If you google Brownsville, Brooklyn you will find that 9 out of 10 media outlets primarily highlight negative stories about the neighborhood, which perpetuates stereotypes, creates shame and unworthiness for many residents.
To change the narrative, 3 teenagers in Brownsville, Brooklyn took our Start an Empire youth entrepreneurship program in partnership with BCJC, and created their own brand called, The Strive, to highlight the positive stories from the people that live and work in the neighborhood.
Over 3 months, Noel, Iyani, and Jahceti learned about entrepreneurship, community development, cooperative economics and were tasked with doing something to help solve the problem they identified.
The founders of The Strive designed their own t-shirt under their brand with the Brownsville slogan, “Never Ran Never Will”, created a local pop-up shop experience in Brownsville and asked their customers to share a positive experience that they had in the neighborhood.
Here are some of the stories that we heard:
“My growth, development and love for community was birthed in Brownsville”
“I raised 3 successful children in Brownsville”
“Brownsville’s story of resilience and perseverance inspired hope in me”
“Brownsville equals family for me. It’s where I’ve met some of the best people”.
In just a few hours the students in our Start an Empire program brought the community together, created a sense of pride, and made over $1,500.
We are excited to see Brownsville take ownership of its story and inspire change.
Brene Brown said it best, “If you own your story you get to write the ending”.