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In This Issue
African Services Launches $5.3 million Capital Campaign
ASC Successfully Advocates for Major Change in Scope of Federally Funded Legal Services
ASC Rallies in Albany for Single-Payer Healthcare
Executive Action on Immigration Update
Rally to End Income Inequality
Team, Individual Titles Declared in ASC's First-Ever 'Biggest Loser' Challenge
Mojito Seattle Launches ASC Ethiopia Campaign
AIDS Walk!
Clinic on Ebola-Related TPS
Thank You Penny Harvest!
ASC Rallies to Build Hepatitis Awareness
Yinka Shonibare MBE: Colonial Arrangements
The Apollo presents Southbank Centre London's WOW Fest
African Restaurant Week
Watch Breakdancing Documentary 'Shake The Dust'
New NYC ID Available
2013 Annual Report
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Deepening Our Roots
African Services Launches
$5.3 Million Capital Campaign

ASC's Founding Father and Co-Executive Director, Asfaha Hadera, cooked up some traditional Ethiopian cuisine at ASC's kitchen in Harlem, May 21st,  in preparation for a small dinner in honor of the major supporters of African Services.  The event marked ASC's formal announcement of our capital campaign to acquire our own permanent building in 2015.    

"I'm cooking for those who have been most generous in their support of the destitute women and children African Services Committee serves. This is the principle of giving back,"
Asfaha said.
Over a feast full of delectable dishes and wine, attendees heard about our plans and  carried them on for discussion with like-minded individuals to be newly invited into our capital giving circle.

ASC, now in our fourth decade of operations, has grown to become the largest and most sought-out African community service organization in New
York City. 

ASC helps enhance immigrants' prospects of success in this country with legal, health, housing, and educational services.

Through the years we have developed a strong legal services department, 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, as well as a model adult literacy program.

It is with this purpose in mind that ASC has launched a $5.3 million capital campaign, with seed capital from the Community Resilience Fund. The campaign will result in a
state-of-the-art, 31,000 square foot multi-purpose facility in Mott Haven, the Bronx, that will serve over 12,500 African Diaspora immigrant visits per year.

"A gift to the African Services Capital Campaign is an opportunity to invest in the African and Caribbean immigrants that 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 and meeting rooms, and in the kitchens and food pantry," said ASC Co-Executive director Kim Nichols.

"Every gift to the campaign is meaningful and we are so grateful for your support."

Click here to learn more about ASC capital campaign naming opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about African Services Committee's campaign, please contact co-executive director Kim Nichols, at, or founder and co-executive director, Asfaha Hadera, at
News and Activities

'Feather in the Cap'  

ASC Successfully Advocates for Major Change in Scope of Federally Funded Legal Services for People Living with HIV in NYC


African Services' Supervising Attorney Kate Webster and Co-Executive Director Kim Nichols successfully pushed for a major change in the scope of NYC Ryan-White Funding, according to an announcement released by Public Health Solutions on May 12, 2015, titled "Legal Services for Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain PRUCOL Status," which states: 

"Effective March 1, 2015, NYC DOHMH and PHS will allow for reimbursement of immigration matters in Ryan White-funded Legal Services (ADV) programs for the purpose of obtaining PRUCOL (Permanent Residence Under Color of Law) status for undocumented Ryan White clients."

One of the primary reasons immigrants living with HIV seek legal services from African Services Committee is for immigrant legal assistance. Under the previous mandate of the Ryan White program, immigration legal services were not an allowable service type. This was true for immigrants seeking assistance from ASC, as well as all Ryan White -funded legal programs across the New York City region. Immigration was simply not an allowable service.
ASC's supervising attorney, Kate Webster, is all smiles alongside overjoyed client, Yawari from Togo, moments after Yawari received her long-awaited green card.  

"There was a harsh disparity between the need we saw with our clients and the parameters of services that our funding would allow," Webster said.

"Based on that disparity, we initially approached the folks at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to explain this unmet need and help them see the way in which providing these services would not only benefit clients, but also really advance the goals of the Ryan White program," Webster said.

