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Showing posts from January, 2017

Another Generation is Already 'Woke'

My love for words was shared with just over a dozen high school students from around the city in a college readiness program this past year as they wrote essays about who they are, who they would like to become, and why they would like to travel to far off places like Chicago and Maine for their education. My role was to help them understand--no challenge them--to discover the power of language, of description, and organization to elevate their writing.

Some are first generation New Yorkers with roots in West Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, while others are African-American. All are heading off to college this fall, a first for many in their families. These teenagers translate language and popular culture for their elders and are often caught between the old world of traditions brought over from...

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Every Gift of Flowers Tells a Story: Two Lives Remembered in East Harlem

The building looked familiar on Christmas Day but then again, buildings in every housing development across New York City look the same. But this one in East Harlem - also known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio - is different.

More than a decade ago, before chain stores, fashionable restaurants, co-ops, and new high-rise buildings replaced tiny eateries, crumbling buildings, local bars, and methadone clinics, I was introduced to Pepè and Margo who lived in the Carver Houses.

And this is where I found myself, delivering a hot meal and gift to seniors in East Harlem as a volunteer with Citymeals on Wheels, looking up at the windows of the apartment where they once lived.
To commemorate the lives of those most of us don’t see, here is a story of two people I met and wrote about, a long time ago.
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