Description & History

El Puente is a community human rights institution that promotes leadership for peace and justice through the engagement of members (youth and adult) in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action. Founded in 1982 by Luis Garden Acosta, El Puente currently integrates the diverse activities and community campaigns of its Center for Arts and Culture and its Community Health and Environment Institute (CHE) within its three neighborhood Leadership Centers and its nationally recognized public high school, the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. Organizing in North Brooklyn and beyond, El Puente remains at the forefront of community/youth learning and development issues and as such, initiates and impacts social policy both locally and nationally. El Puente's mission, to inspire and nurture leadership for peace and justice, galvanized a human rights movement that toppled a proposed and legislated 55-story incinerator; shut down arguably, the City's least performing and most violent high school (in favor of smaller schools), tore down a "Wall" that segregated children in a public school (P.S. 16) by leading a month long total boycott; lead the state's most successful childhood immunization campaign; created Brooklyn's most comprehensive Latino Center for Art and Culture; built parks and open spaces as well as mapped one hundred Brownfield sites; became the first community organization ever to publish a peer reviewed, scientific article in the American Journal of Public Health; co-founded the U.S. non-violent resistance movement (principally at the United Nations) that helped bring an end to the bombing of Vieques, Puerto Rico, and inaugurated the nation's first public high school for human rights.

About the organization

EL PUENTE de Williamsburg

Frances Lucerna
Executive Director
Helen Colon
Beacon Director
Theresa Doherty
Special Assistant for Programs
Organization’s website: