BK Lawmakers To Rally In Support of Weeksville Cultural Center
Majority Leader City Council member Laurie Cumbo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights), City Council member Robert Cornegy, Jr. (D-Northern Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant) and Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen), will rally together today to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the Weeksville Cultural Center a permanent line item in the city’s FY 2020 budget.
Earlier this month, the center, which preserves the history of one of the largest free black communities in pre-Civil War America, indicated that without immediate funding they would be forced to close. President and Executive Director Rob Fields of the organization sent out an email notifying the public that the center could close as soon as July due to “high operating costs and challenging fundraising environment for black cultural institutions”, according to initial reports.
The center launched a crowdfunding campaign as a response with the hope of raising $200,000 by June 30. As of press time, the institution has raised $262,181.
The group of lawmakers is calling for the center to be designated as a member of the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)’s Cultural Institutions Group (or CIG), which will give Weeksville regular funding and maintenance instead of having to crowdsource for survival.
Weeksville Heritage Center is a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn – one of America’s many free black communities. Founded by James Weeks in the 1830s as a free black community, by 1900 it had about 500 residents and its own newspaper. The community established the Zion Home for Aged Colored, Howard Colored Orphan Asylum and Berean Baptist Church.
The event is slated for 3 p.m., today, May 28, at City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan.
Treyger, Advocates Call On Mayor To Increase Funding To Support Homeless NYC Students
City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend) alongside Christine C. Quinn, President & CEO of Win (formerly Women in Need); Executive Director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children (CCC) Jennifer March; and Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) Kim Sweet, today will rally together to call on City Hall to increase funding for homeless New York City public school students.
The group is specifically calling on City Hall to fund and baseline 100 social workers in schools with the highest concentration of students living in shelters. There were 114,000 homeless children in New York City public schools during the 2017-2018 school year — about one in ten students.
As the final city budget is negotiated, leading advocates and elected officials are asking for funding for at least 100 “Bridging the Gap” social workers to address the needs of students experiencing homelessness. The funds for this program will expire by the end of this school year, according to Chalkbeat.
In the past, de Blasio has excluded this pool of funding and later added the money back into the final budget proposal after backlash from advocates.
The event is slated for 2 p.m., today, May 28, on the Steps of City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
BP Adams, Reynoso Respond To CB 1 Vehicle Purchase
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and City Council member Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg, Greenpoint) last week denounced a Brooklyn community board’s purchase of a $26,000 SUV, paid for with a City Council grant meant to help cash-strapped volunteer-fueled boards around the city.
As first reported by THE CITY, Community Board 1 purchased a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid with a taxpayer-funded grant from the City Council. The Williamsburg board was the only one of the city’s 59 community boards to use any of the $42,500 budget-booster to buy a vehicle. The grants, appropriated by the Council and available as of last July, must be spent by June 30. The boards were told they could spend the money on anything, except for salaries.
Since THE CITY’s initial reporting, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called on the city’s Department of Investigation to probe the purchase— vowing to “make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.” While the City Council has also committed to investigating funds designated to all 59 community boards.
“While community boards are independent entities empowered with the decision-making discretion over their operating budgets, we stand together now to express disagreement with the decision of CB 1’s executive board to purchase another City vehicle, adding to an already bloated fleet, rather than use City Council funds on resources that would better benefit the community at large,” read a joint statement.
“Reasonable concerns have been raised about this purchase and intra-agency communication; to that end, a review of the community board’s bylaws would best determine if rules have been followed or not. If members of the board, or members of the community, want to amend the bylaws, they should pursue that reform process. Our offices have always been open and available to provide technical advice to those who wish to pursue reform processes. Going forward, we hope that government resources are used for more constructive, thoughtful purposes that maximize benefit for our communities and our city,” continued the statement.
Zellnor Inducts BK Resident Into NYS Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame
State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) recently honored Brooklyn native Gerard Placide with the New York Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame Award.
Placide was honored at a ceremony held on May 21, in the lead up to Memorial Day, the national day for remembering and honoring the people who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Gerard Placide is an acclaimed singer, community leader, and veteran from Brooklyn, who originally hails from Trinidad and Tobago. He served as a soldier in the United States Army 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Stewart, Georgia.
The Brooklynite has also served New York State and the City Council, working on community related projects and singing at key engagements. Placide has performed for former New York City Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg among many other top political figures.
Placide has received numerous Awards, Proclamations and Commendations from world leaders not just for his singing but also for advocating cross cultural integration and immigration reform in the United States. He was the first Caribbean National to win the acclaim title of the McDonald’s Gospel Soloist Award and has received awards and proclamations from the U.S. Army and U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson.
“It is my honor to present this award to a fellow Caribbean-American who has not only served our country in the armed forces, but also serves his local community. While Mr. Placide lifts the spirit with the gift of music, he also lifts up his people with his participation in cross-cultural engagement and service to our immigrants. We are proud to have Mr. Placide as a member of our community,“ said Myrie.