The entire ASC legal team recognized the disparity. "I thought this was going to be years-long push and we made the pitch -- it is actually a big change," Webster said.

"Legal services were funded, but we weren't allowed to do immigration legal services. Now we can do immigration, which is really exciting."

Providing immigration legal services helps with connecting people to care, it helps with adherence to treatment and it contributes to better health outcomes. Part of the argument behind the advocacy was that when you let Ryan White -funded legal grantees like ASC provide immigration legal service, clients not only receive immigration benefits, but also become eligible for a host of additional supportive benefits. For example, individuals living with HIV who have a pending or approved immigration application become eligible for better health care through Medicaid, and additional benefits support through HASA (the HIV/AIDS Service Administration). As a result, these clients are no longer reliant on less extensive programs, such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP). Furthermore, much of Ryan White funding goes to support ADAP, "So you can imagine -- you'll spend all of this money on ADAP, but you won't spend a fraction of the budget just to let us provide the legal service to get them out of that entirely," Webster said. The PHS announcement reads further:

"If a Ryan White client attains PRUCOL status and meets other eligibility requirements, the client is eligible for HASA benefits and Medicaid. While PRUCOL status depends on immigration status, PRUCOL is a benefits classification and not an immigration classification. Accordingly, the agencies that administer public benefits programs adopt their own definition of who is PRUCOL. The New York State Department of Health and HASA define as PRUCOL any immigrant who is residing in the United States with the knowledge and permission or acquiescence of immigration authorities, and whose departure immigration authorities do not contemplate enforcing. In practice, this means that a Ryan White client without immigration status, who submits an application for immigration relief (giving immigration authorities knowledge of their presence), and whose application is either approved (permission from immigration) or pending (acquiescence of immigration), is considered PRUCOL."

"This is a big feather in the cap for ASC -- to push and achieve such a needed service," Webster Said. "We are thrilled to be able to offer this much needed service for our clients."


One Step Toward Universal Healthcare

ASC Rallies in Albany for Single-Payer Healthcare;
Applauds N.Y. Assembly's 'Yes' to Universal Healthcare Bill

ASC Director of Advocacy Amanda Lugg and Khadeeja Shaikh Mirza joined eight ASC clients on a road trip to Albany, May 5th, to drum up support for single-payer healthcare and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried's single-payer health bill, which was taken up by the Chamber for the first time in more than two decades and passed on May 27th with a vote of 89-47.

"ASC applauds the Assembly on the recent passing of the New York Health Act," said Lugg.

"This bill will significantly reduce the health disparities in our state and ensure the rights of all who call New York home, to quality comprehensive health care -- regardless of one's ability to pay. Onward to the Senate and the Governor's desk!"

The vote passed overwhelming, but marks a largely symbolic step toward universal health insurance. The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate where it is not expected to pass.

"To make the best use of our time, we split up into two groups. The group that
I was in met with Assemblymen Jose Rivera and Victor Pichardo and both expressed their support for single payer healthcare," Khadeeja said.

"Furthermore, since both of these Assemblymen were from the Bronx, the ladies (ASC clients) were able to speak to them about the numerous issues they have with the current healthcare system. This seemed to be especially impactful because of the direct connection between the Assemblymen and their constituents."

Executive Action on Immigration


 UPDATE: President Obama's Executive Order on Immigration


A judge issued a decision on Feb. 16, 2015 that holds up the implementation of DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and DACA+ (expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) initiatives. The judge's decision is temporary and is being challenged by the Department of Justice in a higher court.


The National Immigration Law Center, NILC, released a thorough update on the status of President Obama's executive order, stating that on Wednesday, May 26, 2015 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the federal government's emergency request to "stay" the Texas court's decision and thus allow the initiatives to proceed. This means that the DAPA and expanded DACA programs are still not available. Click here to read the NILC's full report.
It is still important for eligible immigrants to continue gathering documentation and preparing to apply for DAPA and DACA, to be ready to go as soon as immigration authorities are ready to accept applications.
"If you've been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes -- you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law," President Obama announced.


