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Showing posts from November, 2012

A Round of Applause for Red Hook

The more than 6,300 residents in the 2,878 apartments of the Red Hook Houses continue to live through quite an ordeal, even after the nightmare of weeks without power, heat, and water has finally come to an end. Wednesday was our first Housing Court day since the storm, and what could have been a tense, hectic day turned out to be one of the calmest in recent memory. Before he began hearing cases, Judge Alex Calabrese asked all of the residents of the Red Hook Houses in the courtroom to stand up and be recognized for their patience, courage, and all-around amazing attitude in the face of such a difficult experience, and asked the court personnel and other staff to give them a round of applause. Touched, one tenant in the room expressed her thanks to the Judge, staff at the Justice Center, and AmeriCorps members for their consistent presence in the neighborhood in the weeks following the storm and their continued service to the neighborhood, and followed with another round of applause…

We're back!

After close to a full month following the storm, we're officially back! Most of our court operations are back up and running at our home base at 88 Visitation Place after a quick detour to the main criminal courthouse at 120 Schermerhorn Street, and we are set to start hearing online arraignment matters again on Monday, December 17th.

Take a look at a few photos of the rebuilding progress in our basement below:

Juvenile Justice Corps members give tribute to volunteerism in the wake of Hurricane Sandy at AmeriCorps Kick-Off in Albany

New York Juvenile Justice Corps members awoke bright and early this morning to make a 6:00 AM bus to Albany for the annual AmeriCorps kick-off event hosted by the New York State Commission on National and Community Service. More than 1,000 AmeriCorps members from across New York State gathered at the Empire State Plaza for a jam-packed agenda, filled with fun, reflection, and of course, service. 

Among the highlights of the day were Juvenile Justice Corps members being selected to deliver a tribute to AmeriCorps service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and share some personal testimony from their relief efforts in Red Hook. The full text of the speech delivered by Corps members Salam Mustafa, Pete Martin and Claudia Choi is below.

Additionally, Corps members took the AmeriCorps oath of service, pledging to "get things done for America!" A video of Corps members reciting the pledge is below.

Finally, Corps members had the opportunity to mingle with AmeriCorps programs from other p…

The Meaning of Service Post-Sandy: AmeriCorps Members Reflect

Members of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps have been key to the volunteer efforts in Red Hook, one of the New York City neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy and home to the Red Hook Community Justice Center, our AmeriCorps' program's home base. Here is their story in their own words:

Gregory Mason:  I was really excited about being able to give of my time and not looking for nothing in return, I mean it just touched my heart to see the relief on people faces when I delivered the packages to them.I never in my life would had thought that it would be so fulfilling doing volunteer work and seeing how many people came out to help. I always had love for people no matter who they are and to be apart of something so wonderful is a blessing, and I'm proud to be an AMERICORPS member.

Danny Conyers: On Wednesday October 31st, a day after hurricane Sandy I came to Red Hook seeing the damage it had taken. After seeing the devastation left behind by the storm I knew there wou…

Peacemaking in Red Hook

After an intenselytryingperiod in Red Hook in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, building, strenghtening, and healing relationships between residents and organizations has become crucial. This past weekend, we took a step towards preparing the neighborhood for the hard work ahead with a two-day workshop with peacemakers from the Navajo Nation for residents we are training to serve as peacemakers here in Red Hook.
A new project from the Center for Court Innovation's Tribal Justice Exchange, peacemaking is a traditional Native American approach to justice. While the exact form peacemaking takes varies among tribes, it usually consists of one or more peacemakers—often community elders—who gently guide a conversation involving not only those directly involved in an offense or conflict but family members, friends, and the larger community. While conventional Anglo-Western criminal courts generally focus on determining a defendant’s guilt and sentence, peacemaking is restorative, foc…

A Happy Thanksgiving!

The Red Hook Community Justice Center will reopen to the public on Monday, 11/26!

Red Hook on the Road

With the power still out and restoration ongoing at the Justice Center's Red Hook building, our court operations have been temporarily relocated to the main criminal courthouse at 120 Schermerhorn Street in downtown Brooklyn. Take a look at our slideshow of staff sewing together a patchwork of spaces, operations, and services to prepare for our first morning back to hearing cases.

As we approach getting back to normal, there are thousands of residents and small businesses in Red Hook who continue to struggle in the aftermath of the storm. We plan on continuing to be a part of that effort, and we ask that you consider a donation to help us get our innovative approach to solving community problems fully back up and running in order to best continue supporting the amazing community of South Brooklyn.

Shelter from the Storm

With the early arrival of winter in New York in the form of a Nor'easter and frigid temperatures, thousands of residents remaining without power, heat, and water, and headlines like "Misery Mounting at Red Hook Houses as Residents Wait for Heat and Power" and "Small Shops Shiver in Gloom of a Shuttered Red Hook Market," this past week was an especially difficult one for Red Hook. The most recent update from NYCHA reports 10 buildings remaining without electricity and 8 buildings without heat in Red Hook East, and 9 buildings without electricity and all 14 buildings without heat in Red Hook West--a total of over 3,000 residents.

There were a few spots of light amongst the gloom, however. We drew on partnerships with the New York City Mayor's Office and the Brooklyn Public Library to open two warming centers for residents who remain without heat in the NYCHA Miccio Community Center and the Red Hook branch of the library. The Mayor's Office also worked wit…

Approaching a New Normal in Red Hook

There was a spectacular outpouringofvolunteersupport in Red Hook over the weekend (including a celebrity or two), but Monday saw many volunteers taking the newly up and running subways back to work. Monday also marked the first time since the storm that all of the Red Hook Community Justice Center's staff and AmeriCorps volunteers who were able made it back to the Hook from far flung locations throughout the tri-state area, to check in with each other and on the Justice Center, as well as do a staff service day in the neighborhood.

As the neighborhood comes to grips with the grimreality of entering a second week largely without electricity, heat, or water, everyone is beginning to approach a new normal. FEMA and the National Guard have become a consistent presence in Coffey Park, continuing to efficiently hand out food and water, as well as blankets, baby care products, toiletries, flashlights, and other much-needed supplies. The orange t-shirts of volunteers from the Mayor's…

Renewal in Red Hook

The devastation that Superstorm Sandy has wreaked on Red Hook has been well-publicized inthelastfewdays, and hasn't spared the former Catholic school that houses the Justice Center. In the midst of so much destruction, we thought we'd shift the focus towards some of the amazing recovery efforts that have been going on in the past week throughout the neighborhood.
Starting Wednesday, members of our AmeriCorps program, the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, alongside staff from the Justice Center and several other Center for Court Innovation projects, came out in droves to assist in any way they could. Thanks to our strong partnerships with city agencies and community organizations, including the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the New York City Housing Authority, and Red Hook Initiative, we were able to hit the ground running.
We started by going door-to-door to apartments in the Red Hook Houses, a public housing development with over 6,000 residents that had been…