Activists Protest Eric Adams, Demand HPD Stop Request for Proposals to Develop Housing on African Burial Ground

Descendants of Africans buried in Flatbush will rally at Brooklyn Borough Hall to stop the desecration of an African burial ground that dates to the 1700s.

This press release was orginally distributed by ReleaseWire

Brooklyn, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/05/2021 -- In celebration of Fannie Lou Hamer's birthday, the Flatbush African Burial Ground Coalition (FABGC), African Graves Matter, and other local community groups will rally on Wednesday, 10/6/2021 at 8:30 AM at Brooklyn Borough Hall. The FABGC plans to demand that Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President, Louise Carroll, Commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the City stop plans to build on land containing the community's historic African burial ground.

Located at 2286 Church Avenue is a 29,000 square-foot site back to the 1700s. Construction has repeatedly desecrated the burial ground, starting in the 1840s with District School No. 1, Bedford Avenue, and the sewer system in the late 1800s. An archaeological study done in 2000 by Historical Perspectives, Inc., a consulting firm based in Connecticut, concluded that the remains found were indeed of African descent and suggested no further sub-surface disturbance on the site.

However, in October 2020, Mayor De Blasio and Council member Mathieu Eugene announced plans to build affordable housing on the burial ground and published a Request for Qualifications which closed in March 2021. HPD has announced that it will issue an RFP this Fall, even though by their admission, their community engagement process did not meet its engagement targets - with an average of 50 participants at each of 6 community engagement sessions, including HPD staff.

By contrast, the FABGC has over 1900 signatures on its petition, had nearly 250 participants at its two teach-ins, and 200 attendees at their walking tours.

Redoneva Andrews, a tenant leader with the Flatbush Tenants Coalition says, "For hundreds of years, Black and brown people have been oppressed, abused, and deceived. There is a school next door where our kids are lied to and miseducated, and this sacred space can be a place of restoration where young people can learn the truth about their history. We're telling the City that we do not need another gentrifying high-rise building in the neighborhood, and we sure don't need it at this location. It is imperative that this space be preserved for our community so we can be close to our ancestors, a place for healing and reflection. We need to preserve our history."

On September 24, 2021, the FABGC hosted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyMQO4tUZTU">Decolonizing Archeology: Lessons from the African Burial Ground 30 Years Later, a teach-in featuring Dr. Michael Blakey, the lead archaeologist on the Lower Manhattan African Burial Ground Project. Over 150 people from all over the country attended the teach-in, where Dr. Blakey shared his experiences working on the lower Manhattan project, including pitfalls and hurdles along the way.

Shanna Sabio, lead organizer for FABGC says, "Having Dr. Blakey share his wisdom is the first step for our coalition to create a roadmap for other activists who might come across African burial grounds in the future. As development happens all around the City and also across our nation, we believe that more African burial grounds will be found. Teach-in's like these are an essential transfer of knowledge and information that happens in a way that is easy to digest rather than be over-academic. Rather than holding the information close to our chest, let's allow as many people as possible to enter the conversation, use it, and retain it for the future."

About The Flatbush African Burial Ground Coalition (FABGC)
The Flatbush African Burial Ground Coalition (FABGC) is a Black-led, multi-racial group of local residents, activists, artists, architects, planners, and educators who work together to protect the Flatbush African Burial Ground from further desecration.

The FABGC seeks to preserve and steward the site, recently renamed Eve's Garden, for future generations. Eve was an African woman who, at the age of 110, died enslaved to Lawrence Voorhes, one of the largest slaveholders in Kings County. Her remains are still at the burial ground. For more information and to learn how to get involved, visit flatbushafricanburialground.com, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.releasewire.com/press-releases/activists-protest-eric-adams-demand-hpd-stop-request-for-proposals-to-develop-housing-on-african-burial-ground-1346844.htm

Media Relations Contact

Shanna Sabio
Telephone: 1-404-276-5580
Email: Click to Email Shanna Sabio
Web: https://www.growhousenyc.org/flatbush-african-burial-ground

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