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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! Haga clic 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.  

Haga clic 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. 

Haga clic 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. Haga clic 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 »

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. 

Haga clic 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. 

Haga clic 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, haz clic aquí.  

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 

Ubicación: 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 aquí. 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.” Haga clic 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. Haga clic 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 

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November 2022 – Notes from NMIC

Gratitude is more than just expressing one’s thanks—gratitude can be expressed as an act that can carry the strength of shifting perspectives. Through gratitude, we recognize all the positive aspects of our lives. For this November’s newsletter, we are highlighting the wonderful happenings in our community, and the many ways in which our collective work has been uplifted through awards, partnerships, and you, our supporters.  

D.A. Bragg Announces Creation of the Office’s First Housing & Tenant Protection Unit 

Last month, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced the creation of the Office’s first ever Housing & Tenant Protection Unit. The conference for its release took place at NMIC’s Manhattan office, as we are very supportive of the inception of this unit. We are optimistic that this launch will help with members of our community remove the obstacles that keep them from enjoying housing security, as it will focus on the harassment of rent-regulated tenants, deed fraud, and defrauding of government subsidy programs by landlords and developers. 

“New York City is in the midst of a housing crisis, and that means tenants are particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous landlords,” said District Attorney Bragg. “By taking a targeted approach to complex and pervasive criminal activity, we can root out the bad actors who are seeking to game the system for profit at the expense of ordinary New Yorkers. The creation of this unit represents our firm commitment to fully utilizing the resources of our office to ensure Manhattan residents can exercise the right to live safely and securely.”  

Read more aquí

We Partnered with DoorDash and Constantinople & Vallone Consulting for Our November Food Pantry! 

It’s the season of giving, and at NMIC, that means providing meals to hundreds of families during the holiday season through our food pantry services. Securing and distributing these meals was only possible through our partnerships with DoorDash and Constantinople & Vallone Consulting, who not only secured hundreds of meals for our community, but also provided volunteers for one of our busiest food pantries of the year.  

“New York City continues to face challenges with food access, which is particularly evident in low-income communities of color. We are proud to support NMIC’s efforts to address food insecurity in Upper Manhattan and adjacent Bronx neighborhoods. Effective collaborations and partnerships are key in our mission of empowering local economies, so that no one should have to be concerned about where the next meal will come from,” Ivan Garcia, Senior Manager of Public Engagement, DoorDash.  

“NMIC is an amazing organization that really stepped up during the pandemic for the communities they serve. We are proud to support you and the November food pantry in this time of need. As a family rooted firm, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with NMIC to help families celebrate the holidays around a good meal,” Jake Potent, Managing Director, Constantinople & Vallone Consulting.  

We have one last food pantry of the year, and we would like to provide as much as we can to families looking for help during the 2022 holiday season. Hundreds of families rely on NMIC’s emergency food pantry services to help them celebrate a holiday meal. Would you consider donating today to support our food pantry services? Together, we can alleviate food insecurity in our neighborhoods this season.  

Haga clic to donate today.  

NMIC Was Selected to Receive an Empire Award 

Last month, NMIC was honored by New York State Senator Robert Jackson with an Empire Award, along with 15 other Upper Manhattan community organizations, in recognition of our act of solidarity during the pandemic’s peak, our contributions to working-class communities, and our continued commitment to deliver resources in aiding their full recovery.  

We would like to congratulate each organization honored for their unwavering commitment to serving the communities of District 31 throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and present: Altagracia Fath & Justice Works, Centro Evangelistico Pantry, Community League of the Heights, Fort Washington Collegiate Church, Girl Scout Troop #3205, Jewish Community Council, Holy Rood Church, Manhattan Legal Services, Oyate Group, PA’LANTE Harlem, Ryan Health, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, Washington Heights and Inwood Council on Aging, and West Side Campaign Against Hunger.  

Please join us in congratulating these organizations for their act of solidarity and leadership!  

