Community Board 3 held its monthly meeting on Monday, May 6 at Restoration Plaza. The board, which represents the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill Communities, grabbed headlines recently for its support of a proposed street-naming after community activist and former Black Panther Sonny Abubadika Carson. Earlier last year, the board collectively voted in favor of renaming five city blocks along Gates Avenue in honor of the neighborhood hero. However, last month City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, backed by Mayor Bloomberg, asked that Sonny Carson’s name be pulled from a list of 53 proposed street and intersection names. Quinn stated Carson’s history of “Antiwhite” statements reflects a divisiveness that doesn’t merit government recognition through a street sign.
Councilman Al Vann, who presented the proposed street-naming to council members, made a special trip to Community Board 3 to give an update. He insured all that with their support he will continue to fight for the renaming. “We cannot and will not allow others to decide who our community should honor,” stated Councilman Vann.
Prior to Councilman Vann’s update, CB3 conducted a full agenda which included three (3) informational presentations from the Social Service Committee. Chaired by Mizelle Albright, the presentations were given by Carlos Jess, Technical Assistance Training Specialist for the Community Service Society & Service Volunteers. Mr. Jess gave a full presentation of its sponsored Planned Re-Entry for Incarcerated Adolescents program. Little Flower Children & Family Services of New York’s Recruiter/Home Finder, Duayer Porter, made an emotional plea for support in finding homes for foster care children; and Aubrey Featherstone, Executive Director of Manhattan-based Edwin Gould Services for Children, invited participants to a listening session which will afford his organization an opportunity to identify where they can best help the residents of Bedford-Stuyvesant.
During the public hearing session, Youth, Parks & Recreation Committee Chair Marion Little introduced Eric Deadwiley, representative from the Hart Street Block Association who is requesting a letter of support to rename Pulaski Playground to Heritage Row Playground and certified dog trainer, Richard O. Davis, Jr., who seeks CB3 support for a dog run area in Herbert Von King Park. CB3 board members voted 36 in favor of the street- naming and 28 for and 8 against the dog run.
Other public hearing items included a special presentation from Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum’s office, who seeks a letter of support to reinstate its Ready Access to Assist Act (REAACT) program. Presented by Gotbaum’s Brooklyn liaison Natasha Richardson, the program allows advocate on-site access to assist applicants in filling out paperwork for public assistance. The program lost its funding under the Giuliani Administration. CB3 voted 36 in its favor.
Willie Wren, Sr., President of the Central Brooklyn Community Service Center, made a plea to CB3 for a letter supporting its HRA contract renewal. The multiservice center, located at 1958 Fulton Street, has undergone major renovations under Mr. Wren’s administration and is in the process of creating an indoor gymnasium and outdoor court. CB3 voted 36 in favor of the letter.
One of the last items on the agenda was the annual Sunshine Initiative District Needs Survey. This survey, introduced by Budget Committee Chair Bernice McRae, solicits residents’ input concerning items to be included in the fiscal Capital & Expense budget. Ms. McRae encouraged all attendees to fill out the form which helps the committee to address critical areas that benefit the ongoing revitalization of Bedford-Stuyvesant
Community Board 3 meets at Restoration Plaza Community Room, 1360 Fulton Street, the first Monday of the month.
Keith L. Forest is a freelance publicist, writer and proud Bedford-Stuyvesant homeowner who lives and works in the beloved community. His current blog space mybedstuy.blogspot.com seeks to celebrate the people and places that make up this great community while addressing issues such as gentrification, predatory lending and other ill norms that seek to exploit, discredit and harm the area and its people.