Uptown Love in the Time of Coronavirus – Malcolm on my mind

BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

May 19th was the 95th anniversary of the birth of the late, great Malcolm X. Malcolm X changed my life. The Autobiography of Malcolm X written with Alex Haley literally put the Black in Led Black. The book which has sold untold millions of copies and influenced everyone from Huey P. Newton to Spike Lee to Public Enemy, among many others, seemed to materialize out of nowhere at a crucial point in my development as a person and as a thinker. It was during my years in the Bronx High School of Science that the book found its way into my life and thank God that it did.

Coming from P.S. 143 in Washington Heights, I didn’t know I was poor until I attended Bronx Science. As the only one from my junior high that year to make it to the prestigious public high school, I had no choice but to make the trek every day from the hood to Bronx Science on my own. All of a sudden, I was attending school with kids whose backgrounds and socioeconomic status were vastly different from mine. Culture shock was an understatement, which resulted in some existential angst and serious soul searching on my part. I felt adrift and ensnared in a downward spiral of resentment and alienation.

And then it happened. A fellow Bronx Science student, Harlemite Ben Talton, gave me his dog-eared copy of the Autobiography. I read it transfixed. I could not put it down. Malcolm’s singular fixation with history spurred my own and gave me the impetus to read, learn and grow with reckless abandon. The lessons I learned from studying the trajectory of his life gave me the werewithal to decide, right then and there, that I and I alone, would determine my destiny. That excellence was a choice that was mine to make, that I could not and would not let my circumstances define or defeat me.

The study of the life and legacy of Malcolm revealed to high-school me that there was immense power in intelligence and critical thinking. It is a lesson that has served me well to this day. Malcolm spoke truth to power unflinchingly with conviction, eloquence and erudition. We need more of that as we confront Tyrant Trump during this pandemic. Malcolm X Lives!

Pa’lante, Siempre Pa’lante!

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