Topaz Page-Green: Model, Philanthropist, New Yorker

Oct 11, 15 Topaz Page-Green: Model, Philanthropist, New Yorker

Posted by in All, Society

Originally from South Africa, Topaz Page-Green began her modeling career in London, and now calls New York City home. Along with her modeling career, she is a successful philanthropist. Topaz Page-Green is the founder and president of The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization, based in South Africa, which feeds thousands of school children every single day. The Lunchbox Fund was founded in 2005 by Page-Green as a response to her exposure to the extreme poverty she had been sheltered from growing up on the outskirts of Johannesburg. She had lived in South Africa as a small child, but moved to England as a teen, where she became a successful model. During a return visit to her home country, she was shocked to see children in school with nothing to eat, and she resolved to do something about it. Today, ten years later, The Lunchbox Fund feeds over 11,000 high school students every day. Topaz Page-Green, who now makes her home in the East Village, would like to expand her enterprise so that every one of South Africa’s 4 million hungry children receives at least one healthy, filling meal each and every...

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Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

Sep 06, 15 Cleaning Up the Gowanus Canal

Posted by in Gowanus, Lifestyle, Society

Many have been working tirelessly to find solutions for the long-polluted waterway along the Gowanus Canal. One organization, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, is now working with the Department of Sanitation to build a facility on Second Avenue near the canal. The intention is that food scraps and other organic waste will be turned into garden compost. The location for this plan is owned by the Department of Sanitation and is currently an empty lot that is used to store salt and sand to spread on city streets in the winter. While some compositing has already been occurring on this plot, the new plans will quadruple the size of the operation and make it more efficient, as reported by conservancy executive director Andrea Parker. As she said, “It will mean that we can process a whole lot more food scraps and provide a lot more compost for street trees in the neighborhood.” The new facility will bring the many volunteers in from the cold with an open-air shelter design and it will use solar panels to power light the location. They will also have something called “bioswales” which are small plots with plants that absorb rainwater during storms. The funding for the project includes a $1.5 million in grants from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $105,000 from City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budgeting...

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Bloody Sunday Anniversary Inspires Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

Mar 08, 15 Bloody Sunday Anniversary Inspires Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

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In a march organized by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, hundreds of people walked over the Brooklyn Bridge to remember the seminal walk across a bridge 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama. Known as “Bloody Sunday“ and recently made popular in an Academy Award nominated movie, March 7 in 1965 was the day when peaceful protestors were gunned down as they tried to cross a bridge as they walked from Selma to Montgomery, the capital city of Alabama. The protestors, including civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., were marching as part of the struggle for civil rights and the vote for black Americans. When the attack was over 17 people were hospitalized, having suffered severe beatings leaving many with serious wounds, or beaten unconscious. The attack was covered by news outlets, with televised images of the brutality shown on television all over the United States, sparking a widespread reaction, and prompting President Lyndon Johnson to send a voting rights bill to Congress immediately. Saturday’s march across the Brooklyn Bridge was part of a wide-spread national commemoration of this important turning point in US history. Dubbed “Selma is Everywhere” participants walked arm-in-arm across the bridge, remembering that auspicious moment. “I am so proud of my friends for what they did. And what we are asked to do today, frankly, ain’t much” said former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. “Selma is no longer just a location. It is a concept, and a mindset, and a belief” Borough President Adams...

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Brooklyn HS Names Athletic Field for Mandela

Jul 20, 14 Brooklyn HS Names Athletic Field for Mandela

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About 1,000 students and others attended a ceremony on what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday in order to name their athletic field after the South African civil rights leader. On Friday, July 18, the sports field at Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant was renamed to honor the memory of the great leader, who had visited the school in 1990. Mandela passed away last year in December. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins spoke at the ceremony: “We adults owe our children the opportunity to reach their potential. Each generation should be better than the one before” said Dinkins. “You’re as good as anybody and better than most. If we help them, they will do great and wonderful things. It’ll be like a lot of little Nelson Mandelas running...

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Flying Swastika Spoils Beautiful Beach Day in New York

Jul 13, 14 Flying Swastika Spoils Beautiful Beach Day in New York

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In celebration of “World Swastika Rehabilitation Day” a fringe group of UFO enthusiasts known as the International Raelian Movement sponsored a cryptic message flown over Manhattan, New Jersey, Long Island and Brooklyn. The flying sign depicted the much maligned symbol of Nazism, hatred and murder, the swastika. Those who looked carefully, however, would have noticed not just the hated symbol, but also a peace sign from the anti-Vietnam War movement, and a heart, together with a website for people to turn to for more information, presumably. In addition, and perhaps most disturbing of all, was another symbol featuring a swastika superimposed on a Star of David, a universal symbol of Judaism. Confused and upset? You are not alone. One Miguelina Nunez tweeted that: “It’s a gorgeous day . . . And some idiot is flying a swastika banner off the tail of his plane up and down Manhattan.” According to Las Vegas-based Thomas Kaenzig, leader of the Raelians, the swastika has existed as a symbol of something good for thousands of years before the Nazis used it as their symbol of hatred. “The swastika is one of the best traces left by those who created us, and the attempt to bury it as a symbol of violence and hatred only gives credit to the horrible Nazi ideology,” Kaenzig said. “Some people associate the swastika with something negative, but you don’t stop using the cross just because of the Ku Klux Klan.” Did I mention that back in 2002 Raelians received some publicity when they declared that they had cloned a human baby, an assertion that was never confirmed. In addition, they believe that humans arose on earth as a kind of science experiment performed by advanced alien scientists, and the swastika is a symbol for these creators of our species. Writer of the soon to be released book “The Axmann Conspiracy: The Nazi Plan for a Fourth Reich and How the U.S. Army Defeated It” Scott Selby, agrees that the swastika was not always...

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A Cannabis Grew in Brooklyn

Jan 26, 14 A Cannabis Grew in Brooklyn

Posted by in All, Society

Ten unusual photos posted on a mesmerizing Brooklyn Public Library blog illustrates the amazing, and little known fact that several neighborhoods in Brooklyn used to be covered in marijuana. According to the blog “razor-toothed fronds of 10 foot tall Cannabis sativa plants could be seen all around the city happily waving in the wind like any other innocuous and legal weed.” That was in the 1940s. Come the 1950s and things got a bit tougher for the drug and those who enjoyed its intoxicating effects when law enforcement aggressively began a campaign to rid the city of its wild marijuana. John E. Gleason, Chief Inspector of the Sanitation Department, formed what was called the “White Wing Squad.” This special group was mandated to dig up and destroy Cannabis where ever it could be found growing around town. Their efforts proved successful. By the end of the campaign over 41,000 pounds of pot was incinerated, about 17,000 pounds harvested in Brooklyn alone. The most popular growing spots were in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and East New York. Not everyone in law enforcement agreed with this draconian undertaking. In an interview with State Supreme Court Justice John Murtagh, unearthed by WNYC from their archives, Murtagh stated that there are studies that show that marijuana was non-addictive and perhaps even safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes. As other states around the country begin to move to partial legalization; such as for medical use; or complete legalization for recreational use, like now in Colorado and Washington; New York still arrests and prosecutes people for possession of pot. “In the last decade since Michael Bloomberg became mayor, the NYPD has made 400,038 lowest level marijuana possession arrests at a cost of $600 million dollars. Nearly 350,000 of the marijuana possession arrests made under Bloomberg are of overwhelmingly young Black and Latino men, despite the fact that young whites use marijuana at higher rates than young Blacks and Latinos,” a 2012 Drug Policy Alliance report stated. Today, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thomson promises...

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