There are certain incidences in our life and our history where it seems like time freezes and
we have a mental “snapshot” of where we were, what we were doing, who we were with when
witnessed or heard of this event. For many, the recent tragedy of September 11 was such an
event. By contrast, witnessing President-Elect Barack Obama win the General Election to
become the 44th President of the United States of America represents one of those “freeze
moments” that will remain an indelible impression forever in our minds. It was an event of
tremendous anticipation, joy and excitement.
President-elect Obama has inspired a “hope movement” and will be a great leader for this
country as our next president. However, if we are going to make our democracy relevant
and our communities vital, it is going to require ongoing, community effort. So my hope,
my prayer and my request is that, here in the local community, we continue to create an
environment where we can identify our priorities and solve the problems of our communities.
Obama’s declaration that “we are the change that we’ve been looking for” and that “change is
from the bottom up not the top down” should be a clarion call for all, particularly those who live
in urban communities such as the great neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect-Lefferts
Garden, and Flatbush.
While the challenges ahead of us may seem daunting, the possibilities of what we can
achieve together are limitless.
I am anxious to hear from you as to how we can start creating change from the bottom up
in our local community. Please email me with your thoughts at
With warm regards,
Member of the Assembly (43rd Assembly District)
Assemblyman Karim Camara gave out turkeys to needy families and community groups for Thanksgiving
this year. “The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration but during these tough economic times
this traditional celebration has become more muted. It is now more important than ever for us to reach
out to those in need and give a helping hand to our friends and neighbors so we can all have a reason to
celebrate,” said the Assemblyman.
Assemblyman Camara Honors Local Heroes
at His State of the District Address
Assemblyman Camara and Principal Shimon Waronker of M.S. 22
in the Bronx and community resident
Assemblyman Camara and Sara Keys Evans a local resident and
heroine of the civil rights movement
Assemblyman Awards Scholarships to Outstanding Students
Assemblyman Camara is proud to announce this year’s New York State Black and Puerto Rican
Legislative Caucus scholarship recipients Mr. Jonathan Holoman and Ms. Shequasia Shannon.
Both of these outstanding students were admitted in the class of 2012 at Benedict College and
Cornell University respectively. Mr. Holoman plans to pursue a career in journalism while Ms. Shannon
plans to become a doctor. The office wishes them infinite success.
Assemblyman Karim Camara Speaks at a Community Walk to Remember
Murder Victim Chanel Petro-Nixon
Assemblyman Camara Stands with the Family of Murder Victim Chanel Petro-Nixon
and other Community Leaders
On Saturday June 20th as part of the movement to take back the streets from crime in Central Brooklyn,
Assemblyman Karim Camara joined with the parents of murdered victim Chanel Petro-Nixon, Brooklyn
D.A. Charles Hinds, and Community Activist Tahaka Robinson in protest to the violence that is being
perpetuated. The same violence that took the life of the 16-year-old Brooklyn teen. Also standing in
support with the slain teen’s family was the mother of Benny Lyde, a 21-year-old college honor student
who was shot outside his parents’ home in 2005. Ms. Lyde gave an impassioned speech and called for
the violence in “our community” to stop. Community residents also showed their concern as their voices
echoed an outcry to stop the violence.
Assemblyman Camara Stands with Elected Officials, Community Leaders,
and Local Clergy to Voice Opposition to Bedford Atlantic Armory
Barbara Brown Allen, Sandy Taggart (CHRM), Assemblymembers Hakeem Jeffries &
Karim Camara, Special Assistant to Brooklyn Borough President Yvonne Graham.
Back row right concerned residents, Father Caleb Buchannan of Saint Gregory The
Great Roman Catholic Church, and Rev. Dr. Clive Neil of Bedford Central Presbyterian Church
On Thursday, September 18th Brooklyn Clergy, elected officials and the Crown Heights Revitalization
Movement convened on the steps of Saint Gregory The Great Roman Catholic Church to bring attention
to the city’s plan to close the Manhattan Central Intake Center for homeless men and transfer it to the
Bedford-Atlantic Armory, in Brooklyn New York. The announcement came in April by the Bloomberg
Administration followed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation bids to convert the
Bellevue Men’s Shelter into a luxury hotel and conference center. Community organizers voiced their
disapproval by presenting 2,350 signed letters from concerned residents who expressed safety concerns
about the increased capacity of the Armory; by adding additional beds it would increase drug activities,
street violence and solicitation. “This is not just a NIMBY (not in my backyard) stance. This particular plan
is as bad for the homeless as it is for the community. I am sure this agency can come up with a better
plan that effectively serves the homeless and respects the local community “stated, New York State
Assemblyman Karim Camara of the 43rd Assembly District.
