Hester Street is thrilled to honor three leaders for socially, racially and economically just neighborhoods at our annual benefit on Thursday June 13th.

Get your tickets here!


ARTs East New York (AENY) uses the transformative power of the arts as a tool for social and economic change for the East New York, Brooklyn community. Founded in 2009, AENY provides a growing community of 120,000 residents with access and affordability in innovative arts programming. Over the past 10 years AENY has created a robust portfolio of cultural initiatives uniquely designed to address issues that impact the growth of the community such as health disparities, environmental sustainability, violence, economic development, gentrification and displacement.

AENY has inspired us for years, ensuring that residents of East New York have the access and power to shape their neighborhood with their powerful involvement in the Coalition for Community Advancement, the East New York Community PlanCreateNYC (New York’s first cultural plan), Where We Live NYC: Fair Housing Together (confronting segregation and advancing equitable neighborhoods), and now a new Brooklyn Public Library branch in New Lots.

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is the borough’s most democratic civic institution, providing an inclusive and inspiring space where patrons of all backgrounds and every economic standing can access trusted and relevant information and participate in a wide range of cultural, literacy, educational and civic engagement programs. BPL offers nearly 70,000 free programs each year from 59 neighborhood branches and provides patrons nearly 4 million opportunities to enjoy one of life’s greatest joys: the discovery of a good book.

Hester Street has worked closely with BPL since 2017, beginning with the innovative affordable housing/library development in Sunset Park, to our current participatory design efforts for the Adams Street, New Lots and Central branches. We are proud to support BPL in ensuring that justice and inclusion are preserved borough-wide.

NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was elected to office in March 2019 after representing Brooklyn and the 45th District on the NYC Council for 10 years. He is a first-generation Brooklynite of Grenadian heritage and began his career as a community organizer serving the Greater Flatbush Beacon School and later New York State Tenants & Neighbors. He has advocated for landmark legislation from universal rent control to just land use, dignified public housing and the Community Safety Act. Jumaane has stood shoulder to shoulder with marginalized communities fighting for justice and equity for all.

Hester Street celebrates Jumaane’s commitment to equity and justice as an activist and elected official representing Central and South Brooklyn, where Hester Street has engaged in projects ranging from neighborhood activation studies to community facility development, and now the fight for fair housing citywide.