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OUR MISSION

We are an educational and charitable interfaith organization of Russian-speaking Americans. We aim to develop the organizing power of our community, its successful integration in American civil society, advance immigrant rights, civic participation, and leadership development. We raise public awareness of our community and the achievements of its members and promote collaboration with other communities in the pursuit of a more just and fair society with equal opportunities for all.

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  RCCMB has a 501(c)(3) tax- exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. Your tax-deductible gift to us supports our events and activities, strengthens progressive voices in the Russian-American community, and helps advance its integration into the fabric of American civil society. We will gratefully acknowledge your contribution that you can make by regular mail or online -

via PayPal:

or via NYCharities.org:

Amount: $

Our mailing address:

244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 200, New York NY 10001.


VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

If  you are interested in volunteering for us, have some knowledge of Russian community as well as general immigrant affairs, and/or fundraising experience, please write about yourself and your interests to rccmb@rccmb.org.

ENGLISH РУССКИЙ
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OUR NEWS & UPDATES
We have launched our bilingual pro bono immigration consultation in midtown Manhattan on April 9
OUR EVENTS & CAMPAIGNS
We hosted a community forum of immigrants from former Soviet Union countries with four NYC government agencies on Oct. 23
OUR MEDIA FILE 
Read Ilaria Parogni's coverage of our Russian language rights advocacy on Pavementpieces.com 

     Welcome to the website of Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan & the Bronx. We are an interfaith, grassroots community organization of new Americans from countries of the former Soviet Union. We aim to develop our community's organizing power and civic participation in American society.  We also aim to raise public awareness of the legacy of the movement for the freedom of migration and other human and civil rights movements in countries of the former Soviet Union and their relevance today.

      Throughout these years, we have remained an all-volunteer organization, as independent nonprofits in our community at present have no real access to the sources of financial support for their basic operating expenses and growth. This is a major cause of inequality and injustice that immigrants from former Soviet Union countries are facing, and that our organization is working hard to address.  Your support in this regard will be highly appreciated.

     We hope that your visit to this site will be only the first step in our relationship. We are looking forward to hearing from you at rccmb@rccmb.org. 

 

    The leadership of RCCMB, including most of its Board members, as well as most of the Board members and leadership of the national American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil & Human Rights (from all five NYC boroughs and from upstate New York) joined The Black Institute on November 18 for the launch of Dmitri Glinski's and TBI's "All Races, All Faces: A Guide to NYC's Immigrant Communities," at 32BJ union headquarters. Speakers at the event included Bertha Lewis, Dmitri Glinski, NY State Senator Jeffrey Klein, NY State Senator Diane Savino, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, Joy-Ann Reid from MSNBC, and other distinguished public figures. The book, which is the third product of collaboration between RCCMB and TBI, is available for free from The Black Institute (39 Broadway, Suite 1740, New York NY 10006).

             

                   Bertha Lewis opens the event                                                          NY State Sen. Jeffrey Klein                                                              Dmitri Glinski

                        

                  NY State Sen. Diane Savino                                            Dmitri Glinski and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj           Joy-Ann Reid and RCCMB Press Officer Natalya Petroff

    

         1st row, right to left: ARA Board Member, journalist & author Leonid Zaslavsky;               1st row, right to left: Lidiya Petrova (RCCMB); Dr. Natalya Petroff (RCCMB);          RCCMB Board Member and President of the Pushkin Society Dr. Victoriya Kurchenko;                               Dr. Alexander Yegudin (RCCMB Board Secretary);                           ARA Board Member, artist Irene Nedelay; RCCMB Bronx Coordinator Lyubov Barzman                                          Victor Levin (RCCMB Board Chair)

                        Photos 1-3 and 7-8 by Sylvia Ryabichev; photos 4-5 by Tammy Meadows

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 Dmitri Glinski's "All Races, All Faces: A Guide to New York City's Immigrant Communities" has been published by The Black Institute (TBI), with preface by TBI Founder & President Bertha Lewis, and printed by United Federation of Teachers.  The book captures the diversity of the city's immigrant population by providing information on the 49 largest immigrant communities. This is the third collaborative project of RCCMB and TBI, following the dialogue on immigration at CUNY (April 2013) and "All Races, All Faces" forum at Union Theological on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.,'s involvement with Soviet Jewish struggle (Nov. 2013).

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On Nov. 1, Pavementpieces.com wrote about our advocacy for equal language access rights for Russian-speakers in New York City's elections: "Dmitri Glinski, president of the Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan & the Bronx, testified in August in front of the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s Voter Assistance Advisory Committee. He asked the board to apply the provisions envisioned in the 2012 bill and described the language barrier as “the biggest challenge to Russian speakers’ voter participation.”  The article's discussion of legislative issues is largely based on our testimony here.

