Notes from NMIC

Introducing NMIC’s Newly Appointed Board of Directors

We are delighted to introduce three exceptional individuals who have joined our board of directors. Each brings a wealth of experience and dedication to our mission, having previously served on NMIC’s Advisory Board. Please extend a warm welcome to Pia CattonChelsea Jupin, and Morgan Siegel, LMHC!

Pia Catton is a fundraising professional who specializes in nonprofit performing arts. She is currently the Director of Membership & Operations at American Ballet Theatre and has previously served at Battery Dance Company and National Dance Institute. 

Chelsea Jupin is a digital marketing professional who currently works at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Prior to this, she served as the Online Communications Manager at Henry Street Settlement.

Morgan Siegel is a licensed bilingual therapist who is currently serving as a director of mental health services in a nonprofit mental health clinic. Before her current position, Morgan led NMIC’s mental health services and played a significant role in creating NMIC’s Wellness Program.

The Board of Directors of NMIC comprises 18 members from diverse backgrounds, headed by Board Chair Juan A. Arteaga, Esq., and Vice Chair Cheryl Kallem. The governing body also includes Treasurer Ethan Miller and Secretary Edward Cuesta. The remaining members are Roshan Ahmad, Evelyn De La Rosa, Ruth Fasoldt, Sandra Harris LMSW, MS, Robin M. Honig, William Lee, John Lyons, Kayla M. McPherson, Seny Taveras, Nathalie Tejada, and Nancy Wackstein. 

We are excited about the opportunity to work together to empower our community and drive positive change. 

Introducing NMIC’s Newly Appointed Board of Directors Read More »

Exciting News: 3% COLA for NYC Human Service Workers Thanks to #JustPay!

The #JustPay campaign was launched in 2021 to raise wages and improve working conditions for essential human services workers. Women of color constitute 46% of the workforce, 66% are overwhelmingly female, and roughly two-thirds of all full-time human services workers had earnings below the City’s near-poverty threshold.

At the City level, the #JustPay campaign is asking for a 5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for City-contracted human services workers and a public commitment from the Mayor to fund a 3% COLA in each of the next two years, bringing the full investment in human services workers to 16% in the next 5 years. 

 After three years of organizing and advocacy, 2,100 individuals and organizations supporting the campaign, and 9,000 workers, including NMIC employees, joining in person at three rallies, we are thrilled to share that Mayor Adams announced that the City will be funding a three-year 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for NYC human services workers. These 3% increases will go into effect on 7/1/24, 7/1/25, and 7/1/26, totaling $741 million for an estimated 80,000 workers. 

We are grateful and extend a warm thank you to all those who supported the #JustPay movement, including NMIC staff, Mayor Adams and his administration, our partners, and the invaluable leadership of the Human Services Council (HSC).  Whether you participated in a protest, made a phone call, or added your signature to the campaign, your action made a difference. To our partners, especially HSC, thank you for leading the campaign and organizing the sector. The successful outcome of this movement is a testament to the power of organizing and collective advocacy.   

Despite the one-house budget including a 3.2% COLA at the State level, it did not include the Wage Board Legislation. We’re gearing up for the Social Work Week of Action, rallying to ensure this crucial COLA provision is included in the final budget. 

Let’s take a moment to celebrate this milestone. Tomorrow, we will pick up our posters – for me, it will be a güira – and continue marching toward a more equitable workforce. 

The work continues; please consider signing on to receive campaign alerts.   

Exciting News: 3% COLA for NYC Human Service Workers Thanks to #JustPay! Read More »

Today, We Turn 45!

Today marks a milestone in the history of NMIC as we celebrate our 45th anniversaryFor over four decades, we have been steadfastly dedicated to enhancing the well-being of our community and have expanded our free services to focus on six core areas: housing, immigration, benefits & finance, health, education & career, and holistic services. We remain deeply committed to advancing our advocacy efforts through community organizing; which continues to be the center of our work. 

