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Young New Yorkers Appoints Bobbie Brown as Permanent Executive Director

Young New Yorkers (YNY), a ten-year-old nonprofit that

uniquely combines the arts and criminal justice reform, today named a new

executive director, Bobbie Brown.

Camilla Velasquez, chair of the YNY board of directors, said, “We are thrilled to

name Bobbie as our new executive director. One would be hard-pressed to

imagine someone better qualified since she has a legal background, is a

youth educator and an artist, and has extensive experience working with New

York City institutions. We all look forward to the continued expansion of YNY

under her leadership.”

Bobbie Brown, who assumes her role on August 11th, said, “I am very honored

to join the YNY team. YNY has a resilient approach to art-based diversion

work. After all, art is a form of cultural communication, a way for us to teach

young folks how to bend their voices to amplify their experiences and to be

seen within their full spectrum. YNY taps into the vulnerability of art making

and pressurizes it with the challenges of a criminal justice record, to help

young people learn through their mistakes. This is exciting work and I look

forward to leading YNY in this new era of reform.”

Ms. Brown is currently an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the New York City

Law Department. She brings over 10 years of experience in community

development, criminal justice, and education, including her recent role as the

Associate Director of Community Partnerships for the Brooklyn District

Attorney’s Office. Ms. Brown has held directorial positions with the Harlem

Children’s Zone, Brooklyn College, the New York City Department of

Education, and the charter school network, Success Academy. She holds a

B.A. from Johnson C. Smith University, an M.A. in Government and Politics from St. John's University, and a J.D. from the CUNY School of Law. She is also a

visual artist.

Young New Yorkers was founded in 2011 by artist and architect Rachel

Barnard, who served as executive director of the organization until 2021. YNY

provides arts-based diversion classes for young people who have been

arrested for misdemeanors in New York City. Upon successful completion of

the YNY class, the young person’s criminal case is sealed and dismissed. YNY

also provides a variety of paid advocacy, leadership, and art-making activities

to graduates of the diversion programs.

YNY’s current work is focused in Brooklyn (where it was founded) and in

Manhattan, but it serves young people in all five boroughs, as the only arts

diversion program available to young people throughout New York City. YNY

reaches 400 young people aged 16 – 25 every year and has an annual budget

of $1 million, and growing. More information about YNY’s history and

programs can be found on its website:

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