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 »

August 2023 – Notes from NMIC

As the sun sets in the summer season, we send our heartfelt wishes that this newsletter finds you in good health and high spirits. Your steadfast support continues to inspire us, and we are grateful for the positive impact you continue to help us create. We are thrilled to give you a glimpse of the remarkable events that have unfolded in the past month. From our Back-to-School Drive, equipping young minds for a bright future, to our joyful Staff Picnic, fostering a sense of togetherness among our incredible team, the upcoming Bride’s March, and a grant award announcement!  

NMIC’s Staff Picnic 

Each member of NMIC’s superb staff gathered at a picturesque park for a day of fun, laughter, and bonding. This picnic served as both a well-earned respite for our hardworking staff and a chance to honor the enthusiastic individuals who are the foundation of our organization. As the day unfolded, the atmosphere buzzed with excitement and camaraderie as colleagues enjoyed engaging in summer activities including swimming, softball, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, ping pong, and corn hole. Beyond the recreational aspects, the true highlight of the event was the chance for team members to forge personal connections. This gathering wasn’t solely about amusement, but a poignant reminder of our shared mission: serving as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures.  

Back-to-School Supply Drive 

With the back-to-school season just around, NMIC is thrilled to announce the kickoff of our Back-to-School Supply Drive in collaboration with DoorDash. This initiative aims to extend a helping hand to families residing in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx who have been affected by domestic violence, by providing them with essential school supplies for the upcoming academic year.    

“In the face of domestic violence, providing free school supplies becomes more than just a gesture of support,” said Rosanna-Montilla Payano, NMIC Director of Development. “By equipping families with the tools for education, we not only empower their children to learn but also send a powerful message of compassion and solidarity. Providing school supplies shows how deeply we care about these families, acknowledging their struggles and letting them know they are not alone in their journey towards healing.”   

From July 25th through August 21st, NMIC warmly welcomes in-kind donations of school supplies at its main office, located at 45 Wadsworth Avenue, during business hours. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 7 pm and on Fridays from 8 am to 2 pm. Financial donations can be made online by visiting nmic.org/back-to-school-2023 until August 21st.    

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)’s Intern Roundtable at NMIC 

This summer, NMIC had the privilege of partnering with SYEP, welcoming their interns to our roundtable talks each Wednesday afternoon. SYEP is the nation’s largest youth employment program, connecting NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experiences each summer. Guided by NMIC’s experienced staff, these young visionaries delved into discussions covering every corner of their future. Together, NMIC and SYEP formed an impactful partnership, guiding aspiring young professionals along a journey that encompassed exploring diverse educational avenues, fostering career development, and honing essential skills such as interview etiquette and salary negotiation. Through this collaboration, these weekly sessions spark a flame of possibility, igniting the path towards a brighter future for these promising young minds. 

Thank You, Lily Auchincloss Foundation!

We are excited to announce that NMIC has been chosen as a recipient of a generous grant from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation! For over two decades, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation has been a driving force in enhancing the quality of life in New York City through its invaluable grants. And now, their support through this prestigious grant will breathe new life into our general operations, providing a solid foundation to serve 14,000 New Yorkers annually and make a significant impact on the lives of 32,000 individuals.  

We firmly believe that general support is the lifeblood that sustains a nonprofit’s essential functions. While program-specific funding remains crucial, the unrestricted funds received for general operations provide us with the flexibility and agility to respond to emerging challenges and seize new opportunities as they arise. This unrestricted grant from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation is a testament to their visionary approach in empowering nonprofits like ours to create lasting and transformative change. We are profoundly grateful for this partnership, which serves as a beacon of hope, guiding us toward a brighter future. 

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. The life of Gladys Ricart was tragically cut short by the hands of her abusive former boyfriend on what should have been her wedding day.  

Back in 2001, Josie Ashton embarked on a poignant journey adorned in a wedding gown, traversing numerous states along the East Coast. This journey bore profound symbolism, standing as a testament to the unwavering resistance against domestic violence. With the support of local organizations, including NMIC, the inaugural Bride’s March came into existence, marking the commencement of her courageous 1,600-mile trek.  

