A MESSAGE FROM TALLER BORICUA:A MESSAGE FROM TELLER BORICUA:
MEMORIAL FOR FERNANDO SALICRUP
Fernando Salicrup, Executive Director of Taller Boricua/Puerto Rican Workshop
passed away on Thursday, January 1, 2015.
Fernando Salicrup 1946-2015
Friends and relatives are invited to join a celebration of Fernando Salicrup's life at the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center 1680 Lexington Ave, New York, NY, on Monday January 5, 2015 from 3:00-10:00 PM and Tuesday, January 6, 2015 from 3:00-10:00 PM. The "Program of Remembrance" which will include poetry and music, will start each day at 6:00 PM. The funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, January 7, at 10:00 AM at St. Cecilia's Roman Catholic Church, 120 East 106th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues. Immediately following the mass, Fernando will be buried at St. Raymond's Cementery, 2600 Lafayette Avenue, Bronx, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting contributions be made to The Puerto Rican Workshop (Taller Boricua), 1680 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10029.
Fernando Salicrup was born on August 6, 1946 in East Harlem, where he lived throughout his life with his loving wife of over 40 years, Zoraida Salicrup and their two sons Fernando and Danel.
He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Marines having served in the Vietnam War. After the military, he returned to study at the Philadelphia Academy of Art. Subsequently, he won a scholarship at the New York School of Visual Arts, where he studied painting under Chuck Closs and printmaking under Robert Blackburn.
He was instrumental in the development of the arts and cultural corridor in El Barrio (East Harlem) as the Executive Director of Taller Boricua. As a visionary, he developed artist housing and as a community activist he fought for the creation of the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center. He also served for many terms on Manhattan Community Board 11.
As an artist, he participated in numerous international exhibitions throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe, including venues in New York such as El Museo del Barrio, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Salicrup has received several awards for his work, including the award for experimentation given at the XII San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Printmaking.
He also taught workshops in printmaking and digital processes, and served as a mentor to hundreds of young artists, writers and musicians.
He is survived by his wife, Zoraida Salicrup, their sons, Fernando Salicrup lll and his wife Jaime Spiliotes and Danel Salicrup; and his daughter, Cynthia Blake and her husband Terance Blake;
and four grandchildren.
Taller Boricua Artist Workshop, Event Space and Galleries
at The Julia de Burgos Cultural Center
1680 Lexington Ave bet 105th and 106th street in NYC
http://www.tallerboricua.org Tel: 212 831 4333
Moffitt House was built in the 1700's, but the current owners want to knock it dow to make room for modern real estate. You can make this amazing edifice your own, for a song, and help preserve this unique antique.
The ongoing struggle to save Atlantic City, NJ's, schools under the axe, starting with the Ohio Avenue School.
Eminent Domain Abuse, accelerated by the Kelo v. New London. CT, U.S. Supreme Court Decision, is another mega-corporate threat to everyone else, and this time, institutional liberalism is the cutting edge of the attack.
"Yes we did! Now we can!" "We are the people we've been waiting for!"
FUNDS AND VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!
We can now accept credit and debit card donations! Click for the form:
Volunteer by email to gwe2000 @ aol.com. You may send contributions, large or small, by check, made out to the Committee to Elect Gwen Goodwin, at 152 East 100th Street, #5E, New York, NY 10029. Checks must be accompanied by a downloadable disclosure form (CLICK). Every contribution will be highly appreciated, and will help make important differences.
NYCHA Resident? Check out NYCHECITY, "the social networking organization for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents. We are a new and dynamic community, serving the unmet needs of NYCHA residents."
Gwen supports Instant Recall Voting!
Ever feel your vote cheapened by being forced to vote more AGAINST some greater evil, than FOR some slightly "lesser" evil? Instant Runoff Voting may be the solution.
GWEN at Fair Housing Rally on Steps of City Hall,
April 11, 2014
RALLYING CALL BY FAMED CIVIL LIBERTIES AND RIGHTS ATTORNEY YETTA KURLAND, 2013 Democratic Primary Candidate for NY City Council District 3:
We can all agree there is a crisis in affordable housing in this City.
Unfortunately, some developers have taken advantage of public funds by producing substandard housing conditions, most notably in HPD homes throughout the City. Whether this is happening to your home or your neighbor's home, this is an issue that impacts all of us.