But today is not just about us—it’s about you too! All of you played a crucial role in the enduring history of our organization and the communities we serve. Through your investments in our work, we are able to remain responsive to solving community-wide needs. This June, we invite you to join us in celebrating at our upcoming benefit

NMIC serves over 14,000 residents annually, impacting 32,000 individuals across Northern Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods. We are proud of our transformative impact so far, but we know that our work is far from over. With your support, we are positioned to continue driving positive, transformative change for years to come. Join us as we work toward a brighter, more equitable future for all.  

Today, We Turn 45! Read More »

Check Out NMIC’s 2025 Budget and Legislative Priorities

Nearly two million New Yorkers, including one in four children, face the harsh reality of living in poverty. According to the Robin Hood Foundation, a staggering 56% of the city’s population is struggling with either poverty or low incomes, which highlights the urgent need for action.  

NMIC is committed to advocating for essential initiatives that protect the rights and well-being of community members and staff. This past Monday, our team traveled to Albany for our annual Day of Advocacy. There, we engaged in meaningful discussions with legislators and their teams, focusing on five budget and legislative priorities.  

These priorities were chosen to address critical issues such as housing insecurity, poverty alleviation, youth empowerment, and fair compensation for human service workers, aiming to enhance social justice, economic stability, and community well-being in New York State.  

NMIC’s 2025 Budget and Legislative Priorities:  

We provide supportive services to 14,000 residents each year, positively impacting 32,000 individuals annually. Our services are focused on six core areas: Housing, Immigration, Benefits & Finance, Health, Education & Career, and Holistic Services. 

With your help, we can continue to empower community members with the tools they need to lead secure and prosperous lives. Please consider volunteering, donating, or supporting our neighbors

Check Out NMIC’s 2025 Budget and Legislative Priorities Read More »

Exploring Black Art and Mental Health: Celebrating Black History Month

As we commemorate Black History Month, we proudly embrace this year’s theme, “African Americans and the Arts, ” which emphasizes the profound influence of African American culture across various artistic domains. From literature to visual arts, Black creators have used creativity to preserve history, amplify voices, and cultivate healing within their communities. 

In New York City, there are countless ways to celebrate and immerse yourself in the works of African American artists. Whether attending literary gatherings at the New York Public Library, discovering the narratives of remarkable Black women through initiatives by The NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, delving into the complexities of Black history and migration at The Tenement Museum, or exploring The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s groundbreaking exhibition on the Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism, there are many ways to enjoy the creativity of Black artists. 

Amidst our celebration of Black artistry, we recognize the imperative of addressing mental health challenges within the Black community. Despite advancements in mental health awareness, stigma and systemic barriers persist, impeding access to vital resources. According to recent data from Mental Health America, African Americans are disproportionately affected by mental health disparities, experiencing higher rates of psychological distress and facing significant obstacles in accessing culturally competent care. Over 7 million African Americans reported experiencing a mental illness in the past year; that is more people than the populations of Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia combined. 

In acknowledgment of these realities, we are committed to fostering dialogue and action around mental health advocacy. We are excited to invite you to our upcoming “Arte y Bienestar” event, hosted by NMIC’s Wellness Team. Scheduled for Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 3:00-4:30 PM, these gatherings promise to provide a nurturing space for individuals to explore artistic expression as a means of self-care and healing.

Let’s come together to celebrate the important work of Black artists, while also advocating for equal access to mental health support and empowerment within our communities.  Click here to RSVP. We hope to see you there!  

Exploring Black Art and Mental Health: Celebrating Black History Month Read More »

Ringing in the New Year with Purpose

Ringing in the New Year with Purpose Read More »

December 2023 – Notes from NMIC

In our final newsletter of the year, we’re excited to share touching stories and impactful initiatives illustrating NMIC’s dedication to our community. From the FPWA Gift & Toy Grant spreading joy among families affected by domestic violence to Latchme’s inspiring educational journey, your support has changed lives. Anyelisa’s experience underscores the transformative effect of programs like Promise NYC, easing financial struggles for families. Maria Lizardo and Brides’ March advocates persist in their fight against domestic violence, supported by Representative Adriano Espaillat’s words at the U.S. Capitol. Here’s to a year of remarkable impact and the promise of more in 2024. 

