CaribBEING in partnership with NYC Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Sesame Flyers, Citizens Committee for New York City and Brooklyn Free Clinic presented “Caribbean Night” featuring family-friendly films “Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom” and “Cool Runnings” along with a soca dance workshop led by Candace Thompson. The fun-filled night started at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, at Paedergat Park on Foster Ave. (between E. 40th Street and Albany Ave.).
CaribBeing was conceptualized by Shelley Worrell in 1999, a multidisciplinary nonprofit organization dedicated to showcasing Caribbean film, art and culture in Greater New York City and around the world. The organization started the Flatbush outdoor summer series three years ago, but according to Worrell, this summer has been the most robust in terms of the line-up.
This event hoped to bridge the gap between arts, entertainment and culture by presenting culturally relevant and contextual programming in Central Brooklyn with an emphasis on Flatbush. Worrell feels a strong connection with Flatbush. “For one, I was born in this neighborhood, so I feel a strong commitment to the development and advancement of the Flatbush community, but also because it is home to one of the largest Caribbean communities in New York City and maybe even the world,” said Worrell. “It is a very unique place in that here, we’re not separated by water. So, suddenly we’re all on top of each other and next to each other and we start to discover very quickly, how much we have in common as Caribbean people.”
The event was made possible by grant funding from The Citizen’s Committee For New York City. Peter Kostmayer, chief executive officer and Saleen Shah, director of communications spoke about their purpose and function of the committee. According to the officials they give grants to neighborhood groups that are committed to improving New York City neighborhoods. All grant applications are due in January, then go out in the Spring and the group has until Dec. 31 to complete their project. That project can include erasing graffiti from a wall, planting a community garden or putting on a community movie night such as being done by caribBEING.
NYC Council Member Jumaane D. Williams believes that community events like this have many benefits. “These programs are happening all over the city all of the time. You gotta have family events like this where people can come outside, be communal, speak to their neighbors; kids can come outside and have a good time,” said Williams. “This is healthy for a community. I think that communities can’t really thrive without cultural events like this; without events that bring communities together.”