Most shocking is the recent news that three tenants who dared to complain about the substandard housing conditions they faced were sued by powerful developers ... simply because they wrote a letter to public officials asking for help!
This type of bullying should not be tolerated. I hope you will join with me, along with Justice for Homeowners, TWU Local 100, the NAACP, the National Action Network, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Congressman Charles Rangel, to fight for Real Affordability and Real Accountability in our affordable housing contracts. As NYC launches on a new era of affordable housing, it's essential that we get it right from the start.
And in a series photo-ops at the rally, here is Gwen with Hon. Charles Rangel, Yetta Kurland, Rubén Colón, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners District Council Representative, and other ralliers.
Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV Interview.
Interview with Nat Wood, host of "30 Frames a Second" WPIX-TV (CLICK»)
Main Debate (MNN) for Council District 8: (CLICK»)
Bronx Talk Debate: (CLICK»)
Interview and Photography by Darrell Taunt
GWEN AT OCCUPY For more Gwen at Occupy, please see below.
GWEN SUPPORTS LEXINGTON HOUSES TENANTS...
... PREPARING COURT ACTION AND POTENTIALLY HISTORIC RENT STRIKE AGAINST NYCHA, ONE OF NYC'S WORST LANDLORDS, AFTER NO GAS, HOTWATER OR STOVE FACILITIES SINCE AUG. 15!
Tenants call rent strike until NYCHA restores gas service at Lexington Houses
Residents at the East Harlem public housing complex say they already put up with roaches, mold and other squalid conditions, but this time their tempers have reached a boiling point.
By Simone Weichselbaum / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013, 8:18 PM
Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News
Linda Grace, showing the electric burner she has been using since the Lexington Houses building lost its gas service last month, is one of about 150 tenants who say they will withhold their September rent unless the problem is resolved.
. . . “For years the tenants were trying to get NYCHA to do what they are supposed to do and it’s been falling on deaf ears,” said community activist Gwen Goodwin, who is asking rent strike participants to deposit their would-be payments into one shared bank account.
Goodwin is also campaigning to represent the neighborhood in City Council.
“People in NYCHA are treated like second-class citizens,” Goodwin said. “We have to speak the language that the powers that be understand — and that’s money.” . . .
Read Full Article: Click »
Gwen was out on the Campaign Trail at 215-217 Alexander Avenue in the Bronx, when she noticed a crowd in dismay, in front of their 20-storey building. The elevators had stopped working. Gwen went into action with the residents.
Gwen sends out an SOS
The Fire Department arrives
But the management won't let the Fire Department in!
ABC shows up, and inteviews some residents
Happy Ending: Under the glare of publicity, management restarts the elevators
ABC also interviews Gwen.
Gwen's Fundraiser, Saturday, August 10, 2013
CAMPAIGN 2013 IS ON!
GWEN SPEAKS OUT AGAINST "INFILL"!
Gwen Goodwin raises awareness to the INFILL issue at the "Our City, Our Homes" Mayoral Candidates Forum on Affordable Housing at Calvary-St. George's Episcopal Church. Gwen is standing with her husband Peter Anderson in the middle, and CommunityVoices Heard member Flenoy Withers III.
On March 14, 2013, a meeting was called by the New York City Housing Authority to advertize and promote "InFill". The "InFill" would build luxury high-rises in Public Housing projects, burying park-like spaces between buildings and creating enormous congestion, while the whole population balance shifts to accelerate gentrification. Public Housing land would be leased to developers for 99 years, locking NYCHA in for the rest of the residents' lives, and creating pressure for the City to take additional measures to "improve property values", which generally means reinforcing racial bias and ultimately driving out poor and working class people. The proposed high-rises will be 80% of units for those who can pay market rate (the top 1%) and set aside only 20% as "affordable" to "low income" people (the 99%), but further, in the real world, cronies of the developers, investors, real estate bankers, politicians and bureaucrats will move to the head of the list for that portion, and crowd out all others. The Bloomberg administration spokespeople from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), pushing for the plan, say it is necessary to raise funds after devastating Federal budget cuts created a $60,000,000 deficit. But as one audience member pointed out, that whole problem could be solved by eliminating the $75 million that NYCHA donates to the Police Department. Another solution would be to raise tax rates on the super-rich, even slightly, or a 1% transaction tax on Wall Street (small compared to current broker fees), could easily raise the $60,000,000. Bloomberg wants "InFill" to break ground before he leaves office this year, and his Big Real Estate friends not only hunger for profits, but want to obliterate the very example of Public Housing. Gwen Goodwin asked the approximately 200 people in the room how many support "InFill". Less than a half dozen political Clubhouse types and bureaucratic hangers-on raised their hands.