FPWA Toy Grant Brings Joy to Families Affected by Domestic Violence 

We have set our sights on transforming the holiday season for families impacted by domestic violence, courtesy of the FPWA Gift & Toy Grant. The initiative aims to impact the lives of children whose parents are receiving assistance through NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project (DVP) by providing them with gift cards. Beyond simply distributing gifts, this effort emphasizes restoring autonomy and choice to these families, offering flexibility in purchasing gifts and alleviating the stress of holiday financial burdens. 

Research underscores the importance of positive childhood experiences in mitigating the impact of adverse ones, contributing significantly to a child’s development and overall well-being. In tandem with NMIC’s existing programs focusing on family bonding and cultural affinity groups, the grant adds a tangible resource to empower families during the holidays. The support garnered from initiatives like the FPWA Toy Grant symbolizes more than just material gifts; it represents encouragement, hope, and support in the healing journey.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s DVP. 

Meet Latchme 

None of us envision a future where we find ourselves wrestling with the challenge of making ends meet or following our dreams. Yet, this is a reality that once cast a shadow over the life of a remarkable young individual in our community—meet Latchme. Latchme’s journey at NMIC began just six months ago!  

Educational disparities weigh heavily, especially on immigrant, Black, and Latine youth in NYC, where high school dropout rates are 50% higher than those demographics. Latchme, like many others, found herself at the crossroads of this challenging reality. However, with your support, she discovered a path that led to empowerment and hope. Latchme joined our Adult Education Program in January 2023, and just six months later, this past summer, she earned her General Equivalency Diploma.  

At NMIC, we provide free classes for students who do not have a high school degree. Grateful for the journey, Latchme shared, “Thank you. If it wasn’t for my amazing teachers, I couldn’t have done it.” She never envisioned herself navigating non-traditional educational paths to success. But through NMIC’s skilled teachers and your generosity, Latchme not only found her way but also unlocked a world of possibilities. NMIC became more than an educational platform for Latchme; it became a source of unwavering support and empowerment. Through your contributions, she not only acquired valuable skills but also the confidence to continue her educational journey.  

Your support can help others like Latchme restart their journey. Click here to make a donation today. 

NMIC’s ‘Soothe & Sip’ Event: A Relaxing Pre-Holiday Staff Celebration 

We are grateful to our incredible team at NMIC for their invaluable contributions and dedication to our community. Recognizing the indispensable role each member plays in our success, we’re excited to announce our upcoming “Soothe & Sip” Holiday De-Stress Celebration. This special event promises an afternoon devoted to relaxation and unity. The event will have a charming pop-up Barista Bar Cart featuring an array of coffees, teas, and hot chocolate, complemented by professional chair massages. As we approach the NMIC winter break, this gathering is designed to offer a well-deserved pause and a chance for our team to connect. 

Anyelisa’s Transformative Journey with Promise NYC 

Anyelisa, a mother within our community, aspired to keep her kids in their childcare programs. She struggled with affording childcare for her children. Her childcare provider, empathetic to her financial situation, offered reduced rates temporarily. However, the financial strain became too burdensome for her provider, prompting fears that Anyelisa might have to withdraw her children. Fortunately, she was referred by her provider to apply for Promise NYC, a program funded by New York City that covers the cost of childcare for families who are ineligible for federally funded subsidized childcare due to their immigration status.  

“When I was approved for Promise NYC, I was so happy that I could cry! I am happy with the childcare program that my children are attending, and I’m glad that they could stay. My kids are happy with the childcare program, and their happiness is mine,” Anyelisa told us. 

With the support of Promise NYC, Anyelisa no longer feels the suffocating weight of financial strain, marking an end to the struggle to make ends meet for her family.  

Click here to learn more about Promise NYC. 

