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Community Board 3 Meets

As Bed-Stuy's population expands, community organizations are calling for more public support of and participation in its programs

Community Board 3 met last night at Restoration Plaza, experiencing what may be its largest turnout so far this year.

The board convened; there were several informational presentations – one from Bernard Gassaway, principle of Boys and Girls High School, calling for greater community support and participation at the school’s events.  The Parks, Arts and Culture Committee introduced three organizations that also gave presentations, again, calling for greater community support.

As the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant continues to develop and expand, and as more organizations become either funded or defunded, the message seems clear: Greater community involvement and support is needed on all levels.

ORGANIZATIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • On April 22 and 23 at Antioch Baptist Church, 828 Greene Avenue, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, anyone with outstanding C-Warrants can have them vacated. Their case will be dismissed, and they will not have to pay a fine. The program is entitled, “Safe Surrender.” C-Warrants/summonses are issued for minor crimes such as spitting on the sidewalk, jumping the turnstile, trespassing, disorderly conduct, etc. These warrants make it difficult for some residents to get a job or obtain social services. The D.A.’s office, Legal Aid Society, local churches and community members together have been fighting three years to introduce this program. Call 718-250-3888, for more information.
  • A representative of the Board of Elections says, “good news:” The board has started including new poll workers. Also, they are looking to hire new inspectors and interpreters. Please contact the BOE, or go online to fill out an application.
  • Gloria Sandiford of the Neighborhood Housing and Services of Bedford-Stuyvesant has done a lot of work with low-income housing and foreclosure prevention. This Thursday, from 6 -10 pm, NHS will be holding a fundraising benefit at Victorian Mansion, at 247 Hancock Street, between Marcy and Tompkins. For more information, call 718-732-8027.

INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATIONS:

A. The Education and Youth Services Committee

Boys and Girls High School, “Where We Are Now.” Principle Bernard Gassaway spoke about the state of the school and how the community can offer its support:

“There’s a lot of talk out there about the school closing. People like to say we’re closing because it’s sexy. But I’m here to insure with every fiber in my body that we’re not closing.

“I’m trying to be preemptive… to send a signal to the DOE that we’ve got the support to make BGHS a viable institution in our community. So, I’m inviting you to come. Support our kids and what we’re doing. I want you to be able to see the good, the bad and the ugly. We have great kids who need us to support them. Many of our young people may not have that strong family foundation.

“The school is applying for the early scholars program, so that students can obtain their associate’s degree from LIU by the time they graduate. But again, we need the community behind us.”

  • There will be a Town Hall meeting this Wednesday at Boys and Girls High School, 7:00 pm. Topic: “State of Boys and Girls High School: Saving our Children"
  • The next play at BGHS is “My Mother’s a Superaction Hero,” June 10 and 11.

B.  The Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (MoCADA) programs.

MoCADA Executive Director Laurie Cumbo provided an update on activities at the museum:

“This is all of Central Brooklyn’s institution. This is a learning environment. This is not a venture I can do alone. I am asking that the community come out and support the museum,” Cumbo said. “This is about giving our children the education they need to be productive, providing them a global aspect to their learning; they need to learn about the great contributions of their people. This is your museum; it’s your institution. I strongly encourage you to visit. Let’s fill the museum. Let’s grow it.”

  • MoCADA currently has programs running in M.S. 57 and P.S. 3. She requested more schools make appointments for guided tours with their students.
  • The museum board has started a program called “Soul of Brooklyn,” similar to “Harlem Week,” but celebrating the cultural and artistic beauty of Brooklyn. The event is scheduled for June 18 – 25. There will be a web campaign promoting an Africa Diaspora experience in Brooklyn.
  • MoCADA has internship programs in museum administration and social activism for high school and college aged students.
  • The current exhibit, “Reimagining Haiti,” is on display until May 8. The museum is open Wed-Sun 11 -6.

C. The Hattie Carthan Garden

Presentation by Yonnette Fleming, vp of Hattie Carthan Garden and founder of farmer’s market.

“There’s been a decline of African Americans in the food system as producers and distributors. We need to cooperate in a larger way and support each other. I need your support,” said Fleming. “Now we want to invite our youth out to participate in some of these programs so that the elders don’t die holding all of the information about farming and agriculture.”

There’s a larger farm coming into Bed-Stuy. The farm is located directly in the green belt (an area mapped out for agricultural purposes). The new farm will be across from Von King. This means that she needs a lot of volunteers and a lot of youth. Contact hattiecarthangarden@yahoo.com.

D. The Health and Social Services Committee

A representative from the Recovery Center spoke:

  • The Recover Center has $13.1 million dollars it can use towards programs. But they need more people willing to come out and take advantage of the services.
  • The funds will go to all the services needed in the community, including therapy, childcare, anger management, parenting classes and fitness. The center will have doctors, dentists, and service providers (will be accepting vouchers).

“The only thing you have to do is say that you want to be in recovery,” he said. “We need you to help us help them find their way back to society and be productive again."

The center is located at 20 New York Avenue; open Monday – Friday, from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm. Call, 646-996-8436; an outreach specialist also is available at 347-715-0246. The Recover Center offers presentations upon request.

COMMITTEE UPDATES

  • The Civic and Safety Committee, Dr. Kim Best: A Sex Offenders forum on May 19, from 6-10 pm; it will focus on formerly incarcerated and sex offenders. The Civic and Safety Committee meets the first Tuesday of every Monday at 6:30.
  • The Senior Committee, Ms. Boyce: On Wednesday, April 27, there will be a meeting with Access-A-Ride at Bridge Street AME, 277 Stuyvesant Avenue. "I hear a lot of grumbling about Access-A-Ride,” said Boyce. “I personally like it. But this is a time to come out and express your feelings.”
  • The Ecumenical Committee, Dr. Pastor Waterman: Anyone interested in an ecumenical community are invited to come out to the meetings every 3rd Monday, at 6:30, at BSRC.
  • Education and Youth Committee, CEC (Community Education Council), Ms. Gregory: “If you have a child who attends a school in district 16, please consider becoming involved in the Community Education Council (CEC),” said Gregory, “Because we do not need policies set for our children by someone else.”

Some Community Announcements:

  • Common Ground Coffee Shop-- Bike Month is this May. There will be a neighborhood ride on May 21, leaving from Common Ground. This year’s theme is community gardens; the shop features local artists on its walls. If you are an artist and would like to participate in the program, please contact the shop management.
  • There will be a Free Financial Workshop, this Saturday, April 9, at Macon Library, how to deal with debt collectors and what happens when they start calling.
  • Smokers, as of May 23, smoking will be banned. So if you want to have a cigarette and a coffee in the park, it will cost you $50, because beginning on that day, that's how much everyone will be fined for smoking in a public space.
Laurie Angela Cumbo April 06, 2011 at 01:20 AM
This is so great that you covered the Community Board Meeting in this very thorough format. The energy was amazing and it was exciting to see so many people engaged in their community. Please continue to do the important work that you are doing for the people!
Ron "Free" Freeman April 06, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Thank you for the "recap"! As a concerned resident of Bed-Stuy I should participate more in events and community meetings. I will in the future! Thanks again.

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