Click here for updates.
Rally to End Income Inequality

African Services Committee's Case Manager and Policy Advocate Bakary Tandia along with ASC clients and advocates rallied for immigrant rights at the Rally to End Income Inequality, May 1st.

"As immigrants and workers we are affected by low wages and the lack of opportunities to climb the social ladder, despite the large number of community members with higher education.
According to the American Community Survey (ACS), 'compared with the overall foreign-born population, the foreign-born from Africa had higher levels of educational attainment. Africans born with a Bachelor's Degree or higher represent 41.5 percent compared to all foreign-born at 27.6 percent,'" Tandia said.

Healthy Competition

Team, Individual Titles Declared 

in ASC's First-Ever 'Biggest Loser' Challenge  

ASC Fiscal Manager Ralph Goulbourne won ASC's "Biggest Loser" competition by dropping an amazing 25.4 lbs over 12 weeks. 


Big congratulations goes out to ASC Fiscal Manager Ralph Goulbourne and to Team Two for winning ASC's first-ever, "Biggest Loser" competition.

The competition was intense until the end, with sixteen participants divided into two teams , vying to drop the most weight over three months.

"Both teams did an amazing job. From the start of the competition to the very end you could see the teams motivating each other and giving tips to their teammates. The weight-loss challenge was definitely a team effort," said ASC Nutrition Education Coordinator, Shana Johnson.

"Everyone was committed to losing weight as well as living a healthier lifestyle. I am hopeful that these healthy changes will continue even though the challenge is over."  

Ralph lost an incredible 25.4 lbs., narrowly edging out the second place individual winner by only 2.8 lbs.  

Team Two trailed Team One most of the competition, overtaking Team One only two weeks before the end of the 12-week competition.

An amazing total of 171.2 lbs were lost.

"The challenge now is maintaining," Ralph said as he took a bite of an apple.  


Raising Critical Support to Help the Most Vulnerable 

Help us reach 50K! 


SAVE THE DATE: We are thrilled to announce Mojito owners Luam Wersom and Juan Carlos Ganz will be holding a fundraising event for ASC's Ethiopia clinics on Sept. 9, 2015 at Seattle's largest indoor and outdoor music venue Nectar:  Details to follow! 


The exceedingly generous folks at Seattle's landmark restaurant MOJITO aren't just about serving the finest Latin American cuisine; they are also dedicated to extending a helping hand to some of the most vulnerable and at risk populations around the globe. Thanks to owners Luam Wersom and Juan Carlos Ganz, this year Mojito is helping African Services Committee raise critical financial support for our five grassroots health clinics in Ethiopia, which are providing comprehensive HIV/ TB prevention, reproductive health, testing, treatment and care services for the most vulnerable children and families -- many of whom have been orphaned by AIDS or come from families living on less than $1 a day.  A donation of as little as $15 to African Services Committee can provide one week of nutrition and food supplies for a family in Ethiopia. Donations go directly to those in need.

Mojito's delicious steak parilla and tostones featured on Food Network's "One Last Bite."


MOJITO was recently featured on the Food Network's "One Last Bite." Click here to learn why American Idol Blake Lewis' last meal would be Mojito's delicious steak parilla and tostones.    


Please click here to donate. Simply select "ASC Ethiopia (general)" to designate the donation to ASC's Ethiopia program and write "Mojito Seattle" under the section "I want my donation to be dedicated" to dedicate the donation to Mojito Seattle. Click here to learn more.



AIDS Walk!

On what was a stunning Sunday in May, African Services joined 30,000 fellow walkers to take part in an event very dear to our hearts: The 30th annual AIDS Walk New York. This year, the event raised an incredible $4.8 million to help those living with HIV.

