THE POINT 25 Years! 25th Anniversary Book
New book celebrates THE POINT CDC’s 25 years of changing lives and sparking creative, educational and economic opportunitiesin the South Bronx
THE POINT has enabled great things in Hunts Point, from movies and murals to solar energy and community Wi-Fi to a safe after-school space for neighborhood youth
NEW YORK — A new book celebrates 25 years of THE POINT CDC, an award-winning nonprofit in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx that promotes economic revitalization and social change through youth leadership development and arts and culture programming.
“Hunts Point is an incredible place, where neighbors preserve culture and solve problems and support and advocate for one another. Our book is filled with stories that will inspire the imagination necessary to fight for environmental justice. This book will continue to shape the perception of Hunts Point with stories of stewardship and not just marginalization and poverty,” said THE POINT CDC Executive Managing Director Danny R. Peralta.
THE POINT 25 YEARS! The Story of Where Community & Creativity Connect features a narrative written by Mariposa Fernandez; scrapbook-style photos, clippings and mementos; and essays by people whose lives changed because of THE POINT CDC. Mariposa Fernandez and Rachelle Fernandez served as editors; Aurash Khawarzad served as designer; and Maria Torres, Danny R. Peralta, Carey Clark, Rachelle Fernandez, and Michael Glazebrook served as supporting writers. Eric Orr illustrated the Max the Robot cartoon character, who pops up on various pages throughout the book.
“THE POINT’s greatest assets are the people and their talents and aspirations. We wanted to give readers the opportunity to hear their stories in their own words,” said Fernandez.
Today, Hunts Point is one of the most marginalized congressional districts in the United States. But, as the book describes, prior to racist and extractive policies, Hunts Point was home first to an Indigenous population that lived in harmony with the environment, and then to a thriving community of artists, musicians, and poets. THE POINT is working to revive the area’s vibrant and environmentally sustainable culture, while also advocating for a more just and equitable future. The book provides powerful examples of how its three main program areas – youth leadership development, arts & culture, and policy change – intertwine and help further these goals. For example:
- The Youth Programming chapter describes THE POINT’s education, advocacy, and arts programming for young people, from an after-school program offering homework help, healthy snacks and a safe place to gather to an annual summer camp. Teenagers join the A.C.T.I.O.N. program to organize on issues from the environment to over-policing. There’s a circus arts program, an arts and entrepreneurship program, and a culinary arts and healthy eating program. Fem Flava is an annual event that challenges and redefines gender norms.
“Female Flava was an event intended to amplify the powerful female voice within the Hip Hop community that was super dominated, and still is, by the male gaze,” Kellie Terry, who served as THE POINT’s Executive Director from 2004 – 2014. “So we felt, what better place than the birthplace of hip-hop to provide another outlet. Every generation has to do its part. So many powerful women in the hip-hop movement were involved.”
- The Arts & Culture chapter highlights the award-winning Live from the Edge Theater featuring stars including Mike Epps, All Americas Drumming classes teaching Afro-Carribean rhythms, and classes taught by the world-famous graffiti arts group TATS Cru. THE POINT’s International Center for Photography has launched kids into photography careers, while its production of the Nutcracker ballet earned a stunning New York Times review. The poet Lemon Andersen was among those who participated in Open Mic night, while the late Angelo Lozado, who served as the warm-up comedian for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, started a regular comedy night. THE POINT’s Village of Murals project explores the connections among industry, community, and the environment. We and I, starring boisterous teenagers recruited at THE POINT, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and won the International Critics’ prize at 2012 Deauville American Film Festival.
- The Policy Change chapter covers THE POINT’s work on environmental justice and climate change. Community members closed down a fertilizer factory, defeated a proposal to dump more trash in the neighborhood, and stopped the expansion of a nearby expressway. THE POINT helped create The Greenways of Hunts Point and save South Brother Island, a nesting sanctuary for migratory shorebirds. The annual Hunts Point Summer Festival and Fish Parade celebrates the community and the waterfront.
- The Fiercely Facing the Future chapter focuses on efforts to make Hunts Point more resilient to the effects of climate change. THE POINT’s climate resiliency work includes installing solar panels to power its campus, even during power outages. The Free Hunts Point Community Wi-Fi project connects residents with a free mesh Wi-Fi network that is resistant to power and internet outages.
“I’ve lived in Hunts Point since the 1960s, and I’ve proudly volunteered with THE POINT for years, “said Orrin Hercules, one of the community members who agreed to host equipment needed for the Wi-Fi network. “I started out helping in the food pantry. Now I’m a Digital Steward, hosting and maintaining part of the community Wi-Fi network. THE POINT helps everybody – from young people to seniors like me – to learn new skills and stay involved in the community.”
THE POINT: 25 YEARS! will become available on JULY 30, 2021, and coincides with the organization’s fundraising and membership drive. Members who join at the $25 per month level will receive a free copy of the book. Copies of the book can also be obtained for $30 on our website (includes shipping and handling), or for $15 as a downloadable PDF.
“THE POINT is a place where community and creativity connect while on the journey to achieve our full potential and change society for the better,” said Peralta. “As the climate crisis accelerates and we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of owning our narrative as we move forward is more important than ever.”
For more info, stay tuned to www.thepoint.org and @thepointcdc on social media for more information.
Press inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org ATTN: THE POINT 25 Years! Press Inquiry
Danny R Peralta, Executive Managing Director – email@example.com
Rachelle Fernandez, Chief Fiscal Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon De La Cruz, Director of Sustainability – email@example.com