Sherley Davilmar, working in the community of Flatbush , hosted a three part series of workshops that  all took place at the Brooklyn Public Library on Linden Boulevard. The themes covered included “Health Beauty and Wellness”, “Gentrification” and “Black Bodies” and sought to raise awareness of social issues faced in the black community including gentrification, wellness and the assault on black bodies as it manifests in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. Charged with great information, Davilmar curated these workshops in efforts to answer the question “How Desensitized Are We?”

Part One: Part one of the series dealt with beauty, health and wellness in an interactive workshop that included a zumba, yoga and Haitian dance session as well as a panel discussion and hair styling demonstration. Children and adults alike learned to make their own hair and skin care products from natural sources they can find in their own cupboard.

Part Two: The following week Sherley invited a group of panelists who are activists and organizers in the Flatbush community to speak on gentrification in the neighborhood. The panelists included Imani of Equality4Flatbush, Mark Griffith, Executive Director of Brooklyn Movement Center, David Etiennne, an upcoming filmmaker, and Alicia Boyd, leader of Movement To Protect The People.

Part Three: The closing event of Davilmar’s residency was profoundly poetic.  It was an essential anecdote after the previous workshop. The introductory presentation dove right in to the subject with a reading of “Strange Fruit” a poem written by Abel Meeropol and was famously sung by Billie Holiday in 1939. The event proceeded with a powerful workshop by Veroneque Ignace, founder of Kriyol Dance! Collective, where she directed participants through a series of movements both individually and in partnerships in order to guide participants to tune in to the body and to use it to express one’s pain and joy.

The panel discussion that followed included Menesky Magloire, Sakena Sampson of Girls Empowerment Circle Inc., Veroneque Ignace of Kriyol Dance! and Resist. Restore. Inc., and moderated by Anthonine Pierre of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Read the event recap here.