The staff and incarcerated individuals at Rikers and other city jails must be among the first New Yorkers inoculated with the new COVID-19 vaccine. Both the staff and those incarcerated are some of the most vulnerable individuals during the pandemic, because social distancing is nearly impossible in the jails. Those incarcerated often sleep three feet apart in dormitories that house up to 50. At least four inmates and a dozen staff members have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and many more have fallen seriously ill. Even with measures taken to mitigate the spread of the disease…


We were proud and happy to stand with the thousands of essential workers at the Hunts Point Distribution Center, home to the largest wholesale produce market in the world, during their seven-day strike for higher wages. And even happier when they won a significant increase in their new three-year contract announced last week.

But the work doesn’t stop there — not for Teamsters Local 202, which represents a third of the employees at the site — or the vendors, the center’s management, and the Hunts Point Cooperative Board.

The next step has got to be a comprehensive renovation of the…


As a modern orthodox Jew, I have always valued the Sabbath from sundown Friday until after sundown Saturday. Shutting down all electronics, turning off media, preparing food in advance, sitting together for a warm family meal, often with guests (remember when that was possible?), not spending any money or getting in a car.

The Sabbath is a day to reflect, rest, and recover with family and community. I relish Shabbat (the Hebrew word for Sabbath) as a moment out of time to recharge. Spending time with my four children, husband, parents and community without the need to react to the…


6 servings (unless it’s cold and snowy outside, in which case, 2 servings)

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs) cooked and peeled
    To cook the potatoes: wash but don’t peel. Boil in water to cover until soft-ish. When they cool a little, the skin comes right off. You can use those big cans of cooked yams, but don’t tell anybody
  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar firmly packed. Taste the potatoes — if you like them sweeter, add more
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum

In a bowl, mix the potatoes, butter, brown sugar…


My name is Jessica Haller, I am a Leader with the Climate Reality Project and VC of the Board of Hazon, and I’m a candidate for New York City Council in District 11 in the NW Bronx.

I am speaking to you today in support of Intro 1947, which will help us expand LL97 and contribute to our economic recovery from the coronavirus. Intro 1947 works with existing tenant-protection laws and LL97 by expanding the number of buildings that are required to meet reductions in emissions, in whatever ways they can.

This bill will mean new jobs for New Yorkers…


I am so grateful that President Obama was the commencement speaker at my daughter Leila’s High School graduation! Actually, he was there on Zoom for all 2020 graduates who are making tremendous life transitions in the midst of a difficult time. These kids may have to grow up faster than other generations. “Be alive to one another’s struggles” he said.

Leila joined me at my semi-regular volunteer spot at POTS — Part of The Solution, dedicated to feeding and serving the Bronx. As we packed hundreds of lunches, both hot and cold, we talked about the depths of the crisis…


Last week I quoted President Obama’s commencement 2020 message: “Be alive to one another’s struggles.” Historically, we have not been, but now is the time to strive to be more alive, more aware. I stand with Black communities and communities of color as an ally, in solidarity. I share the pain as we mourn the lives lost and and fight against police brutality and systemic racism that affects voting rights, access to quality education, and employment and housing opportunity.

I saw two different kinds of images last weekend:

On social media, I saw police charged with our safety, revving up…


In a city that was particularly hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, the borough of the Bronx — the poorest in New York City (1) and home to the most impoverished congressional district in the nation (2) — is suffering severe economic consequences. These negative effects include singularly high levels of unemployment, an erosion of the borough’s small business base, declining health insurance coverage, and deepening food insecurity.

While the pandemic has wrought financial and personal pain across the country, the worsening situation in the Bronx calls for immediate and creative solutions. Unemployment has reached Depression-era levels (3) and it…


It’s ironic that just in time for Earth Day, New York City announced that it was suspending the popular Organics recycling program for the FY21 Executive Budget. The three composting budget programs — all of which have no impact to DSNY head count — include curbside, community composting and all the community support of the citywide composting initiatives.

The benefits of separating organic waste, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and solid paper, from the trash are manifold: fewer rats, less air pollution, less soil contamination, healthier lives, and cleaner waterways. Organics collection isn’t just about composting; it is about…


Just in time for Earth Day, New York City announced that it was suspending the popular organics recycling program. What a waste! The composting program needed improvements, but it should not have been cancelled. The benefits of separating organic waste, such as food scraps, yard trimmings, and solid paper, from the trash are manifold: fewer rats, less air pollution, less soil contamination, healthier lives, and cleaner waterways. Organics collection isn’t just about composting; it is about public-health and we need to keep focus on long term public health even as we address the current public health emergency.

In the same…

Jessica Haller

Climate activist, tech entrepreneur, and working mom of four, running for NYC Council, District 11 in The Bronx. www.JessicaHaller.com

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