Brooklyn Celebs Speak Out on Poverty in Brooklyn with Brooklyn Community Services MTA Subway Campaign

Share Article

Billy Magnussen, Michael Chernus, Staceyann Chin, Jodie Patterson and More Join Brooklyn Community Services 2016 ONE Brooklyn Community to Raise Awareness and Engagement for 23 Percent of Brooklynites Living in Poverty through MTA Subway Poster Campaign

Poster of Jodie Patterson & Joe Ghartey with Michael Chernus & Emily Simoness for Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) 2016 ONE Brooklyn Community MTA Subway Campaign

“As a mom, if I can enlighten others on just one new idea I’ve uncovered, then the world can change. Community is what is needed most right now with less division, less fraction and more collective movement towards light.”Jodie Patterson

The Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) 2016 ONE Brooklyn Community MTA Campaign launched on September 7 in 36 Brooklyn subway stations with stylized posters illustrating a diverse and eclectic group of Brooklyn movers and shakers who are advocating for poor and low-income Brooklyn residents. The ONE Brooklyn Community campaign’s call to action is to help change the math for the 23% of Brooklynites living in poverty through volunteering, advocacy and philanthropy.

The BCS 2016 ONE Brooklyn Community MTA campaign features a diverse cross section of 27 actors, musicians, poets, writers, artists, chefs and business owners living in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bedford Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Greenpoint, Park Slope, Ditmas Park and Prospect Heights. The September launch will highlight actors Billy Magnussen (Broadway’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and the TV series The People V. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story), Michael Chernus (TV’s Orange is the New Black, Off -Broadway’s In the Wake and film’s Captain Phillips, Men in Black 3 and The Bourne Legacy), Will Rogers (film Bridge of Spies) and Wesley Taylor (Broadway’s Rock of Ages and Addams Family the Musical and TV’s SMASH).

There’s acclaimed spoken-word poet, performer, writer and LGBT activist Staceyann Chin (wrote and performs in her one woman show Motherstruck), playwright Emily Simoness, (founder and executive director of SPACE on Ryder Farm, creative home to playwrights, musicians and dance companies), entrepreneur Joe Ghartey, Entrepreneur (education & technology) and and LGBT advocate Jodie Patterson (founder of and, who is a frontline activist of her 8 year old transgender son).

Musical artists include folk and blues singer and musician Toshi Reagon (who has performed with Lenny Kravitz, Ani Difranco and Elvis Costello and mother Bernice Reagon, historian and founder Sweet Honey in the Rock), bandleader, vocalist and songwriter Dannis Winston (who has performed with Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin), singer/songwriter Raye 6 (who has performed with M1 of Dead Prez and Ghostface Killa) and DJ, musical director and arts educator DJ Reborn (who has done music for Common, Talib Kweli, John Legend and India Arie).

Visual artists include acclaimed painter, illustrator and collage artist Charlotta Janssen (Civil Rights Freedom Riders art series and owner of Chez Oskar restaurant in Bedford Stuyvesant), photographer Shannon Greer (Perry Ellis, Publics and Target), painter and designer Cacho Falcon (designer of Beyonce and Tina Knowles t-shirt collection and the t-shirt for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign) and noted visual artist Chitra Ganesh (solo shows at MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum and permanent collection at MOMA, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Baltimore Museum of Art).

The public awareness campaign’s creative concept was developed by Grammy nominated singer, model and writer Maiysha Kai, as art director, and visual artist Mark Holthusen, as photographer. The concept blends images of local tastemakers in iconic natives with the clients that BCS serves. “I am really proud to be a part of a campaign that brings attention to the underserved people in Brooklyn,” said Ms. Kai. “We want to remind New Yorkers that Brooklyn is more than a destination or a trend.”

Jodie Patterson stated why she wanted to participate in the campaign: “As a mom, if I can enlighten others on just one new idea I’ve uncovered, then the world can change. Community is what is needed most right now with less division, less fraction and more collective movement towards light.”

The campaign is powered by Investors Bank who’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, Brian F. Doran, played a leading role to ensure the campaign continues to reach a wide audience. “Investors Bank is committed to partnering with institutions that share our community values and work to empower people in underserved neighborhoods,” Mr. Doran stated. “We are very proud to be a part of this important campaign, particularly during the organization’s 150th anniversary celebration.”

“We are deeply grateful to Investors Bank for their support of this timely campaign in the Borough,” said Sonya Shields, Chief Officer for External Relations and Advancement at Brooklyn Community Services. “As we watch Brooklyn continue to evolve, it’s important that we preserve not only its history, but the livelihood of its native residents. It's a balancing act, but our campaign aims to celebrate Brooklyn’s triumphs while also bringing much-needed attention to the 23% who live in poverty in our great borough."

Other participants in the ONE Brooklyn Community Campaign:

Marva and Myriam Babel, Co-Founders/Owners of Ode to Babel Bar and Ode to Babel Preserves & Jams
Renae Bluitt, Creator, In Her Shoes Blog & Founder, Crush Media
Gordon Chambers, Recording Artist & Award-Winning-Songwriter
Calcie Cooper, The Social Broker
Nook Will DuBose, Design Architect
Ivan Garcia, Chef and Owner of Mesa Coyoacan & Zona Rosa
Aliya LeeKong, Chef and Author of Exotic Table
Ashley Austin Morris, Comedian/Actress/Writer
Imani Uzuri, Vocalist/Composer/Cultural Worker
Gerardo Zabaleta, Owner of Mesa Coyoacan and Zona Rosa Restaurants

The BCS ONE Brooklyn Community campaign will continue to roll out through the organization’s 150th Anniversary celebration. Other initiatives of the ONE Brooklyn Community campaign include BCS’s panel discussions, “Brooklyn Stand Up!” and its networking and fundraising events series, ONE BK Social. Brooklyn Community Services has been named a “Best Place to Volunteer in Brooklyn” by Brooklyn Magazine. More information is available at

About Brooklyn Community Services (BCS)

BCS celebrates the strength of the human spirit. With over 20 program sites throughout Brooklyn, BCS serves 12,000 people annually in underserved neighborhoods through early childhood development, after school education, youth development, workforce development, family services, mental health and wellness, and services for people with developmental disabilities. In 2016, BCS marks our 150th Anniversary.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Fern Gillespie
Visit website