In the years that have followed, a sea of white dresses graces the streets of Washington Heights and the neighboring communities in honor of the lives lost to domestic violence. Through these collective efforts, our 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.  

To discover how you can participate in this year’s march, kindly follow @bridesmarchnyc.  

NMIC in the News

  • A recent piece featured in the Manhattan Times highlighted National Dominican Day Parade’s event on August 9 where volunteers and representatives from the parade organization, including NMIC, came together to host a food distribution event at Church of the Good Shepherd in Inwood. Click here to read more.

Observances

  • August 17, National Nonprofit Day 
  • August 19, World Humanitarian Day  

August 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

July 2023 – Notes from NMIC

Welcome to our July newsletter, where we celebrate the vibrant tapestry of our community and the significant events that shape our journey. In this edition, we dive into the empowering stories and impactful initiatives surrounding BIPOC Mental Health Month, the joyful spirit of the Dominican Day Parade, the importance of World Youth Skills Day in shaping our future leaders, and the recent developments in the affirmative action decision day. Join us as we explore these inspiring narratives that highlight the resilience and progress within our diverse community. 

Honoring Sandra Harris at The National Dominican Day Parade 

Join us in commemorating the remarkable achievements of NMIC Board Member Sandra Harris, Associate Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, as she is honored at The National Dominican Day Parade. This vibrant event marks the 41st Anniversary of the Parade and is a celebration of the richness of Dominican culture, folklore, and popular traditions. It serves as a platform to highlight, promote, and acknowledge the invaluable heritage and contributions of the Dominican community in the United States and around the world. Let us come together in unity and rejoice in Sandra’s outstanding accomplishments. We invite you to join us on Sunday, August 13th, as we fill the streets of 6th Avenue, embracing the theme of ‘Nuestra Historia, Nuestra Gente; Our History, Our People.’ 

Click here to learn more about The National Dominican Day Parade.  

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month 

NMIC’s Wellness Program provides free mental health screenings to community members and facilitate their connection to the necessary support. Each year, our initiative reaches and screens over 800 clients, ensuring their mental health needs are not only recognized, but also compassionately addressed. The month of July is especially significant because we observe BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Mental Health Awareness Month, a time dedicated to recognizing and addressing the distinct mental health challenges and requirements faced by BIPOC individuals. While mental illness can affect individuals from all backgrounds, this month sheds light on the unique experiences of the BIPOC communities. Shockingly, according to the NYS Office of Mental Health, only one in three African Americans in need of mental health care receive the support they require. Our commitment to supporting BIPOC communities drives us to break down the barriers that often hinder access to vital mental health treatment.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Wellness Program.  

Celebrating World Youth Skills Day 

NMIC’s YouthBuild program stands as a champion for providing and facilitating employment and entrepreneurial skills opportunities to youth in our community who aspire to reach their full potential. Our five-month paid opportunity caters to young people between the ages of 17 and 24 who are unemployed and out-of-school. We help participants reclaim their education, gain the skills they need for employment, and become leaders in the community. 

According to a 2021 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a significant portion of minimum wage workers are young individuals. In fact, workers under the age of 25 accounted for 44% of individuals receiving the federal minimum wage or less. The statistics highlight the challenges faced by young workers, who grapple with the pressing issue of securing jobs that offer livable wages. Compounding the situation, the persistently high unemployment rates, surpassing pre-pandemic levels, further exacerbate the challenges faced by these individuals in their pursuit of meaningful employment. 

The comprehensive support services we provide play a crucial role in enabling us to empower young individuals who encounter obstacles, not just in obtaining employment, but also in providing them with the essential support to maintain stable employment and acquire the skills necessary for work and entrepreneurship. We recognize the tremendous potential of young people as agents of positive transformation and commit to equipping them with the resources and prospects needed to build prosperous and sustainable futures. Ensuring their access to education and career services stands as one of the most effective approaches to support the youth. 

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s YouthBuild.  

