Author Archives: erica j

Assignment #4

962 East 180st

Bronx, NY 10460

November 9, 2014


Mr. Jose Serrano


1231 Lafayette Ave, 4th Floor

Bronx, NY 10474


Dear Mr. Serrano:

I’m writing to you asking for your help, on July 2011 the state Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted a law that allows the public universities to raise tuition by $300 a year for five years. And of course the Board of Trustees Executive Committee voted to approve a $300 tuition hike. It’s not fair for CUNY students to pay even more money to attend school, tuition been on the rise at 22% since 2009.  The purpose of the tuition rise is to raise $50 million for CUNY.  They hope more revenue will reduce high class sizes, save school programs and have CUNY to hire more full-time faculty.

This tuition increase goes against everything that CUNY stands for; the purpose of CUNY is to provide higher education accessible for New York residents for a low cost. 54 percent of its student body lives in a household with an income of less than $30,000 a year; 74 percent are people of color; and 47 percent work full or part-time in addition to attending school. Even though many of the students receive financial aid, like TAP there are those who need the aid but don’t qualify. And it will hit them the hardest, so what I’m asking is for the state to come up with additional aid; here is why you should assist.

You have a bunch of students from low class income who are willing to work hard to further their education, now imagine that opportunity is taken away from them because of tuition rise. That means more people will apply for food stamps and welfare because it’s already hard to find a job without a college degree.

Providing aid to college students who are in need will help you as well when it comes to reelection, you will have more young votes to help keep your seat in the house. And you will have the support of many communities in New York, think about it.


Erica Jenkins


Assignment #3

Erica Jenkins

Community Organizing

Position paper

CUNY tuition increase

Since I’ve started attending City Tech I was always surprised of how reasonable the tuition was, I know that each year the tuition goes a little. That’s one of the reason why I decided  to attend a CUNY college, even though I was  accepted  to other colleges outside the state; I knew I didn’t have to worry about paying for school and focus on school.  But now that’s going to change for me and everyone who attend CUNY colleges. On July, 2011 the state Legislature and Governor Andrew M. Cuomo enacted a law that allows the public universities to raise tuition by $300 a year for five years (Perez- Pena 2011).

With this increase many college student didn’t agree with the tuition increase, so they took action.  On November 21 ,2011 hundreds of students from Baruch College took to the street outside the building where the board met, banging drums and waving signs, and protesting that students could not afford an increase that will reach 31 percent over five years, many of them were arrested during the demonstration. Even though the board of trustees went ahead and increased the tuition. Those college students bought awareness to this unfair tuition hike, it shows how important this problem is to them and that they are willing to fight for what they feel is right.

The thing is those who support the tuition increase are not thinking about the student who attended CUNY schools, which is made up of low-income and minority students. It’s not fair for them to pay even more money to; “CUNY students have already made sacrifices to pay for college. Tuition increased by 15% in 2009 and many struggle financially to be able to stay in school” (Staff 2011). And the board thinks that those who received  financial aid like TAP will be fine with the tuition increased is wrong; it will hit them the hardest “TAP offers very inadequate support to the 34% of CUNY students who attend part time – many of whom are in dire financial need” ( Staff 2011).  I myself receive TAP and FASFA I don’t receive lot but it does make a difference that might change if TAP doesn’t find a way to find funding to cover the cost of the tuition increased.

With this tuition increase CUNY school are going to be harder for individual to keep attending CUNY schools. PSC First Vice President Steve London explains it perfectly “Expecting some of the nation’s poorest students to pay more and more will only reduce access to college and expand social inequality – the opposite of CUNY’s mission”( Tarleton 2011). The tuition increase is putting many people’s futures in jeopardy, it not fair for the CUNY system to fail on those who what to achieve something greater in their lives.






Reference list

Perez-pena, R. (2011, November 28). Amid Protests by Students and Others, CUNY Trustees Vote to Raise Tuition. Retrieved November 10, 2014.

