BMC Staff Team
Anthonine Pierre, Executive Director
As the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), Anthonine ensures that BMC’s work is resourced and structured towards cultivating safe, healthy futures for all Central Brooklynites. Prior to taking on the ED role, Anthonine held the positions of Deputy Director and Lead Community Organizer at BMC.
Anthonine’s Central Brooklyn organizing work has included co-founding No Disrespect, BMC’s abolitionist anti-street harassment collective, and supporting the family of Saheed Vassell, a Crown Heights resident killed by NYPD officers in 2018. Repping BMC in the police accountability coalition Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), Anthonine has led on several citywide campaigns, including #DefundNYPD, passing the Right to Know Act & the Justice for Eric Garner campaign.
Anthonine joined BMC in 2011 with a steady resume in public policy, government relations and youth leadership development. Her passion for organizing is grounded in her Haitian immigrant upbringing in Giuliani-era New York City and her love of Octavia Butler. When she’s not trying to move dope people together towards the Afrofuture, you can find her biking around her native Flatbush with her husband, Jeffrey.
Hit her up at [email protected].
Michael Higgins, Senior Housing and Sustainability Organizer
Michael is BMC’s Housing and Sustainability organizer. Previously he was a member turned organizer at Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE) and later Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC), working on public housing and resiliency issues in Gowanus. He is also a member of the Social Justice Tours collective, where he provides walking experiences on gentrification, city politics and environmental justice in Brooklyn. In his past capacity, he was also an active leader in the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN).
When he is not working, he likes to study foreign languages, international social movements and land use policy, lift weights and check out new vegetarian spots.
You can contact him at [email protected].
Darian X, Lead Campaign Organizer
Darian X has fully dedicated the last five years of his life to community organizing and forwarding public policy in New York City. Darian got his roots in organizing through building community at Make the Road NY. He was active in city-wide campaigns with young people around both Education and Policing reform. Darian is coming from the Office of the Public Advocate. He was the Community Organizer for Justice, Safety, and Health Equity, working to align city policy with grassroots organizing in directly impacted communities.
Darian was brought into this work by the death of Trayvon Martin as a teenager and stayed to do the work necessary to combat White Supremacy and protect Black life. He centers his organizing on the values of love, community, and creativity. When not found in the office or streets organizing, Darian spends his time with his dog Anu.
You can contact him at [email protected].
Grace Hennessey McMickens, Electoral Justice Organizer
Grace was born and raised in Fort Greene, Brooklyn before moving to Portland, Oregon in 2015 to attend Lewis & Clark College. As a student, Grace held a Community Organizing internship at the Portland African American Leadership Forum (now Imagine Black Oregon). She also began volunteering with the grassroots organization Brown Girl Rise during their first year of programming in 2016. She went on to join the BGR leadership collective and serve as their first paid staff coordinator until June 2021.
She graduated college in 2019 after completing her thesis entitled “Good Mothers & Others: Policing Marginalized Motherhoods in the Carceral State”. Through this research, she became more deeply engaged with local efforts toward a world beyond policing and punishment. Grace became a member and served on the board of Liberation Literacy, a reading group and advocacy network based in Columbia River Correctional Institution in North East Portland.
During the 2020 nightmare, Grace served as the Youth Representative on the Council of Trust for the Oregon Cares Fund for Black Relief & Resiliency. Seeded by the Coronavirus Relief Fund & allocated by the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature, TOCF successfully distributed $50 million to over 8,000 Black individuals, families, and Black-owned businesses in the state of Oregon.
In 2020 she was named a John Lewis Fellow through the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. She moved back home to Brooklyn in 2021 and became involved with BMC though the Black Brooklyn Voter Project during the 2021 primaries.
You can reach her at [email protected].
Rahwa Haile, Senior Research Advisor
In her role as Senior Research Advisor, Rahwa develops strategies for how to integrate research within BMC’s organizing work. She cultivates research approaches that fortify our goal to ensure Black access to the social determinants of health through building the collective power necessary to dismantle structural inequities that create health and social suffering among Black New Yorkers.
Her research is situated in the field of critical social epidemiology, and centers around the ways in which intersecting structural inequities linked to race/ethnicity, class and sexuality shape population health. She has examined the impact of these over-arching processes on physical and mental health, and among diverse Black communities including immigrants, older adult gay and bisexual men, queer folks, and those impacted by the criminal legal system.
Dr. Haile received her PhD in Public Health from the University of Michigan, and also holds a Master’s degree in American Culture from the University of Michigan.
You can reach her at [email protected].
Maya Williams, Research Associate
Maya Williams is committed to using her research and advocacy skills to revamp laws and policies that negatively affect the socio-economic balance of youth and colored communities. Growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, she witnessed her peers surveilled and fall victim to criminalization because of social injustices. She began volunteering in the community, connecting with lawmakers and community members to voice and resolve concerns.
Her passion for social justice flourished, and she went on to obtain her Master’s of Public Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Using research and policy analysis to call for government equity, fairness, transparency, and accountability, she began field research as a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for Youth Represent. There she researched and collaborated with advocates to expand youth protections and end youth incarceration. She became a Research Assistant for the Youth Justice Research Collaborative, conducting participatory action research, court watching, facilitating youth focus groups, and coordinating a Youth Advisory Board to evaluate youth justice policies.
The injustices of colored youth and their families were amplified and led her to Communities United for Police Reform, where she countered discriminatory police practices. In attempts to divest funds from NYPD’s budget and invest in social services and communities of color, Maya conducted budget analyses and assisted with the organizing of CPR’s members’ #NYCBudgetJustice campaign. She continued participatory action research, collaborating with the Public Science Project and grassroots organizations to create surveys to distribute throughout New York City’s heavily policed communities, collecting data that would shift the narrative of public safety and hold NYPD accountable for police abuse and violence.
Her vision is to remain connected with her communities through research, organizing and community building to allow their stories and experiences lead policy reforms. As a catalyst for change, she hopes her work will end the mass incarceration of people of color, the criminalization of youth, and ensure true justice for Black communities.
Connect with Maya at [email protected].
Raina Kennedy, Purchasing Associate
Raina is passionate about food justice, cooperatives and fresh produce. In addition to working for BMC, she is a graduate of the Masters program in Food Studies at NYU, where she is focusing on community food systems. Prior to working at BMC, Raina held a variety of jobs in the food industry, from barista to bookkeeper. Raina loves cooking and growing plants, and also occasionally does things unrelated to food (but not often).
Reach out to Raina at [email protected].