The Trend Podcast: feat. Executive Director Rigaud Noel

The Trend With Justin A. Willams

Rigaud Noel joined New Settlement as its Executive Director in November, 2020. Rigaud came to New Settlement with a strong track record in providing children, youth and families opportunities for educational and career advancement to help them succeed in school, work and life. Over the last 20 years, he has served in senior management and executive positions at various non-profits across New York City. Before New Settlement, Rigaud served as Chief Partnership Officer at New York Edge, one of the largest after-school providers in New York State. During his tenure, he was able to secure over $6 million in new funding, establish new partnerships with schools, colleges/universities and community-based organizations! So you know he is qualified to talk about urban development and talk about it we do as we discuss the New Settlement facility, why the Bronx is the frontlines for positive change and where we are going next as an empowered society!

Content originally posted and written by The Trend

His Last Words Were Calling for His Mother, a Statement on Police Brutality and the Murder of Tyre Nichols

Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten so severely by Memphis police officers on January 7 that he died three days later. The following quote is from his mother, RowVaughn Wells. 

“When my husband and I got to the hospital and I saw my son, he was already gone. They had beat him to a pulp. He had bruises all over him, his head was swollen like a watermelon, his neck was busting because of the swelling–they broke his neck. My son’s nose looked like an S. They actually just beat the crap out of him. And so, when I saw that, I knew my son was gone then.” 

It is nothing short of heartbreaking to hear Ms. Wells speak of her son. It is another level of misery to watch the bodycam footage as his life is beaten out of him. In Mr. Nichols’ final moments he called out for his mother three times. “You’re going to see acts that defy humanity,” says the Memphis police chief. What we see is heinous, inhumane and a total disregard for life. 

Tyre Nichols, photo from Instagram

We condemn the pack behavior and brutality of these five police officers, and see this as a time of reckoning for every police department in the country. It is time for police officers to be held accountable.  

The historic and systemic degradation of Black and Brown people by police officers has been protected for far too long. As long as we support the myth that police officers are inherent heroes, they will see themselves as infallible superhumans who can do no wrong. We raise our children to see others as worthy of respect and dignity, and to do unto others as we’d have others do unto us. Shouldn’t our police officers be expected to live up to this standard?  

We are heartened by the indictments all five police officers are facing, but we need to fix the culture of police departments from top to bottom, year one to retirement. We can’t breathe. 

As Bronx residents and parents, what do we do with this most righteous anger? Use this moment to protest peacefully. VOTE for elected officials who hold police officers to the same standard as every citizen. Attend meetings of our local community board, and have our voices heard. Call our city councilmember and demand action to support more transparency and wide sweeping police reform. As a community-based organization, New Settlement will work with partners who uplift people of color and build healthy communities. There is no short-term solution, but together we can change the status quo and never stop fighting for our civil rights.  

In solidarity,
Executive Director, Rigaud Noel
Associate Executive Director, Allison Palmer 

Bronx Times | Bronx’s ‘Most Influential’ named to the Schneps Media Bronx Power List

Hundreds of supporters celebrated as the 2022 Bronx Power Listers were honored at Maestro’s Caterers on Wednesday, Dec. 14.

The ultimate networking event celebrated extraordinary individuals from a broad spectrum of the business and nonprofit world who were recognized for their continued commitment, impact, and influence they have sustained on the Bronx’s existence over the past year.

On hand for Wednesday’s celebration was state Sen. Jamaal Bailey — who represents a host of North Bronx communities — who said 2022 was all about the Bronx’s trademark resilience from the throes of COVID-19 and was optimistic for the borough’s upward trajectory, particularly in economic development, in 2023.

“Whether it was COVID-19, asylum seekers seeking refuge in our borough, I’m proud of our borough for our resiliency because we don’t give up and rise to challenges,” said Bailey, who is also president of the Bronx’s Democratic Party. “But just because you’re doing good, doesn’t mean you can’t do better. Doing better doesn’t mean you’re doing bad. In 2023, we want to do better and I think we’re going to get there.”

