Planting Seeds of Optimism
If you missed it this weekend, here is a link to a New York Times story on Brownsville. The title of the article accurately conveys its substance: "Where Optimism Feels Out of Reach.” This passage is emblematic:
So many of the civic successes heralded by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg...might have happened in Lithuania for all the effect they have had (or could have) on the lives of people in Brownsville, in northeastern Brooklyn. Even the mayor’s claim that the city is exceedingly healthy and safe meets grim rebuttal in Brownsville: the neighborhood maintains the highest infant mortality rate in the city, a rate about the same as Malaysia’s. While the murder rate in the crime-ridden Morrisania section of the Bronx, where the mayor delivered his speech, fell 25 percent from 1998 to 2011, in Brownsville over the same period, it declined not at all.
We've been working for a little more than a year in Brownsville, attempting to lay the groundwork for a community court that will tackle some of the conditions described in the Times article. Here are a few quick links to various items that describe what we are up to in Brownsville:
New York Juvenile Justice Corps blog on "Safe Surrender"
Brownsville Youth Court
Neighborhood probation in Brownsville
New York City Cleanup crews in Brownsville
Community survey of Brownsville residents