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Urban Thinkers Campus: The City We Need

October 28, 2015 , Jose Pinto Stephen (

IMG_3531It was a great privilege to attend the ‘The Urban Thinkers Campus: The City We Need’ Conference at New School in New York City. I want to express my sincere thanks to the organizers, speakers and all the participants of this conference.

Prior to the conference we were given an opportunity to have South Bronx Tour to study the reality from the field. We visited some of the economic Development Projects in that area.

To come to America was my biggest dreams since I was a child. My uncle instilled that dream from the moment he migrated to USA. I had other dreams as well. But I was always willing to sacrifice all other dreams just to make my American Dream a reality. Now I am here in America. My biggest dream is not just a dream anymore. It is a reality now. Am I happy about it? This is the big question in my mind now. I am sure many other people are asking the same question within their hearts.

My answer is we should stop immersing in that thought and keep on moving forward. We can’t go back to the past and change it. But we can use the past as a good teacher and learning material. And it is our responsibility to make our life Happy, Joyful and Peaceful. So let us come back to this present moment. No place on earth can be compared with Heaven. Those who are still trying to migrate to other countries may have a different opinion.

When the movie ‘The Slumdog Millionaire’ was released at the American Theaters some of my coworkers asked me “Is this the real India? Are they still using that kind of toilets? “. Some of them even ridiculed me for those situations in India. Very politely I told them some of the scenes in the movie are real and we have no right to ridicule them for that way of Life. And I added as” We can see the same or even worse situation even here in America. Instead of criticizing or mocking other people or cultures, we should think about correcting ourselves and making this World a better place to live in”.

When we visited the Bronx, we went to the ‘Community Access’ Program and I was able to understand the situation there very well because of my previous work experience in the Psychiatric Hospital and the Detox Unit. I used to work in Bergen Regional Medical Center New Jersey and worked in their Psychiatric Facility for four years as a Mental Health Specialist and in their Detox Unit as a Substance Abuse Counselor for two years. The Community Access is a program which provides housing, comprehensive supportive Services, job training, Counseling, Education and Advocacy Programs to the people living with a history of Mental Illness, Substance abuse, imprisonment and so on.

To know more about Community Access Program, Visit

The second day we spend time at New School Campus in New York City and participated in various panels and group discussions. This conference gave a chance to meet people of goodwill trying to bring a positive change in our world. There were people from many nations and people spending their time, skills and resources to serve the third World Countries and less privileged people in America and other countries.

The homelessness and joblessness is everywhere and it has to be changed. The world has enough resources for each and every member in our planet. But the greed and selfishness of some people make other peoples life miserable. Homeless and joblessness is caused by Lovelessness. We need to learn to love ourselves and others around us. When we can do it we will have Peace within us and around us.

We should learn to Love unconditionally and then there won’t be any problems in our globe. No war, no terrorism, no conflicts and no worries. These kinds of conferences help us to create that awareness. Let us hold our hands together and try to make it real. Let us also seek the help from above for wisdom and guidance.

At the end of the conference there was a theater performance and the interesting thing was it consisted of teenagers and children. I made a You Tube video from that presentation. It was made by using an Ipad and so please don’t expect high quality in the video. But I am sure you will enjoy the ideas and message in the presentation.

Here is the Video:

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