Once Friendly, Boys and Cops Turn Against Each Other in Communities of Color
By Cara Solomon
To the little boys of Bushwick, Brooklyn, Police Officer Fernando Martinez often seems like a superhero in blue, protecting them against the dangers of a high-crime neighborhood. But as soon as they hit 13 or 14, Martinez said, the boys begin to look at him--and his uniform--with something close to disgust.
"The young kids, when they see us, they wave," said Martinez, a youth officer at the 83rd Precinct who often speaks at elementary schools in the area. "As they get into intermediate school, they stop waving."Full story
Itís a Tough Climb for Asian Hip-Hop Artists
By Daisy Nguyen
The story of how the Mountain Brothers, a Philadelphia-based rapping trio, found instant fame is the stuff that thousands of hip-hop kids dream about. In 1996, the threesome, all Chinese-American students at Penn State University, entered a national singing contest sponsored by Sprite - and won. For rapping about their love for the lime-flavored soft drink, they received an invaluable prize: instant exposure on the radio. Their 60-second commercial spot was heard on urban frequencies throughout the country.
Decaying ballroom tests depth of Harlemís rebirth
By David Snyder
Unlike some Harlem landmarks destroyed by bulldozer and wrecking ball, the Renaissance Ballroom has survived - barely.
The legendary dance hallís ceiling has holes the size of beach balls. The expansive hardwood floors where poet Langston Hughes once kicked up his heels have turned to mush. The marquee that novelist Zora Neale Hurston would have seen from her front stoop sits broken and rusted in the buildingís ghastly foyer, where potato chip bags and empty plastic bottles litter the floor.
Raising Adopted Latino Children in Suburbia
By Shannon D. Harrington
They were, by and large, a privileged group - 17 white suburban parents, mostly middle class, and living in Westchester County, one of the most affluent places in America. They likely will never experience the humiliation of being treated differently because of their skin color. But as the parents gathered around brown folding tables in the conference room of a childrenís hospital, discrimination was on their minds - not because of themselves but because of their children.
They were the adoptive parents of Latino children. And they wanted to know how to guard their children from neighborhood prejudice, playground mistreatment and feelings of cultural isolation.
Minority Students Tend to Reject Career in NYPD, Citing Poor Pay, Negative FeelingsBy Marlene Braga
Ask college students of color these days about their career plans and theyíll talk excitedly about a possible future in business, the Internet or engineering. Not many, however, appear eager to join New York Cityís troubled Police Department, which has been jolted by brutality charges in recent years
"I want a better paying job," said Jules Bottex, a 28-year-old Haitian-American student graduating this month with a dual degree in finance and economics from City University of New York. As a police officer, he said, "you really canít earn that much money unless itís overtime."
Urban American Indian Artists Create ĎSacred Placesí in City
By Mark Berkey-Gerard
Each morning before Lemuel Hill opens the art gallery at the American Indian Community House, he burns sage in a prayer of thanksgiving.
The journey from the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona to New
York City has been arduous for the 30-year-old artist. He left the reservation
when he was 11, lived on the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles
between the age 15 and 21. When Hill arrived in New York two years ago
with $250 in his pocket, he soon found himself sleeping in Central Park
when his paycheck from a job at a coffee shop did not cover the rent.
Churches Respond to Changing Neighborhood Demographics
By Jen Lin-Liu
Pastor Andrew Lee began his sermon on Palm Sunday at the largest Christian church in Chinatown with a question: "What happens when you put together an insomniac, an atheist, and a dyslexic?"
The English-speaking congregation of the Oversea Chinese Mission, made up of mostly young, single Chinese-Americans waited patiently for the punch line.
"Someone lying awake a night wondering if there is a dog. Get it, a dog?" Lee said with a grin, as his congregation chuckled softly.
Africans and African Americans in the Bronx
By Oscar Johnson
It is easy for African immigrants who increasingly call the Bronx home to "just get along" with their American-born black neighbors. But it is a chilly coexistence - a fact both sides acknowledge from across a subtle yet vast cultural divide.
True, a certain kinship is noted. "We see them as the same," said the Rev. Michael Aggrey, 38, a visiting Catholic priest from Ghana who serves a growing congregation of Ghanaians in the West Bronx. "We used to have the same culture."
West Africans Preach the Word of God in New York City
By Brian Lyman
Every second and fourth Sunday, Father Matthew Ugwoji gathers with fellow Nigerians at All Saintsí Roman Catholic Church to celebrate Mass in their native Ibo language. There are only 50 of his fellow countrymen in the overwhelmingly African-American parish in Harlem, so, he says, it isnít necessary to have more than two such services a month.
Ugwoji, a 32-year-old Catholic priest who has lived in the United States for four months, looks forward to the Masses. "It gives me a chance to be united with my fellow countrymen," he said, part of the 50,000-strong African immigrant community scattered throughout New York City.
