Thursday, July 16, 2009

Anti-Gun Violence Community Mural Painting Day

The Mediation Center has been for working for the past three years with a committee of Crown Heights leaders to address the social factors that lead to gun violence in our community. Simultaneously a group of young adults have been working with Assemblyman Camara to address this issue. This summer we've partnered together with the American Friends Service Committee, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, Groundswell Community Mural Project, and the Damon S. Allen Foundation to work with 16 youth and 2 artists to create this mural on the Alternate Learning Center wall. The group is currently in the process of working collaboratively to design the mural. Are you interested in getting to know the young people and other partners? Want to see what it's really like to paint a community mural? Join us on Tuesday, August 4th from 11:00am-1:00pm for a community painting day!
  • Event: Anti-gun Violence Mural Painting
  • Date: August 4th, 2009
  • Time: 11:00am-1:00pm
  • Location: Alternate Learning Center Brooklyn Avenue and Prospect Place (Close to the Brooklyn Children's Museum)

Youth Court set to visit Brooklyn Criminal Court

The Greenpoint Youth Court is taking a field trip to visit the Brooklyn Criminal Court and learn about our judicial system from the Honorable John Wilson, Judge, and Court officer Christopher Conroy. Blacks and Jews in Conversation, Inc., along with the Mediation Center have sponsored this opportunity, where youth court members will find out what criminal process and procedure look like in a Brooklyn courtroom. The visit will take place on July 23rd from 3:30pm to 6:00pm at the Brooklyn Criminal Court, 320 Jay Street. For more inforamation about this excursion, contact Eleanor Anderson at 718-773-6886.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Graduation a Wild Success

On Tuesday evening, June 30th, nineteen community members graduated the Leadership Training Institute of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. The event was attended by over 60 community leaders, friends, and family members. The graduates were recognized with citations, certificates, and representatives from the following elected officials: New York State Senator Eric Adams, State Assemblyman Karim Camara, New York City Council Members Albert Vann, Letitia James, Lewis A. Fidler, Kendall B. Stewart, David I. Weprin, Darlene Mealy, Mathieu Eugene, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

Graduates represented a diverse subsection of the community, varying in age, race, and religion. Janelle Welch, one graduate who spoke at the ceremony, described how the program had benefited members. "[It] honed our skills in networking, coalition building, grant writing, media strategies and event planning to name a few, and even more importantly we learned how to work together despite our racial, religious and social backgrounds to help a community in need." These leaders helped to re-energize Crown Heights' annual Family Day Picnic by bringing together entertainers and organizations to serve the community. Throughout the Institute, members also participated in other community projects, including attending Shabbat dinners at the Wasser household, recording their personal histories through the help of StoryCorps, and learning about diversity with the Anti-Defamation League. Another graduate, Ari Kievman, described "the remarkable way" that the program "fostered cohesion in the group, cohesion both in formulating the end-goal and the process of attaining it. [He] saw how [graduates'] very differences can be used to the advantage of having more perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking."
Attendees at the graduation were amazed at the level of cooperation and understanding that existed amongst the Leadership Training Institute members. Odelia Doco, photographer for, had never been to the Mediation Center before but was inspired by all that she saw. Her article about the event can be found here.

The graduation was also an opportunity for the opening of a new photography exhibit, "Crown Heights: Between Memory and Belief." Hanan Ohayon, the photographer and Mediation Center AmeriCorps member, took pictures of Crown Heights, its landscape, places, and people. Feel free to stop by the Mediation Center any time to view these beautiful pieces of artwork.
A special thank you to all those who came out to the event and continue to support the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center. Congratulations to our graduates!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

No More Guns!

On Monday, the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center hosted over a dozen young people, eager to spend their summer painting a mural denouncing gun violence in their community. The students heard from community residents whose family members had been victims of gun violence, and learned how devastating the experience is. Debbie Griffin-Daza recounted how her cousin was shot and killed in Crown Heights. Robin Lyde told the young people how her son was killed and how her life was changed and turned upside down . This type of violence continues in the community. Only two weeks ago, Jeramie Kane, a Correction Officer was killed on Nostrand Avenue. Numerous organizations including Groundswell Community Mural Project, American Friends Service Committee, the Damon S. Allen Foundation, and Assemblyman Karim Camara are coordinating to make this project a reality.
During this meeting, in addition to talking to family members of gun violence victims, the young people met with the lead artist, Joe Matunis, and Assistant Artist, Crystal Bruno, and began brainstorming ideas for the mural. Jason Scott Jones, an independent Videographer, is also filming the project.