[Preserving Black Cultural Spaces\Brooklyn]
Bunkeddeko: “Spaces like the Slave Theater, the Black Lady Theater, and Nkiru Center for Education and Culture — home bases for so much black art and activism in Brooklyn — should not have fallen victim to gentrification and deed theft.”
Today, Congressional candidate Adem Bunkeddeko (D – NY-9) calls for federal investment and legislation to preserve Black cultural spaces in Central Brooklyn like Brownsville Heritage Homes.
Bunkeddeko proposes federal funding to support Brownsville Heritage House and legislation to protect spaces like the Slave Theater, Nkiru Center for Education and Culture, and the Black Lady Theater from the forces of gentrification.
“Central Brooklyn is full of Black history and we need to continue to foster Black culture and be proud of our Black identities. Spaces like the Slave Theater, the Black Lady Theater, and Nkiru Center for Education and Culture — home bases for so much Black art and activism in Brooklyn — should not have fallen victim to gentrification and deed theft. We can build affordable housing, promote small businesses, and celebrate our culture without erasing our past,” says Bunkeddeko.
The Brownsville Heritage House, inspired by Mother Gaston and the namesake of the street on which the cultural center resides, has educated Black youth since 1981. The space deserves to have federal funding to support a full-time staff, protect its history, and continue to provide affordable or free cultural programming for future generations. The space is currently run by Executive Director Miriam Robertson and some volunteers. Accessible, continuous public funding will allow Brownsville Heritage House to remain operational, expand, and continue to provide educational opportunities for Brownsville’s young people.
“We need to change the narrative and cultural history of Brownsville,” according to Miriam Robertson, Executive Director of Brownsville Heritage House. “At the turn of the century, there were 26 theaters in Brownsville, and they’re all gone. We need to have affordable, quality cultural programming for families and especially the children in our community. We need to teach the youth the truth about our history.”
“It is through active leadership that we will protect and promote these Black cultural spaces and Black public art. Brooklyn history is Black history and we have a moral obligation to protect it,” says Bunkeddeko.
Adem Bunkeddeko is an organizer and advocate in Central Brooklyn running for Congress in NY-9. He previously challenged incumbent Yvette Clarke in 2018, losing by less than two thousand votes. Through a career in public service, Bunkeddeko has tried to pay forward the sacrifices his family, who fled civil war in Uganda to start a life in America. He previously served on Brooklyn Community Board #8 where the people of his neighborhood have been turning for help because their elected representatives have neglected the affordable housing crisis.