LocalOpinionUC Recap

The Uptown Collective – The Recap 10-22 to 10-27

 October 22 – October 27


I had the honor of taking part in a next generation public forum at the venerable Riverside Church on October 22. The global digital magazine Ozy produced the televised debate, which is part of a new series called Take On America. This installation of the series was dubbed 100 Latinos in New York City and focused on immigration, civic engagement and generational differences among Latinos. Two of the special guests were the Mayor of San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto and actress/activist Rosie Pérez. PBS will air the program on Thursday, November 1 at 7 p.m. and YouTube will air the program at 8 p.m. that same day. We will repost on our site the very next day. I had the opportunity to speak my mind on several of the topics. Please check it out and share widely and with abandon.

Porfirio Mejia has been the owner of 128 P&L Deli Grocery on Audubon Avenue for over six years. Nearly 40 percent of his customers were SNAP recipients. SNAP is the government assistance program that was formerly known as food stamps. Mr. Mejia, like many bodegas owners, offered certain customers, like the elderly, credit until the month’s benefits kick in. This crucial workaround for poor people raised alarms in the algorithm used to track fraud by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The result is that he has been permanently banned from accepting food stamps, which in turn has led to him to reduce the hours of his employees. He is now working 14- and 15-hour days just to keep the business afloat. Claire Brown of The Intercept penned a must-read and exhaustive piece on the how the algorithm used by the government to detect fraud is unfairly hurting small local businesses and the mostly poor customers they serve.

Listen up folks; NoMAA’s Technical Assistance Institute 2018 goes down on November 3, 2018 at the Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center (530 West 166th Street) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You don’t want to miss this full day of professional development and networking for the creative and civic minded. Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, who is a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, will deliver this year’s keynote address. The Technical Assistance Institute 2018 also boasts some powerhouse panels that touch on such topics of tech, female artists, gentrification and the arts as healing practices.

Keep checking us out at www.uptowncollective.com.


Led Black


The Uptown Collective


The UC’s mission is to become “the definitive, transformative and community-based force impacting the arts, culture, business and New York City’s overall perception of Upper Manhattan. Its objective is to reset, reboot and positively redefine Uptown’s artistic, political, cultural and business spheres via the online space as well the collective’s initiatives and functions.


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