Did you know that Washington Heights was one of the last areas of Manhattan to be developed? Until the end of the 1800s, Washington Heights was primarily a rural space that held country homes of Manhattan’s upper class. Since, immigrants from around the world have always flocked to the area. Armenian, Jewish, Cuban, Irish, Puerto Rican, and Dominican residents have all planted roots here.
We proudly celebrate our vibrant communities, which is no doubt a result of having one of the largest immigrant populations in Upper Manhattan. This month, we are celebrating the threads of our diversity weaving throughout our communities’ heritage, history, and happenings.
And, while on the topic of ‘happenings’, we are excited to introduce a new segment of our newsletter, “Cafecito con Maria,” where we learn about all the places our executive director, Maria Lizardo, has been recently to advocate for our community.
Have You Seen Our New Mural?
Within the lobby of our main office, 45 Wadsworth Avenue, we have a spectacular new mural created by New York based visual and local artist, Jessica Maffia. Jessica works across a wide variety of media to celebrate the familiar and honor the natural world of the city, through repetitive, meditative processes. The mural she created, titled, “Blooming,” celebrates our immigrant community in Upper Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods by depicting plant life from South America, Central America, and the South Pacific.
The artist’s description of “Blooming,” is as follows, “We all deserve to flourish. We deserve safe ground on which to build and sustain our homes, healthy nourishment from which to develop and grow, and supportive communities in which to learn and thrive. The wondrous plant life depicted here, begonia, banana, heliotrope, fuchsia, morning glory, and hibiscus, originates from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere in South and Central America as well as the South Pacific. Migration is the seminal right of all beings, all species. These “green immigrants” are well-known, commonly cultivated, and widely celebrated across the Americas. May we collectively see ourselves reflected in this floral abundance and ensure we welcome and protect all who propagate and populate our communities, our nations, and our gardens.”
We are honored to feature Jessica in our building and would like to thank her for the great joy it brings to everyone who witnesses it.
Click here to visit Jessica Maffia’s website.
Brides’ March 2022
This September 26th, we will come together for the 22nd time to remember Gladys Ricart and all those we have tragically lost to domestic violence and to advocate for a safer future. Gladys Ricart was a Dominican community member from Washington Heights who was murdered in 1999 by her former boyfriend on the day that she was supposed to get married to her fiancé.
In 2001, Josie Ashton, a young Dominican woman from Florida and took a leave of absence from her job to spend three months marching through several states down the East Coast in a wedding gown to draw attention to the horrors of intimate partner violence. Several New York City based organizations, including NMIC, helped Josie organize the first March, which served as a sendoff for her 1,600-mile journey.
We continue to march every year to pay tribute to Gladys Ricart and all of those impacted by domestic violence, to distribute bilingual information about domestic violence to communities along the marching path, and to inspire other communities throughout the nation to organize marches that bring visibility to survivors.
Join us on Monday, September 26, 2022, marchers will start gathering at 8:00 AM at the Holyrood Episcopal Church ~ Iglesia Santa Cruz, located at 715 W 179th Street, New York, NY 10033 in Washington Heights.
Click here to learn more about Brides’ March 2022.
Latinx/e Heritage Month & The Dominican Studies Institute
September 15th-October 15th is Latinx/e Heritage Month. Latinx/e Heritage Month or Hispanic Heritage month (official government designation) honors and recognizes the contributions of Latinx/e Americans to the United States. Latinx/e Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, and later expanded to cover a 30-day period in 1988. The month occurs mid-September because it is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and others. The Latinx/e community accounts for almost a third of New York City’s population.
CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) is always celebrating the contributions and influence of Dominicans within the United States. Founded in 1992, CUNY DSI is the first research institute devoted to the study of people of Dominican descent in the United States and other parts of the world. History is happening all around us and CUNY DSI is producing and disseminating research that highlights crucial events that can otherwise go untold.
Click here to learn more about CUNY DSI.
Volunteer on Constitution Day 2022!
Constitution Day, September 17, recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become citizens of the United States. Why should you join? In 2021, there were more than 400 anti-voter bills introduced in 48 states. These bills disproportionately impact people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities. But you can do something about that by helping spread awareness.
This upcoming Constitution Day, we invite you to volunteer with us and The League of Women Voters of the City of New York to help hand out thousands of free copies of the United States Constitution and voting information on Saturday, September 17that The Washington Heights Library, Address: 1000 St Nicholas Ave, New York, NY 10032, or at various libraries locations across the city.
To volunteer at this event or others, please contact the League at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cafecito con Maria
Welcome to ‘Cafecito con Maria’ where we discuss all the places that our executive director Maria Lizardo has been recently to advocate for NMIC and our community.
Last month, Maria celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Dominican Day Parade. Each year, for the Dominican Day Parade, communities come together in New York City to honor Dominican heritage and culture and to recognize the many accomplishments Dominicans achieve. As a member of the Dominican Day Parade’s board, Maria brings her experience as the Executive Director of NMIC to carry out the parade’s mission.
Later, Maria took to the streets at the Ni Una Menos Rally which gathered at Plaza de las Americas. Ni Una Menos, or Not One Less, is a Latin American fourth-wave grassroots feminist movement of women’s rights advocates that emerged in response to an increase in public, brutal femicides, as well as other forms of violence against women. Ni Una Menos kicked off on February 27, 2019, with a vigil highlighting the high incidents of femicides in the Dominican Republic, and since then, the collective continues to raise awareness on the issue through community education, forums, and vigils.
Maria was a panelist at the Center for Urban Future’s policy symposium, Strengthening NYC’s Human Services nonprofits by Reducing Their Administrative Burden. The panel shed light on the ways in which New York policymakers can help strengthen and stabilize critical nonprofit organizations through reducing the often excessive administrative and auditing burdens on nonprofits.
To learn more about NMIC’s efforts, follow us on social media – @NMICNYC.
NMIC in the News
- The New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning gathered on the steps of New York City Hall to unveil their “2022 Lead Agenda.” Among the members of the coalition is the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). Click here to read more.
- One week before classes began this month at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, many incoming medical and dental students were already immersed in Washington Heights, the community where they will live, learn, and give back. During the week, students met Maria Lizardo, executive director of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, and discussed community activism and advocacy. Click here to read more.
- Lead-based paint was banned for use in residential homes in 1978. Yet, many Connecticut cities are still seeing cases of lead poisoning related to it, and many of those cases are children. A new study released by the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation has concluded that 1 in 4 children in some parts of New York are at risk for lead poisoning. Click here to read more.
- Hunger Action Month
- Hispanic/Latinx/e Heritage Month
- September 5, Labor Day
- September 8, Native Women’s Equal Pay Day
- September 11, 9/11 Day of Remembrance
- September 17, Constitution Day
- September 26, Brides March 2022