A barbecue with community on the menu

The Brooklyn Paper
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The grills were sizzling — along with the salsa band — as the Fifth Avenue Committee kicked off a late-summer barbecue at its Degraw Street headquarters on Aug. 19.

Hungry neighbors, politicians, residents of the Boerum Hill center, and the activists that support them carried plates of food, but also thoughts for the important battles ahead.

“People are going through a lot of hardship. We’re seeing this first hand when they come through the door,” said Michelle de la Uz, executive director of the committee, who said she hosted the barbecue to show that her group is always there for people going through tough times.

Indeed, de la Uz’s group helps low-income residents by providing the community center and advocating for affordable housing. The group just opened its latest “supported housing” facility — appropriately on Fifth Avenue — last month.

But this event was about kicking back and appreciating what we have.

“This is a celebration about diversity and inclusion,” de la Uz said.

At the grill was Erica Plasse of Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, who wielded her spatula like a pro and churned out burgers, veggie patties, hot dogs, chicken, and pork loin to fill the crowd.

Burgers could be found on every plate, but community was the main menu item.

“I didn’t expect this many people here,” said Jason Ng, manager of K.F. Kitchen Cabinets. “It shows a lot of unity.”

Walter Ellison, who works at the center, agreed. “I like the fellowship that they have here,” he said in between bites of pasta salad. “And the food is delicious.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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