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Grassroots Wisdom Book

El Puente

El Puente was founded in 1982 by Luis Garden Acosta who called together church leaders, artists, educators, health providers, and other community activists to stop the epidemic wave of violence in the Southside community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In a twelve-month period (July 1979 to June 1980) out of a population of a little over 30,000, 48 young people, virtually one adolescent every week, was assassinated in what the mass media termed as the “teenage gang capital of New York City.”

In over three decades, El Puente has accomplished numerous headline initiatives while pioneering a national model for youth development within the context of overall community development.  Grounded in a holistic approach to leadership development for young people and their families, El Puente bridges the worlds of health, education, and the arts with activism and community empowerment. El Puente’s central focus, “see, judge and act”, adopted from the Young Christian Worker movement as well as the legacy of the Young Lords Party has galvanized a human rights movement that has inspired members and their families to lead community campaigns and initiatives, including:

  • Organizing the community to dissolve youth gangs and stop street violence.
  • Founding the Community Alliance For the Environment (CAFE), in partnership with UJO and NYPRG that toppled the development of a legislated, 55-story incinerator in Williamsburg.


Learn more by visiting El Puente.


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