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Renee Collymore—A force in the classroom and community

Pat Couser | 9/4/2014, 11:58 a.m.
Renee Collymore wrote “WE WON” after being declared winner of the 57th committeewoman/district leader seat in the 2012 election.

Renee Collymore wrote “WE WON” after being declared winner of the 57th committeewoman/district leader seat in the 2012 election. Now, she is up for re-election Sept. 9. Her two-year reign as district leader has prompted the question in the minds of many in her district as to whether she is indeed a force to be reckoned with.

Collymore has reportedly gained the support and endorsement of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Councilman Robert Cornegy, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and Assemblyman Walter Mosley. She has been on the campaign trail with Comptroller Scott Stringer, who stated in a letter of support for Collymore, “Renee is one of the hardest working district leaders in Brooklyn. Thanks to her leadership, we have diverse judges and elected officials who really represent us.”

Collymore served as part of a reviewing body to interview and monitor judges in her efforts to ensure quality representation to the residents of Brooklyn. As a result of Collymore’s commitment,Stringer says, “They pay attention to our needs and respond to them.” Collymore is a longtime Brooklynite. Born and raised in Fort Greene, she is known as a friend of the community.

Collymore told the AmNews her desire to run for district leader has been fueled by the many residents who have come into her office at the Democratic Parliament Club seeking assistance with employment and housing issues, and those seeking relief from some of the financial crises they have been enduring since the drop in the nation’s economy. Collymore tells how she has been able to assist some of the residents through her efforts of establishing periodic job fairs and returning many to employment status from unemployment, providing a voice for affordable housing, supporting small businesses and facilitating and providing community workshops.

Collymore proclaims, “We have to keep the spirits of our city residents afloat. We have to recognize the suffering of the community and reach out to restore their spirits from the cradle to college. I want to pull people out of poverty and give them political clout.”

Collymore teaches children on the fundamentals of citizenship at Public School 256 in the Bedford‑Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

“She is an excellent role model,” says Lenice Gray, a substance abuse prevention intervention specialist at P.S. 256. “She has a very strong presence. It’s an inspiring force that you feel whenever she’s here.” Gray is working in conjunction with Collymore on preventive measures for young children. She says, “Ms. Collymore is an excellent role model, especially for young girls. She teaches children how to use resources around them to benefit their lives. We have never had the presence of any other district leader like we have with Ms. Collymore.

“She is committed to our children. She is known by all. She has an ability to relate to everyone, the young and old. The kids at our school love participating in her class. They often stay late because she’s quite engaging and they feel empowered.”

Collymore states that her parents have been a part of the Clinton Hill business district for more than 35 years. She says she has been preparing for the position of district leader since she was a young girl, attending local community board meetings and reporting to her parents the updates and outcome of the meetings.

She details her working along with her parents in their family business, Collymore’s Coffee Shop. Watching her parents prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for some of the local officials and district leaders, including former District Leader, William Saunders, who she reports was a long-time patron of the coffee shop and who taught her the importance of community relations.

During her first run for district leader, Collymore picked up the endorsement of the award-winning pastor Hezekiah Walker, of Love Fellowship Tabernacle. Reese Williams, community coordinator at Hezekiah Walker’s church in Brooklyn, has confirmed to the AmNews Walker’s support of her efforts to serve the residents of the downtown Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights area and some of the Bedford‑Stuyvesant and Crown Heights area. “He is aware of many of her objectives and stands with her.”

Collymore’s opponent, Olanike Alabi, has been endorsed by the AmNews.