Jumaane D. Williams is a first-generation Brooklynite of West Indian parentage and a proud product of our city’s public school system, including the Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented and Brooklyn Technical High School. It was while earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Brooklyn College that Jumaane realized civic engagement and community empowerment would be his professional focus. He received a Master’s Degree, also from Brooklyn College, in Urban Policy and Administration; during these studies, Jumaane honed his skills as an organizer while serving as the graduate student body president.

Immediately after college, Jumaane was hired as the assistant director for the Greater Flatbush Beacon School where he provided leadership for its first successful summer. Subsequently, he became the interim executive director of Flatbush East Community Development Corporation. As a community organizer, Jumaane worked in the buildings of Vanderveer Estates, now known as Flatbush Gardens, and successfully secured city funding for a new youth program. He continued fighting for affordable housing as the Housing Director for the Flatbush Development Corporation, where he reconstituted a defunct housing program. Jumaane then became the Executive Director of the New York State Tenants & Neighbors, a statewide organization that stands for tenants’ rights and affordable housing through organizing and advocacy.

Since being elected in 2009 to represent the 45th District in the New York City Council, Jumaane has been a tireless progressive champion for his constituents and all New Yorkers. He has been a leading local and national advocate in pursuit of reform of policing practices such as stop, question and frisk, seeking an improvement in relations between the NYPD and communities of more color as well as an improvement in public safety. Jumaane has also been committed to transforming our public education system, calling for the end of mayoral control and the empowerment of parents in their children’s schooling. He has proposed charter reforms to address the unequal balance of power in municipal government and increase parity and transparency in the budget process.

As chair of the Oversight and Investigations Committee, Jumaane co-chaired hearings in all five boroughs to probe issues such as the city’s restaurant grading system and its failed response to the blizzard of December 2010; the latter led to a law he authored which helped improve 311 service during emergencies. In 2011, after speaking out against the gun violence plaguing the five boroughs, he was appointed as a co-chair of the Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, a group charged with producing a series of tangible solutions aimed at reducing citywide shootings and promoting positive alternatives for young people. Under Jumaane’s leadership, the Anti-Gun Violence Initiative was established to fund almost $5 million in its first year for programs such as crisis intervention, therapeutic services, conflict mediation and community development.

Jumaane has brought his experience as an organizer to the 45th District in order to help unleash the community’s full potential with realistic solutions, not political rhetoric. Just days after being sworn into office, his office coordinated a district-wide relief effort to respond to the devastating Haitian earthquake of January 2010 and the economic and legal needs emanating from its wake. Jumaane has provided ongoing immigration assistance through his office, including legal aid applying for temporary protected status and citizenship.

As a former business owner, Jumaane has an intimate interest in the economic development of his community. He has organized educational and networking forums for the Flatbush/Nostrand and Church/Utica/Avenue D business corridors. Jumaane is working to establish a business improvement district along Utica Avenue and a merchants association for Nostrand Avenue.

He has focused on activating local citizens within their neighborhood, establishing his Community Volunteer Corps (CVC) and a youth group called Students Taking Action Today (S.T.A.T.). They work regularly with his office to provide community programs like his Labor Day Senior Concert, Youth Empowerment Seminar, Youth Holiday Party, Senior Holiday Party, Back-to-School Supply Drive, Easter Egg Hunt and Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, as well as his “Not in My Hood” Anti-Violence March and Community Resource/Health Fair. Jumaane also worked with volunteers to coordinate local cleanup and citywide relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

In the fall of 2011, Jumaane helped pioneer participatory budgeting in New York City, a revolutionary approach to civic engagement; under this approach, everyday citizens come together to propose, develop and vote on proposals that will be funded in the upcoming year through his discretionary capital budget. Winning projects have included district-wide security cameras, lighting for local parks and school fields, technology upgrades for local Beacon programs and a new college/career readiness center.

Jumaane’s vision is to make the 45th District a safe place for all young people to learn and grow. He is pushing to establish the Shirley Chisholm Community Center, a full-service facility providing recreational, educational and social opportunities to youth, seniors and families. Other initiatives include the establishment of a Community Emergency Response Team for Community Board 17 and creation of community gardens, mural projects and a local farmer’s market. Through the promotion of local culture, he hopes to brand East Flatbush as the “Little Caribbean” to spur economic activity and tourism.

Jumaane is also a member of the Higher Education, Housing and Buildings, Immigration, Land Use, Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses and Youth Services committees. Additionally, Jumaane serves as vice chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus and is a founding member of the Progressive Caucus.

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commented 2013-11-30 16:37:25 -0800 · Flag
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