In 1997, when the Haitian immigrant Abner Louima was assaulted, brutalized and arrested by members of the NYPD, Rev. Lee saw the need to bring “Unity” to educate and foster a good relationship between the Community and the Police. In 1998 Unity Walk was formed. There were only 13 people initially but has now ballooned to thousands annually and is seen as one of the main events supported by the Police Department today. The event attracts community clergies, organizers, residents, elected officials, and members of the NYPD, FDNY, Military and Sanitation Departments, and various HMO’s vendors to help the community on Health and Wellness.
Unity Walk is an All-Day Parade which usually starts at 10 am at Empire Boulevard & Flatbush Avenue and proceeds to Church & Utica Avenues where it concludes at 5:00 p.m. It features a fun-filled day of activities, Health Fair, Kid Fest, presentations, prizes, music live performances, special guests, and entertainment for the entire family
The mission of Unity Walk is to strengthen and empower our communities; improve relationship between the New York City Police and the local community; showcase Brooklyn’s diversity; and provide a forum to address community issues and concerns.
Now in its 22nd-year history, Unity Walk has brought millions of Brooklyn residents and visitors together to revel in the beauty of this “Great Borough.” Past participants included NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, State Senator Kevin Parker, State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, Assemblywoman Diana Richardson, Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblyman Nick Perry, Public Advocate Letitia James, Council member Laurie Cumbo, former Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, several Caricom leaders and diplomats, trumpeter David Longoria, gospel singers Hopeton Lewis, Cora Williamson, Michael Reid, Wayne Johnson, and many others.
Past sponsors for Unity Walk included HealthFirst, Humana, MetroPlus Health Plan, WellCare Health Plans, Affinity Health Plan, Kings County Hospital, Brookdale Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, USCIS, NYPD, Dennis Shipping, Laparkan Shipping, Rainbow Car Service, Chef Choice Supermarket, C&J Restaurants, Silver Krust Restaurant & Bakery, FootPrints Restaurant, Tropical Paradise, Caribbean Life Newspaper, Real Life Times Media, WhatzUp New York TV, Behind Focus TV Network, Rapid Furniture, and many others.
Participants include featured artists, elected officials, NYPD, NYFD, the Armed Forces, healthcare providers, educators, local business owners, and community leaders.
“Since Brooklyn is a diversity of people from all nations,” said Rev. Terry Lee, “although we may have different customs and culture, we share similar concerns relative to our community and prosperity. We all want peace, respect, and an opportunity to succeed which is what Unity Walk exudes while we learn more about each other as we simultaneously hone in on our common interests.”