Once again, ASC dedicated the walk to help fund our pediatric HIV program in Ethiopia. $700 has been raised so far in funds that will directly help the most vulnerable families, allowing us to continue their treatment, provide crucial nutritional supplements, purchase testing kits and lab supplies, and extend outreach to the most at-risk people in need.
Although ASC didn't raise as much money as previous years, the deadline to donate to AIDS Walk is June 12, so there is still plenty of time to help.

Click here to support this important program and thank you to all who supported us this year. ASC New York and our staff and clients at ASC Ethiopia are grateful.

 Ebola-Related TPS



African Services, Partners Hold
Legal Clinic on Ebola-Related

Temporary Protected Status   


On May 2nd, 2015 African Services Committee's legal team partnered with the United States Sierra Leonean Association, the City Bar Justice Center, volunteer attorneys from around the city, Staten Island Liberian Community Association, and the Guinean Association of Staten Island to conduct the second free Ebola-related temporary protected status (TPS) legal clinic for nationals of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The clinic took place at the United States Sierra Leonean Association in Park Hill, Staten Island.  


Volunteer attorneys explained what TPS grants, helped attendees complete the TPS application, explained fees and the fee waiver process, work permit application and answered questions.  


More than two dozen attendees received free legal assistance.  


TPS is a temporary status for nationals of designated countries, usually those that have experienced a conflict, natural disaster, or some other extraordinary event. TPS gives these nationals a safe haven from being legally compelled to return to their country, while their country experiences one of these extreme events. Haiti was designated as eligible for TPS following the earthquake in 2010.    


Click here to view and download the TPS checklist in English and here for the French version.


A total of 25 people also received free health screening from the ASC's testing team (including blood glucose, blood pressure, hepatitis and HIV testing), which was available to participants throughout the day.  


For more information or questions about the clinic call 212.222.3882 or email



Health Screening & Counseling


ASC, Partners Hold 
 Staten Island Spring 
Health Fair


Dozens received free testing and health information as African Services partnered once again with Staten Island's International Christian Center (ICC), along with the Korean Community Services, Project Hospitality, and Staten Island Mental Health Society for a Spring Health Fair on April 26.  


The fair included free testing for hepatitis B and C, blood glucose, blood pressure, among other tests.  Healthcare navigators were also on hand.    


ASC Takes Part in Health Fair at Office of Adult & Continuing Education

ASC's screening team also conducted more than 40 adult HIV counseling sessions and tests at the Annual Health Fair at the Office of Adult and Continuing Education at Mid Manhattan Adult Learning Center on May 21.

African Services operates an on-site testing center at our offices in Harlem as a resource for all New Yorkers seeking free and confidential testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, diabetes and blood pressure.

Our multilingual staff provides counseling, testing and health education in a supportive and caring environment. They speak English, French, Spanish and many African languages. Referrals for free treatment and care are provided regardless of immigration status.

The testing center is vital gateway to health care for immigrants and an important part of our HIV prevention programs, which emphasize the importance of knowing status and early intervention.


Walk-ins are welcome Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. Tests take only 20 minutes.  


Click here to learn more.  




Thank You Penny Harvest! 

African Services is once again so grateful to the Penny Harvest students at P.S.M.S 161 Pedro Albizu Campos for recently donating $800 much-need support to ASC.

The generous donation means so much to us and the clients we serve each day. Thank you!

Making NYC Hepatitis Free!  

  ASC Rallies to Build Hepatitis Awareness

ASC joined community-based organizations, public health officials and NYC council members to advocate for those infected and affected by hepatitis locally and globally, in a citywide Hep Free NYC awareness rally, May 14th, on the steps of City Hall. The event was in recognition of National Hepatitis Awareness Month in May.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 400 million people have chronic viral hepatitis worldwide and most of them do not know they are infected. More than 1 million people die each year from causes related to viral hepatitis; commonly cirrhosis and liver cancer. It is important to know the risk factors for hepatitis, talk to family and friends who may be at risk, speak to your health care provider about treatment and strategies to remain healthy.

The effort aimed at building hepatitis awareness among the public, especially within immigrant communities, renewing support for people living with the disease, and encouraging all New Yorkers to learn their status and receive the hepatitis B vaccine.    