The event was hosted by Schneps Media, publishers of The Bronx Times, Caribbean Life, El Correo and amnyMetro, which is proud to bring together the most extraordinary individuals to connect, support one another, do business and build community.

Building community is so important for groups such as Black Trans Nation, a non-profit working to advance the rights of all trans and gender non-conforming persons, and they are using events like the PowerList to continue to amplify their visibility and voice heading into 2023. For others, like Elizabeth Macias, senior vice president of Ponce Bank, building community is an social investment that can empower communities they serve.

“With our Bronx communities, we’ve taken on so many programs and have made so many contributions to the communities we’re in,” said Macias. “That could be anything from informing our members how to use digital services like mobile banking to empowering them to make financial decisions, it’s all a piece of providing as much as you can for our Bronx communities, who rely on these partnerships and working relationships.”

For leaders in the Bronx’s healthcare infrastructure, much of the evergreen work to keep the borough healthy relies on partnerships and an effort to drive down all the interrelated systems affecting the health Bronx residents.

“We’re not just helping our community members get healthcare, but we’re also trying to think about all these interconnected systems that affect our borough such as travel times to a doctor,” said Dr. Errol L. Pierre, senior vice president at Healthfirst. “Getting patient care to our members is our number one objective, and much of that is in partnerships and sponsorships with groups and healthcare workers being honored tonight.”

Steven Mitchell, senior director of sales administration at Metro Plus, said that health insurance agency was able to meet the needs of 10,000 asylum seekers this year, and 2023 includes tackling systemic issue such as food inaccess and housing insecurity that are posing health risks for the Bronx.

On the education front, many Bronx schools continued their adjustment to post-remote or hybrid learning curriculums brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the South Bronx, the New Vision Charter High School received one of the nation’s highest educational recognitions from the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, which recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“The biggest highlight was being the only Bronx high school this year to receive a Blue Ribbon recognition, and it’s the representation of a true community effort among staff, family and our students,” said New Vision Charter’s Principal Sandy Manessis. “It’s a community effort. I’m also a product of Bronx schools, born-and-raised, and it took the people who educated me to get where I am today. And we’re hoping to d do the same for all our students.”

In addition to the ultimate networking and joyful celebration, one hundred percent of the raffle proceeds went to the nonprofit Phipps Neighborhoods.

Bronx Power List Honorees

Plinio Ayala, President, Per Scholas

Hon. Jamaal T. Bailey, State Senator, New York’s 36th State Senate District

Diya Basu-Sen, Executive Director, Sapna NYC

Stivin Benedith, Auxiliary/Explorers Coordinator, Transit District 11

Larry Scott Blackmon, Vice President, Public Affairs, Fresh Direct

Michael Brady, Executive Director, Third Avenue Business Improvement District

Dr. Susan R. Burns, President, College of Mount Saint Vincent

Dr. Fernando Cabrera, Senior Advisor, Faith Based and Community Partnerships for the Office of the Mayor

TS Candii, Executive Director, Black Trans Nation LLC

Hon. Darcel Denise Clark, Bronx District Attorney

Ariana Collado, Executive Director, Bronx Democratic Party

Dr. Candice Crawford, Owner, Clarity and Wellness Mental Health Counseling, PLLC

Juan G. De Jesus, President & Founder, The Bronx Community Partnership Council, Inc.

