Brooklyn lawmakers named MIT Community Fellows
In a nod to their work to empower economically marginalized neighborhoods, eight Brooklyn lawmakers are among a group of elected officials from New York City selected by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to become named King Community Fellows for the 2017-2018 academic year.
The honorees will be part of the MIT Community Innovators Lab Program, is a 12-month project that will allow them to work on models for community and economic planning that have sustainability and inclusive development in economically marginalized urban communities.
The group of fellows includes state Sen. Kevin Parker; Assemblymembers Diana C. Richardson, Latrice Walker, Rodneyse Bichotte, Tremaine Wright and Walter Mosely; and City Councilmembers Rafael Espinal and Robert Cornegy.
Richardson (D-Crown Heights-Prospect Lefferts Gardens) said the fellowship will help her represent her constituents better.
“I am excited to participate in this program to explore ways to learn about comprehensive methods of economic sustainability and equity initiatives which can help to improve the state of our current community in the 43rd Assembly District and bring equitable policies to the state of New York,” she said in a statement.
Members of this year’s class of fellows have already been able to participate in meetings facilitated by MIT that incorporated field-based learning methods.
In addition to the elected officials from Brooklyn, lawmakers from the Bronx were selected to take part in the program including state Sen. Jamaal Bailey, Assemblymember Marcus Crespo and Councilmembers Vanessa Gibson, Rafael Salamanca and Ritchie Torres.
Yorman Nunez, the manager of the Community Innovators Lab program, said the goal of the project is to “build a learning community among leaders and innovators in the Bronx and Brooklyn, two boroughs facing economic challenges that have formidable assets that can support a fair and equitable local economy.”
The elected officials were selected because of their achievements and pursuits in the fields of social justice and innovation.
The Community Innovators Lab is a center for planning and development within the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning. The CoLab, as it is known, supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets and generate shared wealth.
The King Community Fellows Program is named in honor of Mel King, a longtime community organizer in the Boston area and a past adjunct professor at MIT.
Since it was launched in 2011, King Community Fellows Program has recognized more than 50 leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to social justice.
The 12-month program also includes an official MIT academic appointment for each participating leader.
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