Media coverage: DNA.com New York Neighborhood News
Gwen supports Hospital Police unionization
Gwen speaks at Patrolmans' Benevolent Association function for unionization of hospital police, an effort driven by Clark Pena, right, with Gwen. Clark Pena is also a radio personality whose show, Radio Como Tú, can be heard citywide on 89.3 FM every Saturday, 5pm to 7pm.
GWEN & Husband Pete March with 59,000 Against Racial Profiling, Stop& Frisk
Last year, NYPD stopped nearly 700,000 people. Shockingly, 87 percent of those stopped were black or Latino. Of those stopped, more than half were also frisked, reports the Times.
During the ten years of the Bloomberg administration, police have performed 4,356,927 stops. Of African-American males between the ages 14 to 24, the number of stops last year was greater than their total population -- meaning that if you're a part of this demographic, the odds were that you were stopped more than once just this past year.
"STOP-&-FRISK" is in-your-face based on racial profiling (targeting).In addition, it is police-state violence, totally opposed in letter and spirit to the Bill of Rights
Gwen Marches for Trayvon Martin with Occupy Wall Street, Wearing Emblematic Hoodie, at Union Square Rally with his Parents.
The grand, old building of Pubic School 109 sits empty, as it has done for the past 16 years, on 99th and 3rd Avenue, in the heart of East Harlem.
An ongoing dispute between local residents, state government and a redevelopment company based out in Minneapolis means that it has never reopened since the school was shut down in 1995.
[Gwen Goodwin and the Coalition to Save P.S. 109] wants P.S. 109 to be renovated and turned back into a public school. [Some local politicians and lobbyists] want the building to be converted into luxury apartments and artists lofts.... (Read more »)
Developing news on Gwen's efforts to restore and reuse P.S. 109 as a public school:
Gwen Goodwin Occupying Wall Street, Fighting for the 99%!
Gwen Goodwin Occupying Wall Street with unique retired Philly Police Captain Ray Lewis, who has been arrested for amazingly marching with the 99%, instead of serving the 1%!
Ten Years Ago,
"A Breath of Fresh Air"
for 911 First Responders
9/11 Firefighters Rested in Cape May
By Jack Fichter
As covered for the 911 Tenth Anniversary in the Cape May Herald, September 16, 2011
»See also: Legacy Home Page of Gwen's "A Breath of Fresh Air" project.
Gwen makes a strong statement at Feb. 26, 2011, Labor Rally at City Hall, in solidarity with the fighting union teachers in Wisconsin, and the increasingly besieged entire working class.
Gwen Defends Julia de Burgos Cultural Center and Taller Boricua against Billionaire Economic Development Corporation and Millionaire City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito!
See Taller Boricua Statement (»)
ARCHIVES from campaigns past below
CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Avella (») on stunning election to the New York State Senate, District 11!
Oct. 31, 2010: Gwen hits the campaign trail, marching with former NYC Councilmember and now soon-to-be State Sen. Tony Avella, and with former NYC Comptroller and Democratic Mayoral Candidate Bill Thompson, in Jamaica, Queens.
Keep up the fight!
Did incumbent Melissa Mark-Viverito, with net worth of $1.8 million(!), lie on application for her townhouse, which was supposed to be reserved for low-income families? This flier that we received as an attachment points to facts of public record that had gotten by us: pdf
THE DEBATE SEASON IS ON!
See the Blackboard in the Left Column for Times and Places.
On Sun., Sept. 13, 9-10pm, The League of Women Voters-sponsored Aug. 27 debate among District 8 candidates, including Gwen, will be rebroadcast on MNN, Channel 34. (Above, press play to view the Thurs., Aug. 27 debate, presented by the League of Women Voters on Manhattan Neighborhood Networks' Pubic Access Channel: Gwen defeats the Melissa Mark Viverito/Robert Rodriguez tag team!)
