Safety can't be produced by the justice system alone. The Brownsville Rapid Response Coalition was formed by neighborhood-based organizations in response to a mass shooting.
On Saturday, July 27th, 2019, while hundreds were gathered for the annual Old Timers Day festival in Brownsville, Brooklyn, twelve people were shot and one person lost their life. The Brownsville Rapid Response Coalition was formed by neighborhood-based organizations in response to this mass shooting.
As a Brownsville native, I am proud to be part of this coalition, which is taking a boots-on-the-ground, neighbor-to-neighbor approach to helping survivors heal, while aiming to prevent future violence and preserve the cultural legacy of Brownsville’s Old Timers Day. The coalition’s members include a broad range of neighborhood organizations that prevent and respond to violence, create spaces for healing and restorative justice, tackle poverty, mentor youth, and provide spiritual guidance.
At the Center for Court Innovation, we have made significant investments in both Brownsville and in community-led crime prevention. This includes the Brownsville Community Justice Center, which taps into and develops the talents of local young people, and Save Our Streets, which trains credible messengers to prevent violence before it happens. And it includes our placemaking efforts that are helping activate disused public spaces and increase neighborhood vitality.
Safety cannot be produced by the justice system alone, particularly in communities with a long-standing distrust of that same system. Nor is there any single program or idea that can solve a problem like gun violence—in Brownsville or elsewhere. But in the days to come Brownsville can be a living example of how a community can come together in the wake of tragedy to support survivors and prevent future violence. At the Center for Court Innovation, we are more dedicated than ever to being a part of this work.
Director of Community Initiatives