Affirmative Action: Statement from Maria Lizardo

On July 4th, Americans across the nation came together to commemorate Independence Day. However, this year’s celebration was accompanied by a complex backdrop as the Supreme Court had recently ruled to reverse affirmative action. This decision marked the end of colleges and universities being able to consider race as one of the factors in their admissions process. The ruling has stirred deep concern and disappointment among those who hold dear the principles of equality and inclusivity.  

While the full consequences of this decision may take time to unfold, it is crucial to acknowledge its potential impact. Previous research, such as a 2013 study conducted by Harvard, has shown that the elimination of affirmative action in certain states led to a noticeable decline in workforce diversity. These findings underscore the significance of affirmative action in fostering an inclusive work environment.  

We firmly condemn this recent ruling, recognizing the fundamental importance of equal opportunity for all individuals within our nation. It is essential to address the concerns surrounding this decision and comprehend the potential ramifications it has for our social progress. We firmly believe that diversity is a crucial element for the future excellence of our country and the world as a whole. As we reflect on this past Independence Day, we express our hope that meaningful discussions and exploration of alternative strategies will ensue, ensuring the continual advancement of a society that upholds the principles of equality, opportunity, and progress. 

Cafecito con Maria 

In the months leading up to Mayor Adam’s final agreement with the City Council for the budget of Fiscal Year 2023, numerous organizations across the boroughs, including NMIC, joined forces with the Human Services Council (HSC) to champion a crucial cause—a cost of living adjustment (COLA). Regrettably, the Fiscal Year 2023 budget only allocates $40 million for a workforce enhancement program for the 125,000 contracted workers in the human services sector. This agreement falls short of meeting the pressing needs of these workers, with two-thirds of them living near poverty.  

It is unacceptable that human service workers are subjected to inadequate pay, insufficient benefits, and limited opportunities for career advancement. Over the past year, in collaboration with HSC, our dedicated team at NMIC has undertaken various initiatives to advocate for change. We have orchestrated impactful social media campaigns, penned thought-provoking opinion pieces, and swiftly responded to the unfolding events with our statements. Our Executive Director, Maria Lizardo, LMSW, played a pivotal role as the emcee at one of the largest rallies ever witnessed during this mayoralty. She exemplified unwavering dedication by participating in an overnight protest outside City Hall, a bold act that no other advocate attempted this year. Maria also attended another rally the following day, showcasing our consistent and resolute stance. Throughout this budget negotiation, we have remained steadfast in highlighting the high stakes and the imperative need for a COLA to ensure true equity and accessibility in New York.  

We refuse to allow this setback to deter our progress. Together, we will persist in our fight to eradicate government-sanctioned poverty wages for human service workers.  

Click here to learn more about the #JustPay campaign.

Observances 

  • BIPOC Mental Health Month 
  • July 1, International Day of Cooperatives 
  • July 4, Independence Day 
  • July 15, World Youth Skills Day 

July 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

June 2023 – Notes from NMIC

As the summer season unfolds, we are excited to share the latest updates and developments at NMIC. As we reflect on the past month, we are reminded of hurdles we have overcome and the ongoing obstacles that lie ahead. In this dynamic journey, your support has served as a guiding force, driving our mission forward with unwavering momentum. We are incredibly grateful for your dedication and commitment to our work in the community.  

The Recent Price Hike in Rent-Stabilized Homes 

At NMIC, we are deeply committed to uplifting our community members and promoting housing security, recognizing that housing is a fundamental human right. Over the years, rent-stabilized apartments have played a crucial role in enabling families to continue residing in our city. In fact, approximately a quarter of New York City’s total population, which accounts for roughly two million people, currently call rent-stabilized apartments their homes.  

On June 21st, the Rent Guidelines Board reached a decision to raise the rent. By a close margin of 5 to 4, the board voted to raise rents on one-year leases by 3%, while two-year leases will experience an increase of 2.75% in the first year and 3.2% in the second year. These changes will apply to leases effective on October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. We are concerned about the consequences these rent increases will have for our community. It is disheartening to know that these rent increases will lead to heightened financial burdens, placing residents at risk of eviction.  

