Dear GCF Community,
This year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Arts,” is a reminder of the various ways art can evoke power, agency, and activism. It’s also a reflection of the dynamic nature of the intersectional work involved in advancing social, economic, and environmental justice.
From music, dance, visual arts, and writing to urban and green infrastructure design, architecture, culinary, and fashion – spanning ancestral traditions, to the Harlem Renaissance and civil rights era, to modern movements including Afrofuturism and BLM – African American artists and activists have leveraged the arts and creativity as a vehicle for bearing witness, remembering, reckoning, liberation, inspiration, exploration, sharing joy, shifting narratives, and calling others to action.
The richness, diversity, and energy of Black art as an expression of current socio-cultural conditions, progress, and aspirations is an influencing force in our GCF community – something to celebrate year round!
“Plant Variety” and “Compost” illustrations designed by GCF Cohort 26 Corps Member Sadé Williams
GCF Cohort 22 alum Kawon Veazy highlighted in mural by Howard Houses resident Jocelyn Marie Goode (photo credit to Jordan Rathkopf)
Compost Power early signage design by GCF Cohort 21 alum Caleb Delgado
This sample of art centering Black experience, achievements, and community impact at GCF is one of the many ways Black voices can be heard in the fight for climate and social justice. This Black History Month, we will also be celebrating Black Climate Week (2/19/24-2/23/24), which “honors the innovative climate solutions and environmental justice work that Black folk have been leading for years, while simultaneously calling in philanthropy & the media to do a better job at investing in the communities most impacted by the climate crisis and centering Black voices from the bottom up and the top down.”
In honor of both Black History Month and Black Climate Week, check out GCF alumni in the news:
- Justin Baker, GCF Senior Service Coordinator for Eco-Hub Expansion, Cohort 17 Grad from Staten Island, and 2019 TCN (The Corps Network) Corps Member of the Year award winner, was recently elected by the community to be the Staten Island Representative for the USDA FSA (Farm Service Agency) Urban County Committee. His appointment is a critical opportunity to share the unique urban agriculture needs of his community to USDA decision makers and other government agencies. A historic moment for NYC growers and Black community leaders!
Justin at TCN’s 2019 Conference honored as CM of the Year with former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and leading Staten Island community engagement at the Staten Island Forgotten Foods neighborhood market.
- Hakim Jeffrey, GCF Senior Service Coordinator for Program and Partnerships and Cohort 17 Grad, was recently featured in the New York Times for his leadership and connection to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, who visited GCF last year. [Fun fact: Hakim spends his free time in music production!]
Hakim and Hakeem Jeffries at GCF’s Bay View Eco-Hub
Thank you all for your commitment to creating power and equity with us this month and beyond.
In service and solidarity,
The GCF team
Free Black History Month events across the city:
Feb 1st through all of February, Manhattan: Apollo’s Victoria Theater Gallery to Open with ‘From The Victoria to The Village: A Visual History of Black Creative Spaces’ | GothamToGo
Feb 4th, Long Island: Black History Month Self-Guided Hike, Family Program, Black Environmentalists
Feb 10th, Staten Island: Black History Month: Audre Lorde – Feb 10, 2024 : NYC Parks (nycgovparks.org)
Feb 15th, Manhattan: 16th Annual Black History Month Celebration — The Harlem Chamber Players
Feb 21st, Manhattan: Black History Paint Night with Trivia – Feb 21, 2024 : NYC Parks (nycgovparks.org)
Feb 24th, Manhattan: Black History Month Silent Disco – Feb 24, 2024 : NYC Parks (nycgovparks.org)