Cafecito con Maria 

Earlier this month, Maria Lizardo and other advocates from Brides’ March including representatives from DWDC, VIP, Steps to End Family Violence-The Truman HS RAPP Program, The Ricart Family, and Josie Ashton, founder of the Brides’ March, made the trip to Washington D.C. to honor Gladys Ricart’s legacy and continue to fight for increased protection for survivors of domestic violence around the country. Representative Adriano Espaillat hosted the event at the U.S. Capitol.  

We march on September 26th each year to remember Gladys Ricart, a beloved mother and sister, and all the lives tragically lost to domestic violence on the anniversary of her murder. The life of Gladys Ricart was cut short by the hands of her abusive former boyfriend on what should have been her wedding day. We continue to march every year to honor the life of Gladys Ricart and all those impacted by domestic violence, distribute bilingual information about domestic violence to communities along the marching path, and to inspire other neighborhoods throughout the nation to organize marches that bring visibility to survivors. 

“We will not rest until Gladys Ricart’s story is told across America and is a thing of the past. We will continue to fight against domestic violence to prevent it. Every state of the union must have a code of laws against domestic violence, and we will always remember Gladys Ricart,” stated Rep. Espaillat during his floor remarks.  

Click here to listen to Rep. Espaillat’s floor remarks on Gladys Ricart and Brides March.

NMIC in the News

  • On December 11th, City & State NY released the Responsible 100, a selection of selfless New Yorkers serving the common good. NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, was among the honorees. Click here to see the full list.
  • Last month, NMIC partnered with DoorDash to give Thanksgiving turkeys to 210 families in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx facing food insecurity this holiday season. Click here to read more. 

Observances

  • December 10, Human Rights Day 
  • December 18, International Migrants Day 
  • December 22-January 1, Winter Holiday

December 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

November 2023 – Notes from NMIC

We are excited to join in on GivingTuesday, a global celebration of generosity and kindness happening this month! This November, we’re focusing on the incredible power of advocacy and its profound impact on the lives of those we serve. Check out our latest news, like a new foundation partner, the recent weatherization of two new apartments by NMIC’s team, and the launch of our TikTok. Dive in to explore the amazing stories and projects shaping our community this month! 

GivingTuesday 

As GivingTuesday approaches, we’re reaching out to extraordinary supporters like you! A $25 donation to NMIC fuels long-term neighbor-to-neighbor empowerment, addressing needs like safe housing, mental health services, and much more. Our impact is tangible, reaching over 14,000 community members annually. That’s 14,000 stories of resilience, progress, and positive change. 

Our goal this GivingTuesday? $10,000…it’s simple math – we need 200 supporters to make a $50 donation each. Will you be one of them? 

Your support sparks lasting change in our community, empowering neighbors to advocate for their families’ needs. Imagine the ripple effect! Click here to join the movement and be a catalyst for positive, enduring transformation. 

Thank you for considering us this GivingTuesday. Your generosity amplifies our mission, creating a brighter future for our community.  

As Giving Tuesday approaches, be a part of this journey

Thank You, Sony Music Group!  

We extend our sincere gratitude to Sony Music Group for their investment in NMIC’s Train & Earn program. Sony Music Group’s Global Social Justice Fund is dedicated to supporting anti-racist initiatives and global educational opportunities that advance the cause of equity. NMIC’s Train & Earn stands as a structured five-week paid training program designed for young adults, allowing them to enhance their skills, attain gainful employment, and receive continuous support for over one year. Through our collaborative partnership with SMG, we are afforded the means to persist in the mission of educating and inspiring the next generation to emerge as catalysts for positive change.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Education & Career services.  

A Tale of Energy Efficiency Transformation 

In the heart of our neighborhood stands a three-unit building, privately owned, and quietly rewriting its story of sustainability. Thanks to NMIC’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and the generous support of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), this unassuming building has undergone a remarkable transformation. 

Here’s a glimpse into the building’s upgrades:  

  • Solar Panels (6Kw Array): Powering the building’s common area electricity needs with clean and renewable energy. 
  • Roof and Exterior Wall Insulation: Ensuring improved energy efficiency and comfort. 
  • New UPvc Apartment Windows: Contributing to better insulation and noise reduction. 
  • Ventilation Fans in Kitchen Windows: Enhancing air circulation and creating a healthier living space. 
  • Energy-Efficient Lighting: Reducing energy consumption while brightening up shared spaces. 

