Majora Carter

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Majora Carter
Carter majora download 4.jpg
Born (1966-10-27) October 27, 1966 (age 48)
South Bronx, New York, United States
Residence South Bronx, NY
Nationality USA

Bronx High School of Science
Wesleyan University

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[1] 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[2] before entering the private sector.

Early life[edit]

Carter attended the Head Start Program and primary schools in the South Bronx. After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science,[3] she entered Wesleyan University in 1984 to study film and obtain a Bachelor of Arts.[4] In 1997, she received a Master of Fine Arts from New York University (NYU).[5] While at NYU, she returned to her family's home in Hunts Point,[6] and later worked for The Point Community Development Corporation.[6]

As Associate Director of the Community Development Corporation, Carter developed Hunts Point Riverside Park.[7] 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."[8]

From there, Carter secured 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 into the award winning iteration which re-opened in 2006.[8][9]



In August 2001, after exploring and then declining to engage in a campaign for NY City Council,[4] Carter founded Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx),[4] where she served as executive director[10] until July 2008.[11] During that time, SSBx advocated the development of the Hunt's Point Riverside Park which had been an illegal garbage dump.[12] Majora was a co-founder of the Bronx River Alliance [],[13] and SSBx continued to carry on Majora's involvement in Bronx River waterfront restoration projects.[5][6] In 2003, Sustainable South Bronx started the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training program.[14][15] This was one of the nation's first urban green collar training and placement systems.[6][16] From there, Majora Carter co-founded Green For All with Van Jones[17] Other SSBx projects have centered around fitness, food choices (including the creation of a community market), and air quality.[5]

Majora Carter in Hunts Point

In 2007, Majora Carter co-founded Green for All with Van Jones.[17] 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.[6]

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,[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] Fellow torch-bearer, retired NYFD firefighter Richard Doran, who was making his own personal and political statement by wearing a helmet to refer to 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".[21] Another torch-bearer, retired NYPD police officer Jim Dolan, agreed with Doran.[21]


Majora Carter's TED talk was one of the first six publicly released talks to launch the website in 2006.[22] Carter has made appearances in, and/or written, and produced television and radio programs, including HBO's The Black List volume 2,[23] American Public Media's Market Place,[24] and PRX's This I Believe series[25] and has hosted several pieces on urban sustainability with Discovery Communications' Science Channel.[26]

Carter interviews Shai Agassi in 2008

From 2007 - 2010, Carter has appeared on The Green, a television segment dedicated to the environment, shown on the Sundance Channel.[27] The first season consisted of a series of 90 second op-eds shot in studio.[28] The second season consisted of a series of short interview pieces with people who are taking uncommon approaches to environmental problems.[29]

In 2008, Carter and Marge Ostroushko[30] 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.[31] 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,[32] and has since earned a 2010 Peabody Award[33]

2014: Majora was the on-camera and voice over host of Water Blues - Green Solutions,[34] a one hour documentary on Green Infrastructure in several American cities, produced by Pennsylvania State University TV for the Public TV Market.

She has also participated in corporate promotional video and advertisements for companies such as Cisco Systems,[35] Frito-Lay,[36] Intel, Holiday Inn,[37] and Honda.[38]

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.

In Majora Carter’s 2006 TED talk, ‘Greening the Ghetto’ she discusses the importance of green space to marginalized communities,[39] the likelihood of non-white and low-income people to live near environmentally hazardous sites. These areas also experience high rates of asthma, obesity, and diabetes and Carter highlights the connection.[39] "Why would people want to go exercise when all they experience outside is pollution and factories?" Carter speaks from personal experience growing up in the South Bronx.[40]

Portrait photo of an African-American woman with her dog
Majora Carter and her dog Xena

Majora Carter has continued to work to revitalize the neighbourhood she grew up in and others across the United States. Providing green space, for Carter, is not just the right choice because it is good for people—it is also good for the economy. More people out and about in a neighbourhood makes people feel safer to shop, contribute to tourism, or open businesses in that community. There are also clear environmental benefits to more green space, like cleaner air, as well as fringe benefits like, more people walking or biking to work.

