News

Power of Two Stands in Solidarity with Haitian Refugees

As an organization that partners with families dealing daily with trauma caused by historical and current systems of oppression, Power of Two shares the heartbreak and outrage over the dehumanizing images of Border Patrol agents on horseback corralling Haitian refugees. These actions are evocative of the slave patrols, predecessors of today’s police forces, and seeing these images inflicts fresh wounds on the intergenerational trauma already experienced by BIPOC communities in our country.

We stand in solidarity with Haitian asylum-seekers and call for responsible journalistic practices when it comes to highlighting their plight in order to preserve the emotional and mental wellbeing of BIPOC communities. We also call for true commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Belonging as expressed by the Biden-Harris administration, such that it includes equity for refugees from all countries devastated by political strife and natural disasters regardless of that country’s racial or economic profile.

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Power of Two Celebrates Relocation to Central Brownsville

Power of Two celebrates our relocation to central Brownsville where we can be more visible to the community.

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The Power of Two Party, featuring NYT best-selling author Heather McGhee

 

Watch NYT Best Selling author Heather McGhee, author of The Sum of Us, and co-founder Erasma Beras-Monticciolo discuss racial and social equity for all children and families during Power of Two’s first-ever annual Party+Fundraiser.

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A Message to the Power of Two Community

Power of Two is grateful to the men and women of the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial who found officer Chauvin guilty on all charges in the murder of George Floyd. As your partner in community, we know the long standing legacy of police brutality and lethal use of force that is experienced by the members of our communities.

While we are grateful that Derek Chauvin was held accountable for his actions, we also know that the outcome would very likely have been different if not for the extraordinary confluence of factors that made a conviction a possibility, yet far from guaranteed. Were it not for the technology that made recording the murder possible and the courage of Darnella Frazier who at 17 years old had the presence of mind to record the craven disregard for human life that we all witnessed in the video, Derek Chauvin would very likely be a free man today.

Through our partnership with families we know that justice is not and can not truly be done until BIPOC people are no longer targets of the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police. Addressing the systemic racism of an institution that is meant to protect us, but too often targets us instead, means that we must confront the systems of oppression and white supremacy that leads to the deaths of so many BIPOC people at the hands of law enforcement. These systems of oppression are enabled by the exalted nature that law enforcement enjoys and abuses in our country. Police officers know that their use of lethal force will be deemed innocent unless proven guilty, and to prove guilt there must be an abundance of irrefutable evidence and, too often, the unassailable character of its victims. The continued narrative of an infallible police force has an ever escalating death toll even as convictions for these deaths remain the exception and not the norm.

Heartbreakingly, even as we stood in short-lived gratitude for Chauvin’s conviction, our hearts were seized in pain and horror once again as we heard the news of the lethal shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant. She lost her life at the same time that the verdict was being read and her name is now added to the long list of BIPOC children, men and women whose lives were extinguished by those meant and paid to protect and serve. We see and experience firsthand the historical, intergenerational trauma that police interactions have left within our communities. Each new murder reignites that trauma and reminds us that there is still so much work to be done. We were hopeful that this conviction of Chauvin by a jury of his peers would be a line of demarcation that paves the way for a more just society, one in which the police forces around the country no longer have the ability to kill with impunity. However, we know that our work must continue for all past BIPOC victims of deadly police interactions.

Darnella is right. It’s not about what she should’ve done in that moment. It was what Derek Chauvin should’ve done. He should have valued George Floyd’s life just as much as his own. That is the work that lies ahead of us. For law enforcement and other systems in the United States to also value the inherent humanity of BIPOC people and for the perception of infallibility by law enforcement coupled with the systemic racism that rots at the core of policing to be extinguished. But as Fred Hampton said in his speech in 1969 we must work together. “We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity.”

In Solidarity,

Erasma Beras-Monticciolo
Co-Founder and Executive Director

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“After The Kids Move In” – Interview with Erasma Beras-Monticciolo

Listen to Erasma’s interview on After The Kids Move In where she talks with Pat O’Brien about our partnership with families and the power of relationships in promoting good health for parents, children and communities.

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How the virus devastated workers in a Brooklyn neighborhood

Originally published by Jasmine Garsd on NPR’s Marketplace on July 13, 2020.

Father Edward Mason remembers when he realized COVID-19 was going to be devastating to his community in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York City. It was back in mid-April. In the local public housing complex, a lot of seniors weren’t answering their phones. “And when they went into the apartments, they found 10 seniors who had passed away,” he said. “Alone in their apartment. Predominantly Black, with a heavy Latino influence as well.”

Father Edward Mason delivers Communion at his church in Brownsville. (Jasmine Garsd/Marketplace)

Black and Latino people have been three times more likely to get infected by COVID-19 than their white neighbors and twice as likely to die once they get infected, according to Centers for Disease Control data obtained by The New York Times this month. Among the many reasons for this nationwide disparity is that Black and Latino workers are much more likely to have jobs that can’t be done from home — essential jobs like public servant, bus driver, health care attendant or grocery clerk.

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Mama, Am I Going to Die Young Because I’m Black in America?

Originally published by Erasma Beras-Monticicolo on the BK Reader on July 1, 2020.

“Am I going to die young because I’m Black in America?”

That was the question my 7-year-old son asked during our recent family meeting initiated by the Black Lives Matter protests happening across the nation. My husband and I had decided it was time to have this family discussion with our sons, who are multiracial and ages 7 and 11, as the looming summer quickly became one of heightening racial turmoil.

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Brownsville is Waging its Own Fight Against COVID-19 and Racism

Taylor Gordon bagging food for BMS and East Brooklyn Food Safety Initiative at BCCC on Belmont Avenue. Photo: Hannah Whise

Originally published by Erasma Beras-Monticciolo on City Limits on June 19, 2020.

In Brownsville, Brooklyn we have struggled to find the words to express how we felt as we watched the video of George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of police in Minnesota. Ninety-nine percent of Brownsville’s population identifies as people of color, and although we may be geographically distant from Minneapolis, our hearts and minds are aligned. 

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We’re Reopening, Yet Communities of Color Are Still Suffering and Social Service Organizations Are Hemorrhaging

Originally published by Erasma Beras-Monticciolo on Medium.com on June 12, 2020.

New York emerges from lockdown yet black and brown communities still have high infection rates and those of us supporting them, are stretched.

I’m increasingly heartened by media images of people protesting en masse throughout the nation in an anguished cry for justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. But, I am also growing increasingly alarmed at how local governments will effectively balance this new nationwide movement for social justice along with planning for life after the COVID-19 crisis.

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Healing and Protecting Children from Racial Trauma and COVID-19 Pandemic

Originally published by Erasma Beras-Monticciolo on Medium.com on June 12, 2020.

Our community doesn’t get a break. In the midst of this pandemic, we’re seeing a combustible mix of isolation, job loss, sickness, and feelings of being trapped and terrorized by an epidemic of police brutality. These experiences create exposure to toxic stress and leads to a decrease in the protective factors that are crucial to the health and well-being of children and families.

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