Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Penultimate Party at the Starlite Lounge





For those who haven't heard, Brooklyn's oldest black-owned, non-discriminating nightclub, the Starlite Lounge, closes for good at its landmark location on Bergen and Nostrand tomorrow night. True to form, they're going out with a bang (see the press release from their management below), but I swung by tonight for a beer and some photos of the legendary establishment. Though a tragic loss by any measure, Nostrand Park reports a silver lining, namely, that the Starlite hopes to reopen nearby at Pacific and Nostrand as early as September.

From the Starlite Lounge Management & Staff

It is with a heavy heart that we are forced to announce that The Starlite Lounge has lost its highly-publicized battle to stay open in its landmark location.

The stars will shine their light for the last time on Saturday, July 31, 2010.

We would love for you, the Starlight family, to come and enjoy our last night together in this location. But no worries, there are plans for a fresh, new beginning for The Starlite Lounge. Be on the lookout for e-mails and updates for The Starlite’s rebirth in a new location!!

COME IN YOUR SEXIEST SLEEPWEAR FOR OUR PAJAMA PARTY FINALE!!!!!!

They’ll have their final Karaoke tomorrow (Thursday July 29), and a DJ with performances on Friday (the 30th). Then the pajama party on Saturday – I think it starts at 10pm, and entry is $10 if you’re wearing pajamas ($12 if you’re not).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kids Day Video



Apologies for the dearth of posts, it's my final week at work. In lieu of prose, here's a video from the Kids Day of some young runners in action.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Result: Snubbr - ILFA Poetry Contest!

These kids slugged it out in the bouncy-boxing ring on Saturday at the Kids Day, but over the past few weeks, eleven poets have dueled on this comment thread for some (rather minimal) bragging rights and, more importantly, a gift certificate to Coldstone courtesy of our sponsor, product recommendation website Snubbr. After many a false promise and delay, our secret committee (I swear it didn't involve a dartboard) gives you the winner, Rosemeg's Acrostic:

Acrostic? Acrostic!

Hot as hell from
Eastern Parkway to
Atlantic Avenue
Time slipping slow,
Water in flow from wrenched open hydrants.
All the city sighing, all of us
Vying for cool breeze, the sweet, lazy ease of
Evening shade on leafy streets, for night's relief from this crazy heat.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a poem -- they were fantastic, far beyond what I expected (which was two or three haikus and maybe a naughty limerick - and for the record, the haiku we did get was great, and damn near won). I'll be posting them all throughout the rest of the summer, and if you send me a way to get it to you, I'll send along a genuine I Love Franklin Ave sticker when they're ready in a month or so.

As to the poem our committee picked, one of our nameless members mentioned that it grew on him like a fungus, and I wholeheartedly agree: at first, it's a humble little acrostic, a child's game, no? But read it aloud -- there's a satisfying cadence that picks up as it rolls along, with a sweet little couplet hidden in the final lines:

of evening shade on leafy streets,
for night's relief from this crazy heat.

Who'd have thought? I like it - it's sneaky, it's fun, it's summery, and it's got skills tucked confidently away beneath a no-frills exterior. What could be more Crown Heights than that?

What a Day!




(I couldn't resist)

The 3rd Annual Franklin Avenue Kids Day was a humongous success on Saturday, treating kids of all ages to rides, treats, and fun all afternoon despite the heat. Many, many thanks to About Time Boutique and Collective Concept PR for leading the charge on this fantastic day out for the community. More photos and video are up on the About Time Blog.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Fun: Kids Day and More!


(Kids play ball on Pacific Street last week)

The Franklin Avenue Kids Day should be a great show tomorrow, barring too many thunderstorms. Volunteers get there at 9, kids start showing up at 10. The event has gotten some nice buzz on local news channels, and Kevin from About Time had a nice profile in AMNewYork on Thursday, though I can't find it online to save my life.

For adults who want to relive their childhoods, LaunchPad will be showing the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (vastly superior to the Tim Burton remake, and a movie that you actually remember fondly from your childhood, instead of from some crappy date) at their semi-regular, totally free movie night. They've even got an old-school popcorn machine, and you can booze, too!

