Lift Every Voice! Celebrating Black History, Resistance, and Excellence!

Artboard 1 Announcements Uncategorized
icon-clock February 22, 2023

Dear GCF Community,

This year, I have been struggling to land on a Black History Month message that felt right. To be honest, the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols and the somber fact that 2023 is the first year when both Super Bowl quarterbacks were Black men has made me weary. But, as usual, when I was looking for answers to the hard question of how we stay focused and motivated, I turned to the GCF community for guidance on the way forward. I was heartened by reflecting on the amazing members of our community from Corps Members, alumni, and staff, to stakeholders and supporters. Here are some quotes and reminders that staff have shared with us to reflect on Black Resistance:

Shared by Shontanyce Bailey, GCF Alumni Engagement Coordinator and Cohort 12 alum

  • “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.” – Muhammad Ali
  • “I’m very proud to be Black, but Black is not all I am. That’s my cultural historical background, my genetic makeup, but it’s not all of who I am, nor is it the basis from which I answer every question.” – Denzel Washington
  • Sandra Bland (February 7, 1987 – July 13, 2015) was a civil rights activist in Chicago, and a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. She would exploit the police by posting videos of the police mistreating African Americans. In one post she wrote, “In the news that we’ve seen as of late, you could stand there, surrender to the cops, and still be killed.”

Shared by Flo Alleyne, GCF Director of People Operations

Shared by Alexandria Gross, GCF Development and Communications Associate

  • Banned Black Authors Resource List compiled by Slow Factory
  • “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” – Angela Davis
  • “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

As I read through these quotes, I was re-fueled and reminded that if you can see it, you can be it. Our work at GCF is more critical than ever before and in community and reflection, we lift as we climb and help each other to push past the trauma and systems that have led to the need for our mission. In celebration of Black History Month, I want to shout out some amazing local and national leaders who continue to shine and lead by example. Of course, there are many others. But the folks listed here help the GCF community to see what we all can be given the right circumstances and support. Cheers to the Black heroes and sheroes we celebrate this month including:

  • All current Black GCF staff members and NYCHA Tenant Association Presidents walking the talk everyday, leading by example;
  • GCF Board Members Erika SymmondsIbrahim Abdul-MatinMiles and Matthew Washington;
  • Former staff lead on Support Services and Black Excellence Felicia Prince;
  • NYC’s first Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Equity Sideya Sherman;
  • CEO at NYS Public Service Commission Rory Christian;
  • National Leaders in Service and Environmental Justice like Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice Peggy Shepard; Farmer and Advocate Karen Washington; Yale School of the Environment Professor of Environmental Justice and Senior Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Dorceta Taylor; and AmeriCorps CEO Michael Smith.

There are a lot of challenges that continue to haunt our community. But, it is also clear that we have much to lift up and celebrate. Thank you to our Corps Members, graduates, NYCHA residents and other GCF community members who continue to strive towards a Just Transition. For those of you looking to celebrate or learn more about Black History, consider the following opportunities below.

To continue celebrating Black History Month:

In service and solidarity,


GCF Executive Director