The Fort Greene/Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood has always been a home and creative hub for me. I’ve witnessed this neighborhood undergo massive transformation, and unfortunately, the change is too often orchestrated from the outside-in.
As the Artist-in-Residence with the Intergenerational Community Arts Council, I am dedicated to using my art, curation, and community organizing to continue to grow this community—which is near and dear to my heart—alongside the people and voices that make up and have been in this community from the very beginning. This honor is one I carry with those who’ve come before and will come after me.
I stand on the shoulders of poets and activists who center youth like June Jordan. I stand on the shoulders of movers and shakers who created institutions committed to community accountability and nurturing the growth and development of people of color like my great aunt Emma L. Bowen. I stand on the shoulders of my mother Yvette Baum-Ritter, and her mother, and her mother’s mother, who instilled in me the principal of Sankofa. And on the shoulders of all the artists, educators, and activists, in Brooklyn, and beyond, believing and working in their communities, to make sense of this complicated, messy thing we call life, I stand—with gratitude, proud, and in service.