Finally, my heartfelt apologies to all poets who posted their work to the ILFA/Snubbr Poetry Contest. I said I'd have the results on Monday, instead, I will have them tomorrow, just in time for the 100 degree day that's forecast. Thanks to everyone who participated, I really enjoyed your work (and when I'm on vacation in August, I'm going to cheat-blog by just posting your poems at random)!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Franklin Avenue Kids Day - Volunteers Needed!

If you're available Friday night or Saturday, the Franklin Avenue Kids Day needs your help! Volunteers are needed to help clean up the Avenue and keep it clear of parked cars, and to help with set-up and supervision on the day of the event. Prospective volunteers should contact Garnett at 347.576.4004 or garnett {at} collectiveconceptpr {dot} com.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Franklin Avenue Kids Day (and more)

This Saturday, Franklin will be closed to traffic from Park to Sterling all day as Crown Heights celebrates the 3rd Annual Franklin Avenue Kids Day. Brought to you by the dynamic duo of Kevin and Garnett, the driving forces behind About Time Boutique and Collective Concept PR, respectively, and co-sponsored by the CHCA, the event will feature a host of great activities for kids of all ages from 10am - 5pm on Saturday. If you've got kids, bring 'em, and if you don't, there's still time to donate and volunteer. Contact info {at} collectiveconceptpr {dot} com to share your talents and talents with local children. My alter-ego will be out there all day, supervising an obstacle course and relay races courtesy of New York Road Runners. Nostrand Park has some video about the event up here, though one of us is getting the timing wrong, as they say it starts at high noon.

A few other quick notes:

- The CHCA is celebrating a successful campaign to keep the Impact Zone on Franklin (no word yet on whether Nostrand will remain an Impact Zone, though the latest bust should be enough to convince the NYPD if the demands of local residents will not). Thanks to all who sent letters. If you feel compelled, you can thank the NYPD here.

- The ILFA/Snubbr poetry contest will be resolved soon, I promise - the judges are deliberating as I write this. If you hadn't contributed such a fantastic and varied bunch of poems, it wouldn't be so hard! Thanks to everyone who submitted - I wish I could give you all ice cream.

- For the environmentalist set, Brooklyn Green Drinks hits Franklin Park from 7-10pm tomorrow night. Here's their blurb: BKLYN Green Drinks is a free monthly, informal, and sustainably minded social networking event. It’s the once-a-month happy hour for Brooklyn-and-beyond environmentalists to wind down, wind up, meet, greet, network, and start things. We get folks from all parts of the city and visitors from across the country, from students to artists to NGOs and municipal workers, and they’ve all got interesting things to say.

Monday, July 19, 2010

CHCA Appeal - Maintain the Impact Zone on Franklin

A professor once told me never to start a presentation with an apology, but I feel compelled: there were community events, including yoga at Force and Flow and LaunchPad and a CHCA mural project re-painting, that I missed over the weekend. In my defense, it was the lady's birthday, and even the Avenue's longest-suffering blog-widow needs some TLC now and again.

But back to the issues at hand - after a non-fatal broad-daylight shooting on Saturday, the block remains hot, and the Crow Hill Community Association remains concerned, rightfully so. The CHCA lobbied hard for the impact zone that has brought dozens of extra officers to Franklin and Nostrand since last August, and they're not happy the the NYPD are planning to shut it down at the end of the month. Their complete appeal is below, but in short, they're asking local citizens to write to Commissioner Kelly and demand that the impact zone be continued.

The impact zone strategy is not without its critics: it utilizes new officers (recent Police Academy grads) in unfamiliar areas who may be more mistake-prone than the local Precinct cops, and the aggressive nature of the strategy can turn minor misunderstandings into arrests that alienate community members. That said, a lot of people I've talked to from all walks of life have had positive things to say about the increased police presence (some wish that it had come far sooner, and some question its concurrent arrival with younger, paler residents, but that's a whole 'nother post), and many of them think crime is down.

At any rate, if you'd like to see the impact zone on Franklin continue, read on:

Hello All,

By this time, you probably know a young man was shot in the leg on Franklin Avenue, Saturday afternoon at about 2:30. What you might not know is that Commissioner Kelly is planning to pull the Impact Zone from Franklin and Nostrand Avenues at the end of the month. This means we will lose the increased foot patrol that has had such a positive effect on our community since January.


