January 2022 Notes from NMIC

In this newsletter, you’ll read more about:

  • How to help the victims of the Bronx High-Rise Fire and their families. 
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022.
  • Our inspiring YouthBuild alumni turned Outreach Specialist, Jalil.
  • The Second Annual #WESEEYOU Luncheon Honoring Female Social Workers.
  • A Five-Year Eviction Case Solved 

Please consider donating to the Relief for Families Affected by Bronx Fire

On January 9, 2022, our community experienced a tragedy in the Fordham Heights section of the Bronx. The five-alarm high-rise fire was one of the worst in modern New York history. 17 community members, including eight children, and at least 44 people were injuries. Families lost loved ones, students lost classmates, and parents lost their children. The last thing they should have to worry about is the financial recovery from the disaster. Every dollar helps, please consider donating to the Relief for Families Affected by Bronx Fire. All proceeds will be distributed by the Gambian Youth Organization. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: a national day of service

In 1994, Congress passed a bill to dedicate Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a National Day of Service. The King Holiday and Service act of 1994 was launched by Senator Harris Wofford and Congressman John Lewis, who both worked as civil rights activists alongside Dr. King. 

Every third Monday of January, Americans nationwide are encouraged to step up and volunteer to improve their communities. The day’s slogan is “Make it a day on, not a day off.” January 17, 2022, was a day to recognize and appreciate those of you who have made strides this past year on the path toward equity that Dr. King paved for us. 

We are grateful for all the ways that our volunteers have helped us provide services to community members. One of the many devastating effects of COVID’s economic crisis was the sharp increase in food insecurity. Within the past two years, on account of our 266 volunteers, 4,758 bags of nutritious food were distributed to 1,300 unique households, 90,000 meals were handed out, and 128,000lbs of fresh food and 23,600lbs (about the weight of a school bus) of pet food were dispensed. Furthermore, food pantry volunteers are only one of the various volunteer roles that we depend on at NMIC. We are beholden to all the members of our community who continue to dedicate their time and effort to give back. 

Making time to volunteer is an exceptional way to honor the legacy of Dr. King. There is more work to be done, and volunteering makes the world of difference. Click here if you are interested in volunteering with us. 

Join us in welcoming Jalil, our inspiring YouthBuild alumni

Jalil Frazier came to YouthBuild after leaving high school before completing because he didn’t feel that anyone at his high school cared. He didn’t see the connection between what he was learning in the classroom and the skills he needed upon graduating, and he looked for a program that was more personal and relevant to his experience. 

He found both things in YouthBuild and participated in our second cohort of last year from March to June. He earned his high school equivalency diploma through the NYS diploma waiver, and he won NMIC’s business pitch at the end of the cohort after working closely with a representative from our placement partners, Prudential Global Investment Management (PGIM). Mr. Frazier went on to incorporate his own company and employ others in the filmmaking industry, where his goal is to create art and uplift other artists of color. 

More recently, Mr. Frazier joined NMIC as YouthBuild’s newest staff member, working as our outreach specialist. As a credible messenger of the impact YouthBuild can have, Mr. Frazier is helping us get the word out about the program to increase recruitment numbers, which YouthBuild has struggled with more so than any other program at NMIC since the pandemic. In addition to our typical recruitment efforts, Mr. Frazier brings his expertise in media, getting candid pictures and testimonials from participants to create more dynamic content that speaks directly to our target population. 

Join us in welcoming Mr. Frazier to the NMIC team!

The second annual #weseeyou luncheon honoring female social workers

On March 18, 2022 from 1:00 pm-2:00 pm ET, The National Association of Social Workers NYC chapter will hold a special event with NMIC’s very own Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, as a guest speaker. Events held by NASW-NYC CARES cover a range of topics and are created to encourage, support, and engage members of the social work profession.

This series in particular is celebrating the month of March which is national Social Work Month. Maria Lizardo was selected by the NASW-NYC as a result of her inclusion in the book, “Latinx in Social Work,” published last October. NASW-NYC’s Social Work Month series is designed to offer opportunities for networking and learning for social workers across the five boroughs. This event will be virtual and offered for free, if you are interested in registering, please click this linkWe look forward to seeing you there!

A five-year eviction case solved!

Access to safe and affordable housing is a fundamental human right that many of our clients do not have access to. When New York State’s eviction moratorium law expired on January 15th, many residents of our community depended on their rights to a free attorney, funded by the government. THE CITY’s article, “End to Eviction Moratorium Will Stress-Test Tenants’ Right to a Lawyer,” published on January 5, 2022, highlights the experiences of Carmen, a community member, who depended on free legal help from NMIC to get the five-year eviction case against her family resolved.

“We were afraid from day to day that somebody’s going to knock on the door, and we were going to be evicted,” Carmen told THE CITY. “If we had problems with anything in the apartment, we were afraid to even report it because we didn’t want to bring attention to ourselves.” Many fear that the post-pandemic floor of eviction cases will create a new housing crisis, as many residents are still recovering from COVID’s economic crisis. 

“I had been going to court for so many years, month after month, and I saw no end in sight. Finally, when the judge made the judgement, I was so relieved. They would have taken advantage of me if I had not had legal representation, because they would have figured I would eventually give up.”Help community members like Maria. By providing free legal, development, organizing, and weatherizing assistance, NMIC helps clients remove the obstacles that keep them from enjoying housing security. We cannot meet this new demand without your support.

Donate today.

Yours in Solidarity,
NMIC

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