Brooklyn Artists Celebrate the Life of Walt Whitman at Local Benefit for CAMBA
Actor Martha Plimpton read from Leaves of Grass at Erv's on Beekman on March 25.
In late March, a local establishment, Erv's on Beekman, collaborated with Greenlight Bookstore and PLG Arts to host a very special fundraiser for CAMBA, and all through the voice of the great poet Walt Whitman.

Thirty authors, actors and other artists and neighbors gathered together in the well-loved bar on Sunday, March 25, to read aloud the entirety of Whitman's classic work, Leaves of Grass, over a lively reading that took about six hours to complete. Steve Fishman, the bar's owner and host of the podcast Empire on Blood, said that the inspiration for the afternoon, and evening, emerged from his aspirations to create events that "would bring people together and give us a sense of community."

Mr. Fishman said that it was the poet's own many near brushes with homelessness that inspired him to donate a portion of the evening's proceeds to CAMBA to aid the organization's work in the field of housing. "Whitman was a guy who celebrated life and had a sense of the beauty of ordinary things. He loved people of all classes and backgrounds," Mr. Fishman said. This philosophy is also embodied in the work of CAMBA, he said.

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, the co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore and collaborator on this event, said that she was also familiar with CAMBA's work in homelessness services through her regular volunteerism with CAMBA's Respite Bed Program. "Donating to an organization that's about helping those who are struggling with housing is totally something Walt Whitman would understand. He had this generosity of spirit," she said.

Each of the readers said a few words about what Whitman meant to them before commencing with their excerpt, Ms. Bagnulo said. That the poem could elicit such a strong reaction from the many people who attended and participated in this reading demonstrated the poet's broad appeal, Ms. Bagnulo said. "It was his incredibly generous and democratic vision. Whatever your definition of humanity is, his was broader."

CAMBA is grateful to be woven into incredible community events like these and thrilled to use the night's proceeds to bring housing to New Yorkers in need.
Author Alvaro Enrigue and Ria Julien, a literary agent, were also among the event's readers.
"I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine, 
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it, 
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me"

Excerpt from "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892, who is most known for his volume of poetry, Leaves of Grass , lived at one point in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Take yourself, and your friends, out to the ball game
This summer, you can take your friends and your family out to the ballgame and celebrate the last day of the school year, all for a great cause.

Proceeds from ticket sales and sponsorships go directly back into the work we do to provide emergency food, safe and permanent homes, jobs, and youth development programs to 45,000 New Yorkers in need each year.

Ticket information:
Where: MCU Park, 1904 Surf Ave., Brookyn, NY
When: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Melissa Fisher, Director of Development
T: (718) 287 – 2600 x20321 or email melissaf@camba.org
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