Star of Brooklyn: Dennis Flores

September 17, 2013 Editorial Staff
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Community Involvement: Photojournalist and community activist Dennis Flores is a member of Cop Watch, a community photography program that films police officers’ alleged misconduct and reports it. A Sunset Park native, Flores is also an outreach specialist with Lutheran Medical Center’s Sexual Behavior and Health Department.

Flores joined Cop Watch — an organized patrol team designed to observe and safely document encounters, not to confront or obstruct police business — when he chose no longer to accept the stigma of police brutality in his community and decided to film police work. Flores said he feels like “people are accepting police brutality in little pockets and blind communities.”

Flores made it clear that he isn’t against the Police Department, stressing he “is not targeting good cops; all cops aren’t bad.”

Flores also conducts workshops and classes to teach others in the community the correct way to observe police action. “We beat ourselves when we go into the battle with a defeated attitude,” said Flores. Flores said he is “arming communities with cameras and filming,” as opposed to guns, to ensure rights are not violated.

As an outreach specialist with LMC, Flores focuses on raising awareness of sexual behavior and health, giving free HIV tests as well as helping to distribute free condoms.

Personal Life: A newlywed, Flores is happily married to Noelle Theard, who is also a photojournalist and an art history professor at Florida Institute of Technology. Flores and his wife are expecting, and Flores is also the father of a 14-year-old son from a previous relationship.

Biggest Challenge: Flores goal is seeking basic rights for his community.  Among his many efforts, he helped organize Rent Strikers, an action against slumlords that weren’t taking care of their tenants’ homes.

Flores said, “I work for the people that think they have no resources. We don’t have to take injustice lying down but it takes people coming together.”

Flores says his biggest challenge is to get others in the community to become more aware and begin to make strides against injustices in inner city communities, quoting Harriet Tubman — “I could’ve freed more if they believed they were slaves.”

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