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RCCMB's community forum of immigrants from former Soviet Union countries with NYC government agencies, Oct. 23, 2014

co-chaired by Dmitri Glinski, for the Russian community, and Lyuba Murzhenko, for the Ukrainian community

Left to right: Lyuba Murzhenko; Oscar Asencio (NYC Human Rights Commission); Dmitri Glinski; Jermaine Williams (Human Resources Administration); Israel Rosario (Mayor's Office for Immigrant Affairs); Kathleen Almanzar (Department of Youth and Community Development)

Front row, on the left: Vladimir Gutkin, chair of the Manhattan/Queens branch of American Association of World War II Veterans From Former Soviet Union

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On Oct. 8, jointly with The Black Institute, we took part in the hearings on the proposed rules regarding the issuance of New York City Municipal IDs. 

On the photo: RCCMB's Dmitri Glinski with NYC Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agarwal.

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STATEMENT ON THE ASSAULT UPON LEONARD PETLAKH

October 8, 2014

We are shocked and outraged at the violence perpetrated by anti-Israel protesters last night at Barclay's Center against Russian-Jewish nonprofit leader, Kings Bay Y Executive Director Leonard Petlakh. This is a double hate crime - against an immigrant community leader and a Jew. We may agree or disagree with each other on any issue, but anti-Jewish violence in NYC cannot be tolerated. This has nothing to do with one's opinions on, or relationship to Israel, which individual Jews may or may not have. This should be a priority concern to government at all levels, as well as all our civil rights leaders, in every community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Leonard and his children, who were also exposed to the attack.

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Please read about Russian-Ukrainian Peace Rallies of September 21, that brought close to 1,000 immigrants from former Soviet Union countries into the streets of 6 US cities, on the website of our national partner, www.amrusrights.org.

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RCCMB STATEMENT ON THE ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGES 

AT THE UJA-FEDERATION OF NY
 

     We have received the information about the ongoing reorganization at the UJA-Federation of NY.  As participants of the Russian-Jewish and American Jewish community in New York City, we cannot remain indifferent to the developments within this largest local Jewish philanthropy, based in our city which is also the largest world center of the Russian-Jewish community.  In this regard, we welcome the announced appointments of Russian-speaking Jews to three senior-level positions. This is a promising first step toward a more equitable representation of Russian-speaking Jews (who constitute between 12 and 20 of the entire Jewish population in the city and are the largest immigrant ethnic minority within it) at this organization which currently employs close to 500 people.


      We call upon the leadership of the UJA-Federation of NY to move more boldly toward a more equitable representation of Russian-speaking Jews and other, smaller, immigrant minorities at UJA as well as its hundred network agencies. We also call upon them to change the current situation under which only 0.2% of UJA grants budget is targeting specifically immigrant Jewish population, and there is no funding at all for immigrant, primarily Russian-speaking Jews' advocacy and community organizing needs and for the operating support of their own, grassroots nonprofit organizations.


      Last but not least, we call upon the UJA-Federation leadership to include in the current reorganization process those Russian-Jewish organizers and advocates who argued for many years in favor of a more equitable representation of Russian-speaking and other immigrant Jews in UJA's management and decision-making. For the past decade, these people - some of them finest nonprofit professionals with extensive experience, education, and skills - were being silenced; some of them paid a heavy price for their courageous advocacy, being punished by economic repressions in the form of blacklisting and exclusion from appointments and funding at UJA, its agencies, and all other Jewish organizations. Instead, these people deserve our community recognition for their pursuit of justice and inclusion for Jewish immigrants. They are the heroes of the Russian-Jewish immigrant civil rights struggle for equal opportunity in the American Jewish world. Inviting them to the table to be a part of the debate about future changes at UJA pertaining to immigrant services and funding would be in accordance with our Jewish values and the principle of tikkun ha-olam (repairing the world).

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First-ever co-naming of a location in New York City in honor of a Russian immigrant in the 200+ years of our community history!  Thank you Councilmember Koslowitz, City Council and Mayor De Blasio!