Jefferson Houses Fesitval: Christmas in July
Gwen (l.) and Miss Dee, who coordinates Jefferson Houses' annual festival.
Gwen at Jerfferson Houses Festival, themed "Christmas in July"
Gwen and baby having some fun at the festivities.
Main Issue: Reverse the River-to-River Rezoning of Harlem »
Tony Avella Endorsement: The Mayoral Candidate Who Stands up to Bloomberg and Resists Gentrification »
Gwen campaigns for education funds in District 8, Citywide and Statewide »
Video Utubes: Gwen on Rezonement, Eminent Domain, and Gentrification »
Gwen Goodwin Campaign History »
Gwen Opposes "Uptown New York", Rezonement's 2005 Foot-in-Door »
Gwen Among Daily News 100 Women who Shape NY »
Gwen's "A Breath of Fresh Air" Free Resort Weekends for 911 Rescuers »
Elect Gwen Goodwin, a Fighter for the Community »
BEST MAYORAL CANDIDATE TONY AVELLA ENDORSES GWEN!
JUNE 17--Tony Avella, who is running for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of the City of New York has made it official, announcing his endorsement for Gwen Goodwin. Gwen had been vocally supporting Tony Avella from the start of her campaign this year. The two have much in common: Tony was the only City Council member, besides Charles Barron, to oppose the catastrophic rezoning of Harlem. Both repeatedly came into Harlem to back up their votes by taking the issue to the streets.
...And there's Gwen, in the third row at the Tony Avella's June 17 news conference on the steps of City Hall, against the extortion of small business by big real estate. This photo from Tony Avella's Website
Left: Craig Schley presents Gwen with Plaque for participation in Vote People for Change campaign, including the community-based lawsuit aimed at reversing Harlem Rezoning and gentrification. The plaque reads: "RECOGNITION OF PERFORMANCE. On January 29, 2009, in testimony of the extraordinary community service of Gwen Goodwin, on the campaign to elect Craig Schley to United States Congress. in the 15th District of New York City, on November 4, 2008, we hereby award this plaque on behalf of the political action committee of VOTE PEOPLE FOR CHANGE."
Right: Gwen receives plaque from Mike Donovan of the Uniformed Fire Fighters for "A Breath of Fresh Air," which rewarded over four hundred 911 rescuers with free Cape May resort vacation weekends.
While protesting school budget cuts...
...Gwen Goodwin at June 16, 2008, City Hall rally against school budget cuts, collecting signatures to restore P.S. 109 as a school within the public education system.
GWEN'S MAIN PLATFORM PLANK:
See architectural monstrosities "envisioned" for rezoned Harlem
Repeal Harlem Rezone! And fight each implementation parcel!
NO COMMUNITY OBLITERATION!
Drive out the 5 main players in engineering the rezonement:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, master gentrifier trying to take NYC over as his personal plantation,
Congressmember Charles Rangel, Harlem's local political wheelhorse, and
Their enablers on the NY City Council from East, Central and West Harlem:
Inez Dickens, and
who rammed the rezonement through.
Gwen holds Coalition to Save P.S. 109 anti-Rezoning banner in background as Nellie Bailley, chair of Harlem Tenants Council, addresses News Conference on Steps of City Hall, June 19, 2008, over upcoming "Juneteenth" march through Harlem against displacement and gentrification. Video by bivmVideo (VIDEO)
Hands Across Harlem by bivmVideo: April 12, 2008, Historic Hands Across Harlem demonstration of opposition to Harlem rezoning. See Gwen's concise but comprehensive analysis beginning at 7:06 into the tape: (VIDEO)
SUPPORT VOTE PEOPLE LAWSUIT VS. REZONING: Gwen has signed on: Vote People presses litigation questioning rezoning's legality and due process in enacting it (CLICK)
"The Desecration of Harlem": May 10, 2008 - Michael Henry Adams of Black Star News Analyzes the Rezoning, and describes the picketing of Inez Dickens fundraiser at Melba's Restaurant. Gwen was there! (CLICK)
"For a Dollar" by bivmvideo through Daily Motion, recorded May 10, 2008. Major media coverage of the fight against rezoning and its pushers, including footage of rezone opponents including Gwen being illegally ejected from City Council spectators' balcony. Then community-made extensive footage of the protest outside Inez Dickens fundraiser at Melba's restaurant - See Gwen again, there at 3:54, 5:23 and 10:49! (VIDEO)
Read NYC IndyMedia account of Harlem citizens including Gwen being forcibly ejected by police from City Hall spectator balcony, so that shamed Council members could vote to sell the land from under the people's feet, without looking their constituents in the face. (CLICK)
Gwen Goodwin as candidate for district 8's City Council seat is uniquely honored to speak, when Show Off Entertainment presented Juneteenth Spoken Word and Poetry Celebration on Friday June 19, 2009, at the Chashama Theater, 217 East 42nd Street in NYC, about fighting the gentrification attack on Harlem.
