"People don't feel safe." Teens on a mission to illuminate Brownsville playground
Dr. Green Playground shined brighter Tuesday night in Brownsville, thanks to the help of teens from the volunteer organization, the "Brownsville Keepers."
The group installed a neon green light above the playground walkway bordering Mother Gaston Boulevard and Sutter Avenue.
"Basically, there are a lot of shootings, and it gets real dark at night so people don't feel safe," said Allisha McNeill, 17, who grew up in Brownsville, and is a youth member of the Brownsville Keepers.
Last month, Brownsville Keepers created a survey and distributed it to about 50 to 100 people in Dr. Green Playground.
A major finding from the survey resulted in community members voting there were not enough lights in the area.
In an effort to go "beyond the memorial," teens plan to install more solar light fixtures after multiple candlelight vigils illuminated the park following violent incidents this year alone.
"I know some of my friends used to hang out in here and they don't hang out in here no more. If my friends don't feel safe here then, I don't feel safe here," McNeill said, walking through the playground basketball court.
The Beyond Memorial project, started by artist Immanuel Oni, has plans to expand light installations across New York City.
This growing project, sponsored by non-profit More Art, is being used as a way to show an art, spatial and healing justice response in spaces of gun violence or community trauma, according to the Brownsville Community Justice Center.