About Us

Meet the Villains

People are often surprised when I tell them that I am from Brownsville and I am proud.
Shantel Palacio

Founder of Brownsvillain

Shantel is a community advocate, education policy consultant, impact producer and proud Brownsvillain! After growing tired of hearing negative news, harsh comments and low expectation stereotypes about her neighborhood, she started Brownsvillain. She spent nearly 10 years as an administrator with NYC's Department of Education before pursing a PhD in Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of New Hampshire.

Her work featured on
NPR's All Things Considered in 2018. She was awarded the Independent Film Project's 2019 Documentary Fellowship for Co-producing Million Dollar Block, which examines institutions of public housing, public education, and the criminal justice system through the eyes of its residents. Last October, she was invited by GQ JAPAN to publish in its first-ever Global Edition.

Shantel is the Principal Advisor at
Urbane Advisory and a consulting partner at the Perception Institute. She holds a BA in communication from Bryant University and a MPPA from UMASS Amherst. Brownsville is and will always been her community.

Brownsvillain Contributor

Carlos Mercado, founder of Taino Vision LLC. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, raised in East NY/ Brownsville since age 9, he identifies as Afro Taino/Indigenous and LatinX. For over 25 years, he dedicated his life to art and it's many different mediums from multiple musical instruments to songwriting, photography, filmmaking, sculpting, whittlings, creative directing, content creation, visioning and much more. He provides empowering documentation and enlightening artistic direction. He has collaborated with Brownsvillain in directing and producing videos to inspire the community.

Brownsvillain Contributor

Audra Palacio is a public policy expert with 20 years of experience in housing and public administration in New York City. She has provided project management, strategic insight and leadership as a senior administrator with NYCHA and now with DHS. She is skilled at establishing partnerships and developing relationships to create pathways for providing sustainable resources for public housing and low income residents. She has a BA in Community and Human Services from SUNY Empire State and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University. She is a native Brownsvillain and is passionate about community development! #nyuwagner

  • Elijah Cabrero 2019 - 2020 Reel Works Intern

  • Jahssiah Bowman 2020 Exalt Youth Intern

  • Dylan Huang 2020 Reel Works Intern

Thank You:

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Stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people are or feel themselves to be at risk of conforming to stereotypes about their social group.