Crown Heights Jews & Blacks Celebrate Unity

African American and Jewish residents of Crown Heights yesterday came together yesterday in Brower Park on Brooklyn Avenue and Prospect Place to celebrate and promote unity in the neighborhood.

City Council Member Laurie Cumbo

The event, the 4th Annual “One Crown Heights Neighborhood” Festival, saw families enjoying a day of food, games, portrait painting and community networking. City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Combo (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights) and NY1 News Anchor and Crown Heights resident Errol Lewis hosted the event.

There were appearances made by Krystal Hudson, First Deputy Director for Public Advocate Juumane Williams, State Senator Zelnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) and Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights).

Cumbo spoke about the festival and how much it helps to create and foster a positive atmosphere where there would be an understanding of humanity amongst everyone.

“The goal is not just to experience your own culture but to experience each other, learn and come away knowing a little more about your neighbors. We are a shining example and global representation of what can happen when community works together to make sure we work in a cohesive community where we can all raise our family in a safe environment,” said Cumbo.

City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. talks to City Council Member Laurie Cumbo as children walk on stilts. Photo by Kimari Clarke.

Cornegy, who lived in Israel while playing professional basketball, spoke about having a relationship with the Jewish community and was excited for the positive relationships that will be built through the festival.

The festival also had areas in the park that allowed for conversations about race relations, gun violence and mental health issues within the community. KCP was able to catch up with Myla Seabrook, Event Manager for the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, who was one of the participants in the community conversations about gun violence in the area. 

She discussed the disparity that exists in the community that needs to change. She felt that people were listening but that work needs to be done when it comes to the mentality of the people who happen to be from the older generation which sometimes causes a lack of understanding that stems from both groups.

“The consciousness needs to shift and I think it’s great that we came together but the kind of opportunities and conversations happening needs to match those in need,” Seabrook said. 

Seabrook said her goal while working at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is to focus on getting people of color in the door and her hope is to start a non-profit organization that addresses generational trauma that exists in the black community. 

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