Carter speaks to the notion that healthier citizens generally are a benefit to society, since health can be a very complicated policy issue, especially mental health. She sees grass roots and bottom up approaches as having a lot to offer policy makers. In her TED talk she stresses the difference between limited monetary grants, and decision making positions. Carter encourages the audience to keep working on and talking about environmental equality throughout their daily lives.[39]


After leaving Sustainable South Bronx, Carter has served as president of a private consulting firm, Majora Carter Group, LLC (MCG). In the June 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine, Majora Carter was listed as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.[41] In 2014, B Corporation (certification) recognized MCG as one of the "Best for the World"[42] according to its ranking among other B Corps of similar size.


In 2012, Carter's consulting firm, Majora Carter Group LLC (MCG) accepted FreshDirect as a client to help the company and local organizations connect prior to its proposed relocation to the Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx.[43]

People opposed claimed New York City Government and FreshDirect failed to conduct sufficient environmental review and community outreach.[44] A lawsuit and boycott campaign[45] were initiated to stop the relocation. That lawsuit was dismissed,[46] and a subsequent appeal was also dismissed; both were filed by New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.[47] Subsequent votes by local Community Board 1[48] and the NYC Industrial Development Agency[49] both voted to approve the move to the Bronx.

Sustainable South Bronx, an organization Carter founded, opposed FreshDirect's move to the Bronx.[50] The project is currently scheduled to go ahead as planned.

During his 2013 electoral campaign, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio repeatedly criticized the FreshDirect deal both during televised debates, regular events and press conferences, saying: "We have to take subsidies away from big companies like Fresh Direct. Give them to small businesses in the forms of loans,” according to the New York Daily News.[51]

South Bronx youth development NGO leader Maryann Hedaa stated that "(Carter) realizes that fighting poverty has to be a partnership between the public interests and the private interests."[52] Regarding the negative attitude among Bronx activists towards Ms Carter's position, Steve Ritz, founder of Green Bronx Machine, noted that "It's much easier to run your mouth than run a business."[50]


In 2007, while running Sustainable South Bronx, Majora Carter introduced MIT’s first ever Mobile fab lab(digital fabrication laboratory) to the South Bronx - where it served as an early iteration of the “Maker-Spaces” found elsewhere today. The project drew residents and visitors together for guided and creative collaborations.

In 2013, Majora Carter joined the Advisory Board member of the Bronx Academy of Software Engineering High School. After Co-Founding StartUp Box #SouthBronx[53] in 2012 as a social enterprise to seed diverse participation in the knowledge economy, she launched StartUp Box #QA[54] (Quality Assurance testing services) which assisted in the launch of Mayor Bill DeBlasio's Digital.NYC[55] in 2014.

She is a ‘Silicon Alley 100',[56] her 2006 TEDtalk was one of 6 to launch that groundbreaking site.[57] Majora is a co-founder of the 400+ member Bronx Tech Meetup,[58] which co-hosted NYC's Digital Roadmap convening in the Bronx. She served as a judge for the NYC Office of Digital Media's "Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge".[59]

