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Op-Ed by NYC School Chancellor Carmen Fariña on “A Path to College and Careers”

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Op-Ed: By NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña

Navigating the college process can be challenging for students and their families. As the first person in my family to go to college, I know how stressful this process can be. As Chancellor, getting every student on the path to college regardless of their home language or zip code and graduating a productive citizen is at the heart of what I want to accomplish. In support of this effort, across the City today we are celebrating College Awareness Day.

Now in its second year, College Awareness Day promotes a college-going culture across all New York City schools and encourages students to consider a wide range of college and career options. And now as part of the DOE’s first College and Career Month, 250 high schools are participating in career exploration events and activities. This means schools will be visiting companies and non-profit organizations to shadow professionals, and inviting alumni and recent college students to discuss college and career planning with students. We are also hosting the first-ever citywide Summer Enrichment Fair on January 28, where high school students and families can learn about summer employment opportunities and participate in career skills and planning workshops. Educators across the City are helping students understand that going to college is attainable with hard work and determination and families should can overcome the financial considerations, geographical barriers, or other roadblocks.

2017 College Awareness Day

College Awareness Day is part of College Access for All, one of Mayor de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence for All initiatives. Through College Access for All, every middle school student will have the opportunity to visit a college campus by 2018 and every high school student will have the resources and support to develop an individual college and career plan by 2019. For the first time this spring, every high school junior can take the SAT free of charge during the school day and we’ve also eliminated the CUNY application fee for low-income students applying for college, removing a significant financial barrier for families.

Early Conversations and planning around college and careers are critical, and helping our youngest learners see higher education as attainable begins with raising greater awareness of what college is and why it matters. We are laying this groundwork early, by building on our promise of Pre-K for All, working toward universal literacy in 2nd grade by 2026, and expanding bilingual programs in classrooms as early as pre-K. Every student must have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, and we are making unprecedented investments to make that a reality – especially for students who are new immigrants, just learning English, and will be the first in their family to go to college.

Every day can be College Awareness Day across the City. Our schools will continue to share information with students and families about college and career readiness as the school year moves forward. By making a clear path to college and career for everyone, we are going to make a real difference in our City and country. I encourage all educators to share their college experience with students and continue the college conversation today.  Additional information about College Awareness Day and College and Career Month are available at: http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/OPSR/CareerExplorationMonth.htm. Together we can eliminate obstacles and make the path to college and careers for all a reality.

What You Didn’t Know about Romeo Santos

romeo santos

Anthony “Romeo” Santos, or just Romeo Santos to his fans, may be considered the modern “King of Bachata”, but it wasn’t that long ago that the half Dominican, half Puerto Rican heartthrob was simply a shy kid writing poetry at home to try to woo a girl that use to be mean to him.

“She wasn’t the nicest girl. I expressed myself by writing poems and lyrics (to her but) I kind of thank her now for being so mean to me,” said Santos.

Growing up in the Bronx, Santos was exposed to hip-hop, R&B and Latin music. The introverted singer continued to find his voice after joining his church choir and in 1994 he decided to form a group with his cousin Henry Santos and friends Lenny and Max Santos, in which he was the lead singer.

The group would later go on to be called Aventura and be the first bachata group to hail from the U. S. instead of the Dominican Republic. Despite the group’s rise from the streets of the Bronx, to its first cover on a magazine, Dominican Times/Latin Trends, and to stadiums around the world, Aventura received a lot of initial backlash from older traditional bachata listeners and musicians. By fusing bachata with R&B, hip-hop, rock and reggaeton, bachata purist didn’t acknowledge the group as making bachata music.

In spite of the criticism, Aventura went on to achieve international success with songs like “Obsesion”, which is covered in multiple languages throughout Europe, and the album which it’s included, “We Broke the Rules”, topped the pop charts in the United States and broke sales records for a bachata album.

In 2012, the once timid Santos decided to go out on his own with his debut solo album, “Formula Vol. 1.” Vol. 1 was the best selling Latin album of that year, was critically acclaimed and went on to be certified Triple Platinum. The bachata tracks on the album were written, produced and arranged by Santos. The superstar producer, Rico Love,  worked on the English songs. Vol. 1 has five consecutive chart topping songs on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs, “You,” “Promise,” “La Diabla,” “Mi Santa,” and “Rival.”

“I want to touch people’s lives with my music and my lyrics,” said Santos.