By Sandy Taggart of Crown Heights Revitalization Movement (CHRM)
Community Commentary- Bedford Atlantic Armory
Last spring the Department of Homeless Services announced its plan to move the only
city-wide single men’s intake center from Belleview Hospital in Manhattan to the Bedford
Atlantic Armory in Crown Heights. 60% of homeless men are in Manhattan and only 16%
in Brooklyn. An intake center is the first step that a homeless person must to enter into
the City’s shelter system. Placing an intake center at the Bedford/Atlantic Armory would
force most of the city’s homeless men to make an arduous trek just to begin seeking
An intake center is different from shelters and assessment centers. The people entering
an intake center are unscreened. The estimate is that a minimum of 40 men per day
(12,000/year) would be entering the community to apply at the proposed intake center.
Although the vast majority of these men are down on their luck, inevitably some will have
problems that could compromise the safety, health and economic development of the
community. Currently, the Bedford/Atlantic Armory is an assessment center. Men are
sent there after they have been screened at the intake center in Manhattan. According
to the current city plan, both the assessment center and the proposed intake center will
be housed in the Armory
The community has worked hard and made great progress in improving safety and quality
of life, but still struggles with a high rate of unemployment and serious criminal activity.
We simply do not have the resources to absorb and support an increased flow of men in
to an intake center. The oversaturation of the community with social services and the
unreasonable distance to the Armory will negatively impact the thousands of homeless
men who will have traveled so far for help. And, the daily flow of these same unscreened
men will, in turn, negatively impact the communities that surround the Armory. It is for
these and other reasons that I am vehemently opposed to the Bedford-Atlantic Armory plan.
Crown Heights Family Fun Health Fair…
A Unity in the Community Event
Assemblyman Camara addresses the crowd at the Crown Heights Family Fun Health Fair
This past September, in collaboration with NYS Senator Eric Adams and Brooklyn District
Attorney Charles J. Hynes, we hosted the Crown Heights Family Fun Health Fair. With over
one thousand attendees, this event was a huge success. In addition to participation from
each of the three local hospitals, Kings County, Kingsbrook Jewish and SUNY Downstate
Medical Center, additional participants included the Mobile Eye Van from the Friend of
Congressional Glaucoma Caucus, Pills on Wheels, One Touch and Animas Corporation.
There were activities for children, including bouncy rides, a Parks and Recreation Play Mobile,
face painting and basketball camp hosted by former NBA all-star Darryl Dawkins. The crowd
was entertained by Shems Disciples, Y-Love, C.H.A.O.S. dance group, Chiam Folegman
and others. There were plenty of give-a-ways, and refreshments.
The success of this event was made possible by a partnership with several community
based groups such as The Crown Heights Mediation Center, C.H.A.O.S and volunteers
from P.A.L. of the 71st Precinct .As a result of this great educational and very entertaining
event, we also accomplished the goal of bringing together our very diverse African American,
Caribbean and Hassidic Community in a pleasant, educational and fun filled afternoon.
By Ryan Mack of Optimum Capital Management Solutions
The recession of 2000- 2003 and the recession started in 2008 both could have been avoided.
If the people would have been educated about the right time to invest in stocks they would have
avoided being hurt by the internet bubble bursting or not diversified in company stock (such as
the employees of Enron who lost the majority of their retirement savings because they were heavily
invested in their company stock). As stated previously, the best defense against predatory lending
is an educated consumer. We have limited control over the actions of the government outside of
voting and petitions. We have even less control over the private sector. We have complete control
over the knowledge that we seek and apply within our lives. This is the solution to our economic
success as individuals…knowledge and the application of knowledge.
2008 was a year that many of us would choose to forget financially. However, we would be foolish
to not remember to learn from those mistakes and apply this new knowledge in 2009.
Many are excited that we have a new President in Barack Obama. Let’s celebrate by applying his
message of a “bottom-up” approach to bringing back the greatness in this country. Greatness defined
in part by financial prosperity for all. This can be done if we each do our part to prepare the finances in
our households. If each of us is disciplined enough save more we spend, consume less than we produce,
and research thoroughly before we invest we will see our economic futures take a turn for the better once
Six Small Steps
By Ryan Mack
Pre-Paid Debit Cards – These are the biggest scams in the book! Why do
you have to pay so many fees to have access to YOUR money!? These are NOT a suitable
replacement for opening your own bank account where you can have a FREE debit card. If you
cannot open a bank account then you need to fix problem that is causing you to not be able to
open an account…not seek out an expensive/wasteful alternative!
Check Cashing Facilities – Why don’t you have your own bank account where
you can cash your check without paying excessive fees just to get YOUR money?
Suggestion: If you cannot open a bank account, join a local credit union with a credit program that
will allow you to re-establish your credit and work on correcting the bad habits causing you to tarnish
your banking record (bouncing checks, overdraft, etc.).
Rent-to-Own Furniture and Appliance Stores – Ownership is power. Owning a home
is a commendable goal, but not owning your own furniture is a disgrace! If you cannot afford to purchase
an item that is sold at rent-to-own furniture and appliance stores -- SAVE UP! DO NOT purchase an item
on credit where you will end up paying more money because of interest! Excessive consumption is bad,
but paying interest on excessive consumption is destructive!
