The Board

Shaquana Boykin (she/her), Food Sovereignty Organizer, has many years of experience working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. Shaquana was an Urban Farm Educator and Manager at Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Cooperation (NEBHDCO). She is a native Brooklynite who has lived in Fort Greene Brooklyn, New York since 2009. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts at CUNY’s Kingsborough Community College & earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Legal Studies at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology.

At a young age of 16, she began volunteering at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and organizing with ACORN as a Canvass Field Manager. Shaquana is a certified Brooklyn Urban Gardener (BUG) and received the 2013 Natural Leader award through Children & Nature network. She graduated from Public Allies New York & the Center for Neighborhood Leadership Community Organizing Apprenticeship in June 2015. In that role, she organized around tenant rights with the Flatbush Tenant Coalition together where they won a new Brooklyn Housing Court building that will better serve the community .Before coming to the Central Brooklyn Food Coop, her last position was as Myrtle Avenue’s Mayor Office Engagement Coordinator for Ingersoll Houses. There, she led a group of 20 residents and 10+ agencies & CBOs under the Mayor’s Action Plan (MAP) launched in 2014. Her role was to lead residents & partners through a planning process to improve safety at Ingersoll Houses. Additionally, she is community leader with OYUnited, a Bike Share Advocate, the Chair of Programming as a Board member of Fort Greene Park Conversancy, and serves on Public Allies Alumni Board & Children & Nature Network Young Leaders Advisory Committee.

Murray Cox (he/him), Board Treasurer, born on Gadigal land in Sydney, Australia, is a community artist and activist who uses data, media and technology for social change.

Part of Murray’s practice has centered around examining Redlining, the systemic practice of racial real-estate discrimination, including collaborating with the Redline Archive; digitizing Redline maps; producing the East New York Oral History Project; and teaching maps and statistics to local youth at a Summer School on Gentrification for DIVAS for Social Justice, including curating an exhibition which was featured alongside Creative Time’s “Black Radical Brooklyn” at the Weeksville Heritage Center.

In Central Brooklyn, Murray has collaborated as a photographer on community projects working with food such as the Hattie Carthan Community Garden; Brooklyn Rescue Mission; Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger; Brooklyn Food Coalition and 596 Acres; as well as working to support the Brooklyn Movement Center and Brooklyn Community Board 3.

In 2015, Murray founded Inside Airbnb, a data activist project that resists the impact of Airbnb on residential neighborhoods in New York City and throughout the world.

Murray has been organizing with the CBFC since 2013, and was a founding board member, as well as a former co-chair of the Business Strategy Committee. To the CBFC Board, Murray brings his analysis skills, as well as a focus on process, and occasionally lends his documentation talents (video) and pot-luck food contributions.

In 2020, Murray moved to the City of Newburgh, NY, after almost a decade of building community and family in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but he is still very much connected and active in Central Brooklyn.

As a non-Black member of the Board, Murray works in Solidarity to center the experience of Black members and Black leaders at CBFC.

Gabrielle Davenport (she/her), Board Chair, is an Oakland-raised, Bed Stuy-based curator & creative producer who works to create connection through music and food. Gabrielle graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from Barnard College, and began her arts admin career after a stint as a server on an ice cream truck. Some of her credits include: BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, Mile-Long Opera, Joe’s Pub, The Hum, and globalFEST. She also produced a parade with artist Carrie Mae Weems at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in 2019.

While working on productions across the city, she recognized her desire for a political home in Brooklyn, and equally, her need for access to healthful and affordable groceries. She was grateful to connect with CBFC, which presented a pathway to engage in the local civics of Bed Stuy, and work toward a shared vision of food sovereignty for Black people here in Central Brooklyn.

Over the last two years, Gabrielle has been energized by learning from and working with fellow CBFC members in this Black-led cooperative project. She believes in the radical potential of Black folks creating community control around how and what we eat, and she is honored to serve as CBFC’s board chair as we strive toward that goal.

Rae Gomes (she/her), Communications Officer, is a mother, writer, food justice activist, and organizer based in Brooklyn, NY.

She is a proud founding board member and former co-chair of the Outreach and Membership committee of the Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative. She continues to support food sovereignty work locally including working toward a Central Brooklyn Food Hub and work with Brownsville East New York Food Advisory Council. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. Her writing often includes issues of race and activism and has been published in The Nation magazine, AlterNet, Colorlines, and The Root among others.

As an organizer, she works at the intersection of race and food justice to address health disparities in under-resourced communities. Employing a framework of community self-determination, she works with local residents to cultivate power and ownership over the systems that have failed to serve them.

El Layla Johnson (they/them), Board Secretary, is a social worker, youth worker, bike mechanic and hypnotherapist raised in Lummi Nation Territory.

El earned their B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Washington in 2011. After college, El worked for the Major Taylor Project, a Black-led initiative to connect Black and brown youth to bikes, riding, mechanical skills and mentorship. Still in Seattle in the mid 2010’s, El worked as a consultant for some of the city’s major institutions, including The Woodland Park Zoo, The Burke Museum and the Bullitt Foundation. In 2016 El moved to New York where, in 2019, they earned their Masters in Social Work from Hunter College.

Since moving to Brooklyn three years ago, El is guided by these lessons: our thoughts determine our feelings determine our realities; relationships are the building-blocks of change; and sovereignty, above all, is what needs fighting for. It is with great honor that El labors alongside CBFC’s Board and other Members on this project which feeds us all mind, body and soul.

Raina Kennedy (she/her), Food Sovereignty Organizer 

Ina M. Solomon (she/her), Vice Chair, is an educator and activist who has lived, worked and organized in Brooklyn, NY for more than 20 years.

As a member of the activist organization the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Ina helped lead and organize many of its programs.  For over 10 years, Ina co-lead MXGM’s Youth Committee where she co-wrote a curriculum for high school students called, The Institute. The Institute was designed to teach students how to engage the medium of film to identify and document issues within their community.  In collaboration with Girls for Gender Equity, the Youth Committee produced, Hey Shorty! Street Harassment in New York City.  Ina also co-ran the weekly New Afrikan Scouts program, the youth arm of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement for children ages 6-18.

Ina also helped coordinate MXGM’s Black August Hip-Hop project, an international alliance of artists and activists organized around the global struggle for human rights.  She served as a member of Cop Watch, a program supported by a coalition of activists across New York City that directly confronts and addresses issues of police brutality.

In 2014, Ina turned her organizing efforts towards food justice and access.  She joined the Central Brooklyn Food Cooperative where she currently serves as a member of the Board and co-chair of the Business and Strategy Committee.

Mark Winston Griffith (he/him) is the founding Executive Director of the Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), a Black-led community organizing group, and is the Executive Editor of BMC’s citizen journalism arm, Brooklyn Deep. Mark convened the first organizing meetings that led to the formation of the Central Brooklyn Food Coop (CBFC) and serves on the CBFC Board of Directors. 

A second-generation Jamaican-American and third generation Central Brooklynite, Mark was the founding Executive Director of the Central Brooklyn Partnership and co-founder of the Central Brooklyn Federal Credit Union in the early nineties.  

Mark currently serves on the leadership bodies/boards of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City, Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Communities United for Police Reform, Black Freedom Project, Free Speech TV and The City news site.   Mark has also served on the faculties of the CUNY Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, and the CUNY Center for Labor and Community Studies, and is currently a visiting assistant lecturer in Community Economic Development at Pratt Institute.