Santos’ Hollywood debut was in the blockbuster hit movie, “Furious 7” and his second film will be in 2016’s film adaptation of the video game “Angry Birds.” Santos’ second solo album, “Formula Vol. 2”, which he is on tour for now, became the best selling Latin album of 2014. It features songs like, “No Tiene La Culpa,” about a gay youth’s struggle with his sexuality.

“The message is that we shouldn’t worry about anyone’s sexual preferences, nor color, race, language, or anything, because we are all equal… this is not a gay record, this is a reality song,” said Santos, a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community.

Fun Facts

  • He is the first Latino to headline a concert at Yankee Stadium
  • He helped usher Drake and Nicki Minaj into bachata music
  • His music is in heavy rotation on jukeboxes, second only to the Rolling Stones
  • He sang in English and Spanish when he was in his church choir
  • He has won all 28 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ awards

By Naeisha Rose

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A Message from the NYPD to New York’s Immigrant Community

 

A Message from the NYPD to New York’s Immigrant Community

The NYPD is committed to maintaining a welcoming environment for immigrant communities while also maintaining public safety for all. With this backdrop, the NYPD believes it is important to reiterate our immigration related policies.

The NYPD accepts the city’s IDNYC as a valid and recognized form of government-issued identification including for the issuance of summonses and Desk Appearance Tickets.

The NYPD does not inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses, or others who call or approach the police seeking assistance.

The NYPD does not conduct civil immigration enforcement. Specifically, this department does not enforce administrative warrants issued by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents or federal immigration judges solely in connection with civil immigration violations.

It is our city’s resolve to remain a safe and welcoming place for all immigrants.

THE NYPD IS HERE FOR YOU.

 

CUNY’s City College Innovation may help change Solar Energy

A low-cost, nonflammable battery with a high energy density and the capability of thousands of more recycling cycles than any comparable battery to come out of a laboratory has been developed by researchers at The City University of New York’s Energy Institute.

In research published in the journal Nature Communications, the Energy Institute said the battery is in the same class as the familiar AA, but its energy density is potentially high enough to equal that of lithium ion batteries, without the danger.

 

Scaled up, it would allow electric utilities, commercial and residential buildings and homeowners to store electricity generated by solar and wind systems to provide power at night and when the wind isn’t blowing. Scaled down, it offers a safe alternative to widely used lithium ion batteries, which have caused fires in cell phones, airplanes and electric cars.

 

 

“Batteries for [power] grid applications such as integration of renewable power must be low cost, of high cycle life and energy density, safe, reliable and composed of easily acquired materials requiring relatively simple manufacturing processes,” the paper says. Previous technologies “are often unsuitable for wide [grid] deployment because of cost, durability and potential safety hazards.”

Senior research associate Gautam G. Yadav, the paper’s lead author, worked with senior research associates Joshua W. Gallaway, Damon E. Turney and Michael Nyce, doctoral students Jinchao Huang and Xia Wei, and Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering Sanjoy Banerjee, who directs the CUNY Energy Institute.

Past researchers had achieved either high cycle life or what’s called “high areal capacity” – that is, packing a lot of battery electrodes into a small volume to increase energy density – but never both together. For example, one recent report achieved 5,000 cycles, but at only at a minuscule output of one milliamp hour per square centimeter (1 mAh/cm2) areal capacity. Another successfully achieved 26 mAh/cm2, but with only 60 recharging cycles. The CUNY battery leaves them in the dust by getting 6,000 cycles at 2.5 mAh/cm2 and 1,000 cycles at 28 mAh/cm2.

During three years of research involving thousands of experiments, the CUNY chemical engineers achieved both goals by intercalating (inserting) copper into a kind of manganese dioxide known as birnessite that had been modified with the metal bismuth. Ford Motor Co. discovered bismuth-modified birnessite in the 1980s while developing electric cars; although it allows for many recharging cycles, no one before had figured out how to use it at high areal capacity.

The paper says the manganese dioxide cathode provides “an exceptional combination of reversibility and very high capacity” when combined with copper ions in a lattice of layered birnessite. “The resulting composite material benefits from enhanced charge transfer and complete regeneration of layered materials on each cycle.” The battery also uses a commonplace zinc anode.

The paper adds that this methodology also could be used in “other areas where layered materials are of interest like oxidation catalysts, intercalation chemistry and membranes for removal of heavy-metal ions.”