NMIC played a pivotal role in securing an impressive $109,200.00 from the WAP ARPA grant funds. This, combined with the owner’s commendable match of $20,000.00, fueled the entire initiative. What makes this project particularly noteworthy is the opportunity presented by the ARPA WAP funds. NMIC was empowered to address every conceivable energy efficiency opportunity, going beyond the usual scope of regular WAP programs. This allowed for a comprehensive intervention.  

It’s a reminder that even the smallest structures can play a significant role in building a greener, more sustainable city. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s WAP.  

NMIC on TikTok! 

NMIC is officially on TikTok, and we invite you to join us! If you’re eager to discover more about NMIC’s vital work and witness the impact your support has on our community, follow us @nmicnyc. 

Cafecito con Maria 

Confronted with a rising trend of displacement, a considerable portion of our clients, who were previously Upper Manhattan residents, found themselves relocating to the Bronx. However, they continued to need our services. In response, we opened our Bronx office in 2016 at 8 Clinton Place. Last month, Maria Lizardo, Executive Director of NMIC, alongside our dedicated NMIC team, organized an open house event. The primary goal of this gathering was to reintroduce our elected officials to the comprehensive spectrum of essential services available at our Bronx location, encompassing housing, immigration legal services, and benefits access. We extend our sincere appreciation to Congress Member Espaillat, Assembly Member Tapia, Council Member Sanchez, Council Member Stevens, Bronx Borough President Gibson, and their teams for attending the event.  

NMIC in the News 

  • Chelsea News New York published a story about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s announcement of the creation of the Special Victims Division Advisory Council. Members representing an array of organizations, including NMIC’s Maria Lizardo, will serve on the Special Victims Division Advisory Council for two-year terms. Click here to read more.  

Observances 

  • National Career Development Month  
  • Native American Heritage Month  
  • November 11, Veterans Day 
  • November 12, Flight 587 Day of Remembrance 
  • November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance 
  • November 23, Thanksgiving  
  • November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women  
  • November 28, GivingTuesday  

November 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

October 2023 – Notes from NMIC

Autumn’s arrived in NYC, and with it, our latest newsletter brimming with updates and inspiring stories. First, we will delve into our ongoing efforts to ensure EBT restitution, a vital issue that needs our attention. Next, we share a remarkable journey from Elias, who was an unaccompanied minor and recently became a lawful permanent resident – it’s truly inspiring.  Later, we discuss an exciting cultural-exchange between NMIC staff and members of Der Paritaetische, a group of social workers and practitioners based in Germany.

And that’s not all- we are elated to announce West Harlem Development Corporation’s new grant awarded to NMIC, reinforcing our commitment to making a positive impact in CD9 community members’ lives. Lastly, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), a time to illuminate the importance of raising awareness and supporting survivors.

We extend our heartfelt thanks for joining us on this journey toward a brighter future for all.  

Empowering Communities: Ensuring EBT Restitution in NYC 

Families across the city have encountered a troubling issue as they visit their local grocery stores with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, which hold their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, only to discover that their funds have vanished. According to Pix11, City Officials estimate that approximately 22,000 EBT thefts have occurred in NYC. In response to this urgent problem, the city has launched an online portal to provide thousands of New Yorkers with a means to file their claims. 

We are proud to partner with the Department of Social Services to offer financial restitution to victims who have had their SNAP benefits wrongfully taken from them. Recognizing that not everyone in our community is technologically proficient, we have conducted two separate workshops this month in partnership with the Department of Social Services. These workshops have assisted clients who may not be tech-savvy, ensuring that they can confidently navigate the online portal and successfully submit their claims.  

