Diocesan News

Union Workers’ Community Services Honor Dr. King

Members of District Council 9 and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades donated their skills to Mercy Gardens to remember the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Photos: Matthew O’Connor)

To observe the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., members of District Council 9 and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades dedicated their skills to the Fort Greene community.

Members of the union gave a fresh coat of paint to the rooms and hallways of the Catholic Charities Mercy Gardens Home in Clinton Hill, which currently provides for 78 residents. Painting supply retailer Sherwin-Williams donated 80 gallons of paint to help maintain the Catholic Charities supportive housing building.

Omar Robinson of Union District 9 was training apprentice painters and was happy to be giving back.

“Being able to have an opportunity to give back does as much for the people who live here as it does for us,” said Robinson. “Being able to improve the building and homes for so many people truly goes a long way.

“We are all so inspired by Martin Luther King. His message was so powerful and was able to change history. We still remember his life and what it stood for today. He fought for a better world and to always do the right thing, so we are happy to get out and help our community the best way we can.”

Ian McDonald, the social services supervisor of Mercy Gardens, was thankful for the help.

Related: “50 Years After Assassination, Dr. King Is Remembered”

“It may not seem like a lot but being able to spruce the place up goes a long way,” explained McDonald. “We are so thankful to have so many people come out and give back to the community. Mercy Gardens is home to so many people, thanks to the work and commitment that so many people make to keep this place going.

“The inspiration that comes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues on today as we see people still helping one another. He will always be remembered for what he stood for and fought for and it is an honor to have people inspired by his message helping us.”

Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York added, “This was a unique opportunity to use our skills to give back to the community and commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being a part of a union is not only about ensuring economic fairness, but about working together to improve quality of life for everyone.”

Since 1975, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples (CCPOP) Development Corporation, the affordable housing developer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, has transformed vacant land and buildings into affordable housing units. Mercy Gardens is part of the former motherhouse of the Brooklyn Sisters of Mercy.

CCPOP has completed more than 3,600 units of housing, including 2,186 units of housing for low-income older adults, 1,068 units of family housing and 433 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless and individuals suffering mental illness or behavioral circumstances.

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