Monday, August 8, 2016

City Scene - Harlem's Neighborhood Action Paper

Sam's organization, We Care Media Arts, was one of the programs to help the youth of Harlem.  Below is a letter written to Reverend Alanson Haughton in Feb. 1977 to further Sam's cause.

I am the director of WE CARE Neighborhood Action Center which is a community action group in the St. Nicholas Park Urban Renewal area located in central Harlem in the basement of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.  We have been in operation since 1969 with youth programs including bus outings to parks, beaches, cultural institutions, as well as communication workshops and cultural awareness projects.

WE CARE selected communication workshops in Journalism because of all the projects in operation, it had the greatest potential for motivating youth leaders to examine society and express themselves.  Currently, we have one program in operation, CITY SCENE, We Care's neighborhood action newspaper. CITY SCENE is dedicated to diminishing the poverty of information that pollutes our area.  CITY SCENE is published as a training vehicle for high school and college students in the craft of journalism.

Last summer, City Scene published five bi-weekly issues with a distribution of 10,000 copies and sold retail advertising to local merchants.  A readership survey was also conducted throughout Central Harlem.  May I mention at this point that in 19672 Dr. Burton Thomas and the women of the Church of Heavenly Rest gave seed money to start our venture City Scene.  We are in the process of developing a neighborhood ministry for the St. Nicholas Park Urban Renewal Area which will utilize the energies of young people to survey and monitor specific breakdowns of municipal services in the area.  There is a crying need for municipal services due to the fact that St. Nicholas Park was designated for revitalization in 1960.  The plan was abandoned by the NYC Planning Commission due to the city's fiscal crisis.  For an area that was already on its way to physical deterioration, the cessation of the revitalization plan has brought the area to the edge of  disaster.

We are developing the neighborhood ministry as an instrument to call attention to the plight of the area to our city fathers and to the community by gathering facts.  Specific surveys will center around the number of inoperable and broken fire hydrants, dated garbage, gas leakage, running water, and decaying animals in abandoned structures, etc. The young people's findings will be reported in City Scene in its coming issues for distribution to the entire community.

This is a short sketch of what we are trying to do to help the residents who are experiencing hardship due to the trying conditions of their neighborhoods.