Living through Powerful Words



Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the ‘I have a Dream Speech’, one of the most popular speeches throughout the world today delivered by someone who was never elected as a public official or a leader of a country, someone who was just like me, a common person, someone who dedicated their life to speaking out against injustice and putting himself in harm’s way for others. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired and continues to inspire millions through his words. He is dead but even in death he remains alive.

I am not on Facebook anymore, but when I was on Facebook, I posted one of s my favorite quotes by Dr. King with a picture of my friend, Stacy and myself.

It reads:

“We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers [nor sisters].  Our abundance has not brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of the spirit”. 

Judge Llinet Beltré-Rosado

Thursday, December 20th, 2012 I went to the  honorable Llinet Beltré-Rosado induction ceremony to witness her become a judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York.

I am glad I went for a number of reasons.

First of all, I really wanted to go for self-inspiration. When you get around people who are following their dreams and are succeeding, it makes you want to succeed.

Next, I wanted to hear her testimony. It’s something about listening to strong people testimonies that helps you become stronger.

I am happy she invited me to support her but I felt I wasn’t doing much considering her friendship and kindness to my family and my community, which means so much more to me.

I learned a lot about her that I didn’t know before, like, in her ‘free’ time, she volunteers for the community as a member of Community Board 4. In the words of our Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr., the community board is partly responsible for the decreasing of  gun violence (we currently have the lowest gun violence since 1966) and work to create a more family knit community within the Bronx.

I knew a little of her family’s success story. For example, I knew of how her mom was a single parent from Dominican Republic and raised her daughters in the projects where they all rose to greatness. One is employed by Columbia University and the other is an artist. I only knew of them but got to meet them and actually hear them speak. Even though I do not understand Spanish, when one of her sisters, Casilda, made reference to the Trujillo era, I felt the revolutionary spirit inside the court room! If she spoke a little longer, tears probably would have been shed.

One last reason I wanted to attend is when you are young and your journey is being created; it is important to listen to how others made it to their destination you never know if you would have to take a similar step.

Moreover, I think God wanted me to be there;  for when it came time for her to be sworn in as a judge, there was no Bible in the court room! She got sworn in on my tiny Bible.

Induction Ceremony

Maria José Nolasco

Maria Jose Nolasco

Maria José Nolasco who sang the National Anthem of the Dominican Republic at Hon. Llinte Beltré- Rosado’s induction ceremony. She has a beautiful voice.

Jerry, the Newsstand Man

Over the summer, I worked at International Center of Photography at the Point as an assistant teacher.

One of my students, Charles, came to class one day and told us about a Newsstand Man he had photographed. He interviewed him about his life and well-being. The following story is Jerry’s (the Newsstand Man) story told to Charles:

Jerry Delakas is an honest, hardworking man who has been running the Astor Place Newsstand for the last 24 years, and is now facing eviction. Jerry has very much become a fixture of the neighborhood. He is a friendly and familiar face to residents, tourists, and schoolchildren. What Jerry enjoys most is watching the the world go by as he lovingly attends to his post.

A native of Cephallonia, Greece, Jerry’s work as a merchant seaman brought him to the US in the 70s. He attained his “American Dream” by being his own boss running the newsstand. In over 20 years of work, he’s been witness to the striking transformation of the city and of his neighborhood in particular.

But, Jerry’s days are numbered….

The city is attempting to evict him from his stand because he doesn’t have the required license. The previous owner of the license had allowed Jerry to run the stand and left it to him in her Will. Now, the City of New York stipulates that their arrangement is invalid, and refuses to grant Jerry the license to be proprietor of his own stand.

At 64 years old Jerry is in a precarious position. He is now relying on the support of the community: friends, neighbors, concerned citizens of the world and activists alike.

We can save Jerry with the support of people like you!

To view pictures of Jerry visit Charles flicker here.

Charles from Ghana

His name is Charles. He is from Ghana. And this is his Story.

I was born healthy. However, at  the age of 3 I got a disease called Polio. There were a lot of people catching it and dying. My mother took me to the doctor who gave me a shot  which probably prevented death but left me crippled. I’ve been walking with crutches all my life.

I came to America a few years ago to get an education. However, I am not in school currently because I overstayed my visa. Now I am working to become legal so I could apply to school. After I finish school, I plan to go straight back to Africa. I don’t want to live in America.

Yes, education is much better in Africa but it’s also expensive. Here, in America, anyone can go to school. All you need is determination. I want to go to an university on the internet and get a free education.

With the education that I obtain, I would be able to help my people out more. I am the director of an non-government organization. With my organization and education background, I will be better off. My organization helps people with disabilities and those affected by disasters. It also has an orphanage, farming and tourism.

I aim to go to school for journalism and with a radio and TV background would be able to publicize my organization. I would like my organization to be between America and Ghana.

I have five children and my wife died in March.