Kensington

Our Schools Are Too Hot To Learn!

On too many days, in over 10,000 classrooms (about 25%), it is simply #TooHotToLearn. In those rooms, rising temperatures have made it unbearable on an increasing number of hot days in May, June, September, and October. Students and teachers report sweltering classrooms. Some have reached 100 degrees. In that heat, students experience headaches, dehydration, and are unable to focus. Students with asthma can’t even safely attend. 

How can we expect teachers to teach, or students to learn? Read more »

Blizzard Advisory: What You Need to Know

It looks like Winter isn’t ready to let go of us yet. A major winter storm is heading our way -- a final parting shot from the season as we head into Spring. Late tonight until tomorrow evening will see about 16-20 inches of snow with worst case scenarios seeing up to 24 inches. Plus, strong gusts of wind.
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Honoring the Life of MTA Worker Louis Gray

Two months ago, MTA employee and father of three Louis Gray was tragically killed while conducting track maintenance at the Church Ave F/G subway station in Kensington. Louis’s maintenance partner Jeffrey Fleming was seriously injured in the same incident. Read more »

Still and always, grateful

Some years, gratitude is closer to the surface. Some years, it takes a little more digging.

Four years ago, as Thanksgiving came, we were recovering from a natural disaster.

Hurricane Sandy had taken the lives of loved ones, and battered our city. There were 500 nursing home evacuees living on the drill floor of the Park Slope Armory. But we found – no, together, we made – a “paradise built in hell” (the title of a brilliant book by Rebecca Solnit, about the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster). With food, music, art, volunteers, bathroom-cleaning, doctors, donations, smart organizing, love, and a deep sense of purpose, we turned that Armory into a place (as described by evacuee Miriam Eisenstein-Drachler) of “courtesy, gentleness, and goodness beyond description.” Even if it could not hold back the hurricane, she said, “it makes one feel more secure and very, very grateful.”

Today, as Thanksgiving comes, we are trying to recover from a political disaster. While the lives lost and damage done by Hurricane Sandy cannot be directly compared, the experience of loss for many of us is still real. Not just that we lost an election, though that will have profound consequences. What feels especially painful to me today is the risk that we’ll lose a vision that we’ve been so proud to hold up for our kids – of a country called to its best self, rooted in compassion, embracing difference, with a real belief (even when we don’t make it real) that everyone deserves a more equal chance across all our lines.

That very dream, and the effort to make it real, provoked a sharp back-lash (a “white-lash”, as Van Jones rightly called it). At this moment, it seems easier to mobilize the darker, more closed, more resentful, sides of humanity – rather than the hopeful, open, embracing ones. I’m afraid, honestly, about what that means for being human.  

Still and always, gratitude is a critical part of the way forward. Not as a way of “feeling better” (although gratitude turns out to be good for your health). And not only because bitterness can consume us (although John Lewis reminds us that hearts full of love will do a lot better to sustain us for a long-term struggle). But also because gratitude for what we do together, for what we can’t do alone, for the ways we need each other, is at the heart of creating an inclusive community. “Organized compassion” is not only how we fight but what we are fighting for.

So, in that spirit, here’s some of what I am so deeply grateful for, still and always: Read more »

Support our immigrant neighbors with a Thanksgiving contribution

The election of Donald Trump has made this a fearful time for many of our immigrant neighbors, especially in Sunset Park and Kensington. We are committed to working closely together with these communities in the days ahead.

Together, we can make work to sure our immigrant communities feel welcomed. We can provide legal assistance, and perhaps even put ourselves on the line with them if the time comes. Big thanks to everyone who attended the Day of Unity and Solidarity in Sunset Park yesterday sponsored by Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

Here’s what you can do today: At yesterday's Unity Festival, more than 130 families signed up (for the first time) to ask for help with their Thanksgiving meal. Council Member Menchaca is working with the Center for Family Life to make sure they get the help they need. But it's going to cost $6,500, and we need to raise it right now. Read more »

Join our Muslim neighbors for a peace & unity rally tomorrow

As New Yorkers, we were collectively saddened and angered by the horrific killing of Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin last Saturday afternoon in Ozone Park. Our hearts go out to their families, to the Ozone Park community, and to the broader Bangladeshi and Muslim communities.

At moments when hate and violence threaten to disrupt the diversity and tolerance that are the bedrock of NYC, it is critical that we stand together.

So I hope you’ll join a “peace and unity rally” tomorrow, organized by leaders of the Bangladeshi Muslim community in Kensington, Brooklyn.

Peace and Unity Rally  
Sunday, August 21, 2016 at 3:00 PM  
Ave C Plaza
McDonald Avenue at Avenue C
(Near Church Avenue F train stop)
Kensington, Brooklyn Read more »

We are Orlando. So let’s do something about it

Even two days later, it’s hard to make sense of the brutal tragedy in Orlando.  There’s something truly incomprehensible – about so many lives lost at once, about raising our kids in a world where mass shootings have become horrifically normal, about the polarized political response, and about our galling failure to act.

First in our hearts are the lives lost and the families torn apart. Last night, outside the Stonewall Inn, thousands of us stood together to read their names.

Tonight at Grand Army Plaza, Public Advocate Tish James with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center and community leaders from Brooklyn’s diverse communities will come together to join for a unity vigil to remember the lives lost in Orlando and stand together in the face of hatred.

Unity Vigil to Honor the Lives Lost in Orlando
Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn NY
7:30 PM, Tonight (June 14)

As we remember and begin to heal, we are learning more about the 49 people – mostly young, LGBTQ, and Latino – killed while dancing and celebrating together.  Read more »

Parks, Plazas, and More --- New Open Spaces to Enjoy in Kensington this summer

Summer is here and across New York City, our public parks and shared outdoor spaces are in high demand. That’s why I’m pleased to tell you that – after several years of hard work and significant investment—Kensington has two brand new outdoor spaces for you to enjoy this summer: the renovated Dome Playground, and starting this weekend, a public plaza at McDonald Avenue and Avenue C. Come celebrate with us Sunday at our brand new plaza! Read more »

A traffic light that shines more brightly than usual

New stoplight at Caton Avenue and E. 8th Street

We usually take stop-lights for granted. We stop-on-red, go-on-green, yield-to-pedestrians in the crosswalk, and don’t think too much about it. But the installation of the new traffic-light at Caton Avenue and E. 8th Street signals something bigger: our sorrow at the loss of a young man, and our commitment to do something about it. Read more »