Gwen Goodwin candidate for District 8's City Council seat speaks up to save PS 109 Harlem & Tony Avella for mayor!
Gwen Goodwin is the only candidate running for District 8 to oppose the River-to-River 125th Street rezoning. Here her speak up about saving the old historic PS 109 school building in East Harlem.
Gwen Goodwin speaking at 125th Street Town Hall Meeting against the East Side implementation of the River-to-River rezoning designed to obliterate Harlem. The restless figure Seated rightmost behind Gwen Goodwin is NYC Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has voted to support this gentrification project at every step of the way, betraying East Harlem and all people in New York.
Gwen Goodwin speaking at public hearing against Columbia University land grab in Harlem, and particularly in its expansive use of eminent domain, breaking new precedent-setting ground in its dimension of outrageous abuse.
Gwen Goodwin interviewed June 19, 2008, on steps of City Hall at Harlem Tenants' Council Press Conference for Juneteenth march in Harlem against displacement and gentrification, to take place two days later, which Gwen Goodwin supported, and attended and spoke.
Gwen Goodwin on the steps of City Hall, after denouncing the Dickens-MarkViverito-Jackson plan to rezone Harlem for total gentrification and Big Real Estate takeover, and obliteration, and calling to unite all NYC to drive its proponents out of the City Council. "Harlem is NOT FOR SALE!"
Gwen Goodwin demands: Shut down the City Haul Gravy Train!
As someone who has chosen to visit our gwengoodwin.com and saveps109.com, you are probably aware of the recent scandal over City Council discretionary funds. This is the local version of the Congressional Super Pork "Mandates", involving infamous sleazebags like Jack Abramoff.
See list of Harlem Council Members' pork payouts of your tax money!
Movement for Justice in El Barrio socks it to Melissa Mark Viverito!
"Since we first met with you in 2006 as the women, men and families that are members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio, we have experienced nothing but broken promises, deception and your attempts to undermine our voice and support within the community through a behind-the-scenes smear campaign and shockingly dirty politics. We have recently been made aware of your attempts to buy-off one of our members by offering him money to work with you in exchange for abandoning his activity with Movement for Justice in El Barrio. Again, we were appalled by this newest tactic and, for this reason, we feel it is important to share this letter with you and with the public..."
In 2005, We Got "Schleined", but WE WILL WIN IN 2009!
Largely as a result of our standing alone among all the candidates in total opposition to the proposed "Uptown NY", we were forced off the Democratic Primary ballot by an incredible gang-up of bureaucratic forces using Melissa Mark Viverito as a spearhead, under the supervision of top bottom-feeder election attorney Stanley Schlein. [Stanley Schlein has since been fined for ethics violations: See coverage in the New York Times (CLICK) and the Village Voice (CLICK)]. We are currently exploring ways to continue the candidacy for City Council, based on a perspective of providing the best possible representation of the interests of the population of East Harlem/El Barrio. The "Uptown NO" website has also published an analysis, which you might find informative. (CLICK)
Gwen with anti-"Uptown NY" banner, with Miriam Falcon Lopez, back in 2005.
Gwen says: Defeat the projected "Uptown NY"
"Uptown NY" is a monster-size development project that would occupy the entire area between 2nd and 3rd Avenues and 125th to 127th Streets. It would be the largest single development project since the construction of the World Trade Center. The impact of "Uptown NY" would speed the gentrification of East Harlem/El Barrio, threatening the diversity and culture of the community, push out low-income residents and community-based businesses.
