CBH Talk | The Legacy of The East, Brooklyn's Center of Black Self-Determination

Thu, Feb 8 2024
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Center for Brooklyn History

Black History Month BPL Presents brooklyn history Center for Brooklyn History conversations


In 1969, following the Black-led effort to bring community control to schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, educator and activist Jitu Weusi and others founded The East, a groundbreaking, pan-African center rooted in the philosophy that Black people have the right to control their own communities and institutions. Expanding into dozens of educational and cultural initiatives including a school, performance center, food co-op, bookstore, newsmagazine, and record label, The East quickly became an epicenter of the 1970s Black Power and Black Arts Movements, making Central Brooklyn a national hub of Black self-determination. 

The documentary The Sun Rises in The East, by filmmakers Cynthia Gordy Giwa and Tayo Giwa, chronicles the birth, rise, and legacy of The East. Join us for an evening of short film excerpts and discussion that lift up the history of this extraordinary institution, its lasting impact, and the community-building that continues in the spirit of The East, as Central Brooklyn faces runaway gentrification.   

Moderated by HuffPost editor-in-chief Danielle Belton the panel includes filmmaker Tayo Giwa along with two leaders who share their experiences of The East in the film and whose work continues in its footsteps – Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele (Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy at the Alliance of Families for Justice) and Fela Barclift (founder of Little Sun People) –  and two Central Brooklynites who stand on the shoulders of The East’s lasting legacy  – Paperboy Love Prince (artist, activist, and presidential candidate) and Zakiyah Ansari (education activist, AQE).


Participants

Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele is the Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy at the Alliance of Families for Justice. He briefly served as the director of Strategic Partnerships with Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) in 2020 and from 2011 to 2020 he served as the Director of Community Organizing at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He is a community organizer and educator from Central Brooklyn who grew up in The East. From 1994 to 1998 Lumumba served as programming coordinator at the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCC). During his tenure at CCC, he also co-found Azabache, an organizers’ training conference and workshop series for young activists. As a member and organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mr. Akinwole-Bandele helped establish its campaign to counter police abuse and misconduct. He also co-founded the world-renowned Black August Hip Hop Project. Black August raises awareness and support for political prisoners in the United States. From 2002 to 2007 Lumumba served as a counselor and lecturer at Medgar Evers College/CUNY. Over the years he has taught at Pratt Institute, City College of NY, Lehman College, San Francisco State University and currently serves as an adjunct lecturer teaching Community Organizing at CUNY School of Professional Studies. Lumumba currently sits on the boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. He graduated from City College of NY/CUNY with a major in Black Studies, and went on to receive his Masters in Human Service from Lincoln University in 1998.

 

Zakiyah Ansari is the Interim Co-Executive Director of the New York State Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the leading statewide organization that has been fighting for educational justice in New York State. She is the mother of eight children and grandparent of four. Zakiyah has dedicated twenty years to the fight for educational justice and ending the oppression of Black and Brown people. She was named one of City and State magazines "25 Most Influential in Brooklyn." Zakiyah volunteers her time with New York Justice League and Resistance Revival Chorus. She is a 2020 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity.

 

 

 

 

 

Fela Barclift, (she/her/hers), MS Ed., is an early childhood educator, leader, mentor, advocate for Black and Brown children, and forty-plus year Bedford-Stuyvesant community member. During The East’s height, she ran the school. In her pursuit to develop strong, self-assured, intelligent, and loving Black and Brown children, Fela founded Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric and Culturally Responsive curriculum. With an interdisciplinary curriculum that centralizes and honors the historical and current contributions and cultures of people of African descent, children ages two to five can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess, and play. In the past 40 years, her commitment and contributions have garnered attention in over 35+ publications, presentations, awards, and interviews. Most recently, Barclift was awarded the David Prize to fully realize a codified curriculum that can be used globally.

