Developing Global & Local Communities
Brownsville: Revitalizing a Community, One Person at a Time
The neighborhood of Brownsville, in Brooklyn, N.Y., is home to nearly 60,000 people in an area of barely more than one square mile. Most of them live in 22 public housing complexes. It has one of the highest crime rates in New York City.
While gentrification transforms other parts of Brooklyn, community leaders say this is the time to turn Brownsville around from the inside. They're working hard to do that through everything from justice-system reforms to incubating new businesses to an innovative school that gained worldwide attention when a photographer met one of its students.
In this five-part series, we look at the community leaders behind these efforts and what they're accomplishing as they work to revitalize a community from the ground up.
Erica Mateo returned to Brownsville after college and leads the Community Justice Center, diverting young offenders from the courts into the nurturing hands of their peers.
The Made in Brownsville initiative turns lives around by teaching vocational skills and helping younger people develop a vision for the neighborhood's future.
When the Dream Big Foundation decided to focus on an underserved community, Brownsville gained a new bakery and an incubator for additional startups.
When the photographer behind Humans of New York met a boy named Vidal in Brownsville, it started a story heard from Harvard to the White House.
After playing basketball in college and a year in the pros, Greg Jackson played a pivotal role in the lives of Brownsville kids for decades.
Illustration by Alexandra Compain-Tissier | Glynnis MacNicol is a journalist based in Brooklyn, N.Y., whose work has appeared in Forbes, the New York Daily News, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and other publications. She has been an editor at Business Insider, Mediaite and The Huffington Post and is a cofounder of TheLi.st.