Closer to Our Dream Performance Gala 2016

On April 17, 2016, Mama Joy’s Pride and Friends of 227 Abolitionist Place presented Closer To Our Dream Performance Gala to raise funds reviving Mama Joy’s Chatel’s vision of turning her historic home into a museum and heritage center. Proceeds from the event will go towards legal expenses and developing plans of 227 Abolitionist Place Museum and Heritage Center. The gala is hosted by Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin with performances by Resura ArkestraKakande, Mama Joy’s Pride and AbunDancers of AbunDance Academy of the Arts.

Where and When

Sunday, April 17
Doors open at 3:30 pm. Show starts at 4 pm. Event ends at 8 pm.
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Dress: #CultureGlam
Social Media: #CloserToOurDream & #227AbolitionistPlace


2016 Community Conductor Award

Image of Laurie Cumbo

Laurie Cumbo
Laurie A. Cumbo is a member of the New York City Council representing the 35th District in Brooklyn, which includes the neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Bedford Stuyvesant. Ms. Cumbo currently serves as Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee and has been an aggressive champion of women’s workforce equality including gender pay equity, parental rights and reproductive rights.

2016 Harriet Tubman Joy Chatel Award
Image of Dr. Cheryl LaRocheDr. Cheryl LaRoche
For more than a decade, archaeologist Dr. Cheryl LaRoche has been researching and physically exploring the landscapes of 18th and 19th century free Black communities, their churches, cemeteries and institutions, and their relationship to the Underground Railroad.
She is a historical and archaeological consultant who combines law, history, oral history, archaeology, geography, and material culture to define nineteenth century African American cultural landscapes and its relationship to escape from slavery. She often works at the sometimes contentious interface between the public and scholars, professionals and municipalities.

Host Committee

Zaire Baptiste

Tiffany Clark

Kathleen Etienne

Melissa Gomes

Sakeenah Kinard

Eri Kitada

Patricia Peticolas, Volunteer Coordinator
A New York City-based Artist and Photographer with exhibits in New York, France and Chile. She is currently working on street art involving virtual presence, dreams and guerilla gardening.
Learn more at | |

Janis Pinkney

Chef Elle Simone, Food and Drinks Coordinator
Founder of, a nonprofit organization mentoring young women from urban settings within the culinary arts.

Sanura Weathers, Event Planner
Food Writer at, and Parade Magazine’s Online Community Table; and Graphic Designer at CAMBA in Brooklyn, NY

Marilyn Worrell, Individual Donations & Sponsors

NOTE: Friends of 227 Abolitionist Place Museum and Heritage Center is a tax-exempt 501(c) non-profit organization.