Thank You Royal Business Bank! 

We have recently received a grant of $6,500 from Royal Business Bank to support our Education & Career Services!  

NMIC plans to use this grant to address the unjust and disproportionate financial impacts that our community members have experienced due to decades of economic exclusion which has led to limited educational and professional development opportunities for low-income people of colors, and especially immigrants. Through this partnership, we plan to reduce economic inequity by equipping our community members with the knowledge, certifications, and resources necessary to re-enter the workforce and access better employment opportunities. 

Haga clic to learn more about NMIC’s Education & Career Services. 

Cafecito con Maria 

This past month, our Executive Director Maria Lizardo, LMSW, welcomed NYS Assembly Member Manny De Los Santos to our Manhattan office. This visit was particularly special because Assembly Member De Los Santos presented a check reflecting on the $30,000, he secured in the New York State Budget to support our Domestic Violence Project. We are beyond grateful for this support, as we know how crucial these funds are for the hundreds of survivors who access our Domestic Violence services each year.  

Later, on October 28th, Maria attended Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund’s 22nd Annual Leadership Gala. Attendees spent the evening honoring trailblazing social workers whose legacies we continue, honor those that are currently making waves, and shed light on those who are charting our collective future forward. Our good tidings continued when we were recognized by Latino Social Work Coalition & Scholarship Fund as the Social Work Organization of the Year.  

Finally, Maria represented NMIC at the 2022 Dominican Film Festival, which we proudly sponsored this past year! The festival celebrated its 11th anniversary of celebrating the best in Dominican Cinema with the overall goal of enriching the artistic experience of New York’s diverse cultural audience. We are happy to support the Dominican Film Festival’s mission to promote the new generation of Dominican filmmakers as well as the established one, its film industry, and to strengthen the vital and expanding economic and cultural relationship with the United States. 

NMIC in the News 

  • Latinx in Social Work is a No.1 Best Seller on Amazon that amplifies stories of challenges and successes of Hispanic social workers. The anthology presents 21 authors who inspire and heal communities, one of whom is NMIC’s Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW. Read more here
  • Spectrum Noticias NY1 recently published an article on free supportive services in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx. Proud of her Dominican roots and her immigrant parents, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, NMIC’s Executive Director, knows firsthand the power and impact that these services have on Latinos. “And really, creating opportunity for members of the community and that is what we need as Latinos, we are immigrants, we work hard, and we need opportunities, we need those connections, access to education, access to the benefits that we are entitled to have.” Read more here.  
  • Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., announced the creation of the Office’s first-ever Housing & Tenant Protection Unit, which will target systemic criminal harassment of tenants and abuse of government programs by landlords and developers. “NMIC is excited to work with the District Attorney’s new Housing & Tenant Protection Unit to hold corporate landlords accountable for harassing behavior aimed at pushing long-standing tenants out of their affordable apartments,” said Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus, Director of Legal, Organizing, & Advocacy Services at NMIC. Read more here.  
  • Tenants in rent-regulated apartments say they’re left languishing for months — if not years — on a decision from the state agency charged with investigating landlord overcharge complaints as backlogs persist and rents in New York reach new highs. Matthew Chachere, a tenant lawyer who works with NMIC, recalled one case that started in the first Obama administration, as he put it, and was only recently finalized in 2021 — nine years later. “The ordinary tenant gets lost in this,” he said. “They’re certainly not going to have the means or the inclination to spend the money that it takes to fight this out. It’s terrible.” Read more here.  

Observances 

  • National Native American Heritage Month  
  • National Career Development Month  
  • November 1, Day of the Dead 
  • November 2, National Stress Awareness Day  
  • November 12, Flight 587 Remembrance Day 
  • November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance  
  • November 24, Thanksgiving 
  • November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women/Mirabal sisters  

Haga clic to get NMIC’s monthly newsletter straight to your inbox and be the first to know about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, and big announcements!

Haga clic to serve as a catalyst for positive change by donating today.

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