  

                  

        Councilmember Karen Koslowitz speaking                                             State Senator Toby Stavisky speaking                                     Alex Rubin, the initiator of the campaign

             RCCMB's Dmitri Glinski speaking                                             RCCMB with Ms. Elena Dovlatova                                              Sergei Dovlatov Way sign

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     On August 5, 2014, RCCMB President Dmitri Daniel Glinski testified on the issues of Russian-American voter participation and engagement at the invitation of NYC Campaign Finance Board's Voter Assistance Advisory Committee.  His testimony is available here --->

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     On May 29, the Russian-speaking immigrant community of Manhattan and the Bronx gave a warm welcome to the recently appointed NYC Immigrant Affairs Commissioner, Nisha Agarwal, on her historic, first-ever visit by an Immigrant Affairs Commissioner to this community.  Manhattan is the only one of the five boroughs where in recent years the numbers of immigrants from former Soviet countries have been growing; it is the fifth largest linguistic minority in the borough and the third-largest in the city and the state (over 200,000 people by official Census count and many more by community estimates). 

     Commissioner Agarwal attended and spoke at a special event on advancing Russian-speaking immigrant integration in the city. This was the first public forum held by the two-year-old Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan & the Bronx (RCCMB) in the building on Academy Street where it recently opened its first-ever office, thanks to a local school and city authorities.  RCCMB is a grassroots, interfaith, immigrant-founded and –led nonprofit that has been active on the progressive flank of the city’s Russian community.  It is a member of The New York Immigration Coalition, has taken part in the campaign for comprehensive immigration reform, and recently opened the very first bilingual legal consultation specifically for Russian-speakers, led by an experienced Russia-born and US-educated attorney.  

     The Commissioner listened to presentations by two community leaders who discussed the history and the challenges facing immigrants from former Soviet countries living in the area.  Leah Geskin who ran the Russian department at “The Y” (YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood) for 17 years until its closing in 2006 but has remained highly popular in the community she served presented the story of immigration in the area and the work of her department.  Its services ran the gamut from employment assistance to driving classes, and their phasing out, along with the shutting down of Russian programs at The Bronx House, was a loss for the entire community.  Ms.Geskin expressed the hope that RCCMB will be able to raise funds to restart at least some of the services that her department provided.

     RCCMB Founder and President Dr. Dmitri Daniel Glinski outlined the key integration challenges that our community is facing: lack of employment, especially for high-skilled immigrant professionals, including those with American degrees, and particularly in the world of nonprofits and public affairs; lack of support by those foundations that support organizing and advocacy by other immigrant nonprofits, with the resulting absence of any functioning community organizations with paid staff, in spite of decades of fundraising efforts by skilled and experienced community leaders; lack of representation on the staff of government agencies and elected officials in the areas of Russian-speakers’ residence, in spite of a petition on this subject that was submitted to elected officials last year; the elimination of Russian departments and budgets in those Jewish organizations where they existed; the silencing of those community advocates who have been voicing these concerns in public; and the barriers to publishing in English-language media about the community, its achievements, and its concerns.  Dr.Glinski expressed his hope that the new city government, with its agenda of reducing inequality, is bringing a “spring of change” and a “spring of justice” to disadvantaged immigrant communities that will help address the challenges they are facing.

     In her remarks, Commissioner Agarwal – no stranger to the struggle against injustice, being an offspring of a distinguished family of Mahatmah Gandhi supporters in India and a prominent public interest lawyer – discussed her plans to help make NYC government more immigrant-friendly.  In response to a question by the chair of the local branch of the American Association of WWII Veterans from former Soviet Union Vladimir Gutkin about the non-implementation of the state law requiring the Board of Election to translate election materials into Russian, Commissioner Agarwal agreed that some of the immigrant-friendly laws are poorly implemented, and encouraged the audience to provide her office with evidence of such violations, so that further action can be taken. 

      The meeting was also addressed by Charise Lawrence, Director of Community Outreach at the Department for the Aging.  Ms.Lawrence provided a helpful overview of DFTA services and distributed some of its Russian-language publications.  Yet another prominent participant in the event was President of The Black Institute (TBI) Bertha Lewis.  TBI and RCCMB have been collaborating on a range of issues, from immigration reform (where both see the preservation of diversity visas as beneficial for their respective communities) to educational events on the Black-Jewish collaboration around the Soviet Jewry struggle in the 1960s-80s.  Commissioner Agarwal and Bertha Lewis were presented with awards in recognition of their distinguished public record and support for the aspirations of immigrants from former Soviet Union countries.

         

         

                                                                                                               

                                                                                    NYC Department for the Aging Community Outreach Director Charise Lawrence speaking.

 

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On the occasion of the Russian and Ukrainian national holiday - the Day of Victory over Nazism - RCCMB teamed up with Russian Bookstore 21 in midtown Manhattan to donate books of Russian wartime/postwar authors to World War II veterans from countries of the former Soviet Union and their families.

