Civic Activism Forum To Mark Group’s Anniversary

Forget the parties. Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this Thursday with a symposium on civic activism, not back-patting and balloons.

The group is cobbling together one of the largest and most influential forums on grassroots affairs that Southern Brooklyn has ever seen organized by a civic group. It will feature two panels – one on challenges to grassroots activism, the other on local media – packed with 10 members of Brooklyn’s journalism, academic, activism, and non-profit worlds.

“Obviously, a public affairs forum of this scope is unusual and ambitious for a neighborhood civic group to put together,” said Ed Jaworski, president of MMHCA. “But, we wanted to try to do something of wide significance, since civic activism and community journalism are vital to the life of a community and voices being heard. We hope this is an opportunity to learn about and prepare for upcoming challenges, even seeing apparent small, local issues as part of bigger pictures.”

There’s no shortage of notables to fill the panels, either. Norman Siegel, former director of the NY Civil Liberties Union; Erik Engquist, the politics editor of Crain’s NY Business; Mary Ann Giordano, the deputy metro editor of the NY Times; and Gersh Kuntzman of the Brooklyn Paper/Courier-Life are just some of those that will be discussing issues at the heart of local activism and media.

In our humble opinion, this is a must-attend event for all in the area. We believe that many civic groups and concerned residents across the city are losing their effectiveness as the tools for grassroots activism evolves. MMHCA’s event is a spectacular initiative to help educate residents on giving voice to local issues and learning to organize effectively in a new era of communication.

For many, attending this symposium may be a first step to reforming New York City’s top-down government into a grassroots-driven network of local communities.

Here’s the planned agenda and list of panelists:

Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association (MMHCA)


Anniversary Meeting-Symposium
Thursday, October 21, 2010, 7 pm
King’s Chapel, 2702 Quentin Rd., corner East 27 St., Brooklyn, NY 11229



At the Crossroads of Civic Action

Proposed agenda Registration & reception

: 7-7:30 pm

Call to order – opening remarks

: 7:25-7:35 —  Prof. Joe Dorinson, symposium chair, executive vice president, MMHCA.

Panel 1.

(7:35-8:25) —Challenges on the horizon. Potential upcoming community issues with citywide implications.


Jeanine Ramirez, Brooklyn reporter, cable-television’s NY1News.

  • Erik Engquist,  Politics Editor and columnist, Crain’s NY Business;
  • Ester Fuchs, Professor of public affairs and political science, Columbia University, and Chair of the 2005 NYC Charter Revision Commission;
  • Marilyn Gelber, President, Brooklyn Community Foundation, and past Commissioner of NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection and Director of Neighborhood Planning for Dept. of City Planning;
  • Stanley Kaplan, long time, southern-Brooklyn based community activist;
  • Norman Siegel, attorney, past Director of the NY Civil Liberties Union, and former candidate for NYC Public Advocate.
Panel 2

.  (8:25-9:05) –Media’s messages.  The role of traditional media and the internet (social media and blogs) in citizen engagement.


Paul Moses, Professor of journalism, Brooklyn College, former City Editor Newsday.

  • Mary Ann Giordano, Deputy Metro Editor, NY Times, overseeing collaborative and community journalism (including The Local);
  • Jere Hester, Director, NYCity News Service (collaboration with Times’ Local) at City University Graduate School of Journalism, former City Editor Daily News;
  • Gersh Kuntzman, editor The Brooklyn Paper and Courier-Life Publications, former columnist NY Post and Newsweek.

9:10-9:15: Announcements, acknowledgements – Ed Jaworski, president MMHCA.