Reunions or the First Meetings?

Our virtual school year is over, but some of our teachers and students really wanted to have get-togethers with each other in person and they finally did so in parks, restaurants, and on another island. Some of them met again in person after more than a year and the others met in person for the first time after studying together in virtual classes for a year. Enjoy some of their pictures and videos!

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Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is today! Above you can watch a brief video about the history and importance of Earth Day, while below you can read some helpful tips that will help you to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle:

22 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth

Adapted from the Columbia Climate School:

1. Eat mostly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans. Meat and dairy is responsible for 14.5 percent of manmade global greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Choose organic and local foods that are in season. Transporting food from far away, whether by truck, ship, rail or plane, uses more fossil fuels.

3. Buy food in bulk when possible using your own reusable container.

4. Recycle. Click here to see a list of what you can recycle in NYC.

5. Compost your food waste. If you live in New York City, you can find a compost drop-off site here.

6. Don’t buy fast fashion. Instead, buy quality clothing that will last. Even better, buy vintage or recycled clothing at consignment shops.

7. Wash your clothing in cold water. Doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

8. Buy less stuff! Buy used or recycled items whenever possible and avoid buying items with a lot of packaging.

9. Bring your own reusable bag when you shop.

10. Buy a laptop instead of a desktop. Laptops require less energy to charge and operate than desktops.

11. If shopping for appliances, lighting, office equipment or electronics, look for Energy Star products, which are certified to be more energy efficient.

12. Support and buy from companies that are environmentally responsible and sustainable.

13. Do an energy audit of your home. This will show how you use or waste energy and help identify ways to be more energy efficient.

14. Buy LED lights. Though LEDs cost more, they use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer.

15. Turn lights off when you leave the room and unplug your electronic devices when they are not in use.

16. Turn your water heater down to 120˚F. This can save about 550 pounds of CO2 a year.

17. Take shorter showers and install a low-flow showerhead.

18. Use less air conditioning in the summer; instead opt for fans, which require less electricity.

19. Sign up to get your electricity from clean energy through your local utility or a certified renewable energy provider.

20. Drive less. Walk, take public transportation, carpool, rideshare or bike to your destination when possible.

21. Avoid flying if possible; on shorter trips, driving may produce fewer greenhouse gases.

22. Vote! Become politically active and let your representatives know you want them to take action about global warming and the environment.

Click here to read more!

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Immigrant Heritage Week

This week is Immigrant Heritage Week in NYC!

In New York City, the ultimate city of immigrants, we have always known that immigrants are essential: immigrants make up half our city’s workforce and during COVID-19 they came to represent a disproportionate share of the essential workforce in the city. Our city came to rely and continues to rely on immigrants, who also bore the brunt of the fallout of COVID-19. And while immigrants have continued supporting the city as essential workers, they also are stepping up to fill needs in our communities. From food distribution volunteers to those making sure their communities have the latest information and resources, and others who have helped advocate for New Yorkers in the health system, immigrant New Yorkers deserve our thanks and recognition for their invaluable contributions.

Here are a couple videos spotlighting the wonderful work immigrants are doing in their communities during COVID, and you can also read a statement from Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, by clicking here!

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Duets of Difference: What Matters to Us

This is a short film exploring the identities and stories of University Settlement community members studying English as a second language in the Adult Literacy Program accompanied by music and dance. The film is a culmination of a month-long teaching artist residency with four different Adult Literacy classes. “What Matters to Us” is a virtual reimagination and application of Creative Traffic Flow’s project, Duets of Difference. In this time of heightened xenophobia and political intolerance, The Duets of Difference project explores how people from different communities with different life experiences can connect in their differences. Students in the Adult Literacy program represent many different ages, ethnicities, and experiences. There were at least 11 different languages spoken amongst the class. “What Matters to Us” explores differences in family, relationships, and how to communicate as an English Language Learner.

Thank you to the Performance Project for making this collaboration possible!

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The Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater and politics centered in Harlem in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Watch the video above to learn about the Harlem Renaissance and read a couple poems below by Langston Hughes, a poet who was part of it.

From Poetry.org:

Harlem

What happens to a dream deferred?

       Does it dry up
       like a raisin in the sun?
       Or fester like a sore—
       And then run?
       Does it stink like rotten meat?
       Or crust and sugar over—
       like a syrupy sweet?

       Maybe it just sags
       like a heavy load.

       Or does it explode?

I, Too

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

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