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On April 18, RCCMB President Dmitri Glinski met with NYC Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal to discuss the issues and concerns of Russian-speaking immigrant community in Northern Manhattan and the Bronx and collaboration with MOIA.

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RCCMB and our entire community mourn the passing of Dr. Jacob (Yaakov) Birnbaum (1926-2014), z'l, a selfless hero of the American movement for the freedom of emigration and religion in the USSR, founder and leader of Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry (April 1964) and of the Center for Russian Jewry.  Not only all those Jews who have been able to left the former Soviet Union and those who remain there, but also all other ethnic and religious minorities in former Soviet Union countries owe whatever freedoms they have gained over the past 25 years to Jacob Birnbaum's tireless advocacy and prophetic fire. Since our beginning in 2011, Dr. Birnbaum was RCCMB's close friend and trusted advisor on many issues.  We express our heartfelt condolences to his widow and another exceptional friend and supporter of our community, Freda Bluestone Birnbaum. 

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    Photos from the opening of our part-time midtown office and pro bono immigration consultation (the only such service currently offered by a nonprofit created and led by immigrants from former Soviet Union countries in Manhattan), held on April 9 with participation of a representative of New York City Mayor's Office for Immigrant Affairs.

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Dear friends, 

We are proud to announce the upcoming opening of two first-ever office locations of Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx and American Russian-Speaking Association for Civil and Human Rights – in uptown and midtown Manhattan. In these locations, both of which are still temporary, RCCMB will begin providing direct services, starting with pro bono consultations with our fully bilingual immigration attorney and assistance with obtaining US citizenship (at this stage, on a part-time basis). 

We are pleased to invite you to the opening of one of these two locations

and the launch of our immigration services:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, AT 5-30 PM 

174 FIFTH AVENUE, 2ND FLOOR (Russian Bookstore 21)

Presentation by Elizaveta (Lisa) EISENBERG, J.D., Esq., member of American Immigration Lawyers Association

“Political Asylum and Other Immigration Topics of Importance to Immigrants From FSU Countries”

After the talk, those interested will be able to sign up for a consultation appointment free of charge.

We look forward to seeing you on this exceptional occasion.

As space is limited, please RSVP at rccmb@rccmb.org or by phone at 212-726-2082. 

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On March 7, we opened our first (so far, part-time) office - and the first Russian-speaking immigrant community meeting space - in Northern Manhattan.  We are open every Thursday evening and are looking forward to seeing you.  Please kindly let us know via rccmb@rccmb.org or 212-726-2082 if you are planning to visit. 

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On March 5, we took part in the annual Immigrant Day of Action in Albany, advocating for the interests and needs of our community with our state officials. Our representatives met with State Senator Adriano Espaillat and other government officials.

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Feb. 25, 2014 - We mourn the tragic loss of lives in recent days of revolution in Ukraine where many of us or our relatives were born. We congratulate the Ukrainian people on the successful end to confrontation and violence, and wish peace, speedy rebuilding of people's lives and the economy, and real international assistance to the recovery of this great country. 

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On February 16, 2014, we held an event on the past and present of the Russian-American community in Northern Manhattan,   an evening of recollections and storytelling

in memory of Klara Kuchment (1918-2014),

founder and President of Self-Help Association of American-Russian Elderly (SHAARE),

dedicated volunteer, a champion of Israel, tireless fundraiser for people in need,

longtime resident and community leader of Northern Manhattan, grand-niece of Meir Dizengoff, the first Mayor of Tel-Aviv. Speakers at the event included: Dmitri Daniel Glinski, RCCMB President; Sylvia Riabichev, daughter of Klara Kuchment, and a poet; Andrew Gross, Political Advisor to the Deputy Consul General of Israel; Rabbi Igor Balsim; Vladimir Gutkin, chief of the Manhattan branch of American Association of World War II Veterans from Former Soviet Union; Sasson Akbashev, Cantor, Jewish Center of Kings Highway; Ilya Levkov, Director of Liberty Publishing House; and Anna Malkina, singer and Klara’s associate.

 

We invite you to visit our online exhibit of Klara's memorabilia.

 

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 HAPPY MLK DAY! 

On this occasion, we invite you to visit our special page on our joint conference of November 2013, with The Black Institute and other organizations, on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, first actions and statements in support of civil rights of Jews in Soviet Union and his role in the birth of the movement for the freedom of emigration from the USSR and of the present-day Russian-American community.

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 © Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx, Inc. 2011-2014