Check out the latest in ASC news: International AIDS Conference, Update on ASC Ethiopia Support, Home for African Services, and much more!

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African Services Committee News
If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.

- African proverb

Dear Friends and Supporters,
At African Services Committee, now in our fourth decade of operations, we have grown to become the largest and most sought-out African community service organization in New York City. We enhance immigrants' and refugees' prospects of success in this country with legal, health, housing, and educational services. African Services Committee has developed a strong free legal services practice, a nominal fee immigration clinic, an effective HIV housing program, a rapid diagnostic testing center which offers HIV, STI, TB, viral hepatitis, diabetes, and hypertension screening, a food pantry and nutrition education program, and an adult literacy program. We offer meeting space for community organizing and performance/gallery space for the arts.
It is with this purpose in mind that ASC has launched a $5.1 million capital campaign, with seed capital from the Community Resilience Fund. The campaign will result in acquisition and renovation of a state-of-the-art, 12,500 square foot multi-purpose facility in the Bronx, that will serve more than 15,000 African Diaspora immigrant visits per year in a permanent space for the community.
A gift to the African Services "Home for African Services" Capital Campaign is an opportunity to invest in the African and Caribbean immigrants who we serve. It also presents the opportunity to be permanently recognized for your support -- the spirit of your generosity will live on in the legal and health clinics, in the counseling, meeting rooms and classrooms, galleries, and kitchens and food pantry.
Uzoamaka Okoye, Board Chair and Campaign Committee Member

Part of my family's immigration story is a home where we have gathered in our times of our greatest need, joy and sometimes even sorrow.  African Services Committee is not just a social services organization, it is a home, a shelter in the storm and a safe place for any who walk through our doors.  The capital campaign is about working together to secure a permanent home for African Services Committee and for the thousands that we serve -- a home where together we will go far.

Click here to learn more.

#Home4AfricanServices  Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTube  View on Instagram

Photo courtesy of Treatment Action Campaign

ASC Team Headed to South Africa for  
21st International AIDS Conference

From left: ASC Director of Advocacy, Amanda Lugg, Corina Bogaciu, ASC Supervising Attorney, and ASC Co-Executive Director Kim Nichols at a 2016 AIDS rally in Durban.

African Services Committee staff joined more than 18,000 scientists, policymakers, advocates and people living with HIV recently at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, calling for the end of AIDS by 2030.

"Having so many of the brightest minds from around the world working together to end AIDS was inspiring," said ASC Supervising Attorney Corina Bogaciu on what was her first time taking part in the conference.

The International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on any global health or development issue in the world. First convened during the peak of the epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a forum for the intersection of science, advocacy, and human rights.    

Voice of America's Adam Phillips recently spoke with African Services Committee about "Living with AIDS in NYC's African Diaspora" and the 21st International AIDS Conference. Click here to hear the report.

African Services Committee's Directory of Advocacy, Amanda Lugg (pictured right), combats HIV stigma while demonstrating how simple it is to get tested as part of a door-to-door HIV testing campaign with Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) community health workers in Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal Province.  

Update: Critical Support Needed for ASC Ethiopia

We are grateful to Henry van Ameringen for his generosity. Thanks to his gift of $100,000, along with thousands raised from friends, ASC's Ethiopia clinics are only $50,000 from fulfilling a critical gap in funding support in 2016. Thank you to all all who have helped support ASC Ethiopia during this time! We are almost there!

Not even a year after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, ASC Ethiopia is suffering a gap in funding support. Although recipient countries are expected to increase their domestic funding allocations to the health sector to at least 15 percent of their annual budgets, this expectation has not been met in most developing countries, including Ethiopia. In fact, though the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and their Pharmaceutical Fund Supply Agency contribute to ASC Ethiopia free pharmaceutical products and diagnostic reagents, and private aid agencies contribute condoms and oral and injectible contraceptives and emergency Ready to Use Therapeutic Food for children, there are insufficient resources available in our five clinics for program operations, including clinic staffing, transportation, clinic rent and maintenance. 

We are appealing to our friends for help for the remaining months -- September through December -- of 2016. We have almost filled the funding gap.  Can you please support us today?
Please click here and donate to African Services Ethiopia today. Checks can be mailed to African Services Committee at 429 West 127th Street, New York, NY 10027.

