Laurie Cumbo hit the ground running after she was installed as Council Member for the 35th District, last year. Cumbo followed Letitia James who is now the public advocate. Embedded in the community as founder and director of MOCDA (Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts located within the BAM Cultural District), Cumbo serves with an extensive background in the arts.
Her passionate supporters came out to the Brooklyn Museum, March 1, on a very snowy Sunday to celebrate her first year and hear her progress and vision.
Fort Greene resident Edna Grant was one of the many seniors who braved the weather. “She’s doing a lot in the community. She comes by to see how the programs (in the senior centers) are going,” she said. Her friend Celina Lynch reiterated those sentiments, adding, “You see her face in the community and she does a lot with the youth.”
After the welcome by National Blue Ribbon school P.S. 11 student Mya Reed and the National Anthem was sung by firefighter Regina Wilson, an introduction was offered by Najay Royal who is a veteran workshop participant with the New York Writers Coalition.
“Cumbo has the whole city in her district,” observed financial consultant Kenneth Marable of her council district that runs from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, through downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, parts of Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.
During the program, elected officials Senator Schumer who lives in neighboring district Park Slope and City Council President Melissa Mark-Viverito offered greetings and expressions of admiration for Cumbo’s work.
Community and business leaders including David Ehrenberg from the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Tyree Stanback from NYCHA Lafayette Gardens, Rabbi Eli Cohen from Crown Heights (CHJCC) and President Dr. Rudy Crew from Medgar Evers College gave kudos with their presentations.
Rich in cultural institutions, Cumbo’s district includes the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Botanic Gardens, all which were recognized during the afternoon.
A slideshow presentation of images gave visual representation of many of the initiatives Cumbo has been involved with this past year.
Cumbo is the chair of the Women’s Issues Committee and along with her colleague Vanessa L. Gibson, chair of the Public Safety Issues Committee; she announced the council $6 million allocation to support domestic violence programs and initiatives. The steps of City Hall were the backdrop for public sharing her Council work.
Additionally, the Council Member was instrumental organizing elected officials to be posted at subway stations across the city in the “NYC Go Purple Visibility Day” campaign in order to raise awareness during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Cumbo remains passionate about women’s issues like domestic violence, women in education and sex trafficking and backs many programs that support women and girls’ empowerment.
Many large projects in the pipeline including the development of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Plaza, south site and 5.3 million- dollar expansion project for Brooklyn Botanic Garden, work with the Prospect Park Alliance, and support for the Mark Morris Dance group were cited and illustrated during the slide show.
Following Ifetayo’s dance performance, Reverend Jones gave a closing prayer / oration and audience members trudged through the accumulated snow to Tom’s Diner on Washington Ave. for a reception.