I had the Pleasure of attending the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition today which was held at the Monroe College Jerome Avenue Campus. Almost twenty years ago I was associated with the NWBCCC while I was the Co-President of School District 10's President's Council. While the NWBCCC was formed in 1974 to respond to the wave of arson that threatened the entire Bronx then. Its mission was (and still is) to unite diverse people and institutions to work for Economic Democracy and racial justice through intergenerational community organizing. NWBCCC is working on its 43rd year of helping Bronx residents develop visionary leadership, build community power, and revitalize their neighborhoods.
Twenty years ago the Bronx was returning from its darkest days of the arson fires, and the NWBCCC was there to help people find housing, and to revitalize the housing that had been run down or abandoned. the other key issue then was education, which seems to have taken a backseat today to other problems such as health, energy, transportation, and weatherization. Maybe it was the change to Mayoral Control of the public schools, but it seemed that education is still a much needed priority to the people the NWBCCC serves to me.
After some budget business, and the election of a new Board of Directors the NWBCC got down to question the elected officials on hand. They included new Congressman Adriano Espaillat, a representative from Congressman Jose Serrano's office, State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblyman Jose Rivera, Assemblyman Victor Pichardo, a representative of Assemblyman Michael Blake, Councilman Andrew Cohen, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, Councilman Ritchie Torres, and a representative of Councilman Andy King. There were also answers to some questions from State Senator Jeff Klein who could not attend. The photos below should tell the rest of the story.
Above - NWBCCC longtime member and Treasurer Ms. Margret Groake welcomes new Congressman Adriano Espaillat to the meeting.
Below Congressman Espaillat would later be joined by State Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assemblyman Victor Pichardo.
Above - The new Board of Directors for the NWBCCC for 2017
Below - Mr. Yorman Nunez of the NWBCCC hosted the questioning of the elected officials as you see Congressman Espaillat answering the first question on affordable housing.
Above - State Senator Gustavo Rivera quietly answers a question on a bill to reduce the maximum amount of time a student can be suspended. Senator Rivera answered that he needs to read the entire bill before voting to pass it.
Below - Assemblyman Jose Rivera stood up next to Mr. Nunez, as the assemblyman clutched a NWBCCC t-shirt while rousing the crowd with a statement before saying that he would support the bill.
Above - Councilman Andrew Cohen answers a question on North Bronx Central Hospital by saying that he is 100 percent behind keeping the city hospital open and fully functioning as it is today.
Below - Councilman Ritchie Torres also answers the same question, but is worried since he say the property is owned by Montefiore Hospital.
A look at the huge crowd at the NWBCC annual meeting.