Are We Genetically Wired to Be Racists? By Harry DeRienzo

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are delighted to publish the second installment of Harry DeRienzo’s essays on racism.  This second of a three-part essay is entitled, “Are we Genetically Wired to be Racists?”  It is interesting and thought provoking but like all treatments of such a complicated and emotionally-charged topic, there is a need for other perspectives and follow up discussions. Read more...


Organize or Perish Supplement

By Harry DeRienzo

At our Annual Meet & Greet event, held on December 4, 2015, the Reverend Theodora Brooks, pastor of a local church and Vice Chairperson of the Banana Kelly board, was tapped to give the opening invocation. However, given the events of this year, she said it was difficult, if not irresponsible, not to take explicit notice of the extremism that appears to be manifesting itself in so many destructive and fatal ways in our country at this time, most recently given the mass shooting in San Bernadino and the long-delayed video of the killing of Laquan MacDonald in Chicago. … Read more...


Organize or Perish

Harry DeRienzo’s Keynote Address at the 6th Annual Meet & Greet, December 6, 2015.

Organize or Perish. This is our theme for this year. It is a theme that comes straight from our resident leadership.  It is a theme that is not simply an act of hyperbole. … Read more...


White is All Right — By Harold DeRienzo

In a recent decision, the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that beyond “race,” color, in and of itself, can raise a bias claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In this particular case, a certain waitress and bartender named Esna Etienne was passed over for a managerial position, which was given, according to her complaint, to a less qualified white employee. … Read more...


Testimony at the RBA CIAB Bronx Hearing – Harold DeRienzo

From the testimony of Harold DeRienzo

RBA CIAB Bronx Hearing

Bronx Borough Hall

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My name is Harry DeRienzo.  I am the President and CEO of Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. in the South Bronx.  I am also Vice President of the Association of Housing and Neighborhood Development and General Counsel to a group, the Parodneck Foundation, that provides mortgage counseling and mortgage foreclosure assistance to homeowners.… Read more...


Our Legacy – Our Future

Speech given by Harry DeRienzo at Banana Kelly’s 5th Annual Meet & Greet, December 5th 2014.

Community Development, as we know it, is at a crossroads. When our work began some 40 years ago, the “inner city” was in crisis and residents came together to respond to the crises of terrible housing conditions, no and low paying jobs, disinvestment, arson, crime and more. … Read more...