Hello everyone, there’s someone we would like you to meet!

After months of searching, the Mediation Center is happy to introduce our new Deputy Director, Brian Cunningham. As the Deputy Director, Brian will be providing leadership and operational support for many of the Mediation Center’s key programs, as well as looking for new ways to expand the Mediation Center. Want to know more about him? Check out our interview with him below!

So Brian, how did you first hear about the Mediation Center?

I first heard about the Mediation Center when I was the Chief of Staff for New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo. I met Amy and was amazed at the work CHCMC was doing and extremely impressed by S.O.S.. Throughout my tenure with the Council Member, our office had the opportunity to partner with the Center and  support their work. As you can imagine, it is very exciting to have the opportunity to be a part of the Mediation Center now.

That’s so cool. How was working with Laurie Cumbo?

It was amazing, as I said earlier I had the opportunity to be her Chief of Staff. It was great because right after she won her election in September, I had the chance to help her with recruiting staff that will address the needs of the community, creating programs, and partnering with dope organizations. She’s a really creative individual who brings that creativity into the legislative process.

That’s sounds great. So what are your goals for this position?

My big goal is to support every staff member that works with the Mediation Center; whether it’s Crown Heights S.O.S., Bed-Stuy S.O.S., Legal Hand, all the programs obviously, just being a support for them. My other goal is to see what we do at the Mediation Center be expanded, both our resources and services. Making sure that there’s a better communication between the departments and programs so we can do greater work and have better synergy.

Wonderful, I can’t wait to see you reach those goals! So Brian, what motivates you?

I am passionate about seeing people connect to opportunities that enhance their quality of life. I get excited about building coalitions.

Then you’re at the right place! Are there any specific issues that you want to focus on?

Using the experience I got working with my Brother’s Keeper Alliance as part of the Obama Administration, I want to support the work that Kenton and Shawn are doing with their Make it Happen program, making sure that we  as an organization are closing opportunity gaps for boys, men, and women of color because right now we have five million people of color who are opportunity youth. The term opportunity youth is a term used to describe young people between the age of 16 and 24 who are not in school or working. New York City has triple the national average unemployment rate for young people and that’s problematic particularly with all the resources New York City has.

Cool. Now some fun questions.What’s your favorite show?

Power is my favorite show.

Dope, I know some of our readers can agree with you. What’s your favorite hangout spot in Brooklyn?

Definitely Flatbush Zombie House, the owner is really dope. It’s a Caribbean tiki bar, what I love about the spot is in the midst of massive displacement and gentrification they are using art and flags inside of their location to remind their customers about the long standing history of people of color and people from the Caribbean that have lived in Flatbush for years. My mother and father are both from the island of  Jamaican and settled in Flatbush in the 1970’s. Despite the fact that the neighborhood is changing, it is comforting to know that the owner took time to ensure that history was not forgotten.

Awesome, I’ll have to check it out! So Brian, last questions for our readers. What is the best way to contact you?

The best way to contact me is via email at cunninghamb@crownheights.org