Millions in Federal Funds Cut to Community Programs- The South Bronx Demands Justice

In today’s newspaper, The Bronx Free Press, there was an interesting article about protest being organized in the South Bronx in response to recent cuts to anti-poverty programs in the community. The article highlights the recent displacement of funds by the Obama Administration to various community programs that help sustain local collaboratives that provide needed services to it’s members. The cuts are estimated to save the federal government $350 Million. These collaboratives are sustained by the Community Service Block Grants (CSBG), which are provided by the federal government that help promote financial stability within the South Bronx community.Now, these funds are being dramatically reduce and in response the South Bronx community have come together to protest these cuts that will cause many of its community-organizations to close or stop providing services because of the lack of funding.

The community-based organization SoBRO (The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation), that provides after-school programs for youth and education development for adults are forced to tell their participants that after June 30th – they will no longer be able to offer those services to the community because of the funding.

Source: SOBRO

This is often the fate of  many community-based organizations that are small in stature and are often housed by very minimal number of employees, but serve a large portion of the community. Funding becomes critical in deciding whether these organizations continue to operate or whether they are to limit the amount of services. These community-based programs are influential and create bridges between those who lack in fundamental education and self-development. The majority of the time these centers and programs service the poor, illiterate, the young, the old, and the less informed. When you strip a community of needed resources, you strip the community of future success.

The Obama Administration needs not cut funding to needed services that are provided in the most vulnerable of populations. And this is up to us, to react to policy changes that directly affect the well-being of our communities. Without active community involvement and participation, as members, we have no voice, no say, no action. We need to promote our communities capacities and allow our members to participate in policy making that will provide needed services for them at no expense to community and to federal government.

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Fast Food Infestation in the South Bronx

The new Checkers establishment being erected not to far from the Urban Health Plan, Inc health center. This is one of the new fast food restaurants daunting the South Bronx community.

It has come to my attention that the South Bronx is infested! There is an infestation of fast food restraints plaguing the streets of the South Bronx specifically the area in which my organization is based. In less than 2-weeks a new fast food restaurant has been erected across the street from a Dunkin Donuts adjacent to an “in-progress” Little Caesar’s pizza spot. It’s amazing to see how

Dunkin Donuts located across the street from Urban Health Plan, Inc. However convenient these fast food establishments can be, they are slowly causing the community to increase in weight. With a rise a fast food restaurants we will also see a rise in childhood obesity cases if community action ceases to ha

 

 

 

 

 

Hunts Point/South Bronx, is one of the poorest neighborhoods in New York, but is jammed packed with fast food joints in less than a 4 block radius. There are just as many fast food places as there is cellphone stores and 99 cents stores.

This is a call to action, not only by community leaders, but by my organization who has tirelessly tackled the issue of obesity since establishing the Fit For Life Program for kids. Urban Health Plan, Inc. has continuously advocated for community change surrounding food justice in the South Bronx community. Not only is Hunts Point one of the poorest neighborhoods, but they also have the highest rates of obesity and asthma alike. It is paramount for our community’s health center to inspire a movement for food justice in the community. While fast food corporations continue to erect fast food establishments, we will continue to see an increase in obesity in our community. We cannot allow theses corporations to continue to infect our communities we have so desperately tried to develop. We can not stop at only promoting a health lifestyle, but radically advocating for these fast food restraints to make their way out of the community.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New research have recently identified a growing trend in this obesity epidemic in the United States. According to this new research, by 2030, 42% of Americans will overweight or obese. If the world had a back, it will probably have hernias the size of meteorites. This brings me to my next point- why are fast food establishments still targeting vulnerable communities? Yes I understand that this not only allows people to access cheap and easy meals, but it also provides jobs for the community…blah, blah, blah. There are other ways of providing for a community, and this is not one of them. I am not much of an obesity guru, but I do stand up for social justice when I say that this is truly disheartening and these fast-food places should not be welcomed into the community.

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