Awards and honors[60][edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Sustainable South Bronx: Mission". Sustainable South Bronx. Archived from the original on 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Waldman, Amy (August 15, 2001). "Public lives; a dreamer, working for beauty in the South Bronx". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Current fellows index (fellows 2005 overview)". The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. September 2005. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Holloway, Marguerite (December 12, 2008). "The green power broker". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  7. ^ Dorian Block (September 4, 2007). "Newly-opened Hunts Point Riverside Park already a hit". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  8. ^ a b McIntyre, Linda (December 2007). "Parks Come to the Point". Landscape Architecture. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ NYU Portraits, Center for Multicultural and Education Programs, NYU. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
  12. ^ Bill Egbert (September 18, 2006). "Bronx River Group Fetes New Park". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Mendez, J. Edward (April 24, 2006). "Bronx goes green: program trains workers for cleanup". City Limits. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  15. ^ Sustainable South Bronx: Green Jobs, Not Jails Green for All. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
  16. ^ Marisol Bello (December 13, 2007). "Cities cultivate 2 types of green". USA Today. Retrieved 2009-04-04. 
  17. ^ a b Holloway, Marguerite (December 14, 2008). "The Green Power Broker". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Eligon, John (April 11, 2008). "Carrying the Olympic Torch, and Protesting It, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  19. ^ "South Bronx woman pulls flag from sleeve, surprises San Fran cops at Olympic tribute". Daily News (New York). April 9, 2008. [dead link]
  20. ^ Sou Youn & Bill Hutchinson (April 10, 2008). "Olympic torch bearer from Bronx in Tibet protest". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  21. ^ a b Youn, Soo; Hutchinson, Bill (April 11, 2008). "China protester is torched by critics". Daily News (New York). 
  22. ^
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ "Invest in a 'green-collar' future". American Public Media. November 14, 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  25. ^ "This I Believe - Majora Carter". Public Radio Exchange. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  26. ^ "Brains of Science: Majora Carter Extended Interview". The Discovery Channel. September 19, 2008. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  27. ^ The Green on Sundance Channel. Accessed online June 17, 2007
  28. ^ "Sundance Channel's The Green Presented by Robert Redford". Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  29. ^ Laura Michalchyshyn (February 26, 2009). "Sundance Channel's The Green Grows in its Historic Third Season". Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  30. ^ "The Peabody Awards". Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  31. ^ Everhart, Karen (July 14, 2008). "R&D boost for new voices". Current. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  32. ^ "The Promised Land". Retrieved 2010-01-13. [dead link]
  33. ^ "Peabody Award". The Promised Land Radio. 
  34. ^ Water Blues - Green Solutions:
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ a b c Majora, Carter. "TED talk 'Greening the Ghetto'". 
  40. ^ "Majora Carter: Activist for environmental justice". Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^ DNAinfo" Article: FreshDirect Hires Majora Carter to Round Up Local Support for Bronx Move". 
  44. ^ Daniel Beekman (Oct 1, 2012). "FreshDirect hires environmental activist Majora Carter to aid in relocation bid". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  45. ^ Bernard L. Stein (September 28, 2012). "FreshDirect hires Majora Carter: Company opponents denounce ‘turncoat’". Mott Haven Herald. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  46. ^ Annie Karni (June 3, 2013). "FreshDirect foes lose in court". Crain's New York. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  47. ^
  48. ^ Denis Slattery (July 11, 2013). "Bronx community board approves controversial Fresh Direct plan for Port Morris as residents scream and board members object". The New York Daily News. Retrieved 2013-07-11. 
  49. ^ "Despite Community Opposition, NYC Industrial Development Agency Votes to Allow Fresh Direct Relocation to the South Bronx". Mobilizing the Region. 
  50. ^ a b Winnie Hu (April 4, 2013). "Hero of the Bronx Is Now Accused of Betraying It". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  51. ^
  52. ^ NY Daily News"FreshDirect Hires Green Activist Article Link". Daily News (New York). 
  53. ^ StartUp Box #SouthBronx
  54. ^ StartUp Box #QA
  55. ^ Digital.NYC
  56. ^ ‘Silicon Alley 100'
  57. ^ launch that groundbreaking site
  58. ^ Bronx Tech Meetup
  59. ^ Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^ 70th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2011.
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^ National Building Museum. "A Salute to Visionaries in Sustanability". 
  67. ^ Visionaries Who Are Changing the World
  68. ^ National Academies of Science
  69. ^ Delfiner, Rita (October 23, 2008). "Post salutes 'angels' of NY". The New York Post. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  70. ^ "2008 Honorees". Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  71. ^ "The Temple of Understanding 10th Annual Juliet Hollister Awards". The Temple of Understanding. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  72. ^ "TBA 2008 - Paul Wellstone Award". Campaign for America's Future. March 19, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  73. ^ Barton, Erica. "The National Audubon Society 2007 Women in Conservation Luncheon". The National Audubon Society. Retrieved January 3, 2009. [dead link]
  74. ^ "Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson honors Women's History Month". New York State Executive Chamber. March 23, 2007. Retrieved January 3, 2009. [dead link]
  75. ^ "Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism to speak at first of two commencement ceremonies". Mercy College. May 15, 2007. 
  76. ^ NYU Division of Student Affairs Annual Report, September 1, 2006 – August 31, 2007, New York University, p. 4. Accessed online 5 January 2009.
  77. ^ "2007 National Arbor Day Awards: Lawrence Enersen Award". Arbor Day Foundation. Retrieved January 3, 2009. 
  78. ^ "". 

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