May 26, 2022

AFJ Street Naming Highlights

Photo Courtesy of The Village Sun
Photo by © Jefferson Siegel, www.villagesun.com

On Saturday May 21st, the block by our flagship Robert Siegal Center on Avenue B and 6th Street became Avenues for Justice Way. We celebrated our Street Co-Naming event with elected officials, funders and neighbors, alongside Avenues for Justice’s Participants, alumni, current and past Board and Junior Board members.

AFJ Board Chair, Alanna Rutherford, and Co-founder and Executive Director, Angel Rodriguez, welcomed Elected City Officials who each took to the mic to speak about 40+ years of work, with our humble beginnings in the Lower East Side, of providing #ServicesNotCells: 

  • Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg
  • Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levine
  • NYC Comptroller, Brad Lander
  • District 2 City Council Member & Criminal Justice Committee Chair, Carlina Rivera
  • Assembly Member District 74, Harvey Epstein
  • Community Board 3 President, Paul Rangel
City Council Member Carlina Rivera and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg 
Photo by © Jefferson Siegel, www.villagesun.com

Angel Rodriguez ceremoniously unveiled the new street sign at East Sixth Street and Avenue B (with a little help from AFJ staffer Edison!). This was followed by a community celebration featuring All in One Entertainment, Ices from Tommy DiMisa and his father’s Ralph’s Italian Ices of Huntington Village, a fully catered buffet from Charles Pan-Fried Chicken topped with a homemade barbecue sauce created by Chef Quie, and a 360 Video Booth by Snapped 360, which was provided by our new OSHA class instructor, Shahiem Mendez, and his partner Gigi.

Assembly Member Harvey Epstein and staff handed out drinks, snacks, and free home COVID tests. Father Sean of St. Brigid’s blessed the new street sign and former Manhattan Borough President and now District 6 Council Member, Gale Brewer, stopped by to celebrate with the community.

A special thanks to Chef Quie of Charles Pan-Fried Chicken who catered a delicious buffet for the event!  
www.charlespanfriedchicken.com

Later in the afternoon community leaders, alumni, along with (ret.) Hon. Judge Padro (who is on AFJ’s Advisory Council) shared touching tributes about their personal experiences with our program, Angel, AFJ Staff and Participants.

Photo by Andrew Tivon

We would like to give a special shoutout to Council Member Carlina Rivera and the District 2 Office, Community Board 3 (CB3) District Manager, Susan Stetzer, and Community Board Chair, Paul Rangel, along with the amazing CB3 board members, for championing this Street Co-Naming to honor Avenues for Justice’s 40+ years of work with youth and young adults on the Lower East Side and Harlem, and now throughout New York City.

Please stop by our Robert Siegal Center to see the new Avenues for Justice Way street sign!

“The Manhattan’s DA office and AFJ have been partners so I have known about the work and followed the work and the impact that it has had on our youth and by extension our broader communities has been profound. I am honored to be here for the Street Naming and looking forward to continuing and deepening and broadening our partnership with this great group. We have to invest in our youth. As many speakers said today and as I have seen from my own practice, investing in our youth is a critical part of our long-term public safety plan. We see it in the results that AFJ has gotten over the years.” 

Alvin Bragg, Manhattan District Attorney

“You can really date the renaissance of the Lower East Side to that day in [1985] when Angel Rodriguez went into an abandoned building here on Avenue B and got control. He brought that building back to life and he built an amazing nonprofit in Avenues for Justice and he gave generations of young people opportunity they would not have had. There are people that maybe you’ll meet today that are in college now, who have graduated and gone on to incredible careers because Angel and Avenues for Justice were there for them when they needed it. It is truly an inspiring story and it is worthy of being remembered forever with this Street Naming so that from now on when young people look up, they will see Avenues for Justice…forever.” 

Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President

“We are here to really celebrate an organization that is a model for the rest of the city, that has been doing alternatives to incarceration work for a very long time. And has been instrumental in prevention and intervention and just overall care and compassion for people in this community and this city. It is absolutely my obligation as a city council woman who grew up in the area to make sure that they have the resources and support that they need. I know that my colleagues feel the same way so we are going to be rightfully honoring their longterm transformative impact and i am so proud to call the team at Avenues for Justice here on Avenue B to be partners in the fight for restorative justice and support for Services not Cells for our city’s youth.”

Carlina Rivera, Council Member District 2

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