Real Estate

Equality For Flatbush & Community Members March Against Gentrification, Tenant Abuse & Police Violence In Flatbush

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(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)
(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)

On Saturday, August 13, protesters converged near the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard to march against gentrification, tenant abuse, racism and police violence. Armed with water bottles, signs, and banners on one of the hottest days summer, this group was part of the inaugural event to protest this combination of issues in Flatbush and East Flatbush, according to Imani Henry.

Henry, an organizer with the Equality for Flatbush, said about 250 people participated on Saturday but many more contributed work behind the scenes.

(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)
(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)

“Two hundred and fifty people from all over Brooklyn braved the heat to march in the sun, but there were hundreds more who participated in this effort beforehand. Many people went door-to-door to get endorsements from businesses, who then put up flyers in their windows or on their walls. All the folks who were out leafleting late into evening or the people in the community who asked for more flyers for their buildings and churches,” Henry said.

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(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)

During the initial rally, community members and organizers addressed the crowd, then the group marched through Flatbush to raise awareness on the dangers of higher rent prices, gentrification, tenant abuse and police violence. Equality for Flatbush posted the march live through social media, widening the event’s reach.

The protesters made several stops along the route, including one in front of the real estate office Myspace NYC located on Flatbush Avenue, before making their way down Bedford Avenue to the 67th Precinct.

(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)
(Photo courtesy Equality For Flatbush / Instagram)

For participants, the issues hit close to home. “It’s important for all residents of New York City, and in particular those of us who live in Flatbush and East Flatbush, to support this march,” said Judy S. Jones, a tenant leader who lives in Westbury Court. “To stand up against police violence, gentrification, and racism. To have a voice in the future of the shaping of this community, where we can all prosper in peace, love and unity.”

Other Flatbush residents echoed Jones’ sentiment. “I am marching with Equality for Flatbush because I live in an amazing community and I’d like to keep it that way,” said Sonya Palmer, Equality for Flatbush activist. “I have lived in Flatbush all my life. On my block, people say hello to you on the street and ask you how your mom is doing. We have some of the most beautiful architecture in all of NYC. We have some of the best doubles and jerk chicken in all of NYC. My neighborhood doesn’t need to be “developed.” My community’s worth shouldn’t be based on how many white people live here or how many coffee shops we have. This is why I’m fighting.”

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know if these people realize that they are not indigenous residents of Flatbush. Prior to the 1960’s Flatbush was 99.99% white. As long as people are willing to pay the current exorbitant rents there will be so called gentrification. As we’ve seen again and again neighborhoods change and there’s nothing these demonstrators can do about it. From my observation over many years, there is considerably less discrimination in Flatbush than in many areas of NYC.

    I suggest that instead of demonstrating, this small group of people would accomplish more if they worked to improve the community, reduce crime, which would decrease police interactions with community members. The police are in the minority areas to protect the residents, not to abuse anyone.

  2. I moved to Flatbush from the Pink Houses in 1970. It was a great neighborhood with beautiful homes and neighbors. The influx of low income and welfare clients into the projects on Foster Ave off Nostrand resulted in a large increase in crime. Property values decreased and many hard working middle-class residents were forced to flee. The racism I encountered was from Blacks. The police presence increased as crime rates went up. I agree that rents are way too high. But stop with this only black lives matter. That in itself is a racist statement and makes your point moot.

  3. Pink houses is 1000% worse now than in 1970. I assume you are referring to the former Vandaveer Estates on Foster and New York Avenue which became a dangerous place in the 1970’s. All lives matter. As a matter of fact more Blacks are killed by other Blacks in Flatbush every year than the total number of people killed by police in the entire state of New York during a year. These folks should protect young Blacks from other young Blacks. If there’s a better way to do that than having the NYPD in crime prone neighborhoods, they should make their solution public and implement it instead of marching against the police..

  4. I have known several former and current members of NYPD. They fight a losing battle everyday with few thanks from the worst neighborhoods. Stepping up to the plate and helping reduce the crime rate from within would entail accepting responsibility and losing the ability to blame others for the problems.

  5. Based on the photo, it looked more Iike 40 people, not 250.

    The folks who spent their time demonstrating could be more useful working with one of the groups who fight the bad landlords. That would help the tenants live in a good environment and help them avoid being illegally kicked out. Demonstrations will not stop gentrification. It just makes the demonstrators feel good.

  6. I was able to hear someone tell this community organizer as he
    carried signs that BLACK LIVES MATTER that ALL LIVES MATTER. Why was he
    so fumingly agitated? Will he become so agitated when a police officer
    is murdered? Will he become so agitated when unsavory tenants destroy a
    landlord’s property? Will he become so agitated at his supporters who
    express racism? Will he become so agitated at those litterers who dirty our streets? Where will all this agitation lead?

