Broad Shoulders Update

news and information for cmun dev advocates in metropolitan Chicago

Archive for the ‘Harlem’ tag

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Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City,” - TIME MAGAZINE

If Detroit had been savaged by a hurricane and submerged by a ravenous flood, we’d know a lot more about it. If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we’d see it on the evening news every night. Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it — if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice. (See pictures of the remains of Detroit.)

But Detroit, once our fourth largest city, now 11th and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country. Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision-making.

Geoffrey Canada’s initiative, Harlem Children’s Zone, has grown to reach 8,000 children across nearly 100 city blocks,” - The Christian Science Monitor

Geoffrey Canada still remembers the saddest day in his first nine years on earth. Back then, Mr. Canada clung to superheroes – and to Superman especially. He liked the guy, but he especially liked the idea he symbolized: immediate and dramatic salvation. In his earliest days, Superman was a social-justice hero, saving a man from a lynch mob, fighting fires, stopping robberies – rescuing people from the same kinds of dangers that seemed to lurk, in the 1960s, in Canada’s rough South Bronx neighborhood. Superman, Canada had decided, was just the guy to fix a neighborhood full of poverty and drugs, to rescue Canada and his friends, to bring a little optimism to the merciless streets.

A Brooklyn of Wealth and Needs Gets a Major Charity All Its Own,” - The New York Times

Brooklyn, which never fully recovered from merging with Manhattan and losing the Dodgers, is about to get new fuel to stoke its stubborn brand of local pride: It is now rich enough to support a major charity of its own.

The Independence Community Foundation, long the largest private charity based in the borough, is changing its tax status so it can raise money rather than simply rely on income from its roughly $50 million endowment.

Written by Keith Forest

September 29th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Today in Equity

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From the Spanish Steps to Spanish Harlem,” - The New York Times

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times Gianni Alemanno, right, the mayor of Rome, visited Mad Fun Farm, a student-designed urban farm in East Harlem, on Tuesday afternoon.

After meeting with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at City Hall on Tuesday, Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, arrived in East Harlem on Tuesday afternoon for a guided tour of a neighborhood garden run by 7- and 8-year-old children.

 ”The Slimming Figures of Childhood Obesity,” - The Wall Street Journal
Studies Suggest That Rates Are No Longer Rising, but Researchers Lament the Paucity of Data and Spar Over Methodologies

Evidence for the expanding epidemic of childhood obesity is thinning.

Nutritionists, health advocates and media reports have been sounding the alarm about a rise in childhood obesity, which could lead to diabetes, heart disease and other problems. But a series of studies from half a dozen countries suggest that rates have held steady over the past five to 10 years, albeit at levels much higher than in the 1960s and 1970s.

Written by Keith Forest

July 22nd, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Healthy Food Access, Coast to Coast

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The Gotham Gazette, a New York news and policy site, teamed up with The Huffington Post for a piece on fresh food availability in New York City.

The article, complete with interactive map, shows a huge disparity between food availability in Manhattan and the outer boroughs.

According to the map, some Manhattan neighborhoods have over 20,000 square feet of supermarket space per 10,000 residents. In a neighborhood like that, all residents could fit into their local supermarkets with two feet of wiggle room. Some neighborhoods have as much as 30,000 square feet per 10,000 residents.

Compare this to neighborhoods in the outer boroughs; the map tells us that Brooklyn’s tenth district has around a third as many square feet per residents as Manhattan’s 10th. That’s around 7000 square feet of supermarket space for 10,000 residents.

But not all of Manhattan has satisfactory fresh food availability;

“I live in the West Harlem area, and it is incredibly difficult to find quality fruits and vegetables,” writes Erin Barker. “It’s a big problem. Even when stores have this stuff, it’s usually not in good shape — bruised or not usable. I think it is more difficult in my neighborhood than it is in wealthier areas of Manhattan that have more upscale grocery stores.”

Check out the article for more, it really puts food access in the NY metro area in perspective.

The city is working on the problem, Gov. Paterson’s office sent out this press release in May.

On the other side of the country, in Oakland, an effort is being made to bring fresh foods to low income neighborhoods, as covered by The San Fransisco Chronicle.

Opened this past June, Mandela Foods Cooperative is located near an affordable housing complex called the Mandela Gateway.

Drawing about 300 customers a day, the new co-op only stocks healthful things, barring products including common ingredients like high fructose corn syrup from their shelves.
They have an interesting business model:

It’s a worker-owned cooperative. Eight local residents are worker-owners who make all the store’s business decisions and perform all its functions - including cashiering, stocking shelves, cleaning, taking inventory and ordering.

One third of the profits will be returned to the community in the form of a credit union next door.