CUNY has already licensed the new, higher-density battery to Urban Electric Power, a startup based in Pearl River, N.Y., which has begun manufacturing a lower-density version of this battery that is based on somewhat different technology. Last year the state Regional Economic Development Council awarded the company $1 million to equip its factory, expand its production staff and ramp up to an initial goal of manufacturing 30,000 batteries a year. The company says its next target will be expanding to a more automated plant with 10 times that capacity.

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY School of Medicine, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy. The University serves more than 274,350 degree-seeking students and 260,000 adult and continuing education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate and master’s degrees through the School of Professional Studies.

I say on Dominican Independence Day; New York’s Rich Diversity is “Kick Ass”

To many Dominican Americans Independence celebration comes twice a year, July 4th and February 27th

Independence is about liberty and the struggle of the fight to get that liberty, which we all enjoy today. Independence by default is a word with deep meaning, it’s not just about celebrating the victory of becoming independent with parties, fireworks, barbecues or “diablos cojuelos”.  It’s about not forgetting the fight of those that came before us and gave up their life, so that we in turn can enjoy the freedoms we all have today. That’s independence!

New York’s Vibrant Dominican Community currently represents the largest Hispanic group in the city (774,473) according to  Census data analysis by CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies. However, that number is being debated to be well over one Million by many, but numbers aside, one thing that is visual and accountable, and that is the very much felt presence of Dominicans in New York. A presence that one can see, feel and hear throughout the city and even in parts of Jersey, PA, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Just take a walk around most local neighborhoods within Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx at the many the barbershops and beauty salons when you get your next hair cut or hairdo and you will most likely experience this culture, or when you take your car to the local mechanic or go pick up milk at the to the corner bodega or the one next to it.

Hungry? hop on in to your favorite Dominican restaurant ( there are plenty) when you crave that “arros blanco con habichuela, pollo y maduros”.

Need a cab and don’t have uber? No problem call your local taxi base and there’s a 80% probability that the driver will most likely be on his cell phone or listening to “Anthony Santos”.

Dominicans currently represent the ethnic group with the largest percentage of small business ownership in New York, according to published articles in NY Times, New York daily News and the NY post. Another interesting fact is on the educational front, although there are really no concrete studies that determine the number of College students or graduates of Dominican decent, we did find a 2004 study by Ramona Hernandez, Ph.D. director of Dominican Studies Institute at CUNY and Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, which reports that Dominican students enrolled in colleges and universities has been rising steadily. The study, indicates that in 2000 Dominican students made up 26.4% of the Hispanic student body enrolled in colleges and universities in New York City.

US politics are also an area of interest to many Dominicans. Just this year alone history was made when Adriano Espaillat became the first Dominican American elected into the US congress and Thomas Perez became the first Latino ever to be elected as the leader of the national democratic party, Thomas a Dominican American who served as President Obama’s labor secretary is now the chairman of the DNC, Democratic National Committee. This was just confirmed a few days ago.

The Dominican community has contributed greatly to the fabric that makes New York the greatest city in the world and will continue to do so together with other cultures. So today we celebrate our Dominican heritage in unity with all, because it’s not about being less than or better than. It’s about respecting others and their cultures, while embracing our own, it’s this rich cultural diversity that makes New York a “ Kick Ass” city and the capital of the world.

As a Dominican American, I take pride in being American and in my Dominican roots. I was born in Santo Domingo, raised in Brooklyn and became an American Citizen by choice many years ago. I acknowledge the blessing of living in a country where I can cherish and respect both cultures, but even more important, I am grateful that at the end of the day, we are all one nation under God, as truly we are all brothers and sisters beneath the sun. I also acknowledge that as humans and as a Nation we are not perfect and that’s ok, because that gives us even more reason to strive to thrive. As an entrepreneur with an affinity towards forward thinking people and forward moving causes, I want to say, on this day celebrating Dominican Independence; God Bless America!

Meaning of “Dominican”
The word “Dominican” has a meaning beyond the one of being born in the Dominican Republic… it actually means “God’s sons.” According to our history, this name is given to us after a group of religious educators, who arrived on the island of “La Hispañola” when we were still a Spanish colony.

Colors of the Dominican flag
Our Dominican flag represents our Independence.. the first Dominican flag was designed and created by María Trinidad Sánchez, Sánchez’s aunt, where she included blue, representing God’s blessings over our nation, red representing our liberators’ blood and the white cross symbolizing our Independence as an inheritance from those who fought for our freedom.

