Friday, December 8, 2017

Beyond Belmont Flea Market

The historic Belmont Ave Business Corridor in Brownsville, Brooklyn is experiencing renewed entrepreneurial and civic energy.

Led by local small businesses, social enterprises, community-based organizations and neighborhood residents, Belmont Ave is host to the annual “Be On Belmont” campaign and street festival.

The campaign drives pedestrian traffic to small businesses and vendors, provides culturally relevant activities, and uplifts neighborhood pride.

This holiday season, discover the hidden gem of Brooklyn. Beyond Belmont brings the future of shopping experiences to Belmont avenue with music, live arcade with virtual reality, live art making, live projections, performances, and a variety of local vendors. Come experience the vibe for two days straight on December 16th and 17th at 50 Belmont Avenue, Brooklyn NY.

Be sure to let us know you're stopping by via Facebook and Instagram!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Brownsville Girl's Collaborative and Young Women's Collective Sisterhood Retreat

On Saturday November 4, 2017 the 2017-2018 cohort of the Brownsville Girls Collaborative (BGC) and Young Women’s Collective (YWC) headed to YMCA Camp Bernie for their annual sisterhood retreat.  The Brownsville Girls Collaborative and the Young Women's Collective employs an 8-month Rites of Passage program model, focused on sisterhood, leadership development and community engagement for young women ages 15-18 and 19-24. Through the program, young women embark on an 8-month journey of sisterhood, developing their inner selves and building healthy relationships with others and their community

The BGC begins with a weekend long sisterhood retreat, focused on leadership development, self-reflectioncommunication, and team-building. Over the course of the weekend, participants also complete their first sisterhood ritual. These rituals utilize components of Rites of Passage programming, including call and response, communal vision planning, and a pledge to support each other and themselves. At the end of the retreat, both BGC and YWC members become official members of the sisterhood.

Over the next 8-month, each program will be identifying issues that most impact women, co-creating space to support Brownsville girls growth and holistic healing, and working to create small and large scale events for the larger community. Be on the lookout for more details! As for now, check out some highlights below. 

If you have any questions regarding the Brownsville Girls Collaborative or Young Women’s Collective, please contact Tiara McLaughlin at or Sherrell Whitmire at .

Brownsville Girls Summit: Celebrating Sisterhood and Empowerment

The Brownsville Girls Collaborative and Young Women's Collective hosted it's first annual Brownsville Girls Empowerment Summit. The Brownsville Girls Summit focused on creating spaces of connection, inspiration and holistic healing for young women in the Brownsville community. The summit included a mixture of community events, workshops and social activities. 


Throughout the week, over 55 girls from the community, ages 15-24 participated in a variety of empowerment events, interactive workshops, and ended the week spearheading a community wide service project. The ladies were given the space to learn practical approaches to holistic healing, form invaluable connections, and promote community wide healing.
 Pizza, Paint and Sip
On Day 1 of the Summit, Jocelyn Goode from Culture Cocoa Art house, engaged participants in a two-hour paint work shop where they created personal pieces of self-exploration. The young ladies were able to design drawings that embodied their definition of sisterhood and beauty.

The girls preparing their canvasses

The girls sip "mock"tails as they create masterpieces!

Whitney and her sister show off their amazing face paint.

Say Cheese! Sherrell and Diamond show off their nice face paint.

Emoji Love!

The girls add finishing touches on their pieces.

The girls mingle as they paint.

Professional Jocelyn Goode from Culture Cocoa.

Summit Day


On the second day of the summit, the young ladies participated in workshops that focused on money management, fitness, social emotional wellness, and beauty/identity. Women experts in each respective field facilitated meaningful workshops that included guided group discussion and energizing activities.
The girls participate in the morning icebreaker.

Fitness workshop

Social and emotional wellness workshop.

Beauty and Identity workshop.

KIMBRITIVE talks to the ladies about relationships.

Spread Love the Brownsville Way

The final day of the summit culminated in a community-wide girls empowerment event. With over 200 people in attendance, the young women aimed to create a day of  community celebration where community members could access a space for connectivity, engagement and cultural celebration. The aim was to intentionally spread positive narratives of womanhood, and to challenge the stigma associated with being from Brownsville. Throughout the day, the young ladies took the lead on engaging their community through activities, music, and giveaways.  
Double dutch competition.

Brownsville Girls Collaborative plants flowers.

DJ smiley on the 1s and 2s.

Spread love its the Brownsville way!

Armonie and Christina pose for the camera.

Sidewalk chalk is always a hit.

Connect four!

