Communication connects communities. The voices of the community help push the peoples needs to the forefront to create change. Dave Daniels and Code Foundation utilize the peoples voices and marketing to propel community development.
Operating for a couple of decades, the Code Foundation started from adults and elders seeing a need for change in the community and for the Black community specifically to “do better.” The organization is non-profit and volunteer driven; it is located in Brooklyn. Daniels serves as the volunteer executive director and president of the Code Foundation. Because he has a background in marketing and advertising, Daniels has been able to successfully use his skills within his experience of volunteer work. “We all lend our particular skills to make New York City and communities nationally a better place to live,” said Daniels. Daniels created his own marketing firm, Dave D Marketing, 7 ½ years ago. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult but the rewards are great. As a Black person owning your own as a entrepreneur I can grow and have a professionally rewarding experience,” said Daniels.
Code Foundation deals with the socio-economic stress that effects young people, as well as dealing with health campaigns, and looking for ways to synthesize international issues. Around 1996-1997, there was an influx of gang violence, drug violence, and drive-by shootings. “Different adults and elders came together to do something. The ‘code’ name came to us because of core values,” explained Daniels. The code was to emphasize the core values within the community of not dealing drugs nears schools, to stop killing each other, and to maintain the idea that “I am my brother and sisters keeper.” “The idea was to bring together young people to try and get our peers to do better,” Daniels said. Working programmatically, the idea of being “my brother and sister’s keeper” was a direct messages that the Code Foundation would send out into the community whether it is South Side Queens or Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn. “Code Foundation establishes a code to get other young people to take up that code and bring it back to their community,” he said. Daniels found that through connections and relationships with schools and communities it helps spread Code Foundation’s message organically. “We don’t use major media, we use direct connection with schools and institutions and communities,” said Daniels.
The Code Foundation organizes community forums whether they are creative and or informational (having discussions with health care workers). Operating from three primary projects, Code Foundation focuses on the arts, health, and STEM.
Open mic events help gauge the community to have a space to express themselves creatively. “We have live jazz performances, showcase visual paintings, fine art, fashion shows featuring Afrocentric jewelry,” said Daniels.
Code Foundation continues the movement of health awareness in the Black community by having bimonthly forums about sickle cell anemia. “We are a partner with Interfaith Medical Center on the issue of sickle cell disease. It is misunderstood by us and medical professionals, where with African Americans there is a stigma and assumption that we just want drugs. We had horrible stories where people would have terrible episodes walk into a hospital and the frontline staff just assumes it’s a drug issue. Pulling together public free forums and doctors to learn as well is important,” Daniels explained. The forums also discuss healthy eating for a better lifestyle for people of color.
“We are utilizing technology and demonstrating that technology has an important role,” said Daniels. According to PewSocialTrends.org, Blacks make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall but represent 9% of STEM workers. “The reason is from lack of desire and resources, so we want to find ways to make it exciting and how to expose children to this. It would be powerful for young people of color to learn because it opens the door to being an entrepreneur and also revolutionizing the accessing to healthcare,” said Daniels.
Presently, the world is figuring out how to deal with COVID-19. The Code Foundation has been advocating for weeks questioning for data that is race specific. “We felt that it was important because the better any community understands if they are hit by an illness then they can figure out the things they need to do,” said Daniels. Daniels believes the reason for the increase of COVID-19 in the Black community is due to the Black community having a long history of being underserved and having a lack of quality primary care as well as lifestyle and lack of health education. “We need to see the numbers and data about race. We need this data to say if the highest inflicted are in zip codes that have people of color in the community, we need to identify this and it is where the PPE should be sent to the ‘hot zones.’ We need to prioritize it going to these areas,” said Daniels.
Code Foundation operates as more than a marketing organization but as a tool for the community to help bring necessary change and progress.