Black dancers encounter obstacles in pursuing classical ballet careers
By Nedra Rhone
In her first season at the Chicago-based Joffrey Ballet, dancer Tanya Wideman was assigned a feature role "Suite Saint Saens." The trio of dancers had to wear matching costumes with pink flesh toned tights and pointe shoes. But Wideman wanted to wear brown tights and brown toe shoes. Brown is the color that matches Widemanís coffee-colored skin.
Gerald Arpino, the company director, allowed her to wear the brown tights and shoes for the trio, but required Wideman to wear pink for all other performances. "I looked ridiculous," Wideman said. "Thatís a messed up thing Ö when a black woman is in a white company."
Race, religion and reconciliation in the Mormon Church
By Brian Woodward
On the first day of June in 1978, Spencer W. Kimball and his 14 apostles prayed for an answer to a perplexing spiritual question. In Salt Lake City that summer, questions about the Curse of Cain doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a church known commonly as the Mormons, had become such an incessant din that church leaders like Kimball knew they would soon have to give an answer.
Until then the Curse of Cain doctrine barred blacks from the Mormon priesthood. The doctrine was the Mormon variant of a biblical interpretation most often based on a story in the Book of Genesis. Years before Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church in upstate New York in the 1820s, Southerners used roughly the same rationale to justify owning slaves. The interpretation is based on the story of Ham, the cursed son of Noah, who was sent to Africa and eventually bore a son named Canaan. Canaanís family became the tribes that filled Africa through the centuries and so it is assumed by some that the curse placed on Ham is symbolized by black skin.
Latinos, Hasidic Jews and whites Three worlds meet in Williamsburg, but do they mix?
By Eileen Markey
Three worlds intersect on Broadway and Marcy Avenue, in the shadow of the elevated J, M and, Z subway lines in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Descriptions of the neighborhood, even its name, vary depending on who is talking.
People who have lived in the neighborhood next to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for decades say will tell you it is a poor and working- class community of Puerto Ricans that is lately folding in Dominican and Mexican immigrants.
A younger person, white, who recently moved from Manhattan will calls the area North sSide and describes it as a place for artists and trend- setters, a neighborhood of young professionals, fashion boutiques and juice bars.
The New Face of Civil Rights
By Kristi Nelson
His last words have been immortalized by Asian-Americans across the country. Shortly before Vincent Chin faded into unconsciousness -- after a Detroit auto worker had already assumed Chin was Japanese, blamed him for problems in the U.S. auto industry, then bludgeoned him with a baseball bat -- he managed to say, "This isn't fair." The 27-year-old Chinese man died four days later; one day before he was to be married. His attackers, two white men, were never sent to jail.
Chinís death in 1982 at the hands of Ronald Ebens and Ebensí stepson, who held Chin down during the beating, was a defining moment for Asian-Americans everywhere. The event marks what many believe to be the beginning of a new era of civil rights for Asian-Americans, the point where various Asian ethnic groups and organizations began to work together to respond to racism and fight for civil rights.
Black and Asians find common ground with martial arts filmsBy Janet Paskin
Two blocks from the heart of Chinatown and three stories up, the headquarters of the American Fuzhou Three Mountain Martial Arts Federation is almost totally empty, except for a table and chairs. A few spears stand along one wall, flagpoles lean on the opposite wall, and two brightly -colored dragon heads rest on shelves at the back of the room., but the space is more empty than full, and the general effect is spare.
Once a month, the Ffederationís 100 members - all men, all Chinese, all older than 40, and all practitioners of martial arts - gather here and talk about teaching martial arts to their children.
"In this environment, a lot of kids donít want to learn," said Yuen Sang Or said through an interpreter. Or, 49, is a businessman and community leader in Chinatown and a member of the Ffederation. "A lot of American-born Chinese donít like karate or martial arts. They like baseball."
Barnes & Noble Says No to Harlem USA
By Irina Slutsky
Getting corporate Americaís approval has been hard for Harlem. It took years to persuade Starbucks, Blockbuster and Duane Reade to open stores in the most famous African-American community in the country and to join the booming retail commerce on Harlemís main drag, 125th Street. Now that they are there, the retailers are making profits far beyond projections. But though mainstream retailers now know they can peddle coffee, rent videos and fill prescriptions, there is one type of merchandise they cannot see selling in Harlem: books.
After evaluating Harlem USA, the multimillion-dollar mall built in partnership with Disney and Magic Johnson Theaters, as a possible location for its next store in New York, Barnes & Noble decided not to sign a lease. "It is not the right site for us," said Deborah Williams, director of media services at Barnes & Noble who visited the complex. When pressed for an explanation, she said, "It did not make financial sense."