We got the first Impact Zone as the result of a very strong letter writing campaign.We need to do another immeadiately!!! Even while our neighborhood continues to improve, this is the 3rd shooting on Franklin since the middle of May. Below (and attached as a word.doc) is a letter to send to Commissioner KellyPLEASE do it today. You can send the letter the way it is, or even better, personalize it: Say how long you have lived in the community, mention if you are raising a family here or if you have a business in the area. But the most important thing is to send it!

We would like to have an idea of how many letters go out, so when you send yours, please reply to this email and just say "I did it"Thanks and we look forward to seeing you at the About Time Kids Day event this coming Saturday on Franklin between Park & Sterling,stop by the Crow Hill table and say hi.

July 18, 2010

Raymond Kelly
Commissioner, NYPD
One Police Plaza
New York, NY 10038

Dear Commissioner Kelly: I am a resident of the Crow Hill section of Crown Heights and I understand that at the end of the month Franklin Avenue will no longer be part of the Impact Zone. Given the escalation of gun violence on Franklin over the last couple of months I find this alarming; just this past Saturday someone was shot on our crowded summer street at 2:30 in the afternoon. We can not afford to lose this protection!

The Impact Zone officers have had a very positive effect on Franklin Avenue. The large groups of aggressive young men hanging out on our street corners have diminished and there is less evidence of drug activity, this in turn has led to a more vibrant street life for residents which we both know is an excellent deterrent to crime. But with summer here, it is critical to keep a strong police presence on Franklin Avenue.

We must not allow Franklin Avenue to revert back to more dangerous times.

These shootings MUST stop.Please keep the Impact Zone on Franklin Avenue.

Sincerely,
(your name)

(your address)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Everything For Sale, Ice Cream for FREE

According to this sign, the contents of the vacant lot at Bergen and Franklin are for sale, though in all the times I've passed since the sign went up last week, I haven't seen a single salesperson, transaction, or even so much as a sign of life (save for the sign, which is fading rapidly). Still, if you're looking for a dilapidated Lincoln Town Car or Ford Thunderbird, or maybe an old trailer or two, you've come to the right place. I wonder if this means new construction?

Also, the first-ever I Love Franklin Avenue Poetry Contest, made possible by product-rec website Snubbr, has been extended through the weekend, with the winner to be notified on Monday. We've only got five entries, folks, which means this contest is still wide-open. Call upon the muse, sing of arms and the man (and Franklin Ave.), and win yourself a FREE $50 gift certificate to Coldstone! We're not looking for stunning literary achievement here (though if you've got it, flaunt it), but merely some reflections in verse on one hot Crown Heights summer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tomorrow Night: Help LaunchPad build their sculpture garden!

Straight from the fine folks at LaunchPad, a great event (with FOOD) tomorrow night:

Help LaunchPad create an outdoor sculpture from the ground up! Bring one object to contribute to our community-made work of art. The object can be anything: a chair, a tennis racket, a broken Walkman, your hat, whatever. We’ll have duct tape, a hot glue gun, and a drill with screws that you can use to attach your object to the objects other people bring. Piece by piece, we’ll build a sculpture that will remain on temporary exhibit at LaunchPad.

We’ll grill burgers until we run out, so feel free to bring snacks and goodies to share. BYOB.

Please don’t forget to bring your object!


Date: Friday, July 16, 2010
Time: 6:30pm - 10:00pm
Location: LaunchPad
Street: 721 Franklin Avenue
City/Town:
Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brooklyn Be Heard! Submit Your Questions for the AG Debate

I meant to post this on Monday, but better late than never. For more information on the event, click on the flyer above.

Brooklyn, NY – The DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College, which is hosting a debate between the Democratic candidates for New York State Attorney General on Thursday, July 15 at 6:30 PM, is still accepting question submissions from residents of Central Brooklyn.

The debate will include three questions selected from submitted questions by central Brooklyn residents. Submissions can be emailed to
CentralBKDebate [at] gmail [dot] com and must include the resident’s first name and last initial or name, as well as the central Brooklyn neighborhood of residence (i.e. Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, etc.).

All five of the Democratic Party candidates are confirmed to participate in the event. The list of candidates includes Assemblyman Richard Brodsky; Sean Coffey, lead attorney in the WorldCom securities case; former New York State Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo; Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice; and State Senator Eric Schneiderman.