Moving forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advocate for the well-being and housing security for all New Yorkers. Safe and affordable housing is a basic right that many of our clients do not have access to. NMIC’s free legal, development, organizing, and weatherization assistance help the members of our community remove the obstacles that keep them from enjoying housing security.  

Click here to learn more about NMIC’s housing services and click here to donate today.  

The Future of Promise NYC 

Promise NYC, a childcare assistance pilot program initiated by ACS, has been a beacon of hope for low-income, immigrant families in New York City. We feared its imminent end, as over 600 children would lose access to essential childcare services. We are overwhelmingly excited to announce that Promise NYC was included in the budget for 2024.  

Our team at NMIC presented compelling testimony for Promise NYC on June 13th in front of the city council, shedding light on the transformative power of the program. We rely on programs such as Promise NYC to adapt and tackle new challenges, such as the increase in new arrivals to New York City. Through firsthand experience, we have witnessed the monumental difference that Promise NYC makes in the lives of our community members. 

For many immigrant families within the communities we serve, programs like Promise NYC are key to a parent’s ability to enter the workforce, impacting both their availability to look for employment and the number of hours they can work as soon as they are employed. Continued access to Promise NYC services is necessary to ensure these families are not further destabilized.  

Click here to read The City’s Article on Promise NYC. 

Thank You for Joining us at Unidos: A NMIC Benefit 

We are delighted to announce that Unidos: A NMIC Benefit, held on June 15, surpassed all expectations and emerged as a resounding success. The event brought together our dedicated staff, passionate supporters, esteemed partners, and valued community members, united in our mission to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of the people in our community on their paths to secure and prosperous futures.  

It was also a momentous occasion to recognize and honor the exceptional commitment of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University School of Nursing, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, Tenant Cooperate 21 Arden, and Dr. Aldrin Rafael Bonilla.  

We are grateful for the unwavering support we have received from individuals like you who have played an integral role in our transformative journey. Let us take a moment to celebrate this remarkable achievement and acknowledge the difference we are making together.  

We invite you to relive the memorable moments from our benefit by exploring photos captured during the event, which can be found here 

#ItsOkayNotToBeOkay 

The Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health (OCMH), an imperative mental health initiative by New York City, strives to elevate awareness of mental well-being and guarantee access to crucial mental health services for all residents. We are proud to announce that OCMH selected NMIC to be a community anchor for Communities Thrive. Communities Thrive is a demonstration project designed to address disparities and expand access to mental health care through community partnerships and connection to tele-mental healthcare provided by NYC Health + Hospitals. Its purpose is to eliminate barriers to mental healthcare faced by Latinx individuals in New York.   

Access to adequate mental healthcare for New Yorkers and their families is often hindered by systemic barriers. Communities of color are especially vulnerable to mental health needs, yet they receive less care than their white counterparts. Around 30% of New York residents live in designated mental healthcare shortage areas, where there are insufficient mental health providers and services. This is aggravated by a serious shortage of mental healthcare providers, lack of insurance, and stigma. Given this situation, OCMH has partnered with community organizations to create an integrated referral network to connect clients to mental health services, eliminate obstacles to insurance coverage, provide advocacy, and connect individuals with culturally sensitive and readily accessible services. Additionally, Communities Thrive partnered with GoDiversity, a Latinx-owned marketing agency, to create a public awareness campaign about mental health to address help-seeking barriers and combat stigma.  

It brings us great pride to collaborate with OCMH, NY Health+Hospitals, and fellow community organizations such as BronxWorks, Dominican Women’s Development Center (DWDC), New Settlement, VIP Mujeres, Apicha, and Betances. As the community anchor for the project, our aim is to organize a network of community-based organizations and community-health organizations to provide assessment, referrals, and advocacy for clients in need of mental health services. Together, we are committed to forging a mental healthcare system that is fair, just, and caters to the distinctive needs of every New Yorker.  

To learn more about Communities Thrive,click here. 

