Award: HONORING WOMEN IN NEW YORK
Pat Singer has a long and storied history of activism in the Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, community. Most importantly, it is a history of action as well. Ms. Singer was born of immigrant parents, and has shown exceptional patience and sensitivity to the unique problems of the immigrant and ethnic population of Brighton Beach – that is where her activism started.
In 1977, Ms. Singer, at the time a recent widow with young children, founded The Brighton Neighborhood Association (BNA), of which she remains the Executive Director to this day. BNA was created in response to the exodus of Brighton Beach residents to other places, leaving the vibrant culture to fade, the buildings to fall into disrepair and the neighborhood to decay and become crime infested. Leading a rally of 500 residents in a street demonstration followed by a rally at a local school – which was attended by Mayor Beame, State Assemblyman Chuck Schumer and 1,000 residents – these events shed light on the issues facing Brighton Beach. The city government and residents sat up and took notice. BNA was originally run from Ms. Singer’s apartment, where she and volunteers went from building to building in person, organizing the tenants. Eventually, they were able to educate tenants on their rights and responsibilities, and opened communication channels with building and business owners. Ultimately, thousands of people were able to upgrade or restore services to their individual apartments. Finally, BNA met with the police commissioner and succeeded in getting more patrols in the neighborhood, specifi cally vertical patrols.
Other successes in those early years include: sponsoring tenant counseling programs, creating BNA’s truancy and juvenile counseling program, as well as a senior citizen anti-crime program, and instituting After-School programs in the Shorefront area of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and the “Second Chance” summer school program. In addition, Ms. Singer wrote the proposal during the 1980s that brought in eight million dollars to revitalize Brighton Beach Avenue with new sidewalks, curb cuts, sewers, water pipes and repaving. Over the years, the accomplishments by Ms. Singer and the BNA might be too numerous to mention, but the BNA has brought millions of dollars into the community and has been a catalyst for reinvestment.
Ms. Singer is a mother of two, is the Brighton Liaison for Brooklyn 13 CERT and has been a member of the Community Board 13 since 1979. She is truly a remarkable woman, and has done great things to improve and serve the Brighton Beach Community.