There’s just so much good work being done by service-minded CCNY faculty and student fellows that we decided it was about time to capture some of the action in living color. Check out our new video documenting the partnership of Dr. Amy Berkov and Partners-for-Change fellow Rebecca Panko with the Lower East Side Ecology Center. Over the last year, they’ve taken the first major steps to transform a composting lot in East River Park into an artificial wetland for wildlife and wastewater management.
On May 14, Partners for Change Fellow Jamiela McDonnough, served as one of two guest speakers for the Colin Powell Center’s End-of-Year Celebration. Jamiela, a senior majoring in biology with a minor in studio art, offered the following excerpted remarks to her fellow students, family members, Center staff, and guests.
It’s the end of another academic year. The Center is winding down for the semester and it’s my turn to graduate. Now for as long as I have been waiting for this moment, it feels different than I expected. I feel happy and excited, of course. But I feel a little sad and sentimental, things I thought I’d never feel at graduation. I’ve had my share of challenges at City College not unlike most of you. A little over a year ago, I would have sold a kidney to graduate early. But looking back on things now, I realize that everything happens for a reason. The rocky path I chose has led me to some great opportunities including being here to speak with you all. And I wouldn’t change that for anything.
By Nur Afsar
I worried that even 25 seats would be too many. But as people flooded through the doors, I saw that my worry was unwarranted: We quickly put out more chairs for what was to be an amazing learning experience.
Last week on May 2, my Partners for Change colleagues—Salma Asous, Syed Haider, Jamiela McDonnough—and I led a health-care rights workshop for parents of children enrolled in programs at the New Apartment Settlements’ College Access Center in the Bronx. In the presentation titled “Know Your Rights,” we outlined patients’ rights to language access, financial assistance, emergency treatment, and accommodations for disabilities within the health-care system. Many of the parents were Spanish-speaking, so we brought a translator with us. After going over basics, we gave out colored cards corresponding to true and false and quizzed our audience, who answered most questions correctly. I could see my feelings of joy and pride mirrored on my fellow facilitators’ faces: We were making ourselves understood!
It’s official! With the CUNY Board of Trustees’ green-lighting on April 29, City College’s Division of Social Sciences is now the Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.
Recently, Michael Busch, Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center and lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the City College of New York, interviewed journalist Matt Kennard about his book, Irregular Army, which was published in time for the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The interview in its entirety has been published on the Huffington Post.
This past March marked the tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a decade of fighting, which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, destroyed an entire country, and destabilized the broader Middle East. As journalist Matt Kennard argues in his new book, Irregular Army, the war in Iraq — as well as that in Afghanistan — also had deleterious consequences for the U.S. military itself. Faced with declining enlistment numbers as fighting dragged on year after year with no clear end in sight, Kennard shows that the American armed forces looked for alternatives to populate its ranks. In the process, regulations were weakened, rewritten and in some cases, not enforced.
The results are disturbing. According to Kennard, the military was suddenly tolerating the open presence of white power extremists and street gang members in the rolls, and actively recruiting physically and psychologically unfit Americans to fill enlistment gaps. While evidence suggests that these lax recruitment standards have already resulted in death and murder on the battlefield, the consequences could prove equally upsetting here at home. If the Sikh temple massacre is any indication of what may be in store, Kennard’s argument that the United States faces an uncertain future as these veterans return from home from war couldn’t be more urgent.
I recently spoke with Kennard about his research into these issues, how government brass has responded to these threats to the integrity of its armed forces, and what the irregular American army might mean for Americans in the years to come.
By Kanene Holder, Center Alumna
“The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” —Alvin Toffler
“I think the first duty of society is justice.” —Alexander Hamilton
In my previous post, I suggested we must capitalize on the momentum of social justice movements aided and propelled by social media. How, I asked, can we educate our youth and emphasize to them the possibilities for “doing good” through the technology they use every day?
By Maura Christopher, Director of Publications
With North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong Un playing hard at nuclear brinksmanship, the question is not only to what end, but also what are the potential long-term destabilizing impacts in the region. These are among the issues Walter Russell Mead addressed on Monday, April 15, 2013, during the first annual Anne and Bernard Spitzer Lecture, “America’s ‘Asia Pivot’ at a Time of Upheaval: The Pacific Isn’t Looking Pacifistic.” Speaking at the Spitzer Gallery in the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Mead outlined reasons for America’s recent “Asia Pivot,” a largely symbolic shift that signals a reorientation in U.S. policy emphasis.
by Ahsan Sayed, Colin Powell Center Fellow
My first thought when approaching the imposing limestone structure was Gringotts! The impenetrable fortress that houses all the gold of the witches and wizards in the world of Harry Potter could have very well drawn inspiration from the New York Federal Reserve building. Its interior is jealously hidden behind an edifice of thick brick, wrought-iron window grills, and a multitude of security guards, all of which make for an effective symbol of power.