IMG_9429By Clarissa James

On January 25, 2015, The 6 Robo-Rebels of DIVAS for Social Justice competed in the Brooklyn Qualifier for the First Lego League (FLL) competition and took first place in the presentation challenge of the competition. The 6 Robo- Rebels was the only robotics team from a community- based organization at the competition. The competition focused on completing missions with the robot as well as providing a solution to a given topic. The topic for the FLL competition this year was to provide a solution to learning a topic in the 21st century. The 6 Robo- Rebels chose to teach about the topic of gentrification and how it effecting Central Brooklyn. The 6 Robo-Rebels are:

  • Bahiyah Leito
  • Kiyari Jaundoo
  • Melah Lazarus
  • Xaavi Vericain
  • Amia McDonald
  • Alydia Wells

IMG_9518Many of the youth on the robotics team participated in DIVAS’ STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) camp in 2014 where they learned about gentrification through interviewing local community leaders and residents, designed robots and replicated the beloved brownstones of Bedford Stuyvesant through 3-D Printing. Executive Director, Clarisa James, Professor Andrea Calloway and Murray Cox facilitated the STEAM Camp. Professor Calloway worked intensely with The 6 Robo Rebels leading up to the Brooklyn Qualifier.

The 6 Robo-Rebels presented to the judges at Brooklyn FLL Competition a series of television skits that represented an understanding of gentrification through a cardboard television screen entitled, “Changing Channels: Changing Communities.”

DIVAS for Social Justice if grateful for the community support it received from The Macon Public Library, Bridge Street Development Corporation and Masjid Abdul Muhsi Khalifah Mosque. These organizations provided free space for the robotics team to practice during the weekends and holidays for an extended period of time. The day before the completion Stefani Zinerman of Councilman Cornegy’s office and Tremaine Wright, Community Board 3 President attended the team rehearsal and gave critical feedback and encouragement.

The 6 Robo-Rebels will be competing on March 14, 2015 at the Jacob Javitz Center in hopes of being able to travel to Atlanta next and then to Sydney, Australia for the competition.

DIVAS for Social Justice is seeking sponsorships from local businesses and leaders to ensure the success of The 6 Robo-Rebels and can be reached via email at: [email protected]

The opinions, content and/or information in this article are those of the author and are independent of BK Reader.

Join the Conversation


  1. This is such a wonderful story! I am so proud of these young people. They give me great hope for the future of our community!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.