Abdourahamane Diallo, Geopolitics-Firm Macro Scenarios-Risk Management for Morgan Stanley,

Hon. Nathalia Fernandez, NYS Assembly Member, 80th District

Dawn M. Florio, Esq., Founder & Managing Director, Dawn M. Florio Law Firm PLLC

Clair Francis, Development Manager, American Cancer Society

Hon. Vanessa Gibson, Bronx Borough President

Hon. Carl Heastie, Assemblyman, 83rd District, Speaker, New York State Assembly

Eric C. Henry, Director of NYC Government Affairs, Altice USA

Joseph Hladki Jr. Esq., Partner, Faga Hladki LLP

Minister Dr. Philip Jordan,  President of the Bronx Chapter of National Action Network and Founder, Strong Enough Achievers Foundation

Bharati Kemraj, Senior Associate, Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates

Michael Max Knobbe, Executive Director, BronxNet

Jason Laidley, Founder, London House

Chaplain Ingrid Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor for the Office of the Mayor

Elizabeth Macias, SVP, Chief Information Officer, Ponce Bank

Sandy Manessis, Principal, New Vision Charter High School Advanced Math & Science II

Haizel McIntyre, Creative Producer, Bronx Fashion Week NYC

Steven S. Mitchell, Senior Director, Sales Administration for MetroPlusHealth

Jorge Montalvo, Chief Operating Officer, Physician Affiliate Group of New York

Flora Montes, Founder & CEO, Bronx Fashion Week NYC

Shanequa Moore, CEO, I’Raise Girls & Boys International Corp

Fatuma Murray, CEO, Life Bridge Therapeutic Consulting Services, LLC

Zaid Nagi, Co-Founder & Vice President, Yemeni American Merchants Association

Fernando Nuñez, Senior Vice President Region Executive, Bank of America

Allison Palmer, Associate Executive Director, New Settlement

Hon. Janet Peguero, Deputy Borough President of The Bronx

Lilliam Perez, Vice President, Government & Community Relations, Montefiore Einstein

Dr. Errol L. Pierre, Senior Vice President of State Programs, Healthfirst

Savina P. Playter, Esq., President, Bronx Women’s Bar Association

Dr. Meisha Porter, President & CEO, The Bronx Community Foundation

Dr. Karamchand Rameshwar, Medical Director of Psychiatry, Sun River Health

Bernie Ramirez, Director of Alumni Relations, All Hallows High School

Tomas Ramos, Founder & President, Oyate Group

Dr. Beverly Raudales, Chief Program Officer, Comunilife, Inc.

Daniel Reingold, President & CEO, RiverSpring Living

William Ricigliano, Partner, Ricigliano & Filopei, P.C.

Stephen Ritz, Founder, Green Bronx Machine

Miriam Rodriguez, President, Innovative Property Management & Dev., Inc

Kencle Satchell, Director of Marketing & Communications, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln

Dr. Sonia Toledo, President & CEO, Dignity of Children

Angela Torres, Executive Director, Throggs Neck Community Alliance

Valerie Vazquez, Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs, NYC Mayor Community Affairs Unit

Hon. Majorie Velázquez, NYC Council Member, 13th District

Xiomara Wallace, Director of Managed Care and Guest Relations, NYC Health + Hospitals

Adam Weinstein, President & CEO, Phipps Houses

Andre D. White, Executive Director & CEO, Phipps Neighborhoods

John Zaccaro Jr., NYS Assembly Member-Elect, 80th District


Article originally published 12/15/22 via Bronx Times

The Riverdale Press | Bronx tenants on rent strike

Tenants at 1187 Anderson Ave. in Highbridge announced a rent strike in December, joining their neighbors at 1230 Woodycrest Avenue to demand their landlord immediately repair hazardous conditions in their building.

There are currently 169 housing violations at the Anderson Avenue building. In May, the tenants sued for repairs.

“We have decided as a building that we will be withholding rent from the landlord because we will not be paying for something that is not to our living standards,” said Samantha Diaz, a longtime resident in the building.

Earlier this year, the New York division of homes and community renewal — the state’s affordable housing agency — denied real estate investor Isaac Kassirer of Emerald Equity Group’s application to deregulate hundreds of tenants in six Bronx apartment buildings and ordered the owner to issue rent-stabilized leases to all of them.

