Skip to main content

Making Justice Present on MLK Day

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice."
- Martin Luther King Jr., in a 1955 response to an accusation that he was "disturbing the peace" by his activism during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Montgomery, Alabama
Youth from Red Hook and throughout New York City made signs and participated in a peace march through the neighborhood to celebrate Dr. King's lecacy.
Monday was a big day for Red Hook. Over 200 volunteers came to the Red Hook Recreation Center to honor the birthday and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by pitching in towards the neighborhood's continued recovery from Hurricane Sandy, facilitating workshops on nonviolence and inequality, and participating in a peace march through the neighborhood. Choosing to make Monday "a day on, not a day off" when schools and many businesses are closed was particularly poignant in light of this year's MLK Day coinciding with President Obama's 2nd inauguration, the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the 20th anniversary of the murder of beloved local educator Principal Patrick Daly. 

The day began with a visit from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who came to Red Hook to celebrate the service of AmeriCorps members from the New York Juvenile Justice Corps and volunteers from NYC Service. Volunteers donned face masks and plastic jumpsuits to scrape paint and restore the flood-damaged basement of the Recreation Center, an important community resource that has not been fully functioning since the storm. You can read an article about his visit here:

In the Recreation Center's gym, dozens of local youth and teen participants from the Center for Court Innovation's youth programs, including the Red Hook Youth Court, the Brownsville Youth Court, and the Harlem Youth Court, were treated to a presentation on Dr. King's life and lecacy, followed by workshops facilitated by AmeriCorps members that connected his achivements and activism to the role of leaders and role models in participants' own lives. Afterwards, AmeriCorps and Youth Court members served as role models themselves to younger participants by working together to create signs and crowns for our peace march, and to paint MLK-themed murals to be distributed to local community organizations. 

Check out photos of the workshops and art projects (click to enlarge):

In the afternoon, over 100 youth, AmeriCorps members, staff, and other community members braved the weather to brighten up the bitterly cold, gray day with colorful messages of peace in a march through Red Hook. The march was a powerful visual reminder to the community that Dr. King's legacy lives on, and an inspiration to continue to embrace his message of unity and nonviolence, and to persevere in achieveing "true peace."

Check out photos of the peace march (click to enlarge):


Jessica Colon
Deputy Project Director


Popular posts from this blog

Hasta Luego Benny!

...we'd rather say until later than good-bye. We just learned that one of our amazing court officers, Lt. Benny Castillo, is being transferred to another court. Lt. Castillo has worked at the Justice Center for 5 years. He was always a great leader, and always went beyond the call of duty to lend a helping to staff and residents. The Justice Center is also gearing up to send off Lt. Bobby Vitucci (more on that to come). You can read the article below to see what makes our court officers so special and important to the Justice Center.

Lt. Benny Castillo
Judge Calabrese thanks Lt. Castillo for his service

Thank You AmeriCorps Members

Last Friday we held a graduation for our AmeriCorps members, the last class of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps. Over the past year, the members have served throughout the Center for Court Innovation's New York City projects at various positions within our courts and community programs. They served as a bridge to the communities we work in, and provided valuable support to our projects and various initiatives. The members will be missed and we wish them the best in all their future endeavors.

Jessica Colon
Deputy Project Director

Standing Room Only at the Graduation
Declan Walsh, Director of the John Jay College Office of Community Outreach, presents Al Siegal and Jessica Colon with a plaque in recognition of the Center for Court Innovation's partnership with the college.
Members from the Brownsville Community Justice Center Receive their Certificates
Members from the Crown Heights Mediation Center Receive their Certificates
Staff and Members from the Harlem Community Justice Cen…

Red Hook CARES: Community Free Store

On September 8th, Women in Touch, Red Hook CARES (Counseling and Restorative Services), and the Justice Center’s Americorps members joined together to host a community free store in Coffey Park. The Women in Touch office on Richards Street is getting a revamp and our first step was clearing out the clothing and items to make way for the new!

Women in Touch has been a long time resource and space for the community of Red Hook and the CARES team is super excited to join them in this project. However; CARES and WIT couldn’t have done it without the help of the Americorps members, who spent all day clearing out the Richards Street apartment and organizing items to give away in the free store.

Community members dropped in throughout the day to shop, enjoy some lemonade, and chat about what’s to come in the new space. The Women in Touch office on 135 Richards Street will continue to be a safe, community space. We are re-decorating and furnishing the space to make way for community events, su…