Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kids, Art and Red Hook


I spent yesterday afternoon in Red Hook at a reception to celebrate a youth photography project that the Justice Center co-sponsored with the Brooklyn Arts Council. It was a feel-good event: beautiful weather, fascinating photographs, good kids, etc. The highlight for me was my conversation with the mother of one of the junior photographers. She said she had lived in Red Hook her entire life and had attended Visitation School (the Catholic school that, after having been closed for 20 years, we were able to turn into the home of the Justice Center). She was generous in her praise of the Justice Center, not only for rehabilitating the building, but for its impact on the health of the community. It was a good bookend to a week that also featured the pomp and circumstance of the Newark opening. As nice as it to hear the Mayor of Newark and other dignitaries praise our work, at the end of the day, our success depends upon the impact we have on the lives of people on the ground in Red Hook, Crown Heights, Harlem, and the other neighborhoods where we do business.

P.S. My friend Joanna Schwartz, a professor at UCLA Law School, had an op-ed in the New York Times this week that is worth checking out, particularly since it uses one of my favorite Elvis Costello tunes as a headline.