Brooklyn Actors Billy Magnussen, Michael Chernus, and More Speak Out on Poverty Through MTA Subway Poster Campaign
Actors Billy Magnussen, Michael Chernus, Will Rogers and Staceyann Chin have joined the Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) 2016 ONE Brooklyn Community MTA Campaign, which launched on September 7 in 36 Brooklyn subway stations, featuring stylized posters illustrating a diverse, hip and eclectic group of Brooklyn movers and shakers who are advocating for poor and low-income Brooklyn residents.
The BCS ONE Brooklyn Community MTA campaign’s call to action is to help change the math for the 23% of Brooklynites living in poverty through volunteering, advocacy and philanthropy. It 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. BCS, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary, has been named a “Best Place to Volunteer in Brooklyn” by Brooklyn Magazine.
“I want to find a way to help Brooklyn continue to grow and evolve without losing its identity, and without marginalizing the people who have called it home for decades,” said Will Rogers, the acclaimed Off-Broadway actor (The Submissionand Golden Age) who recently co-starred with Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg‘s film Bridge of Spies. “We need to take action before we pass the point of no return. Brooklyn Community Services is giving a voice to those who are not listened to. They believe in unity.”
Other Brooklyn actors joining the BCS ONE Brooklyn Community MTA campaign include: Billy Magnussen, a Tony nominee for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, who also appeared in Bridge of Spies, Into the Woods and recently as Kato Kaelin in The People V. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story. Michael Chernus, known for Orange is the New Black, is an Obie winner( In the Wake at The Public Theater) and has appeared in films Captain Phillips, Men in Black 3 and The Bourne Legacy. Chernus shares the ad with his wife, playwright Emily Simoness, who is founder and executive director of SPACE on Ryder Farm, a creative home to playwrights, musicians and dance companies. Staceyann Chin, the spoken word poet, noted as a performer and co-writer for Broadway’s Tony-nominated Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam, has a one woman show Motherstruck directed by Cynthia Nixon. Broadway actor-singer-dancer Wesley Taylor, winner of Theater World Award for Rock of Ages and co-star of The Addams Family musical, is known for TV’s SMASH and the web series It Could Be Worse.
The BCS ONE Brooklyn Community MTA campaign also includes author, entrepreneur, and LGBT advocate Jodie Patterson (founder of Doobop.com and GeorgiaNY.com, who is a frontline activist of her 7 year old transgender son) and entrepreneur Joe Ghartey, Entrepreneur (education & technology). There are musical artists, such as: folk and blues singer and musicianToshi 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/songwriterRaye 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 atMoMA 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 writerMaiysha 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.”
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. More information is available atwww.onebrooklyncommunity.org.
ABOUT Brooklyn Community Services (BCS)
BCS celebrates the strength of the human spirit, and in 2016, we celebrate our 150th Anniversary. Our mission is to empower at-risk children, youth and families, and adults with mental illness or developmental disabilities to overcome the obstacles they face, as we strive to ensure opportunity for all to learn, grow and contribute to ONE Brooklyn Community. To achieve this mission, we offer comprehensive and holistic services: early childhood education; youth development services and educationally rich after-school programs; counseling for at-risk families; treatment, recovery and job training to support the life goals of adults living with mental illness; person-centered rehabilitation and community living support for adults with developmental disabilities and disaster recovery case management and relief services. BCS also seeks to increase public awareness of the impacts of poverty on individuals and the community at-large. With a staff of over 400 and over 20 sites around the borough, BCS serves 12,000 people every year. Today, BCS is one of the longest serving nonprofit,?non-sectarian social service providers in New York City.