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Introducing Brownsville's 'LOVE Zone,' a Place for Meditation, Education and Peace

Spread LOVE — that's Legacy, Ownership, Vocation and Education — it's the Brownsville way
Photo: Supplied / LOVE Zone Mural

Brownsville has a brand new space where residents can go to be in peace with one another, and it's called the LOVE Zone Mural.

Located at the amphitheater at the Floyd Patterson Ballfields at Christopher and Riverdale Avenues, the newly-painted LOVE Zone Mural is a social justice project created by Brownsville residents after 11 people were shot -- one killed -- at the Brownsville Recreation Center in 2019.

Over the past few weeks, volunteers from the Brownsville Residents Green Committee (BRGC), Brownsville Think Tank Matters, The Underground Shadows, Ocean Hill-Brownsville Coalition of Young Professionals and Universe City have spent their weekends painting the mural.

Local organizations Nehemiah Economic Development and Youth Design Center also contributed to the project.

Now, walk into the space named for boxing legend Floyd Patterson, you'll find peace and calm are the heavy-hitters here.

The amphitheater has been painted from the ground up in different shades of green, and the space invites you in with love hearts, powerful quotes and even QR codes that direct you to watch short videos on social and racial justice.

BRGC member Fabian Rogers told BK Reader there wasn't anything like in Brownsville, a mural that takes up communal space, where folks can sit and chat and where QR codes take you to different educational videos.

"We hope to open peoples' minds to the fact that you have a right to a better lifestyle, and you don't have to move out of Brownsville to find that you can get it right here," he said.

Rogers said organizers approached the space thinking about to how to foster places of peace and meditation for Black and Brown people.

"One of the main principles is all around sustainable love, and L.O.V.E ends up being an acronym for Legacy, Ownership, Vocation and Education," Rogers said.

"It's sort of all the mechanics that are necessary to be functional community for a a place like Brownsville that's been, more often than not, underfunded under-recognized, under-acknowledged and under-protected."

For Brownsville social activist and organizer Gabriel Jamison, who has been at the forefront of the fight against the North Brooklyn Pipeline, the project is about transforming public spaces into places of healing and community.

"Fighting for environmental justice doesn't only mean stopping pipelines, it means the cultivation of public spaces for Black and Brown communities that nourish and heal," he said.

A number of politicians, including Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams -- likely NYC's next mayor, have also thrown their weight behind the project, which is created in association with NYC Parks.

"An enterprising group of... students decided to harness the power of their pain, over yet another tragedy in their community, and turn it into purpose," Adams said last year in a letter of support for the project.

"With the frightful uptick in gun violence this summer, the residents of Brownsville are crying out for relief. They need to be able to believe in the possibilities of their neighborhood and all it can offer, which is why I could not be any more proud or supportive of this wonderful project."

One of the organizers, The Underground Shadows, said it is set to start organizing a range of events for the newly rehabilitated space, such as movie nights, dance parties, self-defense classes, yoga sessions and more, "for the people by the people."

It's all about bringing light, color, a safe space — and most importantly, love — to a community that desperately needs it, they say.

The LOVE Zone is now open, and is free for all to use.

Jessy Edwards

About the Author: Jessy Edwards

Jessy Edwards is an award-winning news and feature reporter whose work can be seen in such publications as NBC New York, Rolling Stone, the BBC, CNBC and more.
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