On Tuesday, January 18th, the Mediation Center hosted participants from the “We Are All Brooklyn” (WAAB) Fellowship.We Are All Brooklyn is an inter-faith community coalition that hosts young, emerging Brooklyn leaders as fellows each year. This session used Crown Heights as an example of how this neighborhood works to utilize diversity as a strength of the community.
Participants heard from a range of speakers, including Rabbi Eli Cohen, Pastor Ken Bogan, Amy Ellenbogen, Richard Green, and Devorah Halberstam. Each speaker had their own perspective to add to the discussion of diversity and relationships in Crown Heights. Rabbi Cohen spoke about the need for communities to get to know each other and work past stereotyping; in this vein, he shared some stories and facts about his community, the Hasidic Lubavitch community. Pastor Bogan from the Greater Restoration Baptist Church added to this message by highlighting the importance of cross-community relationships. Pastor Bogan is a Board Member of Project CARE, an organization comprised of Black and Jewish leaders in Crown Heights who work together to solve problems in the neighborhood that effect everyone. Richard Green spoke about the importance of supporting youth, which he does at the Crown Heights Youth Collective. Devorah Halberstam shared the story of her family’s own tragic encounter with hate and violence, and how this has inspired her to work against inter-community conflict and support young leaders. All of these speakers work together on mutual projects and support each other in their independent projects.