Mayor pledges $9M to Brownsville community after mass shooting

August 6, 2019 Noah Goldberg
Mayor Bill de Blasio (left) and NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill (right) arrive July 28, 2019 to address reporters after a mass shooting in Brownsville. Eagle photo by Noah Goldberg
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In the wake of a mass shooting at a late-night Brownsville street festival, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $9 million in funding for the affected community Tuesday, including more than $5 million in capital funding to renovate a community center.

The mayor’s announcement — which he is scheduled to deliver at the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville during National Night Out Against Crime — comes less than a week after he changed course and began referring to the Brownsville tragedy as a mass shooting after declining to do so for the first four days in its wake. The funding also includes $1 million for anti-gun violence groups in Brownsville.

“Our hearts ache for Brownsville; but this community will be defined by resilience, not tragedy,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These programs will build on our commitment to end the epidemic of gun violence and lend much needed support to the local leaders and activists who work to bring positive, enduring change to the Brownsville community each and every day.“

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The mass shooting in Brownsville had potentially the most injuries of any New York City shooting since 2013, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks mass shootings nationwide. Numerous shooters opened fire at the annual Old Timers Day parade after two groups got into a dispute, police officials said Tuesday. “A stare or a look” led to the shooting, NYPD Chief of Citywide Investigations William Aubry said Tuesday.

More than half of the $9 million dollars will go to renovate Brownsville Houses Community Center, a site of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. MAP seeks to reduce violence at specific NYCHA complexes by bringing together residents and government agencies. The Brownsville Houses is one of the 15 NYCHA developments that is part of the program.

Andre Mitchell runs Man Up! Inc., one of the crisis management groups that works in the 73rd Precinct. “It’s a great start,” he said of the mayor’s funding. “Hopefully it will be a continued effort for the community of Brownsville and we will be able to make some change with that start. But to be honest with you — it’s not enough,” he said.

Man Up! works in East New York’s 75th Precinct but also operates two youth centers in Brownsville.

Mitchell said he hopes his group receives some of the $1 million earmarked for anti-gun violence groups in the precinct.

The funding also included $140,000 for lighting and NYPD security cameras around the playground where the mass shooting occurred, $1 million to “increase the capacity” of Brownsville’s Neighborhood Health Action Center, which hosts programs and activities for Brownsville residents. The center, which is run through the Department of Health, is also providing referrals for people traumatized by the mass shooting to speak with mental health professionals.

According to a press release, the mayor’s plan also includes the following funding allocations:

  • $590,000 for Brownsville Neighborhood YouthStat, a youth-centered version of MAP’s NeighborhoodStat, which trains young people in community organizing and engagement, peacemaking, and crime prevention through environmental design, and a suite of mental health and trauma response skills
  • $175,000 for a Mobile Trauma Unit, part of a fleet of police precinct-specific van that provides access to available trauma resources and services, to help reduce and prevent shooting incidents and other acts of violence
  •  $576,000 to hire 12 additional staff members for the Brownsville Recreation Center to provide additional recreational programming, expanded pool operating hours, and additional security

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