Our unwavering belief is that access to essential benefits should be equitable for all. We are committed to providing benefits access services and ensuring that every application is processed with the utmost fairness. The deadline to file a reimbursement claim is October 31st. Learn more about NMIC’s Benefits & Finance services here

Meet Elias 

In 2015, Elias embarked on a life-altering journey from Guatemala to the United States, as an unaccompanied minor. Laden with dreams of escaping the harsh economic realities of his homeland and in pursuit of a stable, hopeful future, his story is emblematic of countless young individuals who take this challenging path. Guided by the dedicated support of our Immigration Team, Elias began navigating the intricate process of applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status through the Family Court—a lifeline for young individuals like him. 

Elias’s path was far from straightforward, particularly during a time of shifting immigration policies and uncertainties. Together, Elias and Marc Valinoti, the immigration attorney assigned to the case, worked together for six years with determination and hope. Finally, Elias’s petition was granted, lifting the heavy burden of uncertainty that had weighed on his young shoulders for far too long. 

In April of 2023, and after a long and challenging journey, Elias received the life-changing news that he had been granted Lawful Permanent Resident Status. This milestone meant he could now live and work in the United States with the assurance of safety and security. Additionally, Elias could finally plan to reunite with his family in Guatemala, bridging the eight-year gap that has kept them apart. 

Elias’s story is a bittersweet reminder of the stark reality that many children and families are still grappling with. It’s disheartening to know that kids should bear such burdens on their journey to find safety. Elias’ success story serves as a glimmer of hope in an otherwise somber landscape. His achievement adds to the growing numbers of young individuals who, like him, have managed to overcome the formidable hurdles of being underage and unaccompanied.  

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Elias, celebrating his tenacity and resilience on this new path. But let’s also remember that there are many more young children still waiting for a chance to find their way through this challenging journey to a safe future. 

To learn more about NMIC’s Immigration services, click here.   

Thank You, West Harlem Development Corporation! 

We extend our gratitude to the West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC), for their invaluable support in enabling us to offer essential, free crisis intervention and supportive services to residents of Manhattan Community District 9 (MCD9). WHDC is dedicated to enhancing economic opportunities and the overall quality of life in West Harlem, fostering a thriving community. The generous grants provided by WHDC are strategically directed towards programs that wield a profound and lasting influence within our community. These programs encompass safeguarding and preserving affordable housing, supporting our youth and senior citizens, and igniting economic growth throughout the district. 

NMIC is uniquely equipped to deliver these vital services, as our organization places importance on culturally sensitive service delivery. We are committed to ensuring that our team mirrors the diverse communities we serve, thereby enhancing our ability to meet their specific needs. Our outreach efforts for crisis intervention and supportive services, as well as our offerings, are accessible in both English and Spanish. We also acknowledge that many residents of MCD9 grapple with disproportionate systemic obstacles that contribute to poverty. Through dedicated in-person and virtual outreach events, we seek to engage with community members, encouraging them to utilize our comprehensive range of services. By doing so, we aim to empower residents to overcome systemic barriers and forge a path towards accessing life-changing services. Click here to learn more about NMIC’s comprehensive programming.  

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) & #GiveForDV 

October marks the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)! As we embark on this month-long journey, we’re reminded of the strength that comes from uniting to address a critical issue that affects countless lives. Everyone knows someone impacted by domestic violence, and everyone has a role to play in preventing domestic violence and supporting survivors. In the US, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.

Here’s how you can make an impact during DVAM:  

  • Social media: Engage with us on social media using the hashtag #Every1KnowsSome1 as we share stories, resources, and messages of hope, spreading the word and creating a united front against domestic violence. 
  • GiveForDV: Visit https://givefordv.nnedv.org/organizations/nmic to make a gift to NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project (DVP). Every gift makes a difference for survivors as they rebuild their lives free from abuse.  

Thank you for being a part of this movement and for standing up against domestic violence. By raising awareness, sharing stories, and supporting survivors, we’re making real progress toward safer communities for everyone.  