'I try to be their voice' 

One Family at a Time
By Ehimwenma Osagie
Language barriers coupled with a lack of knowledge about available supportive resources are among the many challenges new immigrants frequently encounter in the United States.
"I try to be their voice," said ASC Housing Assistant Carmen Hernandez.
Carmen heads ASC's Healthy Families Program -- a new initiative funded by NYC Department of Youth and Community Development targeting recent immigrants living in Manhattan's Neighborhood Development Area (NDA) 9, West Harlem, who could use a helping hand.
"Immigrants are struggling with language barriers and they're struggling to access different services that they don't know they're entitled to."
Using a case-management approach to each client, Carmen first assesses if there are any legal immigration service needs, such as adjustment of immigration status or work authorization, and refers as needed to ASC's legal team. Once any legal needs are addressed, Carmen provides clients with information, referrals and assistance in applying for entitlement programs, education, healthcare, housing and transportation.
Carmen finds empowering newcomers rewarding and fun -- sometimes it's just a matter of motivating clients. "Some clients just need a little nudge. What we try to do is open the doors so that they can be more self-sufficient. I try never to hinder anyone's growth."

Contact Carmen at 212.222.3882 ext 2133 to learn more about ASC's Healthy Families program.    
Shelter from the Storm
ASC's LGBT Services Aim at Reducing Isolation and Empowering Marginalized LGBT African and Caribbean Immigrants

By Obinna Onyenedum

Interactive map by Jessica Greenberg and Tsion Gurmu

 Click on the map to view laws criminalizing homosexuality by country. Click here to learn more about ASC's LGBT services.
ASC's LGBT services were launched to address the intersecting marginalization among LGBT African and Caribbean immigrants in a safe environment, and provide high-quality, pro-bono immigration legal services and mental health services in order to reduce isolation and build empowering networks.

"LGBT Africans and Caribbeans fleeing persecution and anti-homosexuality legislation do not have access to the networks other asylum seekers have," said Equal Justice Works Fellow and Ethiopian immigrant Tsion Gurmu.

Since 2015, Tsion has been a key member of African Services Committee's passionate and dedicated legal team, providing free legal asylum services to this increasingly targeted group of immigrants. Through direct legal representation, ASC's LGBT services create a sustainable avenue for LGBT African and Caribbean immigrants to assert asylum claims based on sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status.  

"Their ethnic and family networks have largely been severed due to the devastating reality that homophobic stigma and discrimination continues to affect them in the US, so they remain in the shadows and closed off to legal remedies. At ASC, we are combating that stigma by
creating an environment where LGBT African and Caribbean immigrants can embrace their identity while seeking safety, fair treatment, and legal representation. "
Tsion sees a common drive among the dozens of asylum-seekers she has helped since joining ASC: "At the center of all of these cases are individuals struggling to be themselves -- they are unable to live safely in their home countries because of an aspect of their identity, so they are forced to seek safety and security elsewhere," she said.

"My fellowship at ASC also aims to create a distinctive African Diaspora community that is a safe space for participants to talk about their experiences -- a more inclusive Diaspora community."

ASC's Director of Advocacy Amanda Lugg, ASC Mental Health Counselor, Nathalie Weeks, and Tsion also hold a support group that meets twice a month and exemplifies the holistic approach often needed by African immigrants who have been ostracized from crucial family and ethnic networks due to their sexual identity.

" I ended up being really surprised by the whole thing and how excellently it was organized. I was also relieved there wasn't any negative judgment of my experience. It was the opposite of my initial expectations; compassionate," said one of the Tsion's clients, after attending his first support group meeting.

"After sharing my story, the person sitting next to me told me, 'we are on your side, no matter what, we are with you.'"

For more information about the legal and/or supportive services provided by ASC, please contact ASC Equal Justice Works Fellow Tsion Gurmu at (212) 222-3882, ext. 2112 or via email at  

ASC's Equal Justice Works Text to Give Legal Fellow Tsion Gurmu. Her work with an ASC client is brilliantly detailed in a video from Equal Justice Works.  Click here to view the video.