Cafécito con Maria 

Before we delve into the advocacy work of Maria Lizardo, LMSW, NMIC’s esteemed Executive Director, we must first extend our heartfelt congratulations on a momentous occasion: her remarkable 25th anniversary with NMIC! Since joining our organization as the Director of Social Services in 1998, Maria has consistently left an indelible mark on the lives of countless individuals. Her professional journey reflects her profound love for the communities of Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.  

Earlier this month, on June 21st, Maria and other nonprofit leaders from across the boroughs united in a powerful demonstration of solidarity. From 6:00 PM to 10:00 AM the following morning, they participated in a rally organized by the Human Services Council. The gathering aimed to draw attention to the exploitation of human service workers by the government, advocating for fair wages for those employed within the sector under contracts with New York City and the State. The next day, Maria also attended, “Human Service Workers, Tell Mayor Adams: Don’t Forget Us in the Budget.” The rally, sponsored by United Neighborhood Houses, Nonprofit New York, UJA Federation New York, and FPWA, was also in support of the #JustPay campaign. 

New York City, often referred to as the city that never sleeps, witnesses the tireless dedication of human service workers who consistently care for its residents around the clock. Despite the relentless demands of their work, these workers find themselves struggling with poverty wages. It is time for the city to reciprocate this care and acknowledge the vital role of human service workers by providing a 6.5% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) within the budget. The efforts of these dedicated individuals deserve tangible support, allowing them to continue their invaluable work of caring for New Yorkers, day in and day out.  

Click here to listen to Maria’s remarks at Human Services Council’s rally.  

NMIC in the News 

  • In a recent article titled “Four million residents of the Big Apple could have obstacles to recertify their health insurance,” published by El Dario NY on May 25th, Maria Lizardo expressed concerns about the recertification process for Medicaid members. She stated, “In recent years, Medicaid members did not have to be certified. Now since the emergency is over, each person has to do it from this spring. We are afraid that many people will lose their health insurance, because they miss the date or do not understand the requirements.” Click here to read more. 
  • On May 27th, Maria Lizardo authored an article for Manhattan Times emphasizing the essential role of human service workers and the necessity of a cost-of-living adjustment. Click here to read more. 
  • An article published by The Indypendent on June 15th shed light on the impact of the unwinding of Medicaid, which could leave up to 200,000 New Yorkers without health insurance. Maria Lizardo highlighted the importance of having trustworthy individuals on the ground to support enrollees who receive notices in the mail. She stated, “You need boots on the ground, people that can trust to come to if they get a notice in the mail. It’s not gonna get done by a state agency calling someone, especially with so much distrust between communities and government.” Click here to read more. 
  • Telemundo 47 reported on the Public Hearings on Rent Increases held on June 21st, featuring Unidad Comunal, an independent entity that receives organizational support from NMIC. Click here to read more.

Observances 

  • Pride Month  
  • Caribbean-American Heritage Month  
  • Black Lives Matter Month  
  • PTSD Awareness Month  
  • Immigrant Heritage Month  
  • June 19, Juneteenth 
  • June 27, PTSD Awareness Day 

June 2023 – Notes from NMIC Read More »

The Indispensable Role of Human Service Workers: A Day Without NMIC – A Message from Maria Lizardo, LMSW

New York, NY – May 25, 2023 – In the bustling metropolis of New York City, a hidden army of compassionate individuals labors tirelessly to uplift the most vulnerable members of our society. They are the human service workers, and their dedication and commitment shape the fabric of our community. Their story, however, goes beyond the noble narrative. It is a tale of numbers—a testament to their immense impact and the urgent need for change. 

According to The New York Council of Nonprofits (NYCON) ‘State of the Sector 2023’ report, New York State is home to a staggering 116,834 nonprofit organizations. These organizations are the lifeblood of our communities, addressing pressing issues such as poverty, homelessness, and education. But their significance extends far beyond their missions. These nonprofits collectively employ over 1.4 million New Yorkers—workers who devote their lives to making a difference.  