 

Fight for freedom! A short history of the Dominican Republic
After Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492, a point when many cultures clashed during the Spanish colonization of “La Hispañola” island, as he called it, the Dominican Republic then became a battle zone where French, Spanish and Haitian troops fought for our land.

Soon after,  Spain suddenly became uninterested and left the Dominican Republic – after gold was found in México and other areas in America, but the land was soon invaded by French troops and affected by the Haitian Revolution; events which revolutionized the course of our history.  After the reconciliation between slaves and French men, the Spanish troops were defeated by forces led by General Toussaint Louverture, and it was in 1795 when France took over the island, with the abolition of slavery proclaimed by Louverture in Santo Domingo.

When the French forces returned to France after several years, the Haitians then invaded the towns of Santiago and Moca causing not only many deaths, but quite a dislike from residents from the Eastern part of the island, since they were forced to give up their language, culture and beliefs, adapt and become French speaking country.

Of course, the situation wouldn’t last forever… in 1838 a man named Juan Pablo Duarte who was born in Santo Domingo and founded a secret society named “La Trinitaria” and along with his good friends Matías Ramón Mella and Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, secretly planned on putting an end to Haitian repression. How?

In 1843 they joined a Haitian movement to defeat Boyer (the French leader), after which they were exiled and imprisoned in Puerto Príncipe by the new Haitian President, Charles Riviere-Hérard, since he feared their revolutionary ideas of independence. However after an attack produced by Haitians, Charles definitely needed the help of “La Trinitaria” and they were then released.

Meanwhile, Buenaventura Báez, who was a wood exporter and also Deputy at the Haitian’s National Assembly, was negotiating with France a way of establishing French forces in order to protect the Haitian Government from rebels – and since Duarte, Mella and Sánchez knew about this event, on the 27th of February 1844 they immediately declared their Independence from Haiti! You may ask how?…

The canon shot by Matías Ramón Mella on the night of the 27th of February 1844 at the “Puerta del Conde” (now famous for this event) was the official declaration of the Dominican war of Independence, which was supported by Pedro Santana (who became the Dominican Republic’s first President) along with hundreds of his workers and residents from Santo Domingo. To cries of “Dios, Patria y Libertad” (God, Homeland and Freedom), the Dominican flag was raised for the first time at the “Puerta del Conde” and the Haitian forces were confronted – causing the, to retreat and meaning that the Dominicans were finally free!!

Although Haiti tried to invade on several other occasions, the Dominican Republic maintained its Independence for 17 more years, thanks to Pedro Santana’s bright idea of handing the power back to Spain – but that’s a different story! We will be publishing more details about it soon!

 

Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” in One Book, One New York Initiative

New York City is proud to be the creative capital of the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The One Book, One New York initiative provides the perfect opportunity to bring City residents from all five boroughs together through reading. This initiative will inspire New Yorkers to unify in their appreciation of the written word and to share in the support of the city’s important publishing industry.”

“One Book, One New York will help readers connect with one another while rediscovering their local libraries and their independent neighborhood bookstores,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “One Book, One New York will reignite conversations about reading throughout the City, from our libraries to our subway platforms, from our local bookstores to the coffee shop.”

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As part of the program, five celebrities appear in videos advocating for a particular book.  Bebe Neuwirth, William H. Macy, Giancarlo Esposito, Larry Wilmore and Danielle Brooks are rolling out the campaign. New Yorkers will then vote on the book they think everyone should read. Announcement of the final choice is set for March.

All of the nominated books have a connection with the New York City area, and copies of them are available in each New York Public Library branch. The nominated books are:

  • Americanahby Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Between the World and Meby Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Selloutby Paul Beatty
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

 

 

Vote for your favorite here: 

How Effective was #DeleteUber?

Image: joemygod.com

Image: joemygod.com

Now that a week has passed since angry Uber customers committed to deleting their accounts in the wake of Uber driving still working during a taxi strike, it’s interesting to know just how many actually canceled their accounts, not just uninstalling the app. According to the New York Times, more than 200,000 users officially canceled their accounts. Did users keep their promise because of last weekend’s event or because Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was on President Trump’s economic council, despite the immigration ban? “Was” being the key word here. Kalanick stepped down from the council, something that his employees had urged him to do.
Though Uber was accused of trying to make a profit out of the taxi boycott of John F. Kennedy Airport, the ride-sharing app’s rival, Lyft, actually made it out on top in the long run. According to Mashable, downloads for both Uber and Lyft appear to have switched: Lyft surged while Uber plummeted during the last week of January. This happened with both iPhone and Android users. But as we entered into February, Uber downloads were up again but there’s no telling if those 200,000+ former Uber customers redownloaded the app.
So it’s becoming more and more apparent how today’s political climate affects the technology we’ve become so dependent on in the 21st century – even if it’s something as simple as a taxi from a busy airport.

