By Stephen Witt
To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and as the East New York/Brownsville communities move ahead with a $1.4 billion state investment into their communities, it should be up to them to prioritize their needs and how the capital is getting spent. That was the genesis of Saturday’s East Brooklyn Call to Action for Health and Economic Justice Forum held at PS 156 Waverly, 104 Sutter Avenue in East New York.
The $1.4 billion investment is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ongoing Vital Brooklyn initiative, which seeks to transform the Central Brooklyn region by identifying and investing in eight integrated areas that will help to establish a national paradigm for addressing chronic disparities such as systemic violence and entrenched poverty in high-need communities.
Among the items funded thus far included the playground at the school where the forum was held, which is part of $10.6 million being provided to transform eight schoolyards into community playgrounds.
“The genesis of the call to action is to get the community to empower themselves rather than having the city invade upon their life,” said Brookdale Hospital & Medical Center Vice President of External Affairs Khari Edwards. “This came about because we’re trying to get the community to take a proactive approach in this.”
The forum, which drew several hundred people, included Dr. Torian Easterling, from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), who delivered an East New York and Brownsville community health profile.