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PS186: Signed...Sealed...Still Waiting...
by: Kyesha Edwards

Pastor of the Covent Avenue Baptist Church and Chair of the M.L. Wilson Boys and Girls Club, Reverend Clarence P. Grant, is missing in action. According to the non-profit organization, the Liberation Program of Brotherhood/ Sister Sol, and the residents of Harlem, he has been missing for the past 17 years.

In 1986, Rev. Grant signed a contract stating that P.S. 186, the former M.L. Wilson Boys and Girls club, would be reformed within a matter of years. Eighty-five percent (85%) of the building was to be reconstructed and used as a community center. The other fifteen percent (15%) would be used for commercial businesses. Unfortunately, up to 17 years later, the building still stands abandoned in the center of W. 145th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.

It leaves to question, what has Rev. Grant been doing for 17 years. And maybe more importantly why hasn't Rev. Grant lived up to his words?

When asked to speak on his negligence of the building, Rev. Grant ultimately refused. For years, the Liberation program has been trying to get answers. The majority of their attempts were unsuccessful. Sources say Grant managed to somehow have been unavailable and unable to respond for all these years. Chapter Leader of the Liberation Program, Cidra Sebastien, spoke on her attempts in contacting Rev. Grant, and her experiences with his disregard. A question of possible explanations arose when Sebastian questioned his irresponsibility. Due to his absence, people are left to assume what could be the reason as to why so much time has gone by with no alterations made. When I suggested the possibility of Grant being financially unstable, Sebastien responded in a more matter-of-fact way stating, ∞[Ultimately], the building would pay for itself". But the communities initial question still was unanswered- ∞Why won't he just say that?"

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Liberation Program


There were few selected occasions where Grant agreed to meet with the Liberation Program, and other organizations in agreement that were willing to help reconstruct the building. During these encounters, Grant agreed to modify the minor requested changes, such as have the outside of the building cleaned. For the Liberation Program and residents of the neighborhood ∞that's still not enough", said an anonymous member of the CABC, summarizing what the community at large seems to feel. ∞After a while, you stop noticing it, but [there still could] be something else worth looking at instead of that," said a resident looking across to the building.

Rev. Grant might have a good reason for what's happening. He might A goal of the Liberation program is to take valid expressions such as these and get them together to form that which is over due.


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