Vaughn College Recognized as #1 in Nation for Upward Mobility

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vaughn billboard

Image: diversity.com

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology was recognized as having the highest upward mobility rate among 2,137 colleges nationwide in a January 18 article published in The New York Times. Vaughn College is noted as “an institution doing more to impact social mobility for those who start from less fortunate means,” and listed as the top institution for moving students from the bottom 40 percent to the top 40 percent of income. The report comes from a study conducted by The Equality of Opportunity Project entitled “Mobility Report Cards: The Role of Colleges in Intergenerational Mobility.”

This recognition is further evidence that we are fulfilling our mission and that Vaughn is a college of choice for students who want to achieve future success,” said Vaughn President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo. “The power of our institution is to provide a truly transformational educational experience for each student.

Vaughn College serves many first-generation Americans and first-generation college students and provides an engaging educational experience for every student. According to the study, the median family income of a student from Vaughn College is $31,600, and 16 percent of students came from a poor family but became a rich adult. More than 57 percent of students moved up two or more income quintiles.

Students achieve professional success because we are a community invested in their personal and professional lives,” said DeVivo. Ninety-eight percent of Vaughn graduates are employed or continue their education within one year of graduation, and in this year’s U.S. News report, Vaughn achieved a graduation rate of 56 percent, above the predicted rate of 43 percent. Vaughn alumni hold critical positions in engineering, technology, management and aviation in well-known organizations such as The Boeing Company, Consolidated Edison, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, United Technologies, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and major airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines.

The article and Vaughn specific data can be found on The New York Times website at the following link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/college-mobility/vaughn-college-of-aeronautics-and-technology

VAUGHN COLLEGE: Founded in 1932, Vaughn College is a private, four-year college that enrolls more than 1,500 students in master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs in engineering, technology, management and aviation on its main campus in New York City and online. The student-faculty ratio of 14 to 1 ensures a highly personalized learning environment. Ninety-eight percent of Vaughn College graduates are placed in professional positions or choose to continue their education within one year of graduation. They work in 20 countries and all 50 states. The institution serves many first-generation college students and is recognized by the US Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. For more information on Vaughn College, please visit http://www.vaughn.edu.

HIT AND RUN LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN RESPONSE TO DJ JINX PAUL DEATH

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Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez joins elected officials, advocates, radio DJs and the family of DJ Jinx Paul, who was killed in a hit and run crash last December, to unveil legislation to
create a hit and run alert system in New York City. The legislation would create an alert system through a number of channels, to support the NYPD in capturing perpetrators of hit and runs.
Following a year where 39 people were killed by hit and run drivers in NYC and over one per week
were killed or faced life-threatening injuries, this legislation will ensure that perpetrators are captured
and prosecuted.

Furious customers delete Uber app after drivers went to protest at JFK airport during

Thousands of Uber customers have deleted their app and posting the evidence to social media after some of its drivers tried to do business at JFK airport during a taxi strike.

jfk-protest-immigrants-e1e9e7fb-3fc6-48de-85cf-b55bb57f1817 two 2

 

The New York Taxi Workers Alliance called for all drivers to avoid John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday to make way for protests against President Donald Trump’s executive order barring travelers from seven Muslim countries from entering the US.

Many users noted that Uber still appeared to be servicing riders during the strike. The company also tweeted after the strike saying it had halted higher fares that normally kick in during periods of increased demand.

In response, people began deleting Uber from their phones and posting the evidence to Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #deleteUber

Uber app delete

 

“We’re sorry for any confusion about our earlier tweet — it was not meant to break up any strike,” the company said. “We wanted people to know they could use Uber to get to and from JFK at normal prices, especially last night.”

The company employs over 35,000 drivers in the New York City region.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick sent an email to employees Sunday announcing a plan to help drivers who may be overseas and unable to reenter the country because of Trump’s travel ban, which he called “unjust.”

Kalanick said Uber would provide lawyers and immigration experts to drivers barred from entering the country using a $3 million company-created legal defense fund. Drivers will also be compensated for lost wages.

Kalanick was recently names among 19 executives who will provide economic advice to Trump. Kalanick now says he will urge the government to reinstate travel immediately.