Notification issued on 3/12/14 at 3:00 PM. The New York City Unified Victim Identification System (UVIS) has been activated in response to the building collapse that occurred earlier today at 116th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. If you are concerned about the welfare of someone who may have been affected by the collapse and are unable to contact them, please call 311. From outside of NYC, you may call (212) 639-9675. The American Red Cross has also opened a reception center at P.S. 57, located at 176 East 115 Street in Manhattan.
Two buildings appear to have collapsed in East Harlem.
At least two deaths and 16 injuries are reported. NYFD reports it to be a 5-Alarm Fire. The buildings are located on 116th Street and Park (5th Avenue)
Our condolences to the families who lost family and friends. And we wish a speedy recovery to those injured and quick resolution for those who have been displaced.
This week’s quote is a short but impactful and critically important video from Michaela Angela Davis – image activist, writer, conversationalist, editorial director, feminist, fashionista, community servant, and CNN contributor.
No summary of ours could do her poetic words any kind of justice.
Just listen. Reflect. And share with the loved ones in your lives.
Our Inspirational quote this week is by Don Lemon. It is not a single sentence or phrase. But rather Don’s “open letter” response to Russell Simmons.
Simmons and others criticized Lemon for a broadcast during which Lemon shared his “5 points” on self-emporwerment and self-responsibility, the backdrop of which was the murder of Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman “not guilty” verdict. Mr. Lemon invited Simmons to come on CNN several times to discuss the matter where Mr. Simons initially declined resulting in Lemon’s open letter. Russell Simmons eventually accepted the offer and appeared where they had a face to face discussion.
We have quoted Simmon’s uplifting messages many times (view QUOTE archives). We are fans of Russell Simons. We were surprised by the nature of his attack of Lemon. We thought the way Lemon approached the conflict and what he said were in and of themselves lessons in who we should want to and need to be. Communication is the key.
Don Lemon’s “An open letter response to Russell Simons.”
“Russell, I’m glad you wrote the letter. Honestly I really am. Initially though I wasn’t even going to respond to your letter, not because I think you completely missed the point, not because, like many of the other critics I thought you were just using the occasion as a promotion for one of your businesses, your Web site, but I wasn’t going to address it because, quite honestly, it was hard to take you and it seriously after you called me derogatory names like slave on Twitter. That accomplishes nothing especially when lives are at stake.
That said, I’m going to respond and I’m going to take the high road at the same time by not calling you names and simply addressing your points. And just to be clear before I start here I have asked you on this program on CNN several times to discuss the issues I have addressed. I have invited you again tonight but you declined again. That is fine. But don’t throw stones and hide your hand.
Russell Simmons, we are in a crisis right now and you of all people need to understand what I’m saying and understand what you’re doing. Because of what you do and who you are, you have much more influence on young people of all races than I do.
So, first. You say I sound like conservative hosts or pulling strings writing, you write this, conservatives love when we blame ourselves for the conditions that have destroyed the fabric of the black community.
My response is, you should take that up with a conservative or a liberal or someone who is concerned about political affiliation in this particular situation. That does not save lives. It shouldn’t matter if someone is black, white, brown, purple, green, democrat, or Republican. If the truth they speak is saving lives, then no matter their intentions or background, we should listen, attack the problem, not the messenger.
You also write, I can’t accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don’t speak the King’s English or where belts around their waist bands.
That really makes me question whether you even watch the segment or even wrote the letter yourself because I never blamed anyone for their own demise. I never pinned it on any teenagers, on anybody. Nor did I mention the King’s English. I did, however, mention the “n” word.
You also wrote, young people sagging their pants today is no different than young people rocking afros or platform shoes in the ’60s and ’70s.
Russell, afros came out of the struggle of the after American civil rights movement. The dashiki is a traditional form of African dress.