Check out "Five Tips to Protect Yourself from Immigration Fraud" made by ASC's very own Immigrant Community Law Center - ICLC staff attorneys Jessica and Mauricio.

Immigrant Community Law Center, or ICLC, was founded by African Services Committee to provide high-quality, affordable, and trustworthy immigration legal representation. Serving all immigrants of all backgrounds, ICLC is staffed by a dedicated and culturally competent multilingual team of qualified attorneys and paralegals.

Click here to listen to ICLC staff attorney Mauricio, pictured left, talk about Cancellation of Removal recently at UNIVISION'S WADO 1280 radio station studio.

(Click here to read an English translation of the program.)

to learn more and check out ICLC's Facebook page. 

Legal interns Sophia, Sarah and Alexandra. 
Future Looks Bright! 

Communications interns Emma and Obinna.

Development intern Kelsey.

Thanks to African Services' brilliant summer interns

ASC was very fortunate to have the ever so talented interns Emma, Obinna, Alexandra, Sarah, Sophia and Kelsey with us this summer. The future looks bright indeed! 

How will you support #NAIRHHADay?
Join us #AIHHchat Tues, 9/13 at 2PM ET

Amazon makes is easy to support ASC programs. When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to African Services Committee. All you need to do is bookmark the link and support us every time you shop!

Click here to support ASC when you shop.

Upcoming in NYC
Kim Nichols, Co-Executive Director, recommends:

FENDIKA returns to NYC with Arki Sound
Saturday, Sept. 3 at 9:00 pm to Sunday, Sept. 4 at 3:00 am
LightSpace Studios - 1115 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

The Azmari tradition is an Ethiopian form of musical storytelling that uses improvisation, dance, humor, and Ethiopian instruments to create a one-of-a-kind collective experience. Nobody does it better than FENDIKA! They return to NYC on Saturday, September 3rd at Lightspace Studios across the street from Bunna Cafe.

Click here for more info and tickets.

Emma and Obinna, Communications Interns, recommend:

Hurston@125: Engaging with the Work and Legacy of Zora Neale Hurston
Deborah Thomas, Tami Navarro & more Oct 28, 2016
10 am Event Oval, The Diana Center, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

Zora Neale Hurston, a graduate of Barnard College and Columbia University, has received great acclaim for her literary work, particularly the highly influential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God . In honor of the 125th anniversary of Hurston's birth, BCRW celebrates Hurston's legacy with a one-day symposium that brings together emerging scholars whose work builds upon Hurston's less well-known training in anthropology and interdisciplinary modes of analysis and expression. The program will include panel discussions and a film screening of Hurston's ethnographic work.
47th Annual African American Day Parade
Sept. 18 at 1 pm - 6 pm
Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, NY, NY 10027
The African American Day Parade's mission is "Power Thru Unity" as it celebrates heritage and culture. The grand annual parade showcases the accomplishments of the African American community.

How the Bronx Happened: An Examination into the Historical Context of Bronx Development

Saturday, Sept. 3 at 1 pm FREE Lecture
326 Bainbridge Ave. Bronx, New York 1047

How did The Bronx develop from a collection of small communities into the secondmost densely populated area of the United States within a few decades? Teacher and historian Matthew Foglino will examine the history of urban development, focusing on how The Bronx was in exactly the right place at exactly the right and wrong times in the early and mid-twentieth century.

This lecture will be held at the Museum of Bronx History at
the Valentine-Varian House, located at 3266 Bainbridge Avenue. Please call (718) 881-8900 for directions.

Click here to learn more.
An Ankaa Bazaar
Saturday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 pm 
A bazaar in renovated former warehouses in Dumbo. This event will feature more than 20 vendors unique in style and detail, mostly African inspired, but each offering their own take on fashion, style and design through an African/Afrocentric lens.
Eirik Omlie, Communications Director, recommends:

Mulatu Astatke

Friday, Sept. 9th, 7pm
The Temple of Dendur
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue, NYC

Known as the father of Ethio-Jazz, composer and multi-instrumentalist Mulatu Astatke is known for his fearless experimentation.

Experience the sounds and rhythms of Ethiopia live in The Temple of Dendur. Presented in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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