BAN Statement on The 6th Annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit

For Immediate Release:

The Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network Statement on The 6th Annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit

Contact: Imani Henry 646-342-9673 | info@bangentrification.org

On November 17th , over 150 people participated in a day long protest against The 6th Annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit held at the Brooklyn Museum. In the weeks leading up to the summit, The Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network (BAN) called for people to both protest outside and issued a public demand to the Brooklyn Museum to not host the 6th Annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit. We also demanded that Borough President Eric Adams not speak at the summit and instead devote his energies to stopping the displacement of low to middle income residents of Brooklyn caused by real estate industry. Over 2,000 people signed on to online and hard-copied petitions issued by BAN and The Artist Studio Affordability Project.

BAN made these demands because it is inappropriate for public spaces such as the Brooklyn Museum to profit from and facilitate the work of the real estate industry, when said industry puts profits before the well-being of Brooklyn residents. We are alarmed that our public spaces including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum, our libraries, community gardens and land set aside for public housing are increasingly being taken over by luxury housing developers. More importantly, rampant gentrification is decimating low-to-middle income communities especially of color throughout New York City. There are daily reports of the sick and elderly residents of color losing their homes in fraudulent real estate scams. Illegal evictions and massive rent hikes leaving both white and residents of color to face a chaotic real estate market that they cannot compete in.

Since the Brooklyn Museum holds itself up as a beacon of diversity and depends on prominent artists of color such as Kara Walker to bring in patrons, we find it ethically questionable that the Museum made its facilities available for a real estate event where the seeds of deals are sown that will result in further destruction of the very communities the museum purports to care about.
In the end both the Museum and Adams made it clear that neither would accede to BAN’s demands. We were not surprised given Adams’ strong ties to real estate money and his participation at other real estate summits in the past. We were also well aware that the main organizer of the summit, Ofer Cohen sits on the Brooklyn Museum’s board of advisers. What we were surprised to learn was that Anne Pasternak was a co-host of the racist “Bronx is Burning” real estate-sponsored party. This now-infamous event has been condemned city-wide for lampooning poverty in the South Bronx in order to promote luxury condos and the gentrification of that community.

For the record, Eric Adams, did personally reach out to us “to dialogue” about our demands and confirmed he would be speaking at the summit. The Brooklyn Anti-gentrification Network was never contacted directly by Anne Pasternak or any other Brooklyn Museum employee. Despite the frantic attempts of the Brooklyn Museum and the Borough President to do damage control but offer nothing of substantive value to the people of Brooklyn that they are paid to serve, the success and diversity of yesterday’s demonstrations, and the widespread support they received, show that the people of New York are prepared to take control of their communities’ future with or without the help of these leaders.

The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) is a people of color-led mass-based coalition of tenants, homeowners, block associations, anti-police brutality groups, legal and grassroots organizations working together to end the rampant gentrification and displacement of low to middle income residents of Brooklyn, New York.

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