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*, 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.
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Location: Holyrood Episcopal Church, 715W 179th Street, New York, NY 10033
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.
- 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