We Build The Block

WHO WE ARE


We Build the Block is a New York City-based organization bringing our community together to build the future of public safety. We create community-developed and led models proven to reduce violence and increase safety. Working with a broad coalition of partners, we support local youth, pilot new initiatives, and advocate for change. We believe that by replacing over-policing with solutions built on the block, we can protect and support our most vulnerable communities.

WHO WE ARE


We Build the Block is a New York City-based organization bringing our community together to build the future of public safety. We create community-developed and led models proven to reduce violence and increase safety. Working with a broad coalition of partners, we support local youth, pilot new initiatives, and advocate for change. We believe that by replacing over-policing with solutions built on the block, we can protect and support our most vulnerable communities.

HOW WE WORK


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EMPOWER YOUTH


Neighborhood safety starts with supporting our youth. By identifying, engaging and supporting youth in crisis, we directly reduce violence and shift attitudes in our communities.



BUILD PARTNERSHIPS


Police-community relationships are built on respect. We foster integration of CBOs into the overall crime strategy of the NYPD to elevate community voices and solutions - and ensure resources meet their priorities.


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CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY


Change must acknowledge systemic and generational violence. Our programs and partners recognize the oppression in local communities from state violence and over-policing before identifying new solutions.



ELEVATE VOICES


The conversation around public safety starts on the block. Our message resonates in culture and is amplified through voices in the community. We work with cultural leaders to share our view and rewrite the narrative.


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HOW WE WORK


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EMPOWER YOUTH


Neighborhood safety starts with supporting our youth. By identifying, engaging and supporting youth in crisis, we directly reduce violence and shift attitudes in our communities.


Image

BUILD PARTNERSHIPS


Police-community relationships are built on respect. We foster integration of CBOs into the overall crime strategy of the NYPD to elevate community voices and solutions - and ensure resources meet their priorities.


Image

CREATE ACCOUNTABILITY


Change must acknowledge systemic and generational violence. Our programs and partners recognize the oppression in local communities from state violence and over-policing before identifying new solutions.


Image

ELEVATE VOICES


The conversation around public safety starts on the block. Our message resonates in culture and is amplified through voices in the community. We work with cultural leaders to share our view and rewrite the narrative.


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A LETTER FROM
OUR COFOUNDER


A Letter from our
Executive Director 


"Let Michael live on in the ways that are courageous, loving, and ambitious, especially for those who need it the most."


READ LETTER
OUR TEAM

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Michael K. Williams
Co-Founder & Advocate

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Shani Kulture
 Co-founder and
Chief Culture Officer

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Dana Rachlin
Co-founder and
Executive Director

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Dominic Dupont
Chief of Development and
Youth Engagement

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Javon Lomax
Director of Restorative Practices and Youth Development

OUR PARTNERS

OUR PARTNERS


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REMEMBERING
MICHAEL K. WILLIAMS


In September 2021, we lost our co-founder, Michael K. Williams. Many will remember Mike for his acting talent – lifting up overlooked voices through iconic characters. For those of us in his community in New York City and across the country, Mike’s impact went beyond the screen. He was a leader, an activist, and a source of hope and healing for everyone.

In everything Mike did, he brought his entire heart and presence. He never pandered to those in power but went straight to the people creating change on the ground. He spoke directly with officers, youth, incarcerated people, and organizers – most often with no cameras, no audience, no press. He wanted to understand the problems and help fight for a solution. He knew listening was the first step to liberation.

The impact he made is almost impossible to capture. We can’t count the hours spent on the street, speaking to leaders, educating himself on the issues, and lifting our network up with his influence and vision. Working directly with precincts in his community, Mike brought together members of the NYPD, clergy members, community leaders, and young people to lead a cultural shift towards healing and respect.

Mike listened with empathy, spoke with love, and fought for justice. He would often tell our youth about the expectation to leave his community behind as his fame grew. But Mike never left. He kept his feet in Vanderveer and Brooklyn for all these years. He saw his potential in our youth, saw his struggles in our neighbors, and saw a better future by bringing us all together.

Mike has not left our community. He continues to bring us together and make us better. While we’ve lost the heart of our organization, we continue this work with his spirit at our back.