A recent New York Times article, Hero of the Bronx is Now Accused of Betraying It, details the rise of our very own (and this year’s lesser-publicized Honorary Degree recipient) Majora Carter ’88. Carter founded the program Sustainable South Bronx, supporting local food production and urban revitalization in the South Bronx. Now she is consulting for corporations like FreshDirect, which has recently occupied a huge lot in the South Bronx, but serves clients mostly in Manhattan and none in the neighborhood around it. That’s not to mention the $500 fee Carter reportedly charges for initial consultations. Journalist Winnie Hu gives the overview:
Ms. Carter’s meteoric rise also made her a polarizing figure. Many former allies and neighbors say that Ms. Carter trades on the credibility she built in the Bronx, while no longer representing its interests. They say she has capitalized on past good deeds in the way that politicians parlay their contacts into a lobbying career, or government regulators are hired by the companies they once covered.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Eddie Bautista, executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. “Either you’re an honest broker and accountable to the community, or you’re working for a business interest and accountable to that.”
Want to hear about Wesleyan’s involvement in prison education and criminal justice reform? Maddie Neufeld ’12 writes in with some, er, arresting information:
Join us for a panel discussion on Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, featuring members of the initiative’s advisory board. Come hear from leaders in criminal justice reform about Wesleyan’s pioneering work bringing educational opportunity into Connecticut’s prisons. Board members include Majora Carter ’88, MacArthur Genius and environmental activist, Ted Shaw ’76, former NAACP attorney, Greg Berman ’88, Director of the Center for Court Innovation, Katherine Eyster ’10, former CPE volunteer, Russell Perkins ’09, CPE co-founder and Rhodes Scholar, Randy Ezratty P’13, music producer and engineer, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak, Mike Lawlor, CT’s Undersecretary for Criminal Justice, and Max Kenner, Bard Prison Initiative Director.
After decades of increasing and unprecedented philanthropic giving in the US, public health, income disparities, educational outcomes, and incarceration & recidivism are all getting worse. People attempting to fit into society after traumatic combat and/or prison experiences, or from generational poverty are some of our most expensive citizens.
Majora Carter ’88 is a MacArthur “genius” Fellow, host of Eco-Heroes on Sundance Channel and The Promised Land on NPR. She serves on the Boards of The Wilderness Society, Ceres, SJF. She founded and led Sustainable South Bronx from 2001 to 2008, and is currently President of her own economic development consulting group.
What: Green The Ghetto, and How Much It Won’t Cost Us with Majora Carter ’88
We missed this when it was published, but Majora Carter ’88, urban planner and environmental justice advocate, was profiled in the New York Times last month.
Carter majored in film at Wesleyan, and has been doing great things for the past decade – advocating on behalf of Bronx residents as head of the nonprofit Sustainable South Bronx, becoming a major voice on environmental issues in the media, and taking a risky pro-Tibet political stand as an Olympic torchbearer last summer.
She’s now entering the private sector with her own green consulting firm, the Majora Carter Group:
In just over a decade, Ms. Carter, 42, has vaulted from working as a volunteer for what was a nascent organization called the Point Community Development Corporation and knowing almost nothing about environmental issues to becoming a nationally known advocate for environmental justice.
Her reputation was burnished in 2005 when she won a MacArthur Foundation award for her work at the Point and at Sustainable South Bronx, a nonprofit organization she founded after leaving the Point in 2001.
…Ms. Carter’s fame is also proving somewhat double-edged for her start-up. She is in high demand for speeches all over the country, yet in the eyes of many she remains synonymous with Sustainable South Bronx, and it is taking time to establish a separate identity.
“Now I go and I talk about what I think I can bring to the rest of the world with this consulting firm,” Ms. Carter said one afternoon in her new offices at 901 Hunts Point Avenue. “And it is hard, because I am still so much seen as this ground-breaking visionary who ran community groups. And I am like, that is nice and all, but I am a groundbreaking visionary who has a consultancy.
“It is fun,” she added. “I am not complaining. I am just so tired I can’t keep my eyes open.”
Majora was nominated by Princeton University Professor Joshua Guild as the 10th most inflential New Yorker in the past 40 years (ranking with the likes of Barbara Walters, Spike Lee, and Mayor Bloomberg) for creating her organization Sustainable South Bronx and greening the neighborhood.
Jeffrey was featured as the 12 year-old-kid who tipped Derek Jeter’s fly ball into the stands in 1996, which ultimately led to the Yankees entering the World Series and winning after an 18 year slump. While the article cites that Maier currently lives in (enemy borders) Boston, he’s still remembered as a major “headliner”.
With half of Wesleyan living in NYC, it’s about time we get recognized!
Majora Carter ’88 was involved in an incident with San Francisco authorities yesterday during the Olympic torch relay ceremony.
Carter, a notable Wesleyan alum and clearly an awesome individual, was selected as a torchbearer for part of the San Francisco relay due to her humanitarian work in New York City. AP:
At least one torchbearer decided to show her support for Tibetan independence during her moment in the spotlight. After being passed the Olympic flame, Majora Carter [’88] pulled out a small Tibetan flag that she had hidden in her shirt sleeve.
“The Chinese security and cops were on me like white on rice, it was no joke,” said Carter, 41, who runs a nonprofit organization in New York. “They pulled me out of the race, and then San Francisco police officers pushed me back into the crowd on the side of the street.”
“Apparently, I’m not part of the Olympic torch-bearing entourage anymore,” Carter quipped.
Carter’s maverick move was the most successful act of defiance in the cat-and-mouse game cops played with the thousands railing against China’s crackdown on dissidents in Tibet and its unwillingness to denounce genocide in Darfur.
[EDIT 5:15 pm] A video of Carter explaining her feelings about the incident:
And another video of Carter speaking at a Free Tibet rally shortly after the incident.
Thanks to Izaak Orlansky for the tip, and Leah Lamb of Current Media for the video!