On April 13, 2021, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Kenny Burgos, and Deputy Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden visited a municipal worker site in Hunts Point operated by SOMOS Community Care, and the City of New York for a public vaccination event urging trust and participation in the vaccine roll-out.
SOMOS Chairman Dr. Ramon Tallaj and doctors of SOMOS Community Care toured Bronx Borough President Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Burgos, and Deputy Borough President Scott-McFadden around the site, which has been critical to vaccinating frontline essential workers, daycare workers, firefighters, and police and correction officers, among others. Following the walkthrough, SOMOS doctors administered a COVID-19 vaccine to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Kenny Burgos, and Deputy Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden before convening outside to discuss overcoming vaccine hesitancy and inspiring confidence in low-income, communities of color that have been long marginalized by traditional healthcare systems and historically subjected to medical abuse.
“The key to vaccine equity is local leadership and empowering local solutions like the family doctors who treat the same communities of which they themselves are a part. It is therefore an honor for SOMOS doctors to vaccinate elected officials like Borough President Diaz Jr., Assembly Member Burgos, and Deputy Borough President Scott-McFadden and demonstrate to our communities that the Vaccine of Hope is here and the Vaccine of Hope is safe,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, SOMOS Community Care Chairman. “By standing together against COVID-19, as we have done with local officials, the City, and State, we can reach and vaccinate the low-income, immigrant communities of color that have been hit hard by this pandemic. And now, with SOMOS doctors ramping up to vaccinate our patients in our own neighborhood clinics – a first for the state of New York – we’re ready to get the doses in arms we need to return students safely to schools, reopen businesses, and recover from this pandemic.”
“COVID-19 exposed many injustices and health disparities that exist in our society, hitting our borough particularly hard,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “It is critical for the health of ourselves, our families and our fellow New Yorkers that we get the vaccine and work to beat the virus together. Today as I joined the millions of New Yorkers, including both of my parents and many of my loved ones, who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, I am feeling hopeful and grateful to those who made this moment possible. I would like to thank Dr. Ramon Tallaj and the entire SOMOS team, New York City Health + Hospitals and all of our healthcare heroes that have selflessly worked to fight COVID-19 and keep us safe; from early testing, to critical care and now administering vaccines across the city in areas that have often been underserved.”
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic was a global crisis, it was a very painful, very personal disaster that ravaged communities of color like ours in the Bronx, and the vaccine is the most effective tool we have to fight this crisis and get back on our feet,” said Assembly Member Kenny Burgos. “Trust is earned, especially for Black and brown communities like mine, so I was proud to join the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and my colleagues in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Further, it was inspiring to witness the incredible, groundbreaking vaccination effort by the SOMOS Community Care team and their chairman, Dr. Ramon Tallaj.”
Borough President Diaz reinstated The Bronx Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) this year, with a commitment to environmental justice and sustainability in the borough. The SWAB was originally conceived in 1989 as a recycling and solid waste initiative, but has since evolved into a broader and expansive environmental justice initiative, covering a range of different topics. The Bronx SWAB will seek to uphold and advance New York City’s Zero Waste by 2030 goal. Additionally, responsibilities of The SWAB will include providing policy input and engaging with local communities on all matters pertaining to environmental justice and sustainability.
“Since I first took office, environmental justice and sustainable development have been at the forefront of my agenda, and the reinstatement of The Bronx SWAB is a tremendous step towards achieving these priorities,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I have long emphasized environmental initiatives of all sizes, including our work helping restore the parks along the Bronx River, piloting the City’s first heating oil conversion and solar thermal programs, investing in the cleanup of our borough’s brownfields, and fighting for equitable transportation access, such as the four new Metro-North stations that will be coming to The Bronx. I am encouraged by the direction our Borough is moving, and all the great work is being done to advocate for our climate.”
The Bronx SWAB is a volunteer, public organization comprised of an Executive Team, appointees from each Community Board, City Council representatives, and additional significant stakeholders throughout The Bronx. There will be further potential to form more specific committees as time goes on as well. The SWAB aims to be a driving force; that will continue to facilitate a coordinated approach to share the responsibility, spread awareness, encourage and empower youth participation, and continue elevating environmental justice as a principal policy focal point.
“We are at a critical point in addressing climate change and irreversible environmental issues and I am proud my office has brought back this important initiative. I look forward to working alongside our dedicated advisory board and volunteers who have incorporated environmental justice and sustainability issues across all facets of their daily lives,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“I am genuinely enthusiastic about this reinstatement and look forward to being of service in my community. As a Bronx native I am inspired to address the systemic issues that have exposed our residents to toxic living environments for too long. As George Washington Carver said, ‘there is no such thing as waste…every part of the peanut has a use; it is up to us to discover it.’ I look forward to bringing this perspective to our collective work,” said Dior St. Hillaire, Chair of Bronx SWAB
“I want to thank Borough President Diaz for this opportunity to serve. My region hosts the largest shoreline of our Borough and is most at threat for the negative impacts of climate change. Additionally, the poor quality of water remains a concern for many. By working through the SWAB, I’m hopeful we can begin to address some of these long-term issues,” said John Doyle, Treasurer of Bronx SWAB
The Bronx SWAB meets on a monthly basis and is open to the public. To find out more information, you can view their Instagram account @bronx_swab or reach out to Deputy Director of Planning and Development, Alex Spatz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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