  7. Imani Henry the man behind this demonstration reminds me of the late Sonny Carson who lead the boycott of the Korean grocers on Church Avenue. Racists come in all colors.

  8. “Black Lives Matter” does not mean “only black lives matter” any more than “Merry Christmas!” means “only Christmas should be celebrated.”

  9. I can’t live anywhere I want to live. I don’t have enough money to do that.

    Where are the demonstrators?

    Where’s the outrage?

  10. Then why was he so agitatated when someone told him ALL LIVES MATTER? Is it possible to him BLACK LIVES MATTER than all others? Certainly not a follower of the RAINBOW COALITION.

  11. No, Brooklyn is not for sale. (Well, parts of it are, but never mind.)

    That doesn’t mean it is available for you to SEIZE.

    Focus more on how to live with other people.

    Focus less on how to take things away from others.

  12. Because saying ALL LIVES MATTER is missing the whole point. It’s obvious that lives matter but there is an attitude that Black lives DO NOT MATTER in our society and there is much work to do to make the dream of equal protection a reality.

  13. New York is always changing. I’m ok with lux housing for one group but lest make the game fair! It’s important we straighten our rent regulations. We should bring back rent control. Renters should over time have equity in their apartment. Landlords who preside over deplorable conditions should, eventually, have their ownership evicted. It’s time to end the slum lords of new york and make this city work for the people not the vermin.

  14. It’s not missing the point. Segregation by labels is still segregation. As black on black crime is the most rampant crime against blacks perhaps a more accurate slogan would be appropriate. Equal protection is afforded to all. But be realistic. Where should the police be? In areas where crime is low? Black neighborhoods complained when they believed their areas did not have enough of a police presence and they were being ignored. Stop committing crimes and the police would be more than happy to stay away. Can’t have it both ways. The loudest protestors are usually the ones who refuse to see the truth and blame, yes blame, others rather than do something about it. Many hard-working families have minimal police protection because they are too busy wasting their time in neighborhoods that don’t give a damn. The work starts with individual responsibility.

  15. Study the history of New York. Every race has been at the mercy of slum lords for a long, long time. Racism and perceived “rights” will not solve the problem. I don’t have the solution but then neither do the protestors. And therein lies part of the debate.

  16. It all boils down to the haves and the haves not. No safety net for the underprivileged, no government willing to send inspectors regularly to make sure minimum standards of housing are enforced,, lower food quality and higher food prices in impoverished neighborhoods,, low employment, lack of education, lack of sanitary conditions, noisey living conditions, gangs, violence, overcrowding etc., etc, Organizers like him will always have a job and get funding from the poor among us. Think about it. Is he really at heart for you or is he really about lining his pockets with the pennies from your pocket just like the ones you protest against are doing in he same manner? The protest has to come from within the rank and file of those suffering and not organized from outsiders who are less than honest about their financial self enrichment motives. .The poor must stop funding hucksters at their expense. We are getting ripped off from both sides of the equation..

  17. If they were born and raised here, I’d say they’re “indigenous” regardless of the ethnic composition of the neighborhood before them.

  18. “[L]ack of education, lack of sanitary conditions, noisy living conditions, gangs, violence.”

    Well, our public schools are still good enough so that kids will learn something if they pay attention in class and go home and do their homework instead of hanging out on the street all afternoon and night. Kids who want to learn, do.

    Sanitary conditions, at least in one’s own apartment, could be improved by doing the dishes and making sure roaches don’t have meals handy. Soap is cheap.

    Noise comes from people lacking consideration; consideration is learned at home. Gangs and violence: Too many kids with too little parenting. We know how to solve that.

    As for the food: Alas, supermarkets do charge more in poorer neighborhoods. But canned peas, frozen vegetables, potatoes, and chicken parts are the same all over the city, and still a lot cheaper and healthier than sending the kids off to McDonalds for dinner. If my sister-in-law can get up at 4:30AM to cook for her kids and then go to work and come home late, other mothers can, too. Being a working mom is no excuse. And at one point, it’s time for IUDs so that you don’t have more mouths to feed than you have money, or time, for.

    (And please, let’s not get into a discussion about fresh vegetables. No one I knew had fresh vegetables in the 1950s and 1960s. We didn’t taste artichokes or avocados until the 1970s, when my cousin got married and wanted to impress the family. The first time my mother brought home red-leafed lettuce, in the mid-1970s, my father carefully cut off all the red tips, thinking the lettuce was spoiled. We went back to Birds-Eye frozen vegetables fairly quickly.)

  19. Would it be correct to say that you are inclined to have the opinion that this organizer is a huckster who is ‘ripping off” the poor? Take it Back, Why not make Flatbush a Huckster Free Empowerment Zone of Individual Responsibility?

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