A BOND ACROSS THE POND
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A first of its kind twinning joins two important Business Improvement Districts (BID) between two radical communities with a long and rich history of being the epicenters for a convergence of diversity, informed by a high percentage of its population being of African descent, representing various parts of the diaspora, living and working within the BID’s borders.
OUR BID TWINNING
The two BIDs were forged out of almost identical principles and values such as equality, togetherness, and social justice. Their mission reflects these values: to improve the quality of life for residents of their respective communities by improving the economic health and well-being of the community, and by creating programs that reflect the vibrancy and history of the people and the neighborhood.
BRIXTON BID, LONDON
Harlem (NYC) and Brixton (London) share a number of common traits beyond the socio demographic makeup of their neighborhoods. These two communities share a similar history, social issues including inequities and crime, and in recent years, both have experienced a rapid socio-economic transformation, which many refer to as gentrification due to the new influx of wealthy individuals moving into the area.
CANVAS FOR CHANGE
In 2020, community residents in Harlem found themselves battling two major crises simultaneously – the pandemic and the demand for social justice. Understanding the overwhelming pain the community was grappling with, the 125th Street BID created the Harlem Canvas for Change. With the help of local business owners, plywood canvases, painted black, began popping up around the neighborhood with an invitation to all who wanted to express themselves, to fill the empty canvases with their messages. The Brixton BID hopes to recreate the Canvas for Change in their community. The BID will invite the community to write, paint, and draw messages in support of the 40th anniversary of the Brixton Uprising of 1981, the legacy of the Windrush Generation and the global Black Lives Matter Movement. 
STREET LAMP BANNER PROJECT
Both BIDs have created a community Street Lamp Banner Project. These banners have already begun to appear in Brixton and in Harlem, and will soon go up across the 125th Street BID’s boundary. The Harlem 125th St. BID has partnered with the National Black Commission on Health, City University of New York School of Public Health, Blick Art Materials and the local owner of Settepani restaurant to produce a series of banners with reinforcing messages around health, safety, and social justice issues. In Brixton, the BID has created and installed a series of 32 lamp post banners across the town’s Centre supporting the Black Lives Matter global movement, and highlighting the Black British, African and Caribbean community and businesses. The Banners look to redefine the words Brixton, Community, BAME-owned and Black Lives Matter.

A SNAPSHOT OF HARLEM