Time was when much of the Black leadership in government came out of local activism, the clergy, powerful civil service unions, the military or machine politics, but this is changing as a new leadership of highly educated and home-grown leaders are returning to the neighborhoods which raised them, and to make the growing case for community self-empowerment.
Among those leading the charge is City Council Candidate Mawuli Hormeku, who is taking on City Councilwoman Inez Barron (D-Brownsville, Canarsie, East Flatbush, East New York, Jamaica Bay) in the Sept. 12 primary.
Hormeku grew up in Brownsville’s Nehemiah homes, and went on to graduate from Brooklyn Tech, before earning both a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master’s of Education from Boston College, and a Masters in Educational Policy and Social Analysis from Columbia University. After traveling and working throughout the world he came back to Brownsville to give back to the community from which he came.
Last Thursday, Hormeku held a fundraiser at Spoonfed in Hell’s Kitchen to support his upcoming race against Barron in the 42nd district. Interestingly and anecdotally, the upstairs of the small Black-owned eatery in Manhattan’s theater district was filled with Black young professionals from Brownsville and East New York – many of whom returned to their neighborhoods with the message that self-empowerment is the political wave of the future as opposed to social and political engineering.
This included representatives from Vevo, Viacom, Time Inc, Pandora, the Department of Education, Complex Media, and perhaps more importantly a number of highly educated entreprenuirs in such fields as entertainment production, public relations, finance and real estate.
Shaking hands with his supporters Hormeku relayed his message of a shifting narrative in Brownsville/ East New York.
“We have too many amazing doctors, teachers, lawyers, and businessmen homegrown in Brownsville and East New York for the stories coming out of the district to be negative,” said Hormeku. “I am building a platform based on LOVE – Legacy, Ownership, Vocation and Education. Those are the pillars I stand by and the pillars I want to use to shape this community.”
The event also drew Guardian Angels Founder and New York Reform Party Chair Curtis Sliwa, who endorsed Hormeku in the upcoming primary.
Female Democratic District Leader Nikki Lucas is also running in the primary.