To grasp the magnitude of this figure, let’s put it into perspective. These 1.4 million human service workers represent a staggering 17.8% of all private employees in the state. It surpasses the combined number of individuals employed in construction, finance, and manufacturing industries. Human services workers generally make about 71% of what government employees make, and 82% of what private sector workers receive for the same role.  

Behind the statistics lie the faces of individuals who have made it their life’s mission to support others. They are the case managers ensuring that individuals have access to essential services, the educators helping English language learners navigate a new language, and the advocates fighting for social justice. Their impact reaches every corner of our city, touching the lives of countless individuals and families. 

Let us consider the significant consequences to our community in the event of NMIC (Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation) ceasing all operations, resulting in the temporary discontinuation of essential crisis and self-sufficiency services that an average of 572 clients rely on each day:  

  • 210 households would be deprived of a full week’s worth of nourishing food, leaving them vulnerable to hunger and food insecurity. 
  • 120 English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) students would miss out on essential instruction, hindering their language acquisition and limiting their opportunities for success. 
  • 98 clients would be denied critical assistance in case management and employment placement, leaving them without the necessary support to overcome their challenges and find stability. 
  • 46 community members would be left without access to crucial advocacy and legal counsel, depriving them of essential guidance and representation. 
  • 40 tenants would miss out on housing-related policy advocacy and legal representation, leaving them without a voice in matters affecting their living conditions and rights. 
  • 31 survivors of domestic violence would not have access to our trauma informed counseling and advocacy services, leaving them without counseling, support groups, crisis intervention, and an array of other programs to help survivors heal.  
  • 13 clients would be unable to receive the necessary immigration intake services, leaving them without vital support and guidance in navigating the complexities of immigration processes. 
  • 12 community members would be unable to benefit from therapy sessions, denying them access to much-needed mental health support and healing. 
  • 2 individuals with disabilities would lack access to the invaluable resources provided by NMIC’s Disability Advocacy Project, depriving them of assistance that enhances their quality of life and promotes inclusion. 

These numbers reveal the significant impact of human services workers and underscore the urgent need to support and value their essential work. Their absence for even a single day would leave hundreds of individuals and families without the crucial services and support they depend on. It is a stark reminder of the invaluable role these workers play in our community and the importance of ensuring their fair compensation and recognition. 

These figures paint a stark picture of the countless lives that would be affected by the absence of human service workers. However, despite their remarkable dedication, human service workers often find themselves grappling with the harsh reality of poverty wages. The compensation they receive falls far short of what is needed to sustain themselves and their families. It is a painful irony that those who uplift others are themselves burdened by financial insecurity. 

Sadly, the recent Executive Budget proposed by Mayor Adams has overlooked a crucial component: a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for human service workers. This oversight undermines their contributions and fails to acknowledge the fundamental importance of their work within our city. 

In solidarity with the Human Services Council (HSC) and various organizations across the city, including NMIC, we are rallying behind this cause. On May 25th, we will safely suspend 30% of our programs and come together at the intersection of Murray St. and Broadway Avenue. Our aim is to raise awareness and advocate for a 6.5% COLA for human service workers. Together, we strive to rectify this discrepancy and ensure that these indispensable individuals receive the fair and livable compensation they so rightfully deserve. 

We call upon Mayor Adams and city officials to recognize the immense value of human service workers and the critical nature of their work. A fair and reasonable cost-of-living adjustment is not only an investment in the welfare of these individuals but also an investment in the well-being of our entire city. 

Join us on May 25th, 2023, at 11:00 am, at the intersection of Murray St. and Broadway Avenue, where human service providers will unite to send a clear message: #JUSTPAY US MAYOR ADAMS – WE DESERVE A 6.5% COLA. 

Let us stand together to honor and support the indispensable role of human service workers. By advocating for equitable compensation, we can build a stronger, more compassionate city that values the well-being of all its residents. 

Maria Lizardo, LMSW is executive director of NMIC. 

### 

The Indispensable Role of Human Service Workers: A Day Without NMIC – A Message from Maria Lizardo, LMSW Read More »

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
LinkedIn
Scroll to Top