Majora Carter and her dog Xena
October 27, 1966 |
South Bronx, New York, United States
|Residence||South Bronx, NY|
|Education||New York University|
|Occupation||Economic Consultant, Public Radio Host and Environmental Equality Advocate|
|Title||President, Majora Carter Group, LLC|
Majora Carter (born October 27, 1966) is an urban revitalization strategist and public radio host, from the South Bronx area of New York City. Carter founded the non-profit environmental justice solutions corporation Sustainable South Bronx before entering the private sector.
Early life 
Carter attended the Head Start Program and primary schools in the South Bronx. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, she entered Wesleyan University in 1984 to study film and obtain a Bachelor of Arts. In 1997, she received a Master of Fine Arts from New York University (NYU). While at NYU, she returned to her family's home in Hunts Point, and later worked for The Point Community Development Corporation. As associate director of the community development corporation, Carter advocated for the development of Hunts Point Riverside Park. Carter was "pulled by her dog into a weedy vacant lot strewn with trash at the dead end of Lafayette Avenue. As the pair plowed through the site they ended up, much to Carter’s surprise, on the banks of the Bronx River."
From there, Carter helped secure a $10,000 grant from a USDA Forest Service program to provide seed money for river access restoration projects. Working with other community groups and the Parks Department, over a five-year period she helped leverage that seed money into more than $3 million from the mayor’s budget to build the park.
In August 2001, after an unsuccessful campaign for City Council, Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), where she served as executive director until July 2008. During that time, SSBx advocated the development of the Hunt's Point Riverside Park which had been an illegal garbage dump. SSBx has also been involved in other restoration projects on the Bronx River waterfront. In 2003, Sustainable South Bronx started the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program. This was one of the nation's first urban green collar training and placement systems. Other SSBx projects have centered around fitness, food choices (including the creation of a community market), and air quality.
A December 2008 New York Times profile called Carter "The Green Power Broker" and "one of the city’s best-known advocates for environmental justice" but reported that some South Bronx activists (who would not go on record) stated that Carter has taken credit for accomplishments when others should share the credit as well as taking credit for uncompleted projects. Other Bronx activists (who did agree to be named) stated that her recognition was well deserved.
Carter was a torch-bearer for a portion of the San Francisco leg of the torch relay of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Many portions of the torch relay, including the San Francisco leg, were met with protests concerning the policies of the Chinese government toward Tibet. Although Carter had signed a contract pledging not to use an Olympic venue for political or religious causes, when she and John Caldera were passed the torch during their part of the relay, she pulled out a small Tibetan flag that she had concealed in her shirt sleeve.
Members of the Chinese torch security escort team pulled her out of the relay and San Francisco police officers pushed her into the crowd on the side of the street. Fellow torch-bearer, retired NYFD firefighter Richard Doran, who was honoring the firefighters who died in the September 11 attacks, called Carter's actions "disgusting and appalling" and said that he thought "she dishonored herself and her family". Another torch-bearer, retired NYPD police officer Jim Dolan, agreed with Doran.
Majora Carter's TED talk was one of the first 6 publicly released talks to launch the TED.com website in 2006. Carter has made appearances in, and/or written, and produced television and radio programs, including HBO's The Black List volume 2, American Public Media's Market Place, and PRX's This I Believe series and has hosted several pieces on urban sustainability with Discovery Communications' Science Channel. From 2007 - 2010, Carter has appeared on The Green, a television segment dedicated to the environment, shown on the Sundance Channel. The first season consisted of a series of 90 second op-eds shot in studio. The second season consisted of a series of short interview pieces with people who are taking uncommon approaches to environmental problems.
In 2008, Carter and Marge Ostroushko co-produced the pilot episode of the public radio show, The Promised Land (radio), which won a 3-way competition for a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Talent Quest grant. The one-hour programs debuted on over 150 public radio stations across the US on January 19, 2009, have been renewed for the 2010/2011 season, and has since earned a 2010 Peabody Award
Carter has co-authored a white paper on Urban Heat Island Mitigation and a peer-reviewed article, Elemental carbon and PM(2.5) levels in an urban community heavily impacted by truck traffic.
