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Guide to the Sarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories 2015.011

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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by John Zarrillo

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 01, 2017
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical note

Sarita Daftary-Steel is a community organizer who worked for United Community Centers from 2003 to 2013, most of those years as the East New York Farms! Project Director. As of 2016, she is the Program Director for the El Puente Green Light District and Williamsburg Leadership Center. She attended Georgetown University, where she received a degree in sociology and government, and is also a graduate of the Leadership New York Fellowship, organized by Coro New York and the Leadership Caucus of the Community Resource Exchange.

Source: "Program Directors," El Puente, accessed November 28, 2016, http://elpuente.us/content/program-directors.

Historical note

The East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn was established as part of the Town of Flatbush in 1835 by John Pitkin. It became the independent Town of New Lots in 1852 and was then annexed by the City of Brooklyn in 1886. By the mid-twentieth century, the neighborhood was predominantly Jewish, with some Italian and Irish residents. Starting in the 1950s, African Americans from the Southern United States, as well as Puerto Ricans, began migrating to the neighborhood in search of employment in New York City. As a result of city government policies and real estate interests influencing residents to sell their homes, the neighborhood experienced a rapid demographic change, and most White residents had left by the 1970s. The area then experienced rapid decline in city services, a rise in crime, and an increase of gang and drug activity. Concerned residents formed a number of community organizations to combat the neighborhood's decline. As of 2016, the neighborhood is once again facing the possibility of major demographic changes as the result of gentrification and a lack of affordable housing.