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New subway campaign raises poverty awareness

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Raising awareness a station at a time.

A new subway campaign is shedding light on Brooklyn’s poverty with posters across borough subway platforms. The Brooklyn Community Services project titled “Many Voices, Many Stories,” is aimed at enlightening passersby about the high poverty rate in an effort to create unity, said the campaign creator Sonya Shields.

“As black people in Brooklyn we understand that many residents struggle in our community to make ends meet. This campaign is to bring our entire community together across socioeconomic status,” she said.

The poster displays an overlay photo of some housing and five people, of which are two Caribbean-American interior designers — Malene Barnett of Malene B and Anishka Clarke of Ishka Designs. And participating in the campaign is an honor because they are able personally impact their community.

“I’m really happy I was selected to be a part of this and to use my influence in my community and in Brooklyn,” said Barnett, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “There are things that need to be addressed and I want to bring awareness, especially in my community because it’s going to benefit more than just myself — its goal is to inspire others to take actions.”

With 23 percent of Brooklyn living under the poverty line, and a majority of the city’s poor being people of color, Barnett says that is what makes consciousness about the issue all the more pressing and how she wants people to be moved by it.

“I want you to be in shock because when you hear percentages it’s not something you would think,” she said. “But once you know, you can take action and find ways you can support people living in these situations.”

The posters can be found at stations all month in Bedford Stuyvesant, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill, Dumbo, Flatbush-Ditmas Park, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Greenpoint, West Midwood, and Williamsburg.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at
Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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