What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory Means to Me

I can’t adequately explain how much this means to me. I haven’t been this inspired by political energy since Barack Obama soared into office. I’m not saying Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is running for President, but that her victory is a victory of personal and political significance.

Establishment media shaken awake after her victory keep noting how many views her campaign video has gotten. I can’t help but wonder how many of those views are from people like me who watched it everyday, sometimes multiple times a day, in bed at night and on the 6 train in the morning. When women from the Bronx speak—whether it’s Cardi B or Sonia Sotomayor—people listen. Few have been as much of a pleasure as Alexandria, who speaks forcefully, heart-wrenchingly, about the everyday injustices working families face.

Read more on Medium > 

Interview: Growing Community, Gardens, and Land Trusts—Raymond Figueroa, Jr. in the South Bronx

ray figueroa

Ray is a man of many hats, but when I imagine him it is his black beret. I met Ray once, when he hosted our group for a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service project at Brook Park, the community garden he helps lead in the South Bronx. He was wearing the same black beret another time I remember him seeing him around, at a food policy breakfast as President of the New York City Community Garden Coalition (NYCCGC), forcefully advocating for a more community-driven approach in a room full of researchers and public health workers. I imagine Ray’s beret comes with him to the Pratt Institute, where he is a Visiting Instructor in the Graduate Center for Planning.

While I had a heard a little already in these chance encounters, I was intrigued by Ray’s holistic approach to planning and how he connects his passions for food, youth, and community development. I connected with Ray over the phone to ask him about his approach.

Read the interview on Welcome2TheBronx or the MIT Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) blog. 

In MIT CoLab Radio: Fertile Ground for Community Development in the Bronx


The Bronx is burning. It has been decades since the infamous line branded the borough, but this is an image countless individuals have conjured up when I have told them where I am from. Municipal disinvestment made the Bronx the poster place of planned shrinkage, but concerted efforts by public, private, and nonprofit sectors—including residents themselves—have allowed our resilient community to flourish in its wake. Those I grew up around continue to struggle with health and wealth, but targeted efforts push ever more forcefully against the levers of urban inequality. Community development resists a narrow definition everywhere, but examining the food systems of the Bronx begs one to open it up further.

Dig into the full post at the MIT Community Innovators Lab or on Welcome2TheBronx.

Argus: WSA Brings New York Times Online

Argus: WSA Brings New York Times Online

“The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) recently announced that it has expanded availability of The New York Times (NYT) for the University community to the paper’s online edition. While the NYTReadership Program had provided four hundred free paper copies on weekdays to students and faculty at several sites on campus, the WSA’s new subscription now includes two hundred paper copies. These newspapers will continue to be available at Usdan, the Public Affairs Center (PAC), and outside Pi Café. Additionally, a maximum of four hundred simultaneously logged-in readers will have access to the online edition.”