Tenants came together through New Settlement’s organizing project, Community Action for Safe Apartments, and were represented by Bronx Legal Services’ Tenant Rights Coalition. Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner also pushed for the state agency’s action in March.

They have since continued to fight for Emerald Equity Group to fix chronic leaks, mold, holes in the walls, damaged floors, bedbugs, and a lack of security in their homes.

“Tenants should never find that – despite paying their rent – they are deprived of the most basic services that their families need and deserve,” Joyner said when the rent strike began Dec. 6. “I strongly support the tenants of 1187 Anderson Avenue as they assert their rights and stand-up against the unscrupulous practices of Emerald Equity Group.”

Originally published by The Riverdale Press, 12/16/22

BronxNet, Mission BX: Creative Workforce Development

Mission BX sits down with Assistant Director Dinorah Castillo and Chris Garcia from New Settlement’s Young Adult Adult Opportunity Initiative, and Evelyn Fernández-Ketcham, Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). The segment gives background on the innovative Workforce Recovery Hub training partnership, funded with support from the New York Community Trust.

WABC | Residents of 2 Bronx buildings go on rent strike against landlord for unsafe living conditions

BRONX, New York (WABC) — Residents of two buildings in the Bronx are on a rent strike, refusing to pay their landlord until the landlord fixes problems in their buildings, including rodent and cockroach infestations, peeling paint, leaking pipes, broken cabinets, refrigerators, outlets and stoves.

Samantha Diaz is a resident of 1187 Anderson Avenue. She showed Eyewitness News investigative reporter Kristin Thorne paint peeling from the walls in her apartment, a leaking radiator pipe and a video of dead flies coming from her bathroom ceiling and a rat scurrying across the lobby floor.

“These living conditions are hazardous,” Diaz said. “You can smell, like, the dead rats in the walls.”

In May, 22 residents of the building filed a lawsuit against the landlord to try to get them and the city to address the issues in the building.

Residents brought the suit against Living Emerald NY LLC, Isaac Kassirer, Gary Kassirer, Fransisco Breton, EEGMW LLC and various entities of Anderson LLC.

The lawsuit contains affidavits from the tenants about the conditions in their apartments.

Resident Margaret Adarkwa said she has a leak under her kitchen sink which is rotting the kitchen cabinet. She said some of her outlets don’t have power, her bathtub is peeling, her intercom doesn’t work and she has mice and roaches.

Resident Aaron Asiedu said his toilet moves and leaks from the bottom.

According to the New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the building has 169 open violations with 42 of them being time-sensitive. The agency said it will send inspectors to the building this week to reinspect those violations.

HPD said it had to hire contractors to make emergency repairs at the building and they plan to charge the owner the $9,500 it cost to make the repairs.

“HPD has issued violations for unsafe building conditions and conducted emergency repairs when the owner failed to correct immediately hazardous conditions in a timely manner,” the agency said in a statement.

HPD said it is considering additional enforcement actions against the owner.

Last March, Con Edison threatened to turn off service to the building because the landlord hadn’t paid $12,797 in gas bills. Eyewitness News obtained the letter which the utility provider put in the building as a notice to residents.

Diaz said she, along with about 20 other residents of the building, have agreed not to pay their rent until the landlord fixes the problems.

Eyewitness News has learned that residents of another building owned by the landlord in Highbridge, 1230 Woodycrest Avenue, have already gone on a rent strike.

Last summer, the landlord tried to raise rents on the rent-stabilized buildings. A judge denied the move.

New York Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Grand Concourse) stood with the tenants in that fight and said she has tried to get the tenants help with the buildings, but she said at one point the landlord denied owning the buildings.

“We’re not dealing with a partner in this fight,” she said.

Tenant organizing group Community Action for Safe Apartments is helping the tenants in both buildings.

Eyewitness News reached out to the management company for the Anderson Avenue building, Living Residential. We were told no one was around to take our call. We also attempted to reach out to the landlord.

Originally published by WABC