Central Brooklyn Civic Leaders, Political Club Reimagine Politics


Outspoken residents of East Flatbush came together to speak about changes they want to see in their neighborhood(s) and reimagine politics with the help of Project Vision.

Members from community boards 16, 17, and 4 along with representatives from the Flatbush Gardens Tenants Association, East Flatbush Village, the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign, the Ernest Skinner Political Association and Utica to Flatbush Initiatives brainstormed positive ideas as to what their neighborhoods need- and more importantly how to provide for themselves.

“Community members and local leaders need a certain degree of autonomy and independence in order to own the decisions for our own communities,” said Ramses Dukes, 27, a field director from the New York Progressive Action Network. “Often times you have people who come from the Upper West Side down to Brownsville making decisions for us.”

As a co-host from the Vision Project, Alicia Ness encouraged residents and community board/ group members alike to become involved in changing their local politics in a positive light.

“The inspiration for this project is the fact that we have a lot of things to complain about, and there are a lot of people who do some things that we don’t agree with and we wish that they would do them differently,” said Ness. “The goal of this project is to turn that on its head and say what if we didn’t complain? What if we talked about what we actually want to see?”

Xamayla Rose, the managing director of policy and advocacy for the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign and Ness, leads the conversations. Photo by Sonia Colon.

Xamayla Rose, the managing director of policy and advocacy for the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign and Ness, lead conversations regarding resident concerns and desires.

All of the responses were categorized into community values, guidelines, leadership qualities, thoughts on civic citizenship, collaborations and finally their visions for their respective communities futures. Residents aired their concerns about gentrification, youth engagement, poverty, public housing, mental health, education, and representation.

Too much change was a major concern for a lot of East Flatbush residents, particularly economic changes in their neighborhoods forcing them out.

Chair of Communications for community board 17, Ronnette Cox, 33, assisted in co-hosting the event both as a chair member and personally as a resident. “I want to listen to everyone here, and figure out what they want, what we want as a community. I know myself, personally- I have concerns about the overdevelopment in our community,” said Cox “We have a housing problem with a lot of our seniors. I’m concerned about the theft going on- those are my issues, I want to protect the people who have lived in this community for a long time.”

As the Project Vision meeting came to a close, Trisha Ocana, a chair member of housing community 17 shared her family’s belief in giving back and being involved in the community to ensure its future is a positive one.

“When my parents came to this country they had opportunities, coming, migrating from this community years ago. I think what’s important is that they make sure they gave back to this community,” said Ocana. “Coming here as my father said he came here with one suitcase and that was it, four kids and all these grandchildren later he what he’s doing now is giving back.”