The History of CURE
Community Understanding for Racial and Ethnic Equality, Inc. (CURE) is a New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation founded in 1988 by a grass-roots community coalition organized by Mary C. Sansone.
CURE’s founder, Mary Sansone, paved the way in the 1960s by organizing the first coalition of Blacks, Latinos and Italians in Brooklyn . Together with civil rights leaders such as Bayard Rustin and Gino Baroni, Mary Sansone worked tirelessly to strive for human rights and racial tolerance by fostering relationships with this coalition – which expanded over the years to confront new challenges. Whether the March on Washington during the civil rights movement, or marching in Bensonhurst after the murder of Yusef Hawkins, the work over CURE was effective and in place long before its legal formation as a corporation.
CURE is dedicated to reducing ethnic and racial tension and conflict while promoting mutual respect and understanding among diverse groups within the community. It is important to maintain relationships during times of peace and tranquility, so that when events cause tension, that these human bonds can unite and stand together to resolve conflict. Education and mutual respect are the glue that unite these bonds.
Since its inception, CURE has sponsored many forums and workshops throughout New York City , successfully demonstrating its leadership role in providing and developing strong partnership to resolve and support community and quality of life issues.
The Brooklyn community we speak of and some of its surrounding areas have a long history as a low income and working-class neighborhood. Over the years, this portrayal has been reinforced by the media where it has served as the backdrop for such television programs as The Honeymooners and Welcome Back Kotter.
Throughout the Twentieth century, Boro Park and some of its surrounding areas have been the home for many immigrant populations with diverse racial and ethnic roots. Each successive immigrant group has experienced the social maladies of prejudice and discrimination.
In the late 1980’s, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn became identified by the media as a symbol of racial intolerance as the result of the murder of Yosef Hawkins and the attack on Rev. Al Sharpton. Isolated manifestations of ethnic and racial tensions continue to periodically surface over the subsequent years to the present day. CURE will stand ready, through education, outreach and building relationships, to proactively prepare for any challenges that may present themselves.
This proposal is inspired in part by the challenge that the President’s 1999 report Initiative on Race in America presented to all Americans. This is the challenge of becoming One Americain the 21 st Century, a place where people respect others’ differences and, at the same time embrace the values that unite them. The report recognizes that Government alone cannot solve the problems of racial hate, discrimination, prejudice, ethnic conflict and distrust. The successful realization of this vision of One America largely depends upon community efforts to engage in constructive dialogues on race and ethnicity.
Now we are confronted by the challenge of the aftermath of 9/11. Realistic fear is producing residual anger which becomes intertwined with everyday life, creating a sense of insecurity that becomes resentment, contributing to making us suspicious of outsiders and strangers.
Although some acts of discriminating judgments may not point to racism or human rights issues, it suggests indifference towards certain groups, their beliefs, origin, traditions, and religion, particularly as threats to America continue to unfold.
These complex issues will seem unrelenting: but they do not need to lead to a sense of helplessness or withdrawal: an undesirable response that may lead us to alienate, and isolate those we have become suspicious of.
CURE , as a community-based organization is committed to help reduce tensions among diverse ethnic and racial groups within its community. CURE over the years has had a track record of doing so. It seeks to foster communication, understanding and respect to minimize suspicion and alienation, while strengthening the bonds that unite a community.
CURE Objectives and Activities:
1. Demographic Studies and Analysis
C.U.R.E. will conduct demographic studies of areas in New York City, using publicly available census type information identifying the ethnic and racial groups residing within the neighborhoods, and some of the socio-economic characteristics of each group identified. Each area will be mapped to identify concentrations of specific racial and ethnic groups by neighborhoods within the community. These maps will also identify the locations of major ethnic, racial, civic and religious centers within certain target areas. Such studies and analysis will help C.U.R.E. to identify the neighborhoods and communities where various groups are represented so that it can conduct outreach and form partnerships with community leaders. This research will form the basis not only for organizing, but will also serve as a basis for substantive discussion at community forums and symposia, where such forums will be held, and to develop educational materials to distribute to the communities.
2. Community Organizing and Needs Assessment
CURE will conduct a community-needs assessment by meeting with leaders of such community organizations to create a list of challenges for the respective groups, as well as a listing of leaders and community activists. Community organizing and needs assessments will further the purpose of CURE in that it will help focus where forums are held, who will assist in holding such forums, and what type of other activities of an educational or outreach nature will need to take place.
3. Community Forums and Symposiums
CURE will work with leaders of ethnic, religious, and community organizations to plan a community-wide symposiums or forums to focus on the challenges confronting each of the racial and ethnic groups within the respective neighborhoods. These forums will include panelists, sponsors, community leaders and large numbers of participants. Panelists will be invited from both within and outside of the community. The format will allow for participation through a series of issue topics, and also small group sessions and discussions will take place. These events will facilitate CURE outreach and organizational activity, will help to form and strengthen the bonds between the various communities and their leaders, and will further the corporate purposes of enhancing communication, educating the public at such forums, and developing partnerships.
4. Advisory Committee of Community Leaders and Strategic Plan
CURE will create an Advisory Committee of Community Leaders that will draft an agenda for the future – or a strategic plan. The Advisory Committee will be formed as a result of during the process of conducting demographic studies, community organizing and needs assessments, and/or community fora and symposia. CURE’s organizing efforts will ultimately lead to strategic partnerships and coalitions of community leaders of different racial, ethnic and religious diversity. The Advisory Committee, in conjunction with CURE staff, volunteers and the CURE Board and Officers, will hold and sponsor periodic activities to promote racial and ethnic understanding through a continuation of the dialogue on challenges facing racial and ethnic groups, as well as programs highlighting the culture and the contribution of each group within the community. The formation and activities of a CURE Advisory Committee will further the corporate purposes of improving communication by and between identified community leaders, foster and enhance the leadership of such community leaders, solidify and strengthen partnerships with such community leaders and ethnic/racial coalitions, and provide input into educational plans and provide a basis for further community outreach.
5. Educational and Outreach Activities
CURE will also focus on developing understanding between and among the various identified communities, with an emphasis on the youth of various racial and ethnic groups, such as the following:
• How to produce Newsletters, for both the community and its surroundings;
• How to conduct research via the Internet, the creation of Websites, and the technology of Global communication;
• How to conduct interviews;
• How to access members of the community for purposes of interview, and participation in community events.
CURE will disseminate literature, newsletter and develop as many possible forums and opportunities to deliver its message, including the development and use of its website. This activity furthers CURE’s corporate purposes of enhancing communication by and through education, fostering leadership by and among the youth of various communities and racial and ethnic diversities, and solidifying and expanding partnerships through educating the masses at all levels.