Sagging, Russell, the hip hop community which you helped established, dropped the G on the word so that spelled backwards the word reads n- i-g-g-a-s. It came from Riker’s island in New York, one of the largest attention centers in the U.S. It was originally called wearing your pants Riker’s style.
When you went in you turned in your belt, your shoe laces, and the only shirt the jail provided was a white double XXL-shirt. Are you equating dressing like a criminal to African pride? Are you saying it is OK to perpetuate the negative stereotype of young, black men as convicts, criminals, prisoners? How does that enhance their lives or society as a whole?
I do give you, Russell Simmons, and some of the hip hop and rap community credit for trying to clean up your act. Some like J. Cole and Kanye West are now rapping about social issues like the prison industrial complex. More of that, please. We welcome that. Everyone does. But you’re not off the hook.
Finally, you write in part, I want the black kids to grow up and be like you. I want them to know that their imagination is God inside of them. Russell, I really appreciate that, but I don’t want black kids or kids of any race to be just like me. I want them to grow up to be better than me. That’s what my parents wanted for me. And their parents wanted for them. And as we approach the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, we should all realize that it’s what those brave men and women who risked their lives for our freedom and equality wanted for us. They fought for us and generations to come to be better than them, not to be illiterate or deadbeat dads or criminals. We must stop the blame for things that we can change ourselves and, again, as the first African-American president of the United States says, no more excuses.”
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QUOTE: “President Barack Obama – Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. And, moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured, and they overcame them, and if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.”
*We are happy that eventually they spoke, discussed and shook hands over this matter. Hopefully in the future, though they may disagree, they will both continue to help inspire and educate people in their own ways.
Correction; A previous version of this post stated that Lemon’s 5 points pertained to racism. They instead pertain to self-emporwerment and self-responsibility.
Harlem Resident and CNN Anchor Don Lemon enjoyed an evening out the other night with friends at Cedric’s on Harlem Restaurant Row. As Don has mentioned on his show, the popular prime-time weekend edition of CNN Newsroom, he lives in Harlem and enjoys living here very much. We here at Harlem Condo Life can understand why and believe Harlem to be one of the best neighborhood communities in New York and the surrounding Boroughs. Thanks Don Lemon for following us on twitter @HarlemHCLand we wish you continued success on CNN. Keep up the great work!
I was so proud to see my friend and Image Activist Michaela Angela Davis interviewed by Soledad O’Brien for CNN’s new series “Who Is Black In America?: Soledad O’Brien Explores Racial Identity”
In this clip Michaela asks one of the seminal questions of our time.
I have forever contemplated similar questions. I am black but of mixed race and born and raised in America.
I was born at the intersection of two lineages. One black one white. Different countries of origin. Languages. Economic status. Professions. Political systems. And so on. All of this informed me as a person.
My mother and aunt married my father and his best friend in the 60s. Their unions were embraced by both sides of the family from the very first day. I have never heard, seen or detected anything to the contrary.
Both families settled in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park just a short walk from the adjoining neighborhood of Kenwood, the former home to President Obama and his family. Hyde Park was nationally recognized as the most liberal and racially mixed neighborhood in the country. It also happened to be in one of the most segregated cities in the County.
The fruit of my family’s unions were always in fullest view at Christmas during which adults and kids of all colors – black, white and in between awoke, showered, played, ate, slept together and loved each other.
My parents, aunts and uncles always referred to me and those like me as “mulatto”. We all considered it a term of endearment until we learned that it had become politically incorrect for some. But to this day I find it hard to use another word to describe myself and others like me. Sometimes I simply refuse to use another term and I explain why.
Our families used the word with a sense of pride. That something unique (but not better) had been delivered. As I grew older I learned to detect two other things in their voices. A trepidation that we might encounter fear, hate, injustice or even violence. Moreover, the hope, belief and resolve that we represented that which should be accepted without question. That we represent and would define the future.
As I grew up and went to college I learned what it meant to be black and I learned the answer to Angela’s question in the video – “why don’t you think black is enough? ” My answer.