A Bond Across the Pond

A first of its kind twinning joins two important Business Improvement Districts (BID) and forges a bond across the pond in two radical communities of colour.

In an important move, we are announcing our twinning with the Harlem 125th Street Business Improvement District, the first ever Twinning of two such organisations. Both BIDs are located in communities with a long and rich history of being the epicentres for a convergence of diversity, informed by a high percentage of its population being of African descent, representing various parts of the diaspora, living and working within the BID’s borders.    

Brixton (London) and Harlem (NYC) share a number of common traits beyond the socio-demographical makeup of their neighbourhoods. These two communities share a similar history, social issues including inequities and crime, and in recent years, both have experienced a rapid socio-economic transformation, which many refer to as gentrification due to the new influx of wealthy individuals moving into the area.

The two BIDs were forged out of almost identical principles and values such as equality, togetherness, and social justice. Their mission reflects these values: to improve the quality of life for residents of their respective communities by improving the economic health and well-being of the community, and by creating programs that reflect the vibrancy and history of the people and the neighbourhood.

The Harlem Community’s 125th Street district is one of the most significant and important landmark streets in the city and carries the double name – Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It is the home of the world-famous Apollo Theatre, the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, the renowned Hotel Theresa where Fidel Castro chose to stay in 1960, as did Malcolm X, poets extraordinaire Langston Hughes and Allen Ginsberg, and numerous other dignitaries and VIPs. Today it is a two-way mecca of business activities and tourism.

Both Harlem and Brixton have been permanently infused by the culture, food, and experience of its Black population.

President of the 125th St. BID, Barbara Askins says, “Harlem and Brixton have similarly rich histories and are well positioned for important and positive change and growth. One of the main initiatives that we are both involved in is to begin framing a new streetscape for both business districts. We are repurposing non-traditional spaces in the community (freight doors in Harlem) and transforming them into canvases for community expression. We are very excited by the possibilities offered through this new friendship which we helped broker, and all of its promise.”

Gianluca Rizzo, Managing Director of the Brixton BID says, “The twinning of our BIDs celebrates the defiant resilience of the communities we represent and celebrates their cultural roots, music, art, culinary soul, heritage, and much more. Brixton and Harlem are the beating hearts of our cities, sharing universal values and principles.  Whilst we are part of sharing global progress, the BIDs act locally to support business and the communities we represent. Together with Harlem we believe our friendship can help create great opportunities for all.”

Find our full Press Release below

BID Twinning|