Today we are continuing our ongoing series profiling the many activist groups that are organizing in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It can seem like there are dozens of groups you can get involved in… and there are! But today’s group holds a special place in our heart. Welcome Bay Ridge For Social Justice to the studio, one of the more radical and storied groups in the neighborhood.

Formed in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the resultant far-right Islamophobic backlash in 2015, the group is unusual in that it predates the Donald Trump presidency. That origin directly reflects its dedication to combating racism and institutional violence and injustice. Bay Ridge For Social Justice is also unique in that it eschews electoral politics. The group refuses to provide a platform for politicians during its events. Instead, it focuses on direct action and community empowerment.

Even at its founding, the group consisted of multiple experienced organizers. Among them are our guests today: Yasmine Kamel, Sherry Wolfe and Danielle Bullock.

Bay Ridge For Social Justice eschews electoral politics. Instead, it focuses on direct action and community empowerment.

During the show, we’ll discuss what led each of these dedicated activists to work on the hyper-local level. We won’t mince words about the racist and islamophobic tendencies of some of our neighbors, and how it can feel to be an activist “behind enemy lines”. This isolation can happen in more ways than one, and we’ll also touch on the intersection of queer and racial identity as activists. Finally, we will reflect on the failures (and lessons learned) from over five years of local activism in Bay Ridge.

Three of the founding members of Bay Ridge For Social Justice: Yasmine, Sherry and Danielle, in the Radio Free Bay Ridge studio.
From left to right: Yasmine, Sherry and Danielle in the studio. | Photo by Daniel Hetteix

Audio Bookmarks

Show Notes

Sherry and Yasmine at a rally for Bay Ridge For Social Justice
Yasmine and Sherry at a local rally | Photo courtesy Sherry Wolfe

The episode included a few brief shout-outs…

  • We mentioned Gay Ridge, a local Facebook group for LGBTQ+ Bay Ridge residents.
  • Sherry also gave a shout out to the Owl’s Head Wine Bar as one of her favorite activist hangouts. We held our “How Bay Ridge Became Bay Ridge” episode live at the Owl’s Head!
  • The group also mentioned a few other founding members of Bay Ridge For Social Justice. This included (among others) David Farley, Kayla Santosuosso, Alan Aja, and Paul DeMuro.

Getting Involved

Upcoming Meeting Alert!

Bay Ridge For Social Justice will be holding it’s next meeting at the Arab American Association of New York on Sunday, February 23rd at 4pm!

Follow them on Social Media

Further Reading

A crowd marches in Bay Ridge for the first annual MLK March Against Hate
The first MLK March Against Hate in January 2016. | Photo courtesy Teri Brennan

Check out the media coverage of some of Bay Ridge For Social Justice’s early events.

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