 

Danielle C. Belton is the current editor-in-chief of HuffPost where she led the Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom to profitability in 2021 after her first year in leadership with that success continuing into 2022 when HuffPost reached profitability again. In her almost three-year tenure running BuzzFeed's leading news brand, she has improved overall newsroom diversity and relaunched HuffPost's legacy Voices brands, including adding a new vertical, Indigenous Voices — one of the first mainstream, digital media offerings for Indigenous people. Prior to joining HuffPost, Belton was editor-in-chief of the leading Black digital publication, The Root. Belton grew the award-winning site's traffic by 300 percent within her first year leading its newsroom. A 20-year-veteran of journalism, blogging, and writing, Belton is also known for being one of the first black women to lead a writer's room in late night when she was head writer for BET's talk show, "Don't Sleep" in 2012. She was also the creator and author of the popular, former politics and pop culture weblog, The Black Snob. She currently resides in New York City.

 

 

Tayo Giwa is the director of The Sun Rises in The East, which he also wrote and produced with his wife, Cynthia Gordy Giwa. The film chronicles The East, a pan-African cultural organization built by young people in 1970’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. In 2000 Giwa directed the documentary short Soul Summit: Doin’ It in the Park, which tells the story of Fort Greene’s iconic Soul Summit house music party. Giwa is also the co-creator of Black-Owned Brooklyn, an online publication dedicated to documenting local Black business, culture and history. In this work, he seeks to preserve and celebrate stories that are often erased in gentrified Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

Paperboy Love Prince, a fusion of political activist and prolific artist, embodies a multicultural heritage that fuels their passion for serving communities. Their diverse journey spans groundbreaking political bids for Congress and Mayor of New York City, marked by impressive grassroots support and impactful community initiatives. An accomplished artist and mentor, Paperboy Love Prince orchestrates events and concerts, advocating for social causes while mentoring young talents. In 2020 they founded the Paperboy Prince Love gallery located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Their initiatives like OurFoodNYC and TinyHouseNYC address societal inequalities, distributing millions in aid and providing housing for the homeless. Recognized by prestigious publications and institutions, they've earned accolades for innovative activism and community development. Now aiming for the presidency in 2024, they seek to revolutionize politics, championing equity, justice, and community empowerment. You can find their first two books and more info on their website paperboyprince.com.

 

 

128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 Get Directions
Add to My Calendar 02/08/2024 07:00 pm 02/08/2024 08:30 pm America/New_York CBH Talk | The Legacy of The East, Brooklyn's Center of Black Self-Determination

In 1969, following the Black-led effort to bring community control to schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, educator and activist Jitu Weusi and others founded The East, a groundbreaking, pan-African center rooted in the philosophy that Black people have the right to control their own communities and institutions. Expanding into dozens of educational and cultural initiatives including a school, performance center, food co-op, bookstore, newsmagazine, and record label, The East quickly became an epicenter of the 1970s Black Power and Black Arts Movements, making Central Brooklyn a national hub of Black self-determination. 

The documentary The Sun Rises in The East, by filmmakers Cynthia Gordy Giwa and Tayo Giwa, chronicles the birth, rise, and legacy of The East. Join us for an evening of short film excerpts and discussion that lift up the history of this extraordinary institution, its lasting impact, and the community-building that continues in the spirit of The East, as Central Brooklyn faces runaway gentrification.   

Moderated by HuffPost editor-in-chief Danielle Belton the panel includes filmmaker Tayo Giwa along with two leaders who share their experiences of The East in the film and whose work continues in its footsteps – Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele (Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy at the Alliance of Families for Justice) and Fela Barclift (founder of Little Sun People) –  and two Central Brooklynites who stand on the shoulders of The East’s lasting legacy  – Paperboy Love Prince (artist, activist, and presidential candidate) and Zakiyah Ansari (education activist, AQE).


Participants

Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele is the Director of Community Organizing and Advocacy at the Alliance of Families for Justice. He briefly served as the director of Strategic Partnerships with Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) in 2020 and from 2011 to 2020 he served as the Director of Community Organizing at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He is a community organizer and educator from Central Brooklyn who grew up in The East. From 1994 to 1998 Lumumba served as programming coordinator at the Franklin H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCC). During his tenure at CCC, he also co-found Azabache, an organizers’ training conference and workshop series for young activists. As a member and organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Mr. Akinwole-Bandele helped establish its campaign to counter police abuse and misconduct. He also co-founded the world-renowned Black August Hip Hop Project. Black August raises awareness and support for political prisoners in the United States. From 2002 to 2007 Lumumba served as a counselor and lecturer at Medgar Evers College/CUNY. Over the years he has taught at Pratt Institute, City College of NY, Lehman College, San Francisco State University and currently serves as an adjunct lecturer teaching Community Organizing at CUNY School of Professional Studies. Lumumba currently sits on the boards of the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. He graduated from City College of NY/CUNY with a major in Black Studies, and went on to receive his Masters in Human Service from Lincoln University in 1998.

