New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by local residents, artists, and community-based organizations held a public dialogue at the Jewish Children’s Museum on Wednesday, January 20 (10 Shevat, 5776) to discuss the artistic creation of a ONE CROWN HEIGHTS mural.
The event was held on an auspicious night for Chabad Chassidim, the Yahrzeit of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950) and the day the Rebbe assumed leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.
The ONE CROWN HEIGHTS mural is a project that exposes our youth to the various people, cultures and backgrounds of Crown Heights. Based on residents’ stories gathered from previous public sessions and intimate conversations with community leaders, a group of Brooklyn youth associated with the Groundswell Community Mural Project, have drawn inspiration for a ONE CROWN HEIGHTS mural. They presented their design ideas and garnered community feedback.
“Murals have a lasting effect on communities. It does not mark the ending, nor the beginning, and often a continuation of a story. Art in our public spaces remains one of the greatest forms of collective community expression. Murals allow us to see our community from different viewpoints, to explore new relationships, and to appreciate our cultural similarities and differences. The ONE CROWN HEIGHTS mural will allow for introspection, reconnection and contemplation about our community, friends and neighbors,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
Devorah Halberstam, Director of Foundations and Government Services at the Jewish Children’s Museum, said, “the Jewish Children’s Museum is proud to host this event and participate in the mural that will depict and unite the diverse communities in Crown Heights. Thanks to Council Member Laurie Cumbo for bringing us all together,” Halberstam said.
This summer, we will mark the 25th anniversary of the Crown Heights riots, which spanned three days that spurred tremendous tragedy, racial and religious tensions between the Black and Jewish populations. While the riots occurred over the course of three days, we have taken over two decades to reestablish a beautiful mosaic of faith, love, and community among the Caribbean, Black, African-American and Jewish population. We have come so far, but we still have more work to do.
The arts are a great way to bring diverse cultures together that will strengthen the local community, to foster mutual respect and love for one another. The ONE CROWN HEIGHTS mural is intended to celebrate us. We will continue to evolve as a diverse and progressive community, which will enable us to weave new stories into our tapestry.
ONE CROWN HEIGHTS, is a cross-cultural project intended to increase community bonds, mobilize positive behavior and create opportunities for the Black, Caribbean, Jewish and newer residents to work towards One Crown Heights. The event is part of a larger project funded by the City Council to support a series of community conversations, special events, and the creation of a mural that promotes diversity and unity.
“It has been an honor to work with so many wonderful Crown Heights people and organizations, each one of them bringing their unique perspectives. We have only just begun and will continue to work with more friends and advocates,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo.
Just to name a few inspiring groups: Crown Heights Youth Collective and Founder Richard Green, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC) and Rabbi Eli Cohen, Groundswell Community Mural Project, Repair the World, Chevra Ahavas Yisroel, friends of the Lubavitch community, Jewish Children’s Museum (JCM) and Devorah Halberstam, JCM’s inspiring organizers, Crown Heights Mediation Center and Save Our Streets peace keepers.
Artists who wish to be a part of the mural, or to share your thoughts on the mural, email by Wednesday, January 27, 12PM to [email protected]