After leaving Sustainable South Bronx, Carter has served as president of a private, for-profit "green" economic consulting firm, The Majora Carter Group, LLC. The New York Times reported that her consulting firm charges $25,000 for some of her speaking appearances. In the June 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine, Majora Carter was listed as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business
In 2012, Carter spent several weeks “kicking the tires” at FreshDirect to determine if they would be an appropriate client for her consulting company, Majora Carter Group LLC (MCG), before signing a one-year contract to help the company connect with local groups regarding FreshDirect's proposed move to the South Bronx, despite a law suit and boycott campaign by a local community group known as South Bronx Unite! meant to stop the relocation, charging the City and FreshDirect with failing to conduct a sufficient environmental review and transparent community outreach. An MCG spokesperson described FreshDirect as a "...net benefit, because of their commitment to alternative fuels and because e-commerce and food are both growth industries that provide good jobs." South Bronx youth development NGO leader Maryann Hedaa noted that "(Carter) realizes that fighting poverty has to be a partnership between the public interests and the private interests.".
On September 27, 2012, Ms. Carter organized a meeting between FreshDirect's CEO, Jason Ackerman, and a variety of Bronx NGO's, during which uninvited guests opposed to the move were also able to participate. Mychal Johnson, a member of South Bronx Unite!, described the meeting as “...a lot of fluff,” and the decision to invite other Bronx groups but not his as an effort to “divide and conquer.” Steve Ritz, the founder of Green for All and director of community partnerships at Hyde Leadership Charter School, said the meeting put him squarely in FreshDirect’s camp, adding “What was really impressive to me was when Mr. Ackerman brought up all the farms he supports.”
When asked about the apparent contradiction between the portion of Ms. Carter's career involved in creating public waterfront access, and accusations that her client's activities would deny similar opportunities, her spokesperson responded that Ms. Carter was "no longer in that line of work". The Majora Carter Group declined to answer questions regarding financial details of the agreement with FreshDirect.
FreshDirect plans to invest $112 million of its own capital with roughly $130 million in tax breaks and grants from the Borough, City and State, claiming the project will create up to 1,000 permanent jobs, with targeted hiring for Bronx residents. FreshDirect expanded its delivery service to the Bronx and launched a pilot program that allows some Bronx customers to pay with food stamps.
Sustainable South Bronx, an organization Carter founded, has come out in support of South Bronx Unite.
- 2011 Peabody Award - The University of Georgia
- 2011 Commencement speaker at Knox College
- 2010 Star Award: International Interior Design Association (IIDA)
- 2009 Fellow: Post Carbon Institute
- 2009 Honor Award: Visionary in Sustainability, by the National Building Museum 
- 2008 Named a "visionary" as one of Utne Reader magazine's "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World."