The candidates are expected to address a number of questions considered to be of particular concern to central Brooklyn residents and those living in the state’s urban centers. Topics will range from the discriminatory implementation of police policies and tactics, to protecting New Yorkers from lending and real estate fraud.

The moderator of the debate will be Jonathan P. Hicks, a senior fellow at the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy and a former political writer with The New York Times. The debate will be held in Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College at 1650 Bedford Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn.

The debate is co-sponsored by several political clubs from central Brooklyn: Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA); Progressive Association for Political Action (PAPA); Rosa Parks Democratic Club; Thomas S. Boyland Democratic Club; New Era Democratic Club; Progressive Democratic Political Association; and the Unity Democratic Club. For more information, please contact Mandela Jones at (914) 610-0942 or
bkvann2009[at] gmail [dot] com.

A Future Saint Who Trod the Avenue?


The Daily News ran a fantastic article (seriously, read it) yesterday about Rev. Msgr. Bernard Quinn, an Irish-American from Newark who became a priest, fought in the trenches of France in World War I, and returned home to found Brooklyn's first African-American Catholic Church in an era when black Catholics were routinely barred from attending mass in NYC. He converted an old Protestant church at 29 Claver Place (a short block from Franklin Avenue), named it St. Peter Claver after the 17th-Century Spanish abolitionist priest, and ministered to the people of Bed-Stuy and North Crown Heights until his death in 1940, when 8,000 people lined the local streets in his honor. He didn't settle for being a pathbreaking Catholic parish priest, either, but founded an orphanage for homeless children in Wading River (despite the Klan burning his buildings down not once but twice!) that grew into Little Flower Children and Family Services, and made time to found another African-American Catholic Church, St. Benedict the Moor, in Jamaica, Queens.

The Diocese of Brooklyn has just opened a formal case for the canonization of Father Quinn, receiving widespread support from local Catholics led by the current priest at St. Peter Claver, Rev. Paul Jervis (who was so moved by the impact Quinn had made on his neighborhood when he arrived in 1988 that he wrote a full-length biography of him). I don't usually dabble in matters of religion, and I don't presume to tell the Catholic Church how it should act, but it strikes me that Father Quinn embodies all of the things one would hope for a religious leader. Word has it that it's not that easy to become a saint, but if the Pope is looking for ways to redeem the reputation of his church in wake of scandal piled upon scandal, let's hope he starts by honoring a local hero who faced down bigotry, arson, and poverty to build a better life for our community.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Places to Stay in Crown Heights - Updated

Best Western's Arena Hotel, which Nostrand Park scooped back in the winter, has just opened, and until the RatnerDome gets built, you can be sure there'll be space for any visitors who decide to come through.

If your guests decide they'd like some cheaper digs, however, you could always send them to the Pacific Loft Hostel (pictured), an unexpected little spot that I came across yesterday on Pacific just west of Franklin. It's an unassuming little brick rowhouse, sandwiched between a funeral home and a scrapyard, but the folks out front (mostly European, based on their accents), said the place was cheap and comfortable inside. Plus, it's steps away from all the charms of Franklin Avenue!

(Speaking of the charms of Franklin, the rumor mill has it that a wine bar may be making an appearance in one of the vacant storefronts between Eastern and Park soon, and that the Walgreen's deal for the Mazon site at Franklin and Eastern is closing on done. More to come on both fronts.)

UPDATE: Thanks to those who replied mentioning the Sterling Bed and Breakfast on Sterling between Franklin and Bedford (three rooms and an expanded continental breakfast) and the Missing Lantern Urban Inn on Dean between Bedford and Nostrand.

Also, two quick thoughts on the comments so far:

@anonymous: I get (I think) the idea of hating on a wine bar as a symbol of gentrification, but I think you're mixing your haterades with the "go back to Ohio" bit. When I think "wine bar," Ohio is pretty far down my list.