Staff, Clarion. (2011, January ). Viewpoint: Is a Tuition Increase the Answer? Retrieved November 10, 2014, from

Tarleton, John. (2011, August ). State Passes 5-Year Plan: CUNY Tuition Set to Soar, Maintenance-of-Effort Pledge Falls Short. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from


Assignment #2


Erica Jenkins

Assignment #2

Attendance at a community meeting

On September 12 I attend the Bronx Community Board Number 8 meeting held in Manhattan College. It was inside the Fischbach Room, it was busy a lot of people, there was a podium and long table with seats for the chair members.The group dynamic was strong, you can tell that many of the people attending knows how meetings like these go. But some of them were agitated, as if their voice wasn’t heard about a certain topic at the last meeting.

Chairman Padernacht opened the meeting at 7:35; he started by welcoming six new appointed Board members: Leonel Baez, Manuel Felix, Daniella Fuchs, Demetrious McCord, Joseph O’Brien, and David Toledo. Some of the new members went around a made their introductions; Fuchs, lives in Riverdale, and is an psychologist, O’Brien a formerly employed at the office of Congressman Eliot Engel; and Toledo, a Kingsbridge resident for 25 years, he’s also an investigator, and offered his assistance to the Board. Then the Chairman talked about the resignation of Board Budget Chair Brendan Contant. Because of his new work schedule he would not be able to continue as before. Chairman announced that there will be an election for a new Budget Chair at the October 14, 2014 Board meeting.

So the first issue to be discussed was dealing in the Parks & Recreation department.  Renee Ehle, who is an advocate for Ewen Park, spoke on behalf of three neighbors concern about the 15 trees in Ewen Park marked for destruction next Friday, some of the trees marked are the oldest in the Park, over 100 years old. The group is asking the Department of Parks to halt the destruction long enough to allow review of the certified Arborist report to justify removal. The Ewen Park Advocacy want to see the Park preserved in its natural state; and there’s a petition that been signed by 200 neighbors opposing destruction of the trees. Assemblyman Dinowitz received complaints about the trees to his office and the Department of Parks claimed that the trees are not structurally sound and have carpenter ants, but was going to replace them.

Roberta Strugger read a letter talking about the overall handling of the construction project in Fort Independence Park dealing with the jogging path and park renovation. Basally to sum up what she said; Ms. Strugger was talking about how the community was not involved in the planning process in the park. The ‘jogging horseshoe’ is barely wide enough for one runner to run on. There is a lack of park worker to keep the park clean so the community has to do their job; they pick up after dogs, and leftover trash. Also a small area in Park that is open has poor maintenance and rodent problems.

Five different votes took place at the meeting in various topics as; traffic & transportation, renaming streets and passing New York State Liquor License for local Bronx businesses. Then there was a report from the Office of the Bronx Borough President, Andy Toledo and discussed different things. Borough President Diaz provided over $9 million to fund Bronx organizations. Some of the projects that were spending on were: $2.75 million to create over 600 new units of housing; $2 million to parks projects which will include construction of a new comfort station at Fort Four Playground. Governor Cuomo announced the launch of the New York Works Office in the Bronx, which is part of the Unemployment Strikeforce and will bring no-cost business services directly to Bronx companies looking to hire.

Know your community

Erica Jenkins

HUS 2307 Community organizing and development

Assignment 1: Know your community


I’ve lived in my community West Farms for about 11 years. As for communities go in the Bronx it’s neither the safest nor the cleanest, but the community does care for each other. In the summer there’s a block party and everyone pitches in to bring food and drinks, it’s a lot of fun.

My community board doesn’t have a president, but it does have a chair and its Wendy Rodriguez, Ivine Galarza is the community board’s district manager. My current New York City council member is Ritchie Torres, Torres serves the Central Bronx communities, and Torres severs on the public house committee. My New York state Assembly member is Luis R. Sepulveda. My New York state senators are Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer; they are both my U.S senators as well. My U.S. congressional Representatives are Joseph Crowley and Jose E. Serrano.

So the total population in West Farms is 58,893; which is made up of 27,249 males and 31,644 females, the median age in this community is 26.7. The ethnicity that make up West Farms are: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican; which makes up more than half of the population, African American and Chinese. The income level in West Farms is between low – middle income, the average household income is $36,828 and 64.49% of households have children living. The education level in this community are very low; 39.79% have some high school experience, 27.55% have graduated from high school, 17.30% have some college experience, 6.53% have their Associate’s degree and 6.53% have their Bachelor’s degree.