- 2008 Appointed to America's Climate Choices: Panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change: National Academy of Sciences
- 2008 Liberty Medal for Lifetime Achievement: The New York Post
- 2008 The Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal: Eleanor Roosevelt Society
- 2008 Hollister Award: United Nations Temple of Understanding
- 2008 Paul Wellstone Award: Campaign for America's Future
- 2007 Rachel Carson Award: National Audubon Society
- 2007 New York State Women of Excellence Award: Lt. Gov. David Paterson
- 2007 Honorary PhD: Mercy College
- 2007 Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service: NYU
- 2007 Lawrence Enersen Award: National Arbor Day Society
- 2005 Fellow: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
- 2002 Union Square Award: Fund for the City of New York
- "Sustainable South Bronx: Mission". Sustainable South Bronx. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
- Waldman, Amy (August 15, 2001). "Public lives; a dreamer, working for beauty in the South Bronx". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "Current fellows index (fellows 2005 overview)". The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. September 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Holloway, Marguerite (December 12, 2008). "The green power broker". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Dorian Block (September 4, 2007). "Newly-opened Hunts Point Riverside Park already a hit". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- McIntyre, Linda (December 2007). "Parks Come to the Point". Landscape Architecture. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
- Theodore J. Kim, Legal Counsel, OEJ/OECA Memorandum Re: “Environmental Justice in the News” for the Week Ending March 16, 2007, Environmental Protection Agency, March 15, 2007. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
- NYU Portraits, Center for Multicultural and Education Programs, NYU. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
- Bill Egbert (September 18, 2006). "Bronx River Group Fetes New Park". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Mendez, J. Edward (April 24, 2006). "Bronx goes green: program trains workers for cleanup". City Limits. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Sustainable South Bronx: Green Jobs, Not Jails Green for All. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
- Marisol Bello (December 13, 2007). "Cities cultivate 2 types of green". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Eligon, John (April 11, 2008). "Carrying the Olympic Torch, and Protesting It, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- "South Bronx woman pulls flag from sleeve, surprises San Fran cops at Olympic tribute". Daily News (New York). April 9, 2008.
- Sou Youn & Bill Hutchinson (April 10, 2008). "Olympic torch bearer from Bronx in Tibet protest". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Youn, Soo; Hutchinson, Bill (April 11, 2008). "China protester is torched by critics". Daily News (New York).
- David Hinckley (February 26, 2009). "On HBO's 'The Black List,' Tyler Perry, T.D. Jakes and others tell their stories". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "Invest in a 'green-collar' future". American Public Media. November 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
- "This I Believe - Majora Carter". Public Radio Exchange. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "Brains of Science: Majora Carter Extended Interview". The Discovery Channel. September 19, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- The Green on Sundance Channel. Accessed online June 17, 2007
- "Sundance Channel's The Green Presented by Robert Redford". Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- Laura Michalchyshyn (February 26, 2009). "Sundance Channel's The Green Grows in its Historic Third Season". world-wire.com. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "The Peabody Awards". Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- Everhart, Karen (July 14, 2008). "R&D boost for new voices". Current. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "The Promised Land". Retrieved 2010-01-13.[dead link]
- "Peabody Award". The Promised Land Radio.
- DNAinfo"DNAInfor.com Article: FreshDirect Hires Majora Carter to Round Up Local Support for Bronx Move".
- Bernard L. Stein (September 28, 2012). "FreshDirect hires Majora Carter: Company opponents denounce ‘turncoat’". Mott Haven Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- NY Daily News"FreshDirect Hires Green Activist Article Link".
- DNAinfo"FreshDirect Hires Majora Carter to Round Up Local Support for Bronx Move Article".
- NY Daily News"FreshDirect Hires Green Activist Link".
- Winnie Hu (April 4, 2013). "Hero of the Bronx Is Now Accused of Betraying It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-06.
- National Building Museum. "A Salute to Visionaries in Sustanability".
- Visionaries Who Are Changing the World
- http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/CommitteeView.aspx?key=49008 National Academies of Science
- Delfiner, Rita (October 23, 2008). "Post salutes 'angels' of NY". The New York Post. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "2008 Honorees". Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- "The Temple of Understanding 10th Annual Juliet Hollister Awards". The Temple of Understanding. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- "TBA 2008 - Paul Wellstone Award". Campaign for America's Future. March 19, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
- Barton, Erica. "The National Audubon Society 2007 Women in Conservation Luncheon". The National Audubon Society. Retrieved January 3, 2009.[dead link]
- "Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson honors Women's History Month". New York State Executive Chamber. March 23, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2009.[dead link]
- "Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism to speak at first of two commencement ceremonies". Mercy College. May 15, 2007. Retrieved link dead/404.
- NYU Division of Student Affairs Annual Report, September 1, 2006 – August 31, 2007, New York University, p. 4. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
- "2007 National Arbor Day Awards: Lawrence Enersen Award". Arbor Day Foundation. Retrieved January 3, 2009.