Cafecito con Maria  

Earlier this month, NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, and our dedicated staff welcomed a group of social workers and practitioners from Der Paritaetische, based in Berlin and other parts of Germany, as part of a cross-cultural exchange. This event was organized by Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement, who recommended NMIC to Der Paritaetische for their exploration of New York City’s community organizations, particularly those dealing with migration.  

During their visit, the group immersed themselves in NMIC’s practices, promoting the exchange of innovative ideas and expertise. This experience also offered a global perspective on addressing challenges in our increasingly interconnected world. This enriched perspective will guide us in making informed decisions and developing effective strategies within our organization. 

NMIC in the News

  • The Seaman Avenue Block Association fought for their safety, respect, and dignity. Tenants represented by NMIC took center stage at a press conference in front of their building. Check out the powerful coverage by Telemundo 47 here.

Observances

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • October 5, Latina Equal Pay Day
  • October 9, Indigenous Peoples’ Day
  • October 10, World Mental Health Day
  • October 19, Go Purple Thursday
  • October 28, National Immigrants Day
  • October 31, Halloween

October 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

September 2023 – Notes from NMIC

With the changing of the seasons comes a wave of new beginnings, and our September newsletter is filled with stories that reflect the spirit of renewal, resilience, and community.  

We are excited to share an inspiring client success story that illustrates the transformative power of essential programming, a grant announcement to share, Doña Agripina’s street naming ceremony, and an exciting preview of the Bride’s March—a symbol of solidarity and remembrance.  

As we embrace the changing season, let us also embrace the opportunities for growth, connection, and positive change that it brings. 

Honoring the Legacy of Doña Agripina: A Street Naming Celebration 

Upon retiring from NMIC, Diogenes Abreu, a former staff member, teamed up with District 7 Councilmember Shawn Abreu to commemorate the memory of the esteemed community leader, Doña Agripina, by naming a street in her honor. 

Doña Agripina, a distinguished former member of Unidad Comunal—an independent organization receiving organizational support from NMIC—, and a tenant leader at her building’s tenant association, left an indelible mark on our community. Her extraordinary leadership within Unidad Comunal, characterized by a remarkable record of achievements, stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication. Leaders like Doña Agripina embody the very spirit of community-driven change. 

As we pay tribute to Doña Agripina, our hearts are heavy with the loss we’ve endured. During the recent street-naming ceremony, heartfelt testimonials underscored her pivotal role within Unidad Comunal and the broader community. Her legacy now graces our streets, a perpetual reminder in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have known her. 

This heartwarming homage to Doña Agripina serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact that every member of our community can make. We are deeply appreciative of having played a role in this meaningful initiative and hold immense admiration for the enduring legacy she leaves behind. 

Meet Erica* 

Meet Erica*, a member of the community who sought help from NMIC’s Benefit Access program for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption. When she approached us to renew her lease, something seemed amiss. Her paperwork revealed that she had been overpaying her landlord, but these extra payments didn’t show upon her balance sheet. Erica had been losing money each month without realizing it. 

Our team took immediate action to help Erica. We organized the necessary documents and paperwork, guided her through the process, and coached Erica on effective self-advocacy techniques to communicate effectively with her landlord.  

Just five days later, she returned with great news—it worked! Thanks to her determination and our guidance, Erica paid $314 for her rent that month, a significant reduction from her previous payments.  

Erica’s incredible journey reminds us of the profound difference programs like NMIC’s Benefits Access can make. It’s not just about lending a helping hand; it’s about giving people the tools to take control of their financial well-being. We’re firm believers in turning financial obstacles into steppingstones for personal growth, and Erica’s accomplishment exemplifies our unwavering dedication to that mission. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Benefits Access services.  

*Name has been changed to safeguard anonymity. 

North Star Fund Supports Unidad Comunal 

We are so grateful to the North Star Fund for their unwavering support of social justice initiatives, particularly those led by communities of color striving to empower themselves in New York City and Hudson Valley. Their investment of grassroots organizing has had a profound impact on our community, specifically through their support of Unidad Comunal—an alliance comprising tenant associations, block associations, and community members committed to enhancing the quality of life in Washington Heights and Inwood. As a vital partner, Unidad Comunal receives invaluable organizational support from NMIC. 

