Brownsville gets nearly $9M after mass shooting

Brownsville gets nearly $9M after mass shooting
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio.
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Members Inez Barron and Alicka Ampry-Samuel announced on Tuesday nearly $9 million in new funding in support of the Brownsville, Brooklyn community in the wake of the mass shooting on July 27 that resulted in 11 injuries and one fatality during the annual Old Timers Day community event.

The new funding will bolster and expand services supported by the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence and the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) in the wake of the violence.

This includes $5.2 million for the renovation of the Brownsville Houses Community Center, a MAP site, and $140,000 for new New York Police Department (NYPD) security cameras and public lighting around the Brownsville Playground facility, the Mayor’s Office said.

It said lighting will be fully installed by December 2019. The NYPD has installed two cameras and will make additional upgrades by the end of the year.

“Our hearts ache for Brownsville; but this community will be defined by resilience, not tragedy,” said Mayor de Blasio. “These programs will build on our commitment to end the epidemic of gun violence and lend much needed support to the local leaders and activists who work to bring positive, enduring change to the Brownsville community each and every day.”

Johnson said the mass shooting in Brownsville was “a tragedy.”

“As a City, we must do everything we can to stop this kind of violence from ever happening in our communities,” he said. “I am proud today to announce this funding to support gun violence prevention programs, increase safety, and heal the wounds left by the horrific and senseless shooting.”

Barron said she was “pleased to acknowledge and support the Mayor’s additional funding to the Brownsville community, “in particular: 1) the increased funding for the prevention of gun violence by trained persons from the community who are acknowledged as experienced and effective in dispelling violence; 2) funding to the Department of Heath acknowledging this type of violence as a health crisis; 3) opportunities to train youth to engage in peacekeeping and anti-bullying efforts; and 4) additional staffing at the Brownsville Recreational Center, which will increase programming activities and improve the ratio of adult to youth interaction.”

She said this initiative is “a much-needed response to conditions in the neighborhood that are manifestations of longstanding circumstances and systemic oppression, which have negatively impacted the social dynamics of our community.

“We look forward to further improvements, initiatives and job opportunities to help restore our neighborhoods,” Barron said.

Ampry-Samuel said Brownsville “has had its share of challenges over the years but continued to remain resilient through it all.

“The mass shooting on July 27th shook us to our core and was evidence of the need for funding resources,” she said. “I’m glad the voices of the community are being heard and those doing the work will get the support needed on the ground; while partnering with city agencies.”

On top of $5.2 million in capital funds, the Mayor’s Office said an additional $3.24 million will go to build on the effective anti-violence and community-building efforts already integrated into the Brownsville community.

These include: $1 million in annual funding to expand the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence’s successful Crisis Management System violence disruption program in Brownsville’s 73rd Precinct; $1 million to increase the capacity of the Department of Health’s Brooklyn Neighborhood Health Action Center (NHAC) to plan, prepare, and respond to incidents and systemic crises, including community violence, extreme weather, and environmental hazards, such as fires and building collapses; and $590,000 for Brownsville Neighborhood YouthStat, a youth centered version of MAP’s NeighborhoodStat, which trains young people in community organizing and engagement, peacemaking, and crime prevention through environmental design, and a suite of mental health and trauma response skills.

“The investments directly in the Brownsville community will provide much needed city resources in helping the community heal from recent violence, while continuing to build on the foundation laid by residents’ long-standing efforts of creating a safer Brownsville for all,” the Mayor’s Office said.

First organized in 1963, it said the annual Old Timers Day event provides the Brownsville community with “a special opportunity to celebrate the contributions and impact of its elders, while inviting neighbors of all ages to partake in a fun, family-friendly annual summer event.”

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