African American cultural center
Brownsville is now an 'inner city' community beset with the social ills of poverty and neglect. There is little in Brownsville that is exciting, positive or just plain 'pleasant'. My nomination of Heritage House was to acknowledge a cultural treasure that is as fragile and threatened.
A little gem in the heart of Brownsville, Brooklyn, this place is the keeper and celebrator of tradition and culture. When I was a little girl, I took free African dance and art classes in this place. My younger sister reminisces about how she was first exposed to algebra at this house. We also traveled out of the neighborhood and learned of contributions that Africans throughout the diaspora made to the world. This place helped give me an esteemed sense of myself as a person and as a people, particularly as the media was telling a contrary story. This place matters! Hey, it beat TV or joining a gang, which were also options in this neighborhood. (November 2011)