Their commitment to grassroots organizing has made a profound impact on our community, specifically through their support of Unidad Comunal—an alliance of tenant associations, block associations, and neighbors dedicated to elevating the quality in Washington Heights and Inwood. As a crucial partner, Unidad Comunal receives invaluable organizing support from NMIC. 

Unidad Comunal is driven by the core tenets of “Unite, Educate, and Work.” Our overarching goal is to transform New York into a place where low-income immigrants and residents no longer find themselves in perpetual struggles for access to quality housing, essential amenities, vital services, and fair wages. Our vision is to forge a city where these fundamental necessities are as accessible as they are for non-immigrant and more affluent communities. In partnership with North Star Fund, we are actively and purposefully advancing towards the realization of this vision of equity and justice. 

Click here to learn more about Unidad Comunal. 

Fostering Hope during Suicide Prevention Month 

Throughout Suicide Prevention Month, NMIC’s Wellness Program shines as a source of hope and support for our community. Our program is devoted to screening clients for mental health needs and connecting them to lifesaving treatment at no cost, positively touching the lives of more than 800 community members each year.  

September serves as a poignant reminder of the utmost significance of accessing mental health resources, especially within BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities who bear the burden of systemic trauma and displacement. These challenges often impede our community members’ ability to thrive in their communities leading to disparities in both access to and quality of mental health care. With suicide positioned as a leading cause of death in the United States, we are resolute in our commitment to create access to mental health wellness. 

“Millions of people in the U.S. are impacted by mental health concerns each year. Now more than ever, it is crucial for our community to take care of our emotional and psychological wellbeing by taking advantage of mental health resources available to them. NMIC’s Wellness Program aims to dismantle systemic barriers to community mental health care by offering free, bilingual, culturally responsive mental health services. By doing so, our dedicated mental health team meets individuals where they’re at in their healing journey by empowering them to be the best version of themselves,” Rauly Chero, NMIC Co-Coordinator of Wellness Services. 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org, the suicide and crisis lifeline. To learn more about how to access NMIC’s Wellness Program, click here.  

Cafecito con Maria 

This September, our hearts will unite to remember Gladys Ricart, a beloved mother and sister, and all the lives tragically lost to the horrors of domestic violence at Brides’ March. Gladys Ricart’s life was tragically cut short by the hands of her abusive former boyfriend on what should have been her wedding day. The Brides’ March has become a powerful annual tradition, with a sea of white dresses marching down the streets of Upper Manhattan and neighboring Bronx communities to honor the lives lost to domestic violence. Through these collective efforts, the aim is to disseminate bilingual resources pertaining to domestic violence, fostering awareness and solidarity within the communities our journey touches. Our hope is to inspire other communities across the nation to join this movement, illuminating the strength and resilience of survivors.  

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2023 

Location: Holyrood Episcopal Church, 715W 179th Street, New York, NY 10033 

Schedule

Gathering: 8:00 AM 

Opening Ceremony: 9:00 AM 

March Begins: 10:30 AM 

Everyone is welcome to participate. We encourage participants to bring any size picture of the person whose life you want to honor as we march together against domestic violence. To help us prepare for all participants, please register here. Before joining us, please take a moment to review the disclosure page about participating in the march.  

NMIC in the News: 

  • Our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, who also serves on the board of the National Dominican Day Parade (NatDDP), and Cristina Contreras, NatDDP’s Board Chair, shared insights with ABC7 on August 13th about this year’s parade theme, “Our History, Our People.” Click here to read more.
  • On September 14th, Spectrum Noticias NY1 wrote an article on NMIC’s Back-to-School supply drive for families impacted by domestic violence. Click here to read more. 

Observances: 

  • Hunger Action Month 
  • Latinx Heritage Month  
  • September 4, Labor Day 
  • September 8, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day 
  • September 11th, 9/11, Day of Remembrance and Service 
  • September 19, National Voter Registration Day  
  • September 26, Bride’s March 

September 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

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