Gwen Goodwin, running for City Council District 8, is the only candidate to have steadily resisted "Uptown NY":from the very beginning, including attending the Community Board 11 Economic Development committee meeting of June 14 along with Peter Paris and Ray Plumey.
Featured link: For more info on how to END the proposed Uptown NY project, see (CLICK).
See Gwen Goodwin's written commentary, faxed to the NYC Economic Development Corporation (CLICK).
Gwen Goodwin among the top 100 women who shape our city
(NY Daily News, Apr. 26, 2004)...
...Right up there with Brooke Astor, Alice Cardona, HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, Gail Collins, Betty Cortina, Katie Couric, Tina Fey, CAROLINE KENNEDY, Bette Midler, Rosie O'Donnell, Sara Jessica Parker, Diane Ravitch, Susan Sarandon, NYDIA VELAZQUEZ and 85 other magnificent celebreties.
"GWEN GOODWIN Walking on the beach in Cape May, N.J., after Sept. 11, Goodwin was struck by how clean the air was. That gave rise to A Breath of Fresh Air, which provided rooms and respite to exhausted firefighters and cops. Soon, she set her sights on the 100th Street Bus Depot, her fume-filled neighbor in East Harlem. She lost - the depot reopened last year - but she hasn't given up the battle against its emissions. And when she's not pushing a placard, she's wielding a makeup brush at the Trish McEvoy counter at Henri Bendel...."
Gwen Goodwin sets up beach weekends for Fire Fighters in World Trade Center Rescue:
Heroes take a break
"...Walking along the beaches of Cape May, N.J., it hit her, and just like a breeze wafting off the ocean, A Breath of Fresh Air was born.... And that's why over the past several months [as of Feb. 11, 2002], more than 50 firefighters, police officers and their families have been able to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of a Cape May weekend...."
(For full story and photo, see NY Daily News Spotlight on City People, Feb. 11, 2002, and for an archived replica of A Breath of Fresh Air's website, Click HERE)
Gwen Goodwin, a twenty-year resident of East Harlem, has been a unparalleled force in El Barrio saving, preserving, protecting and improving the East Harlem community. No one has more proven qualifications to represent in interests of all constituencies of El Barrio than Gwen Goodwin.
Politics often generates contests between big talkers and bigger talkers. Gwen is a doer. Not merely a maker of efforts, but one who has provided leadership in achieving results and winning, even against great odds and starting with meager resources.
We need Gwen to have input from the inside in mobilizing the machinery of government to do a much better job, and often to reverse direction.
Let's look at some of the projects initiated by Gwen, in the paragraphs below:
In 1997, when rent regulations were under attack, Gwen not only participated in the movement to protect these vital laws, but organized the only trip, free of charge, that brought people from East Harlem to Albany, so that the faces of the people who would be most affected could have a real impact in the ongoing struggle for affordable housing. Gwen negotiated with Metropolitan Council on Housing until they agreed to furnish free-of-charge a bus for the residents of El Barrio. In addition, Gwen reached out to St. Francis d'Sale Church, which provided free lunches and beverages for the participants. Eva Moskowitz, now a City Councilmember, was among the riders who benefited that day.
In addition, Gwen set up a forum at the 96th Street Library, which brought together a host of speakers, uniting representatives from the Upper East Side, El Barrio, and the Upper West Side, to unite the public to keep rent stabilization and rent control safe. Among the speakers were Assemblymember Scott Stringer, State Sen. Olga Mendez, and Assembly-member John Ravitz.
WHO CARES ABOUT SCHOOLS? GWEN DOES!
In 1999, while Gwen was taking a walk and admiring beautiful P.S. 109, she noticed scaffolding and a building crew, and asked what was going on? She was shocked to find out that P.S. 109 was being demolished, and, adding insult to injury, the irreplaceable terracotta ornaments and other priceless antiquities were being pillaged, and turned over to a notorious salvage dealer Evan Blum.
It was then that Gwen created the Coalition to Save P.S. 109, starting by alerting the media, resulting in outstanding coverage by El Diario the New York Times, Daily News and Post. Gwen soon also recruited to the Coalition Raymond Plumey, a prominent architect with a Community Board background who spoke out authoritatively in media interviews defending P.S. 109, and who had been active in rescuing other renowned structures.
