At the April 30th, CB9 meeting, Sakia Fletcher, a single mom and Medgar Evers student, was thrown out because she asked Councilperson Laurie Cumbo questions about the impact of Cumbo's REBNY-funded development deals on Medgar Evers students and Crown Heights residents.
The following video shows Councilperson Cumbo pointing her finger in the student's face while shouting "Ignorant !" over and over. https://youtu.be/RW8C0L6z4-s. This segment of video was not included in the official CB9 video for April 30, 2019.
Now Sakia Fletcher has been suspended from Medgar Evers for practicing her right of freedom of speech at a public forum. A Student /Community Support campaign for Sakia Fletcher is currently being organized.
Here is Sakia Fletcher's statement -- Equality for Flatbush
Video of CP Cumbo yelling at Sakia Fletcher https://youtu.be/RW8C0L6z4-s.
Who is Sakia Fletcher
My name is Sakia Fletcher. I am a non-traditional student, returning back to college. After years of thinking I would never receive the opportunity to continue my education, God open an door for me to attend Medger Evers College. As single, African American mother, and student at Medgar Evers College I experience daily the barriers, disparities, and the disenfranchisement our community faces.
After discovering my purpose in the public administration department, I immediately started to work wanting to perfect my calling. I interned at the school newspaper; with a nonprofit organization named Generation Citizens as a Democracy Coach and later as a Student Director. I interned at the New York Campaign Financing Board,-NYC Votes. I also interned in the Student Affairs office at Medgar Evers College. Upon working at the student affairs office it became evident to me of the enormous amount of burdens, we the students at Medgar Evers College deal with everyday while trying to achieve our degrees.
This semester I was nominated by faculty to participate in the Model New York State Senate Session Project. This great opportunity allowed me to be a senator for a day, attend the Somos Caucus and argue an actual bill in Albany on the senate floor.
Currently, I am president of the public administration club, student advocates for the disability student population, interning at the student affairs office, and Student Government Association President elect. I like other students at Medgar Evers College are very concerned with the recent development projects surrounding the immediate vicinity of the college.
Interactions with Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
I have interacted with Laurie Combo on several occasions, both privately and publicly. During every interaction with the councilwoman my focus was on allocation for educational infrastructure, student housing, capital budgeting for new building, and replacing the portable trailers. Every time she refused to answer these questions. She has lied to my face stating that Medgar Evers College student athletes will have free unlimited access to the Bedford Armory recreational facilities for games and practice if paid for by CUNY, eventually putting the sole liability on Medgar Evers College's president Dr. Rudolph Crew.
Student Grievances Ignored by Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo
The students at Medgar Evers College have no comfortable leisure accommodations, have dirty green chairs in the lobby of each building; the only senior college that does not have dormitories for students; has a homeless shelter next door to our campus, that is impossible for homeless students to get into;
lacks the necessary athletic facilities to accommodate our exceptional sports teams; and portable trailers which were slated to be temporary 15 years ago. The students have been silenced by a lingering hopelessness as they have watched numerous recent development projects approved by Laurie Cumbo in the surrounding vicinity, with no direct academic, leisure or student housing facilities allocated for the students at Medgar Evers College.
Such projects like: The Bedford Armory; 40 Crown Street; 960 Franklin Avenue; 1535 Bedford Avenue; 1579 Bedford Avenue and 4050 Eastern Parkway.
Prior Engagements with Laurie Cumbo
I have engaged with Cumbo on several occasions in various governmental venues. On November 15th I testified at the City Council public hearing concerning the proposal for rezoning Franklin Avenue Rezoning (currently in the courts under review) in front of Laurie Cumbo. I have also engaged with her privately at several Community Board 9 meeting and at several Medgar Evers campus events including the 2019 Black, Hispanic and Asian Caucus.
Cumbo is very familiar with my face as being a student seeking answers from her as to why Medgar Evers College is not receiving any benefits from all the development occurring in Crown Heights especially the Bedford Union Armory.
On April 30th at the monthly community board 9 meeting when I exercised my first amendment constitutional right of free speech at a public meeting and proceeded to hold an elected official accountable by asking her what new facilities are being allocated to Medgar Evers College. Laurie Cumbo became upset because I have been asking her the same questions for over a year now. She felt that I didn’t have the right to ask her the same questions anymore. She proceeded to react in an aggressive and outrageous manner, yelling out that I'm ignorant, pointing her finger at me, and that it was people like me who was preventing our community from progressing and we are reason she is unable to pass legislation on our behalf. https://youtu.be/RW8C0L6z4-s
Time and time again Laurie has lied and manipulated the community. The truth is that Cumbo district has the highest rate of displacement; a dissatisfied Medgar Evers College student body due to fraudulent promises from Laurie; growing number of homeless shelters in her district filled with individuals whose incomes will never allow them to qualify to live in the luxury developments she has approved, nor the “affordable” ones she has negotiated for.
The disheartening fact is an atmosphere of hopelessness looming over the 35th Council District in regards to Fair housing.
The Unraveling of Laurie Cumbo
The travesty is Laurie has exhibited favorable alliances with corrupted individuals, slumlords, and real estate developers seeking to gain profits from her position. Now we are witnessing the unraveling of a politically tainted “representative” who would do anything but tell the truth.
The fraudulent allegation that I was influenced by Alicia Boyd from MTOPP is a lie. The allegation that I was aggressively attempting to attack her is a lie. The insane allegation that this was a stunt for my next social media post is a lie.
Laurie continues to lie and scheme for her own financial and political gain. She will say anything to fortify her political supremacy over our community. As we can see Laurie has now stooped to an all time low, trying to sway the conversation from taking accountability for her opportunistic tendencies, to trying to tarnish my reputation.
However, my character stand fortified on the rock that is higher than I. I employ all to fact check my reputation and social media pages. The truth will verify who I am. I am a Black, single mother, Medgar Evers College student advocate/leader, and devout servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who, by God’s Grace has been given the opportunity to find my purpose.
Like David slaying Goliath, I will stand for Justice. I will continue to fight for the students at Medgar Evers College. I will be a voice and advocate for the underserved and the disenfranchised men and women of color. I will not be silenced. I have no fear. Because God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind.
In closing let us depart in peace, hope, and courage.
Medgar Evers College Student Advocate/Leader