@LaurelB: I was having the Prospect Heights/Crown Heights debate with a friend awhile back as we got off the 4 at Franklin, and in defense of her calling her neighborhood (she's on Lincoln and Franklin) "Prospect Heights," she pointed to the MTA's local map, which sprawls the words "Prospect Heights" directly across Franklin at St. John's. I was a little bit dumbfounded, honestly--according to almost everyone I talk to, this isn't the accepted boundary, and yet I don't think of MTA maps as being the products of real estate rebranding. Any thoughts?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Reading Series TOMORROW!

Can't seem to find a way out of NYC for a summer vacation? Come one, come all, to the Franklin Park Reading Series' 2nd annual Travels and Journeys night, tomorrow (Monday) at 8pm. This particular event has won mentions from Time Out New York, the Daily News, New York Magazine, and the high temple of American fiction, the New Yorker, so you know it's worth checking out. Your readers will be:

Teddy Wayne (who was great last year at this time, by the way, which is to say he was a great reader, which is not always the same thing as being a great writer, though, in this case, he's both)
Deanna Fei
Aaron Lake Smith
Tai Allen

Kudos as always to Penina for putting together such a great night. Remember to enter through Dutch Boy Burger, and to ask for the drink specials!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Hello Weekend (Brooklyn Sounds Great)


(first seen on 2DopeBoyz)

Forget getting out of the city -- Brooklyn is what's happening this weekend. Here are a few of the main events:

- Tomorrow (Friday), local educator Jarrett Mathis launches Empowering Ourselves Now, a feature-length documentary born of his interactive workshop of the same name, at the Bedford Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, just north of Franklin and Fulton, from 3:30 - 5:00 pm. More information here.

- Friday evening, check out Latin-funk superstars Ozomatli at the Prospect Park Bandshell. If you've never seen them live, they put on one of the best shows in the business, one that almost invariably ends with a giant drum circle in the center of the crowd.

- On Saturday, check out the latest edition of the Weeksville Heritage Society's Summer Garden Party Concert series, featuring Valerie June and Kameron Corvet. Doors at 4, Music at 6, Film at 8. The "Best Outdoor Bash of the Summer" (according to the NYDN) is also looking for volunteers, in shifts that run from 10am -3pm, 3pm-8pm, and 5pm-10pm. To learn more about getting involved, email Erin McMonagle at erin [at] weeksvillesociety [dot] org.

- If you need a third night of music, make sure to check out the launch of OkayAfrica, featuring The Roots, Talib Kweli, and many more great artists, at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Event info here.

- Finally, slake your wanderlust at the Franklin Park Reading Series' Travels and Journeys night on Monday at 8pm. More to come on this, but rest assured that there'll be great readers and drink specials as usual.

Write a Poem, Win Free Ice Cream!

The weather is almost bearable today, but the past week has been cruel and unusual as far as heat goes. In the spirit of staying cool in the face of Mother Nature's toughest love, I Love Franklin Ave. is teaming up with Snubbr.com to offer one talented reader a $50 Coldstone gift certificate in exchange for a little creative reflection on the summer's heat. (Some of you may recognize Snubbr from their similar giveaway pairing with Brokelyn last month).

We wanted to challenge readers for more than just a plain comment on the weather, and with the July Franklin Park Reading Series coming up, we settled on a poetry contest. Any poetic form is acceptable, as long as it's 14 lines or less (making room for the Shakespearian sonnet) and the subject matter is Franklin Avenue/Crown Heights in the summer. Length and poetic sophistication will not necessarily be rewarded, so feel free to use haiku (the Reading Series occasionally inspires me to try my clumsy hand at these), acrostic, or limerick. Enter by posting your poem as a comment to this thread, and if you're posting anonymously, include a way to contact you should you win (US entries only, sorry!). A panel of three distinguished judges will select the winner in one week's time, and we'll mail the gift card shortly thereafter. Have at it!

Snubbr, which suggested this promotion, is a product-recommendation site that's building its profile through fun, free giveaways on blogs (they do gift recommendations, too).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Triple Digits!


Stay cool, Crown Heights, stay cool.

Unauthorized Mural Painters?

A few weeks back, the Crow Hill Community Association primed the construction fence at Franklin and Eastern in preparation for their mural project, which will come to full fruition in September. In the meantime, the white fence has sat as a blank canvas, inviting unauthorized muralists to strut their own stuff. The latest, most impressive tag went up last Thursday night, when I snapped this photo of the spray-can picassos in action, though by Monday morning their work had already been defaced by other, less imaginative taggers.