The New York City Landmarks Conservancy took up the call, and today P.S. 109 is on the National and New York Registers of Historic Places. On Sept. 12, 2000, Gwen received the Grassroots Preservation Award by the Historic District Council for the work on P.S. 109.
In addition, the Coalition compelled the Schools Construction Authority to repair the roof that they had destroyed during the attempted demolition. Today the Coalition is supporting the request by the Community Education District Council #4 in its request to have P.S. 109's full restoration included in the 2005-9 Capital Budget.
GWEN SAYS PROTECT COMMUNITY BASED BUSINESSES AND HOMES: STOP THE ABUSE OF EMINENT DOMAIN BY GOVERNMENT FOR BIG BUSINESS!
Gwen signed on to the lawsuit initiated by Business And Residents Alliance (BARA) of East Harlem against East River Plaza, which through eminent domain took 11 businesses and decimated the lives of those who owned, managed and worked in these small businesses, like Mr. Minick, whose life was destroyed by mere strokes of a pen—All that for the benefit of mega-corporate outfits like Costco and Home Depot.
Gwen raised $3,000 in two days to help facilitate the lawsuit, and helped come up with a strategy to create a historic district in Pleasant Avenue Village. Gwen went from door to door collecting history and data of East Harlem's residents. Although the District never came to fruition, the experience of interacting with the local folks emboldened Gwen even further.
GWEN CREATES "A BREATH OF FRESH AIR" FOR HERO FIREFIGHTERS IN WAKE OF 9-11
Gwen's friend Steven Kelly, a NYC firefighter and a noble person in his own right, was fortunately spared on 9-11, but Steve lost so many of his very good friends, that Gwen through that it would be nice for Steve and his wife Mary Ellen to be able to get away for a weekend in Cape May.
After pondering this idea for a while, Gwen thought it would be nice if all the firefighters could go Cape May for a breath of fresh air. Gwen approached the Innkeepers Association of Cape May and requested free two-night, three-day hotel packages. Thirty-five inns and five restaurants ended up participating. Four hundred firefighters and their families were able to enjoy this program. Gwen was featured in Spotlight on City People in the February 11, 2002, edition of the New York Daily News.
In addition, she was New York City's Hometown Hero on WCBS Channel 2's evening news.
GWEN FIGHTS AIR POLLUTION BY CHALLENGING 100TH ST. BUS DEPOT
Gwen, with Manhattan Borough President Virginia C. Fields, NY State Senator Olga Mendez and Democratic District Leader Felix Rosado at rally to protest reopening of 100th Street Bus Depot.
In 2002, Gwen took on the MTA to a fight for the health of the residents of East Harlem, and the right to breathe clean air, forming the East Harlem Bus Stop. East Harlem has the highest rate of asthma in the United States and Diesel particulates not only exacerbate asthma, but can also cause lung cancer. Gwen sought out legal help and Davis Polk and Wardwell was the lawfirm that took on this case, pro bono. Gwen teamed up with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund along with Peggy Shepard and West Harlem Environmental Action "WEACT".
In September, 2003, when the MTA reopened the depot, East Harlem Bus Stop, along with WEACT, was there to protest against the MTA and the abusive practice of saturating neighborhoods of color with bus depots which are so devastating to the health of the communities where they reside.
Gwen was able to orchestrate having NY State Senator Olga Mendez come and speak out at the rally. C. Virginia Fields and other prominent politicians were on hand that day.
Currently, Gwen is working to facilitate the restoration of P.S. 109, and also to continue the battle against the 100th Street Bus Depot.
Among politicians, there are many talkers and few doers. Lydia Lopez, also a great activist and a member of the East Harlem Coalition to Improve our Public Schools, recently wrote to Gwen: "I truly believe that you CAN make a difference in East Harlem. You have proven that you are a DOER and the record you now have will certainly help in convincing people that you 1) mean business 2) are not afraid to speak out 3) will not hesitate to stand up for the community and 4) are not easily intimidated by politicians! All good traits of a REAL, TRUE REPRESENTATIVE!"
Indeed, we need a true representative of the people, for a change, the City Council. Vote for Gwen Goodwin, vote preservation of our culture, preservation of our historic buildings, and preservation of our small businesses. Join the campaign to elect Gwen Goodwin!