 

Zakiyah Ansari is the Interim Co-Executive Director of the New York State Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the leading statewide organization that has been fighting for educational justice in New York State. She is the mother of eight children and grandparent of four. Zakiyah has dedicated twenty years to the fight for educational justice and ending the oppression of Black and Brown people. She was named one of City and State magazines "25 Most Influential in Brooklyn." Zakiyah volunteers her time with New York Justice League and Resistance Revival Chorus. She is a 2020 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity.

 

 

 

 

 

Fela Barclift, (she/her/hers), MS Ed., is an early childhood educator, leader, mentor, advocate for Black and Brown children, and forty-plus year Bedford-Stuyvesant community member. During The East’s height, she ran the school. In her pursuit to develop strong, self-assured, intelligent, and loving Black and Brown children, Fela founded Little Sun People, an early childhood education center in Brooklyn with an Afrocentric and Culturally Responsive curriculum. With an interdisciplinary curriculum that centralizes and honors the historical and current contributions and cultures of people of African descent, children ages two to five can express themselves through African dance, drumming, music, martial arts, chess, and play. In the past 40 years, her commitment and contributions have garnered attention in over 35+ publications, presentations, awards, and interviews. Most recently, Barclift was awarded the David Prize to fully realize a codified curriculum that can be used globally.

 

Danielle C. Belton is the current editor-in-chief of HuffPost where she led the Pulitzer Prize-winning newsroom to profitability in 2021 after her first year in leadership with that success continuing into 2022 when HuffPost reached profitability again. In her almost three-year tenure running BuzzFeed's leading news brand, she has improved overall newsroom diversity and relaunched HuffPost's legacy Voices brands, including adding a new vertical, Indigenous Voices — one of the first mainstream, digital media offerings for Indigenous people. Prior to joining HuffPost, Belton was editor-in-chief of the leading Black digital publication, The Root. Belton grew the award-winning site's traffic by 300 percent within her first year leading its newsroom. A 20-year-veteran of journalism, blogging, and writing, Belton is also known for being one of the first black women to lead a writer's room in late night when she was head writer for BET's talk show, "Don't Sleep" in 2012. She was also the creator and author of the popular, former politics and pop culture weblog, The Black Snob. She currently resides in New York City.

 

 

Tayo Giwa is the director of The Sun Rises in The East, which he also wrote and produced with his wife, Cynthia Gordy Giwa. The film chronicles The East, a pan-African cultural organization built by young people in 1970’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. In 2000 Giwa directed the documentary short Soul Summit: Doin’ It in the Park, which tells the story of Fort Greene’s iconic Soul Summit house music party. Giwa is also the co-creator of Black-Owned Brooklyn, an online publication dedicated to documenting local Black business, culture and history. In this work, he seeks to preserve and celebrate stories that are often erased in gentrified Brooklyn.

 

 

 

 

Paperboy Love Prince, a fusion of political activist and prolific artist, embodies a multicultural heritage that fuels their passion for serving communities. Their diverse journey spans groundbreaking political bids for Congress and Mayor of New York City, marked by impressive grassroots support and impactful community initiatives. An accomplished artist and mentor, Paperboy Love Prince orchestrates events and concerts, advocating for social causes while mentoring young talents. In 2020 they founded the Paperboy Prince Love gallery located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Their initiatives like OurFoodNYC and TinyHouseNYC address societal inequalities, distributing millions in aid and providing housing for the homeless. Recognized by prestigious publications and institutions, they've earned accolades for innovative activism and community development. Now aiming for the presidency in 2024, they seek to revolutionize politics, championing equity, justice, and community empowerment. You can find their first two books and more info on their website paperboyprince.com.

 

Brooklyn Public Library - Center for Brooklyn History MM/DD/YYYY 60