City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hills, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) yesterday commended the Central Brooklyn’s Crown Heights Community Mediation Center as the organization celebrates its 20-year milestone anniversary today.
The Crown Heights Community Mediation Center was first founded in 1998, in order to stem an insurgence of racial and religious violence in the neighborhood. as part of the anniversary, the Center is changing its name to Neighbors in Action.
The Center is responsible for running several sites and community-building programs in central Brooklyn – most notably the Save Our Streets [S.O.S.] program, which was used to de-escalate more than 370 violent conflicts in 2017 alone. In that same year, a total of over 10,000 residents attended Neighbors in Action’s community events.
“I am proud to have supported and partnered with the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center since I took office,” said Cumbo. “They are a critical resource in my district as we work to create safer streets, homes, schools, and communities. Their diligence and true commitment to people and their families is clear given their presence before, during, and after incidents of violence. They are not just there when the cameras are on and their genuine relationships across the community reflect that. I am thrilled to celebrate their 20th anniversary for their significant contributions to our community.”
The news of the name change was first broken two months ago at the organization’s annual Back to School Peace and Play Street, which was attended by over 800 people. Amy Ellenbogen, Director of Neighbors in Action, said that its name is being changed to reflect the fact that the organization’s scope has broadened beyond its original intent.
“Over the last 20 years, our work has grown far beyond our original goal of community mediation,” said Ellenbogen. “Our new name encapsulates the range of tools we use to promote healing and safety—from violence prevention to youth activism to artistic peacemaking. The new name also demonstrates our commitment to community-driven ideas and accountability.”
David Gaskin, Program Manager of S.O.S. Crown Heights, said that the organization has evolved to fill a critical niche in the neighborhood since its inception in 1998.
“What makes this organization special is the fact that it serves as a hub for the community,” said Gaskin. “Whether you’re struggling with an interpersonal issue, in need of support, or looking to give back, we have something for you. Our staff and the community members who make up this organization literally are neighbors in action. Neighbors taking action to shape our future.”
The organization will be holding a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. today, Oct. 24 at their office at 256 Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights. At 1 p.m., next Wednesday, Oct. 31 the organization will also receive a proclamation from City Hall in Lower Manhattan.