Suggestion: If the item is not a necessity, save up your money until you have enough to purchase the item.
Saving is not easy but where there is a stream of money, there is an ability to live beneath our means to
provide for your household and savings. Set up a household budget and provide more oversight to your
household cash flow.
Cash Advances – These are legalized loan sharks! They provide the highest and most
volatile interest rates available. If used through your credit card or through a provider you will have to pay
a hefty premium for those funds. Do not use them…period!
Suggestion: You should never wait for it to rain before purchasing an umbrella, purchase a smoke alarm
after the fire hits, or consider saving extra money when the need arises. Think proactively by opening a
high-yield savings account today. In this account you can begin a project to save at least three to six
months of living expenses in case of an emergency.
ATM Withdrawals – Since when did it become okay to make someone else rich
because we cannot walk or drive a few extra blocks? Pennies add up to dollars and we need to treat
our hard earned money with more respect. We clinch our pockets when we see a homeless person
asking for a quarter but we gladly give away $2.00 to $5.00 to a bank because we refuse to search for
our own ATM where we pay no fee…what does that say about our values in this society?
Suggestion: If ATM accessibility is an issue to you, open an account that has plenty of ATM machines
in your area. Go online to become familiar with all your banks ATM locations in your area and plan
ahead by having enough cash on your hands when going out
Mortgage Lenders – In this capitalistic society we have seen much greed and
despicable actions in the quest of a dollar. Why is it that we are so surprised when we find out that
there are mortgage lenders that exist who care more about a dollar then about your financial well being?
Suggestion: Predatory lending is a detestable act and should not be condoned. However, ignorance
should not be condoned either. For many in this nation the home is the largest investment in their life,
do not do it without proper education. Hire a good real estate attorney to assist you to explain fully the
documents before you sign. Hire a good financial planner to assist you in putting together a home budget
because the bank pre-approval system will not do as good of a job as you in discerning your lifestyle and
true level of affordability. If you don’t have the money for a planner, talk it through with a good friend or an
unbiased party who has also gone through the process. Don’t rush the decision!
Fast Food Places – It has been said that you can find out what one values by looking
at his checkbook. You can see how much one values their life by looking at their diet. Just because
food is convenient, does not mean it is good!
Suggestion: With high blood pressure, hypertension, and diabetes becoming an increasing problem, it
is paramount that we watch what we eat. This is a key financial literacy issue because the largest cause
of bankruptcy is medical bills. Talk to a nutritionist to prescribe a diet that is fit for you, exercise regularly,
and make sure that you take care of your body…you only get one!
Assemblyman Karim Camara presents $250,000 to Dr. Roy Hastick
President of (CACCI) Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
In this photo: local business owners, Assemblyman Karim Camara, Drs. Eda &
Roy Hastick, Assemblyman N. Nick Perry and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke
New York State Assemblyman Karim Camara presents Dr. Roy Hastick, president of (CACCI) a check
in the amount of $250,000 for capital improvements for the Caribbean American Trade Center at the
International Power Breakfast, held on October 31st, at Brooklyn Borough Hall. Assemblyman Camara
appropriated this funding in the 2006 budget for CACCI’s capital improvement plans, and said, “I believe
in business development and this appropriation only underscores my commitment to businesses
development in urban communities.”
Assemblyman Camara Brings State
Funding to the 43rd Assembly District
Assemblyman Camara is pleased to announce that he has requested funding for several community
organizations within the 43rd Assembly District. Groups expected to receive funding as a result of the
Assemblyman’s efforts include:
Brooklyn Academy of Music
BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Brooklyn Housing and Family Services
Brooklyn Museum of Art
Brooklyn Public Library
Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium
Center for NU Leadership on Urban Solutions
Chance for Children, Youth Information Center, Inc.
Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn
Crown Heights Youth Collective
Crown Heights Jewish Community Council
Crown Heights North Association
Families, Fathers & Children, Inc.
Girls for Gender Equity
Hamptonians New York
Ifetayo Cultural Arts
Martin Luther King Jr. Concert Series
Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts
New York WEB Center, Inc.
New York ACORN
Prospect Park Alliance
Shoot Hoops Not Guns Basketball Tournament
Assemblyman Camara Secures $30,000
for Nostrand Avenue Graffiti Removal
If you have walked along Nostrand Avenue lately you may notice that there is less graffiti
along the store fronts. That’s because Assemblyman Camara allocated $30,000 from this
year’s budget to City Solve- a company that specializes in graffiti removal from building and
pull down gates. This cleanup was done free of charge for all businesses along Nostrand
Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Linden Blvd. “It’s like night and day walking along
Nostrand Avenue This graffiti removal has breathed new life into a once depressed business
district,” said the Assemblyman. The Assemblyman hopes to bring this project to other
commercial strips in the district.