New trauma center for East Flatbush

Ending the stigma: Coucilman Jumaane Williams (D–East Flatbush), speaks to press about ending the mental health stigma and the importance of seeking help at a center lsuch as the Haitian Community Coalition on Church Avenue in East Flatbush.
Community News Group / Alexandra Simon

Members of the East Flatbush community celebrated the grand opening of the Haitian Community Council’s (HCC) new trauma location with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Church Avenue on June 24.

Local politicians came to show support for the opening of the new trauma center, including council members and officials from Borough Hall. The organization, formerly located on Linden Boulevard, re-located to the heart of a neighborhood in dire need, says one councilman.

“Church Avenue is one of the most vibrant commercial areas in the city, but we’ve had issues here,” said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–East Flatbush).

“We’ve had issues with shootings all around Church Avenue. Many organizations have stepped up to plate to try to help suppress those shootings, and I know that with HCC, that success is going to continue now that we can have send some people to a place that is culturally competent.”

The Haitian Community Coalition center provides space and community to anyone who comes in seeking help. It has been operating since 1982 and has helped the Haitian community adapt, by helping people meet health and cultural needs. Their new center created to help the underserved and vulnerable, wants to expand to everyone, according to organization officials. The mission is to help people through a variety of issues, such as domestic violence, immigration, and also testing for sexually transmitted disease.

The wellbeing and the health of residents are the main concerns for Councilman Williams, who also believes unchecked experiences will negatively impact their communities.

“If you witness violence and nobody has spoken to you about it, what do you with that trauma as you get older?” said Williams. “We know that hurt people, hurt people — so you have to help that hurt within themselves, so they won’t hurt themselves or others and the community can heal.”

Williams emphasized that the stigma of mental illnesses in Black communities prevented people from seeking much needed help. Representatives also stressed that HCC be inclusive to everyone, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT).

“What we’re trying to do is create a LGBT community in Brooklyn, and let people know that HCC is LGBT-friendly, and that they can come here for services,” said Mark Kornegay, project manager at HCC.

Other officials from HCC agreed and said that even though the center had Haitian roots, they hope their new locale attracts all of the East Flatbush community.

“Although we’re a Haitian-based organization, our doors are open to everyone,” said Fuljens Henry, deputy director of the Haitian Community Coalition. “And we look forward to being a staple here on Church Avenue.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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