It's easy to feel ambivalent about the proliferation of tags on the fence, as did some of the folks on Brooklynian. On the one hand, this isn't exactly what people have in mind when they hear the words "community mural," and with violence and gang activity still very much a reality on Franklin (e.g. the double shooting on Franklin that took place on Friday night), providing a wide-open space for competing turf-marking seems potentially problematic. On the other hand, the CHCA folks pretty much knew this would happen, and when it was brought up at the meeting in May, the organizers of the project aruged that having the space painted white all summer would attract the attention of artists and and community members, and that the tags could easily be painted over. It's also worth noting that not all taggers are gangsters (the Smart Crew, who created this great one at Franklin and Atlantic, certainly are not), and that sometimes, their work adds some welcome color to a wall.

I had my own moment of ambivalence taking this picture - should I have asked them what they were doing and if they were supposed to be doing it? The two taggers were working from a big duffel bag of cans in broad daylight as people poured out of of the subway stop, which led me to believe that they had some legitimacy, or at least weren't too concerned with any repercussions. At the same time, I don't think they were authorized by the Crow Hill folks, and this does make for more work on the mural later down the line. But I was in a hurry, and as I mentioned above, the organizers didn't seem to concerned, so I just kept going.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Cool off on a hot 4th!

Veggies, the latest addition to the hustle and bustle of Franklin, has opened its doors, serving all manner of smoothies made with fresh fruits and vegetables. Anyone tried one yet?

Down the street, Lily & Fig has homemade ice cream for sale, in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry (sorbet).

Happy 4th of July, everybody - where better to celebrate than Brooklyn, where one in 7 Americans can trace their heritage at some point or another?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Empowering Ourselves Now




Yesterday, I wrote about a departed advocate for civil rights from our neighborhood, and added that I believe Brooklyn can and does still produce individuals of this caliber. Today, as if in answer to this statement, I received the following press release (and video) from Jarrett Mathis, a lifelong Bed-Stuy resident, Dartmouth alumnus, and director of Empowering Ourselves Now, a series of workshops and materials (including an upcoming documentary) that he created to empower black youth through African-American history. Check out the press release below for more information, and be sure to make it to their documentary launch next Friday, July 9, at the Bedford branch of the Brooklyn Library.

Empowering Our Youth - Empowering Ourselves - Press Release

Media Contact: jarrett {at} empoweringourselvesnow {dot} com

Five years ago, Jarrett Mathis, a young man growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y.,finally became fed up. Too often he heard black youth refer to themselves using demeaning terms like nigga (even as a term of endearment), bitch, faggot, and hoe — language often condoned by popular music. And the prevalence of the disparaging language appeared to coincide with a decline in the number of classes devoted to black history in the public school curriculum.

This upsetting trend led Mathis to craft an interactive workshop that has helped to empower black youth and reduce violence in inner cities across the country. Over the past four years, Mathis has traveled throughout New York, Florida, California, New Hampshire, and Philadelphia to present his"Empowering Ourselves" workshop.

"Boys and girls become more interested in finding ways to not only further empower themselves, but also their peers,” Mathis says. “This has sparked a greater interest in finishing high school and going to college, not to mention that it has made the schools and communities I've worked in safer.”

Mathis has now transformed his workshop into a documentary, “Empowering Ourselves,” free online for use by students and teachers. The 75-minute documentary is available on Mathis’ website, EmpoweringOurselvesNow.com.The trailer for the film can be viewed [above].

If preliminary reactions are any indication, this film is sure to have the impact Mathis wants. “This is an important film that I wish every child in our community could watch," according to Tameka Landers, a first grade public school teacher in Brooklyn.

Elizabeth O'Neil, also a sixth grade public school teacher, in Brooklyn,echoed those sentiments, saying, "The documentary blew me away. It contains so much information that is left out of textbooks."

”Empowering Ourselves,” available online now, will officially launch on Friday July 9. To celebrate the event, there will be a party that same day at the Bedford Brooklyn Public Library, 496 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn,N.Y 11238, from 3:30pm-5:30 p.m. There will be free pizza, drinks, and ice cream. A signed NBA jersey will be raffled off to one lucky person. All are welcomed.