Name, Title: Mark Winston Griffith
Where do you work: Executive Director of Brooklyn Movement Center; Co-founding Board Member of Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative
What does your organization do? BMC is a Black and membership-led multi issued community organizing group, building power among the residents of Central Brooklyn. We do anti-street-harassment work through No Disrespect; Environmental Justice, Police accountability, Citizen Journalism and Storytelling, and Food Sovereignty work. Also, we are starting our tenant organizing work, partnering with Urban Justice Community Development Project. All of our work is focused on addressing the effects of gentrification in the majority Black communities of Central Brooklyn.
In what ways does the work you do help to advance community health? We define community health in very broad terms. Everything we do is designed to build the existent resiliency of the community and build the physical, spiritual and political strength in Central Brooklyn. Whether it’s working against discriminatory or abusive policing, fighting to mitigate the effects of climate change and the poisoning of the Central Brooklyn environment, or helping tenants stay in their homes. We think about all those things as improving community health. Food sovereignty is one of the more easily understood ways we are improving health outcomes for people in Central Brooklyn, by creating institutions, policy and practices that make healthy, affordable, sustainable food available in Central Brooklyn, and by helping facilitate the process whereby Central Brooklynites could do that for themselves.
Tell me about some of the programs you are most proud of: I’m most proud the mission of the Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative which is: “The Central Brooklyn Food Coop is a 100% working member-owned and –operated food store with membership open to all. Our mission is to utilize our collective strength to ensure access to affordable and fresh food within the mostly-of-color, low- and moderate-income communities of Central Brooklyn.” I am proud of the democratic and cooperative way our members have worked to achieve our mission.
What challenges have you faced doing this type of work: Being intentional about being Black-run in the midst of gentrification. How do you center the very people who are being disappeared in the community? Also, fundraising, getting people to demonstrate how valuable this is through their financial support. People think it’s a great idea but that doesn’t always translate into financial support.
Are there any upcoming initiatives we should know about? We are planning community orientations throughout the summer. They will be posted to the community calendar. Please check out our latest newsletter for upcoming events.
How can someone get in contact with the organization? Through theBrooklyn Movement Center’s website and the Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative’s website. Search for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.