It’s hard to believe that it is already 2012, the beginning of my 20th year as your elected representative to the New York State Assembly.
As is typical around the beginning of a new year, I find this an appropriate time to not only reflect on the happenings of the previous year, but to look ahead with optimism. No one can deny that the economic status of our Nation, State and City has held back our community from prosperity and the quality of life that we all deserve. Unlike many communities devastated by the great recession, in Harlem we haven’t lost our unequivocal style, our cultural and political significance, and our tight knit community. With 2012 upon us, let’s remember the things that make our community what it is, and move forward as one unified force.
In 2011, the New York State Legislature was faced with a painful agenda of cuts and caps. We worked our way through an immensely difficult legislative session with a new governor and tough decisions and unpleasant compromises were made. We in the Assembly pushed for funding of non-profit organizations in our communities, but were rebuffed. Painful cuts were made to state agencies, some by up to 20%. We saw the near expiration of rent stabilization in New York City, which thankfully the State Assembly was able to hold off and preserve intact, with modest changes.
These are the frustrating truths that decorate our State and Nation today and have for some time. The distressing gap of wealth distribution in the United States is finally becoming too much for society, as it has been too much for our neighborhoods for generations. This feeling of frustration is spreading across our City and our Country. Too many people are fed up, as their student loan debt accumulates while unemployment continues to rise. Agencies that our neighbors and families rely on become less and less accessible as they downsize staff and deplete programs that our neighborhoods rely upon.
We saw hints of what was to come, when some forty-five thousand Verizon employees went on strike to protect their collectively bargained rights and make a stand against the hypocrisy of one of the country’s wealthiest corporations. Months later, we saw Occupy Wall Street, started here in the Empire City, go viral and spread across the globe. The frustration is mounting and people are coming together to articulate the common realities of our American society, so hope remains!
We must find new ways to create a better New York for our residents. If the governor won’t allow us to fund non-profit organizations via member items, we have to think of new ways to keep them running or get them started. We need to keep the millionaires’ tax in place, making sure that the upper class pays their fair share. We need to make sure that construction projects being built in our neighborhoods employ Harlem residents both during construction and after opening. Most importantly, we must all keep our heads up, even during our darkest hours.
So reflect, move forward, and enjoy this new year! My office is always open to you and anyone you may know who needs assistance, so please do not hesitate to call, email, or drop in. We would love to see you!
Keith L.T. Wright
Member of Assembly
Catholic Charities Community Services, Archdiocese of NY
Catholic Charities helps solve the problems of New Yorkers in need - non-Catholics and Catholics alike. The neglected child, the homeless family, and the hungry senior are among those for whom they provide help and create hope. Catholic Charities is able to connect unemployed people with job readiness and placement agencies throughout New York City.
1011 First Avenue, 11th floor
New York, New York 10022
Consortium for Workers Education (CWE)
CWE is a private, non-profit agency that provides a wide array of employment, training, and education services to over 75,000 New York City workers annually, including union members, new Americans and dislocated workers. The CWE was created to provide all New Yorkers with access to career preparation and skills-specific training programs to support and enhance their career growth.
275 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York 10001
Ecumenical Community Development Organization (ECDO)
Ecumenical Community Development Organization is a not for profit organization dedicated to formulate and implement plans and projects that improve the housing, social, and economic conditions of low and moderate income residents and businesses of the West and Central Harlem communities. In the area of job and educational preparedness, ECDO offers a Youth Employment Program which provides young people with a paid, short term productive employment experience with companies and organizations in New York City.
443 West 125th Street
New York, New York 10027
The Fortune Society is an organization whose mission is to support successful reentry from prison and promote alternatives to incarceration. Their extensive Employment Services program is designed to meet the needs of a broad range of job seekers with criminal records.
29-76 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City, New York 11101
Grace Institute provides tuition-free, practical job training in a supportive learning community for underserved New York area women of all ages and from many different backgrounds. Grace Institute is dedicated to the development of the personal and business skills necessary for self-sufficiency, employability, and an improved quality of life.
1233 Second Avenue
New York, New York 10065
Greenhope Services for Women
Greenhope caters to formerly incarcerated women and has shown huge commitment to providing quality services to predominately poor African American and Latina ex-offenders. Their extensive vocational and educational services are essential to a smooth transition into society for women previously imprisoned.
435 East 119th Street
New York, New York 10035
Harlem Congregation for Community Improvement, Inc. (HCCI)
HCCI provides economic development and empowerment opportunities to help Harlem residents rebuild and sustain their community. HCCI offers an adult education program that includes employment skills, literacy training and computer software training--all linked with job placement. The Congregation has placed more than 1,500 residents in employment opportunities.
2854 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
New York, New York 10039
Hellenic-American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC)
HANAC, Inc. is a New York City based multi-faceted social services organization with the mission to develop and administer the operation of essential social services including youth, senior and immigrant services, employment and education programs, counseling and affordable housing, for the betterment of the community. 212-840-8005
49 West Forty-Fifth Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York 10036
The New York City Mission Society offers a medley of programs that help break the cycle of poverty for some of New York City’s most underserved children, youth and families. They focus on prevention, youth development and community, education and workforce development. They offer Learning to Work programs at three public schools, including Harlem Renaissance High School, and they facilitate the Summer Youth Employment Program.
Minisink Townhouse: 646 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, New York 10037
STRIVE has a wide range of programs that work with people of all ages in an attempt to enhance job readiness and prepare participants for the demands of today’s job market. Beyond the general CORE training program, STRIVE offers medical information technician preparation, office environment training, green construction, fatherhood programs, job placement, etc.
240 East 123rd Street, Office 302
New York, New York 10035
Union Settlement Association
Union Settlement Association works with the community of East Harlem by fostering leadership and self-sufficiency. Each year, we serve more than 13,000 people with effective programs in education, childcare, youth development, senior services, job training, the arts, nutrition, counseling and community development.
237 East 104th Street
New York, New York 10029
Upper Manhattan Workforce1 Career Center
Workforce1 prepares and connects qualified candidates to job opportunities in New York City. In 2010, they placed over 31,000 New Yorkers in jobs throughout the five boroughs.
215 West 125th Street
New York, New York 10027
West Harlem Group Assistance (WHGA)
WHGA seeks to create a technology based workforce development program that links Harlem residents to certification programs and gainful employment in the technology industry throughout New York City.
The WHGA has 4 locations in upper Manhattan. To be directed to the relevant branch, call 212-281-5552.