Harlem Speaker Mark-Viverito’s NYT Letter to the Editor

August 19, 2015

Melissa_Mark-ViveritoTo the Editor (of the NYTimes):

Re “Death of Baby Grips Mental Health Advocates for Bangladeshi Women in City” (news article, Aug. 14):

Your article makes it clear that there are people living in New York City who are not being reached with the information on the services and support available to them.

Isolated by cultural tradition and an inability to communicate beyond her circumstances, Rashida Chowdhury committed a desperate and tragic act to end her infant son’s life. It has devastated her family, her own life, her community and those of us who have been charged with providing a safety net.


It is evident that there is an urgent need for all of our communities to be informed about available services. To be effective, we must clear the hurdles of cultural and language barriers. Fully 25 percent of New Yorker’s are not English proficient.

To address this reality, in December 2014 the New York City Council launched a communications engagement project to strengthen its ties to the extensive ethnic community media that play a fundamental role in our city by bringing information to 3.1 million immigrants. The City Council is developing media outreach strategies that are diverse and inclusive, while devising best practices that take into account how the myriad small publications need to receive information.

We are committed to protecting our immigrant residents, and the City Council is moving quickly to ensure that the isolation experienced by Rashida Chowdhury will not be repeated.


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Melissa Mark-Viverito

New York City Council Speaker

New York

Editor’s Note: We have to address issues effecting issues and ask if we are “part of the problem or part of the solution?” We think Harlem Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is making an effort to be part of the solution.

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