Overall the summit was a space of learning, self-exploration, community love and growth. If you are interested in learning more about the Brownsville Girls Collaborative or Young Women’s Collective, please contact Tiara McLaughlin   or Jasmine Bowie

Friday, January 20, 2017

A year in Review: Community Initiatives at the Brownsville Community Justice Center


Throughout 2016, the Justice Community program (a youth led program operating out of the Brownsville Community Justice Center) worked with residents, community leaders, and community stakeholders to face community challenges head on.

Brownsville youth (along with Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy youth) strove to become thought leaders in problem solving both personal and community issues, all while developing lasting relationships with staff, each other, and community stakeholders.  Participants even received stipends while they developed their skill sets.

Interest Based Workshops
In an attempt to strengthen their own development, move closer to their goals, and better position themselves to be community advocates, Justice Community participants confidently engaged in a variety of learning opportunities.  Participants selected interests, and then attended workshops to begin their journey to achievement.

At the start of the year, Brownsville youth identified neighborhood deficits and worked to build their own solutions to various challenges.
Justice Community and BLP participants discussing pervasive issues Brooklyn youth face everyday

Justice Community and BLP participants brainstorming solutions

Brownsville Community Justice Center youth build with each other to strengthen family

Brownsville Community Justice Center youth plan for the future

- Work Readiness -
Participants then began attending work readiness workshops developed resumes, participated in mock interviews, practiced personal pitches, received professional dress attire, strengthened workplace etiquette, landed internships, earned vocational certifications (OSHA, Auto Cad, etc.), studied for (and passed) GED/TASC exams, and more.
Nick studying for the TASC exam.  Winning!
Participants preparing for job interviews.  We up!
Participants getting free dress attire for their first internships and jobs.  Nice!

Participants earned OSHA certifications and got hands on experience with tools


- Young Adult Entrepreneurship Program -
Participants who enrolled in the Young Adult Entrepreneurship Program (YAEP) explored the entrepreneur mindset and learned how to create a brand, market themselves, manage finances, foster ideation, and more.  Participants in YAEP took their ideas a step further and also teamed up with The Knowledge House to learn the basics of coding so they could build websites to accompany their businesses.  
Justice Community's Young Adult Entrepreneurs snap a shot with BCJC and Progress Playbook staff

As participants developed their own personal skill sets and goals, they also identified and tackled neighborhood issues.  Providing an alternate narrative to the short sighted reputation permeating Brownsville, youth physically transformed and activated spaces throughout the neighborhood.

Participants showing love to the children of the community

Breaking Bread With The Community


Justice Community artists performing for community onlookers

Stronger Together

Where YOUR shot at though???!!!

Oozing Creativity

Drums, Bass, Guitar, Mic, Sound Check...IT'S LIT!!!


- Youth Club House -
Continuing the work of previous Justice Community cohorts, Justice Community participants designed, built, and activated a youth club house to address the need for more youth and community spaces in Brownsville.
Brownsville Community Justice Center staff planning with a brand new cohort of participants

Before construction was completed, we invited the community to watch a movie and relax in the new space

Watching Barbershop 3
The plans are complete!

Participants built their own space to share with the community

Justice Community participants, staff, and partners finished construction
Let's celebrate the grand opening!

In the spring of 2016, in a media and design workshop at the Brownsville Community Justice Center, a group of youth were tasked with observing and documenting their neighborhood through the lens of a camera. This group found that the most uplifting images were infused with light and showcased their favorite qualities of their community.
Installing kiosks for the photos of the best of Brownsville
The Best of Brownsville Photo Project is now a public art installation under the Livonia Avenue elevated train track. For 11 months, Brownsville youth worked with the Brownsville Community Justice Center to curate photographs taken by their neighbors on a rotating basis to publicly display them as the central aspect of the installation.

The final product!

A Holiday on Belmont Avenue

On Saturday, December 17th, members of the Justice Community and Justice Community Plus programs held the “A Holiday on Belmont Ave” event.  Created, planned, and executed by Brownsville Community Justice Center youth, participants expressed a strong desire to give back while also creating a space where the community can gather together and share some cheer going into the holiday season.  Participants distributed over 300 coats, hats, gloves, sweatshirts, and scarves! 
Come get fresh!!!
Inventory was stacked!
Brownsville residents lined up for their holiday gift!

Justice Community participants got gifts too!
We were a gift giving Brownsville Community Justice Center Pop Up Shop!

A Brownsville Family

We are definitely not all work and no play though.  Participants enjoyed trips to parks, the Barclays, Six Flags Great Adventure, and more!!!
Art in the Park


Six Flags

A pitstop on the way back from Six Flags Great Adventure

The Brownsville Community Justice Center and its Justice Community program looks forward to 2017 and graduating the next cohort of participants and continuing to strengthen the Brownsville family.
"JC Graduation 2016"