African Services offers free and confidential hepatitis B and C screening and navigation to free or affordable care, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. 
Click here to learn more. 
Fun in the City
Kim Nichols, Co-Executive Director recommends ...


Yinka Shonibare MBE: Colonial Arrangements

Elaborate, colorful, seductive and quizzical, Yinka Shonibare's renowned, textile-based art has been the focus of more than 50 solo museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide. The latest, Colonial Arrangements, runs from May 1st to August 31st, 2015, at Morris-Jumel Mansion. It's a fitting match, with the Mansion's lovingly preserved 18th- and 19th-century interiors set to serve as a baroque backdrop for Shonibare's extraordinary sculpture, including an entirely new, never-before-seen work commissioned by the Mansion. It's the most ambitious art show in Morris-Jumel history, and it kicked off May 1st with a two-tiered opening reception.

Click here for more information.

Eirik Omlie, Communications Director Recommends ...



The Apollo presents Southbank Centre London's WOW -  
Women of the World Festival June 11 - 14, 2015  

Featuring Performances, Conversations and Activism Highlights:

Macy Gray - Grammy-Winning Singer/Songwriter
Iyanla Vanzant - Emmy award-winner
Yuna - Malaysian pop star
Leymah Gbowee - Nobel Peace Prize winner
Naomi Wolf - Bestselling Author 
and MORE!

In this extraordinary, first-time collaboration, the Apollo and London's Southbank Centre present a four-day WOW festival in New York, featuring performances, talks, mentoring sessions, music, film and debates that celebrate the talents of women and girls from all walks of life and all parts of the world. WOW was founded in 2011, at London's Southbank Centre. The Festival's mission is to celebrate the formidable power of women to make change happen; to remind us of our history; to draw attention to injustice; to enjoy the company of women; and to encourage men to add their support as we set out to achieve a fairer world. The festival will surely be an exciting, essential and empowering international gathering of women for four jam-packed days uptown in Harlem.

African Services is thrilled to announce that the Apollo donated June 13th WOW tickets to fifteen ASC clients. Thank you Apollo Theater!

Click here for more information.

Eirik Omlie, Communications Director Recommends ...


NY African Restaurant Week  

The third annual African Restaurant Week -- set to lift hearts, spirits, taste buds, and so much more -- kicked off May 31st and runs through Sunday, June 14. The event includes more than 30 of the best restaurants and chefs in the city featuring African cuisine. The event has been created to share the best in African culture, food, music, dance and art.

Click here for more information.


Kim Nichols, Co-Executive Director recommends ...


 Watch Breakdancing Documentary 'Shake The Dust'   



While Colombia, Yemen, Cambodia, and Uganda don't necessarily come to mind when discussing breakdancing, there are B-boys and B-girls all over the world putting their own spin on the Bronx-originated art form. Executive produced by Nas and directed by Adam Sj?berg, "Shake The Dust" shares the stories of these breakdancers from developing nations. Sj?berg was inspired to make the documentary after stumbling across a YouTube video featuring Eric, an incredible break dancer from Uganda.


The feature-length documentary features music from Nas, Talib Kweli, Common, and Vince Staples, and celebrates the influence of breakdancing and hip hop culture in unlikely places. 

Watch a trailer for the documentary in the player above, which is followed by the option to rent or purchase the movie. The movie can be rented via Vimeo for $4.99, or you can download a DRM-free version of the film for $9.99.


Click here for more info.  



New NYC ID Available Regardless of Immigration Status

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently launched New York City's free identification card initiative for all New York City residents-regardless of immigration status! Learn more here

Looking Back at a Great Year for ASC

Check out ASC's 2013 Annual Report

From a spotlight on an amazing ASC client, to a feature on ASC's navigation to care, to celebrating 10 years of services in Ethiopia, 2013 was an outstanding year for African Services Committee.  


Click here to download a printable PDF of the 2013 Annual Report. 


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