The FUREE Board
"So early in my life, I had learned that if you want something, you had better make some noise." - Malcolm X
Sharif Barnes, 22, was born in St. Mary’s Hospital and graduated from City-As-Schools with a regents diploma. Growing up, he slowly watched the coming of new luxury buildings at the expense of low income and working families losing their homes, a local supermarket, pharmacy and other needs on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
In the summer of 2011, Sharif was introduced to FUREE by a friend and was part of FUREE's Summer Youth Employmen Program placements where he learned about issues impacting youth, community organizing skills and political theories in racism, classism, ageism and sexism. In the fall of the same year, Sharif made the commitment to join FUREE as a FUREEous Youth member and since then, has particpated in actions, press conferences, strategic planning meetings and trainings. Sharif is also a consistent represtentative of the up-and-coming city-wide youth jobs coalition.
Sharif has one blood-related sister and numerous friends he considers family. A loving and caring person, he goes out of his way to support friends and family in need, especially in these hard times where limited job opportunities for young people of color is rampant. Sharif feels that FUREEous Youth and FUREE can make history and turn the wheels to bring back community control by low income and working class people who are in the best position to make decisions for their lives.
Sharif was unanimously elected to the Board of Directors by a group of his peers in May of 2012 and feels that his fight is a fight for "love, peace and unity and will fight for my community no matter what."
Alvin Bartolomey was elected to FUREE's Board of Directors in May 2012 and is a proud Puerto Rican leader that wants to see the people unite to take back what has been taken from our communities. Alvin is part of the Public Housing and Accountable Development Campaigns in which he co-facilitates and coordinates monthly meetings with staff. He also works with FUREEous Youth members with leadership and guidance.
He joined FUREE in 2010 and after planning a walking tour for the Accountable Development Campaign highlighting the negative impacts of market-led development; holding the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership accountable for failing to bring the numbers of jobs promised to the city; and providing powerful testimonies at a NYCHA Draft Annual Plan hearing, Alvin quickly shot up as a devoted leader of FUREE.
Over the years, his leadership skills continued to develop, leading him to continue to publicly testify on housing, jobs and access to services problems including a recent presentation at a National People's Action's Housing Justice Movement panel in Washington, DC.
At 25 years young, Alvin believes that, “...with these development deals, tax-payers are unknowingly paying for the destruction of their own communities...This is why FUREE pushes out so hard to inform the people of Downtown Brooklyn and empower them to rebuild the communities being disintegrated by gentrification.” Star Weekly Newspaper November 16th, 2011
Joy is a leader on the Downtown Brooklyn Campaign for Accountable Development and elected to the board in May of 2009. Joy has been a member of FUREE since 2004, taking a special interest in unfair zoning and irresponsible development. Over the years, she’s held the office of Title I chair and PTA President in Brooklyn’s districts 13 and 22 and received countless awards in advocacy and leadership. Joy has also fought hard for the preservation of her home, 227 Duffield Street, an Underground Rail Road safe house in Downtown Brooklyn. She is the proud mother of five children a grandmother of twelve and great-grandmother of two.
Beverly is a leader on the Child Care campaign and was elected onto FUREE's Board in 2005. Beverly is a talented trainer who led sessions on Child Care policy in New York City for our child care campaign members and on Voting Rights and the Electoral Process for residents in the Gowanus Housing. She also presented FUREE Child Care Campaign demands to many New York City Council members. Beverly worked at the VA for 12 years, and was a proud union member. She is the birth mother of four and is raising a 7 year-old right now. Beverly is a fighter and says, "Don't ever let the world get you down – I've overcome obstacles and everyone else can too. Belonging to the Board is a great thing because it's belonging to something I know will get stronger."
Randy was elected onto FUREE’s Board in 2005—this is his 3rd Board term. He first got involved to support his wife, Jewel, a child care provider who is active on the child care campaign. After attending several meetings, he became actively involved in child care campaign, and along with Jewel has been an important leader in FUREE ever since. Randy is the proud father of three and grandfather of three. He is a retired postal worker, and a founder the International Brotherhood of African-American Postal Workers. Randy is also a Vietnam veteran.
Celina has been involved with the Downtown Brooklyn Campaign Steering Committee, fighting against displacement of low-income families in Downtown Brooklyn. Celina has been a member for nearly three years and lives in Ingersoll Houses. Celina’s extraordinary rise into leadership at FUREE is due to her natural ability to inspire and agitate others. Elected to the board in May of 2009, Celina values learning and welcomes change freely and is committed to developing helpful and constructive strategies to further FUREE’s causes.
Maisha is a Latina small business owner who was notified that the mall her store was located in was sold and received a nine-day eviction notice. Maisha was able to relocate at three times the rent but having incurred moving costs and the loss of her customer base, her business is now struggling to stay afloat. Disconcerted with the changes she sees in the neighborhood, Maisha joined the Downtown Brooklyn Campaign in 2007 to win concessions for independent small businesses that were priced out due to development in the area. Maisha appears in the media and fights on behalf of other small business owners as well as low-income families in public hearings, press conferences and meeting with developers. A mother of a 10-year-old son, Maisha was elected to the Board in May 2009.
Sandra was a native New Yorker and a family day care provider in her Bedford-Stuyvesant community for six years. She worked with youth for 25 years throughout New York State and California. She has one grown daughter, Kimberly, and two grandchildren, Nicole and Kwame, after whom her child care center is named. She has been an active and vocal leader of FUREE for over six years and voted as the permanent Co-Chair of FUREE by the Board of Directors in May of 2011.
Diana was elected to the Board of Directors in October of 2007. Diana was born and raised in downtown Brooklyn, New York. She finished school by receiving a GED. She worked for New York City (Human Resource Department) for 15yrs. She’s completed multiple computer training schools in Computer repair (A+) courses as well as computer office (Microsoft Word, Excel, and a little PowerPoint) with certificates. She’s in the process of completing her last semester at BEOC for Bookkeeping. “This is my first time working with an organization and doing outreach and I’m enjoying it and looking forward to learning more about organizing. I like working with people, helping other people. I enjoy learning new things. I’m willing to work wherever I’m needed as long as I’m free.”