The first major measles outbreak in New York State this year may have started in upstate New York, but it’s officially reached the epicenter — New York City.

For several months, officials in New York City have been encouraging members of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the Brooklyn area of New York City to vaccinate their children in an attempt to squash the rapidly growing number of measles cases in the region. In addition to providing education about the vaccine and talking to local rabbis, they have also tried keeping unvaccinated children from attending school.

Despite those efforts, there have been 285 confirmed cases of the infection since September with 21 of them leading to hospitalization. It’s the largest measles outbreak the city has seen in over three decades. So this week, officials took a more staunch approach — Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency.

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Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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