Finding information about my community’s health status was hard, but from what I did find was that my community is very unhealthy. In my community there isn’t a lot of healthy eating options in West Farms compare to communities in Manhattan. All the dells advertise unhealthy foods like chips, soda, fried foods; that’s one the main reason why people in my community are unhealthy. 63% of adults are overweight or obese, 31.7% of the youth is overweight or obese, 43.5% of adults consume one or more sugary drinks a day and 55.8% of the youth consume one or more sugary drinks a day. One thing I was surprised to find was that smoking is very low in West Farms, only 17.3% of adults smoke cigarettes and 6.9% youth smoke cigarettes.

The crime rate in this community is terrible but compare to 23 years ago it’s a drastic improvement, for example in 1990 there was 653 reports of murder compared to 2013 there was 83 reports of murder. West farms was really unsafe in the 90’s its still unsafe but it’s not as bad as it was 23 years ago.  In 2014 there were 60 complaints about murder, 222 reports of rape,  2,671 reports of robbery,  3,691 reports of federal assault,1,959 reports of burglary,   4,079 reports grand larceny and there was 984 reports of grand larceny auto.

The educational and cultural resources are limited but do exist in my community. There are four Elementary Schools, six Primary Schools, six middle schools and seven high schools in west farms. I was disappointed to find only one museum in West Farms and its called Bronx River Art center; it a multi-art, non-profit organization that provides a place for the community, artists and youth to transform creativity into vision. And there is only one library branch in West Farms, called the West Farms library.

The recreational resources in this community is good there’s a lot of thing to do and it very family friendly, the biggest one here is the Bronx Zoo, families goes there all the time and its free on Wednesdays. There’s only one public pool called Mapes pool, it an outdoor pool and direly across the street is the Mapes Ballfield, it has two baseball fields.  One of the things I like about the parks in this community is that they are big, there’s a playground and also a place to barbecue or relax. There’s only two parks here in West Farms one is called Vidalia park; I will admit it’s not the safest park in the community, but they have a lot of events there. And there River Park it’s my favorite park, it’s called River Park because there’s a waterfall that connects to the Bronx River. Also there are three community gardens there’s the Krystal Garden group, Daly Avenue garden and the Volky Garden.

The religious institutions in this community are very diverse which is great; everyone has the opportunity to practice their religion. There are seven different religious institutions in West Farms: there the Grace Episcopal Church, St. Thomas Aquinas RC church; which is a catholic church, gifted life, I don’t know what they practice there. There’s also the Honeywell Baptist church, New Tabernacle Baptist church, and the Emmanuel Swedish Evangelical church which is a Lutheran church.

There is a lot of locally owned business in west farms most of them are groceries stores, hair salons  and family discount stores to just name a few. There are no big name banks in the community like TD bank and Chase; there are these ATM places I wouldn’t call it a bank but there’s three of them in West Farms. In low income community like mine there are more check- cashing places then actual banks branches; there is two in the community, one is called Pay-O-Matic and the other one is called Cash Transactions Inc. There are only two supermarkets one is called Price Choice and Pioneer. The rest of them are small grocery stores there is about seven of them. There is five real estate agencies in West Farms, there one called Chadwick Realty group.  There are nine hair/barber shops in West Farms; there are three on my block alone, there’s Lucy’s Unisex salon, Ace’s barber shop to name some.

The infrastructure in my community needs some improvement when it comes to the sidewalks; it’s really bad there are cracks, bumps it’s not safe people trip on the sidewalk because of the damage. The roads need work as well there are potholes that need be filled in, road bumps and the road needs to be repainted. The tree care in this community is good the parks department comes often to do maintenance on the trees.

After my walkabout in my community I’ve have identify some my community strengths and weakness. Some of the strengths include the parks, the Bronx Zoo and the religious institutions. Some the weakness are the high crime rate, the lack of healthier food options and for some reason there are no trash cans on every block; and for the blocks that have one its always over full; and this community have a big problem when it comes to picking after their dogs, it makes the community smell really bad and look dirty.