Brownsville Youth Leadership Council
Brownsville youth are closest to the solutions that build true community safety. MAP launched the Brownsville Youth Leadership Council to build on youth expertise and power. Young residents from public housing developments in the Brooklyn neighborhood gather to lead local efforts for unity, healing, and change.
With support from the Brownsville Community Justice Center and the Youth Design Center, the Brownsville Youth Leadership Council engages in community-level service, peer-to-peer mentorship, and personal and community development. Young people receive one-on-one coaching and work as a team to address community safety and well-being.
The Brownsville community experienced extreme trauma during the summer of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened food insecurity and health risks throughout the community. Civil unrest, racial injustice, and community violence magnified stress and strained public safety. The Brownsville Youth Leadership Council convened 40 young people aged 15- 24 to strategize solutions that prioritized safety and healing to address these concerns.
Brownsville YouthStat members referenced their experiences navigating COVID-19 and community violence to:
- Produce mobile healing installations in specific locations typically associated with violence and trauma with art, physical design, and music
- Serve hundreds of Brownsville households weekly with COVID-19 relief efforts
- Participate in virtual interest-based programs, exploring technology, art, and political education
- Build an augmented reality app that allows users to engage virtually with physical spaces and art
The Spring session includes 10 young people representing each of the 10 housing developments in Brownsville. During April, the youth participants and staff took part in ten youth-led healing pop-ups at each development, increasing access to immersive healing modalities through light, nature, and sound. The Council participates in a range of activities, including: weekly leadership development programming; training in restorative and transformative justice circle practices; and emotional intelligence training with the Torch Academy. The Council continues to strengthen their understanding of healing needs for the Brownsville community through surveys and feedback. At the 2021 street festival, “BeOnBelmont,” YLC launched their newest healing sanctuary, the ‘Release and Restore Room,’ where community members were invited to express different emotions through touch, collaborative art, and reflection.
Are you a Brownsville resident between the ages of 15- 24 interested in leading social justice in your community?