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Mayor de Blasio Announces $120 Million Investment in Girls' Empowerment Center in Brownsville

October 11, 2021

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced a $120 million investment in the renovation of the Brownsville Multi-Service Center into a state-of-the-art girls’ empowerment center and community hub for east Brooklyn. The current building, which will undergo a complete demolition in 2023, will transform the site into a home for science, technology, art, dance, and cultural programming for young girls across the borough.

“There’s no better investment for our future than giving girls a safe, positive, and engaging place to learn and grow. I’m proud to deliver on that promise today,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This center will build the next generation of leaders in Brownsville and across our city, and it’s a powerful step toward building a recovery for all of us.”

"In the last year, we have seen the impact of women and girls of color being underrepresented in the healthcare and STEM fields, specifically, black and LatinX females. With the new Brownsville Girls Empowerment Center​, women and girls will be empowered to explore their passions and develop a 21st-century skill that will set them up for a lifetime of success and invest in the development of their whole self. The new facility will introduce our community to state-of-the-art spaces such as maker spaces, digital media labs, and design studios that will teach young girls how to think outside of the box and to become creators. This center will be an anchor institution where girls grow into women who are innovators of progress in their community,” said Deputy Mayor Phillip Thompson.

“We applaud this project that will bring new resources to the Brownsville community, focused on women’s empowerment,” said HRA Administrator Gary Jenkins. “For decades, HRA has worked with locally-based community providers to offer meaningful services to the Brownsville community – and we’re proud to be a part of the next phase of this effort, which will bring a reinvigorated service center to the neighborhood and women’s empowerment services to the next generation.”

The Brownsville Girls Empowerment Center will be modeled after the Lower East Side Girls Club of New York (LESGC). The City will partner with LESGC to support program implementation in the new site.

City officials will engage with the Brownsville community throughout the design-build process. Construction on the new site will begin in 2024.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke will invest another $8 million in the facility.

“Our community is only as strong as the women who use their talents and skills to build it, and I am privileged to have had a multitude of women who empowered me to become the woman that I am today. From my mother Dr. Una Clarke, the first Foreign born, Afro Caribbean- American woman to be an elected to the New York City Council and women like the Honorable Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm who shattered the glass ceiling by being elected the 1st Black woman elected to Congress, paving the way for me and other women to run for office and strive for greatness, today is a Great Day,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “It is with this history in mind, ​that we thank Mayor de Blasio ​for partnering with me and my colleagues Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuels and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, to put forth $128-million ​total to ​transform the Brownsville Multi-service center, into a state-of-the-art girls’ empowerment center and community hub focused on supporting nonprofit organizations that uplift our community through the Arts, Physical Fitness and STEM disciplines. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, who heard our plea for this investment and saw the need for this Center as a commitment to uplifting the most vulnerable assets of our communities, our young women and girls as well as, Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuels who used her authority in the Council to make sure this project was a priority, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker who has been a steady partner in helping to navigate the intricacies of navigating and balancing all the community interests involved and their teams for all of their hard work.”

"Investing in young women today is a down payment on Brownsville's future leaders. I'm grateful to Mayor de Blasio for this investment in our community and for the generations of girls and young women who will participate in programming here in the years to come,” said Senator Zellnor Myrie.

"I applaud the Mayor for investing in this first-of-its kind girls empowerment center in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where there is a tremendous need for more community resources, particularly those that uplift girls and women," said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, Chair of the Task Force on Women's Issues in the New York State Assembly. "By empowering girls, we empower the next generation with the skills they need, and move toward a more equitable future for all. We need to close the gender pay gap, especially for women of color, who currently suffer an even wider disparity in pay than white women, when compared to their male colleagues. I believe this investment in our girl's future will help attain these goals."

"The Brownsville Girls Empowerment Center will be a place where young girls can come and explore their interests, foster their gifts, and realize their destiny. This center represents opportunity and upliftment in the face of adversity. I am a proud representation of Brownsville and I'm looking forward to the Girls Empowerment Center being a beacon of education." A special thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio and my colleagues Congresswoman Clarke and Councilwoman Ampry-Samuel,” said Assembly Member Latrice M. Walker.

“The site of 444 Thomas Boyland has been important to our community since it was built in 1974. As a young child I visited this building for dance lessons and summer camp activities. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if it weren’t for the home this building provided to much needed community programming and service. It’s important that we revitalize this space for the next generation. ​A huge thank you to Mayor Bill de Blasio who answered our call and help to make this vision a reality. I am beyond excited and proud to also stand with my colleagues and sisters in government: Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker to announce a brand new, state-of-the-art Girls Empowerment Center that will offer free, year-round programming for the girls and young women of our community to connect, celebrate and channel their creative energy,” said Council Member Alick Ampry-Samuel.

“From City Hall to the White House, we have seen more women break through barriers to enter non-traditional roles and makeHERstory. Building a state-of-the-art center and community hub in East Brooklyn illustrates our city's deepening commitment to gender and racial equity. The future is female and that requires real investments into developing safe spaces where young women and girls can learn, network, be empowered to live authentically and lead. The renovation of the Brownsville Multi-Service Center will be transformative for our youth, their families, and surrounding community who will cultivate the skills and relationships to overcome any obstacle along their individual paths towards success. These are the resources that we need to inspire today's and tomorrow's generation of leaders so that they can be unafraid to pursue their dreams,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus.

“We at the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York are deeply humbled to be an inspiration for Brownsville’s new Girls Empowerment Center, and are honored to support the groundbreaking leadership and vision of Congresswoman Clarke, Assemblywoman Walker and Councilwoman Ampry-Samuels, said Co-Executive Directors Ebonie Simpson and Jenny Dembrow. “For 25 years, we have amplified the inner power of black and brown young women and gender-expansive youth through free innovative and radically imaginative programs. As this critical initiative comes to fruition, we look forward to contributing our expertise and skills to ensure Brownsville youth and the amazing leaders supporting them have a world-class space to thrive and realize their dreams.”

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