Brooklyn Members Rejoice at Their Center’s Opening!
by Jihii Jolly
BROOKLYN, N.Y., May 4–5—It was a rainy spring morning of cheers, laughter and standing ovations as members celebrated the soft opening of the SGI-USA Brooklyn Buddhist Center in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (the official grand opening is slated for the near future).
Located just blocks from the Atlantic Terminal transportation hub in the center of the borough, the neighborhood is known for its blend of old and new. Residential blocks featuring converted 19th-century townhouses surround commercial institutions as old as a decommissioned 1936 subway station that is now the New York City Transit Museum, and as new as the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, which opened in 2012.
The new four-story Buddhist center, built from the ground up on a 4,500 square-foot lot, was carefully designed to be the same height and style as its neighbors. It features four Gohonzon rooms, two offices, a conference room, bookstore and beautiful outdoor patio.
Nobody, perhaps, was more joyful than the pioneer members who gathered among the 211 district-through-national leaders, youth performers and behind-the-scenes crew for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 4.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams sent a proclamation, which recognized SGI-USA’s contributions to the community and established May 3, 2019, as Soka Gakkai International-USA Day in Brooklyn.
On May 5, the center opened its doors to 434 members for two kosen-rufu gongyo meetings. Five Gohonzon conferrals took place, with six new youth joining the SGI-USA.
Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and South Bay Districts earned the Soka Victory District Award, bringing the region to six Soka Victory Districts so far this year.
“Brooklyn is developing at a remarkable rate,” SGI President Ikeda said in his congratulatory message, adding that the new center “will be a hub of peace and culture, serving as a forum of dialogue from which new trends of humanistic thinking will emerge.”
The Brooklyn Region team shared a bold determination, interrupted by rousing applause again and again, to make Brooklyn the heart of New York and create “an eruption of future division members who will carry the torch of the Law in Brooklyn from generation to generation.”
SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss, who attended the May 4 opening, encouraged the members to view the conclusion of the center’s construction as a fresh departure for the region.
Senior Vice General Director Tariq Hasan echoed this sentiment the next day at the kosen-rufu gongyo meetings, encouraging Brooklyn members to treasure President Ikeda’s message and create an exemplary model of kosen-rufu for the entire nation. WT