By Christine Stoddard | [email protected]
The following appeared in the Feb. 8, 2024 print edition of the paper:
On the cover of this issue, you will find a photo of a man named Francis. I met him in 2018 while living in Crown Heights and he was one of many neighbors whose photo I took. There is something so intimate about taking someone’s portrait: asking for a few moments of their time, maybe longer, and trying to capture something about essence. Maybe it is their essence. Maybe it is the essence of an era or a mood. The objectives can change from portrait to portrait, assignment to assignment, project to project. I do not know anything about Francis and his life now. I know that our paths crossed in late winter a few years ago, when I was still finding my footing in Brooklyn as a hopeful transplant. I also know that he is a Black man and that representing people of color and marginalized groups in our borough is part of my duty as community editor. There is no one way to be a Brooklynite. I am proud to wish you all a happy Black History Month. In last week’s issue, the love in honor of this annual observance began and in this week’s issue, the love continues.
One person I am excited to profile for Black History Month is Jada Bennett of Bay Ridge. Jada and I met in the theater world while working on a production together in 2022. It was through that relationship that I learned that Jada is not only an actress but a dancer, singer, beauty pageant queen, and an invaluable member of the Brooklyn Cyclones staff. This Minor League Baseball team plays out of Maimonides Park in Coney Island. Jada is captain of the team’s Surf Squad, sings the National Anthem at their games, and more. I interviewed her for “Badass Lady-Folk,” my Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV show, and transcribed part of the episode here for you to read.
Speaking of contacts from the theater world, I am also thrilled to introduce you to Laurence C. Schwartz, a director I have worked with since 2021. He wrote a book about his experiences as an adjunct professor. One of the many institutions whose classrooms he has graced is Kingsborough Community College, part of the CUNY system. An excerpt about his time there appears in this issue.
Now, onto reading!
Yours in all things BK,
Brooklyn Community Editor