‘It’s a new day in Brownsville’: Jeffries, Spectrum team up to surprise Elite Learners with new laptops, anti-violence funding

hakeem jeffries at elite learners
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, center, provided $750,000 in funding to Elite Learners in Brownsville.
Photo by Paul Frangipane

House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries got into the giving spirit on Wednesday when he teamed up with Spectrum to host a digital literacy event for Elite Learners, an anti-violence organization in Brownsville, where kids were surprised with 100 new laptops — and the organization was gifted $750,000 in federal funding.

“There’s no better place to be when being back home in Brooklyn than Brownsville, USA,” said Jeffries, who has represented Brownsville in Congress since 2013. “It’s been my goal to make sure we are bringing the resources home to the young people, to the organizations, the people of Brownsville so the residents can experience the highest quality of life.”

Jeffries also presented the organization with a $750,000 check.

U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries hosted a digital literacy event at Elite Learners in Brownsville on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Since its inception in 2016, Elite Learners has worked to eradicate violence in the community, and to provide resources for local youth.

The laptop donation from Spectrum was announced at Elite Learners’ holiday celebration to commemorate its newest location at 106 New Lots Ave. in Brownsville, where Elite Learners founder and CEO Camara Jackson on Wednesday called it “a new day” for the community.

“We have real leadership in place, real leadership that looks like us, talks like us, raps like us and understands where we come from and our needs,” she said. “We’re gonna be able to have financial literacy programs in schools for the first time. We’re gonna be able to stop people in Brownsville and East New York from losing their homes, for the first time. It’s a big deal.”

From left: Rodney Capel, vice president of government affairs at Spectrum, U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Camara Jackson, Elite Learners founder and CEO and Ashley Hayes, vice president of legislative government affairs at Spectrum. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Laptops were distributed to high school and college students who participate in the Elite Learners program and for use in Elite Learners’ computer lab in the new location.

“By supporting Elite Learners with additional technology, the organization can build on its commitment to the community and have even greater impact,” said Camille Joseph-Goldman, group vice president of state government affairs at Spectrum. “Together, we’re building stronger communities where our customers and employees live and work.”

Ashley Hayes, vice president of legislative government affairs at Spectrum, agreed.

“Through Charter Spectrum’s digital education program, we’ve committed more than $9 million to support broadband technology programs, education and training in underserved communities throughout the country,” she told Brooklyn Paper.

Camara Jackson, Elite Learners founder and CEO, said the laptops would help the org in its mission to building a stronger community. Photo by Paul Frangipane

It’s investments like these, Jeffries said, that help bring — and keep — communities together.

“These young people who are here are smart, they’re creative, they’re brilliant, they’re talented, but they need the opportunity to allow all of that ability to be able to manifest itself so that they can grow up to be whatever it is their dreams, their desires would have them be,” Jeffries said. “I’m confident that when we simply provide our young people with the access to the equipment, that they are just as good, if not better than anyone else.”