The end of an era in East New York has finally come. The “unbought, unbossed, and undefeated” Councilmember Inez Barron, who has also represented State Assembly Districts 40 and 60, announced this past weekend that she is retiring from the assembly and has named community organizer Keron Alleyne, 31, as her successor.
The Barrons, Inez and her husband Assemblymember Charles Barron, are fixtures in the community and well-known for their tendency to run for city council and assembly in tandem…and win, much to the chagrin of political competitors.
“I’m pleased and honored to be here,” said I. Barron. “We have a candidate who understands what it is that we have been building and making happen here over the last 20 years.”
The power couple joined Alleyne, his family, and his early campaign crew in front of the Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center on Saturday, Oct. 2 to show their support for the young politico.
Alleyne ran for state senate in Senatorial District 19 in last year’s elections, but lost to Incumbent Senator Roxanne Persaud in the June primary. He thanked his wife, Amerie, and the Barrons for supporting his “radical vision” for East New York.
“It’s running for office, against the machine, the Brooklyn Democratic Party. That machine,” said Alleyne. “That’s radical vision.”
A former teacher and principal, I. Barron modeled her political ferocity after Brooklyn native Shirley Chisholm. She said that the district needs a bold candidate with a kind of “audacity” to vote on issues that matter and stand “flatfooted” on that vote in the face of criticism. She believes that Alleyne, over the years she’s known him, can be that person for the community.
Alleyne has also interned and worked for C. Barron in the past.
“Anytime you call this man and you know what? You don’t even have to call him all the time. Sometimes he goes out on his own to collect food to feed people, and that’s how I met him,” said C. Barron. “We didn’t make Keron Alleyne. He made himself, and then joined us and enhanced who he is.”
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Alleyne was taught the importance of service from both his parents and grandparents, he said. Alleyne’s grandfather in particular was a huge supporter of community gardens, a cause Alleyne has continued even through the hardships of food insecurity during last year’s devastating pandemic. “They say East New York is an inner city food desert, so let’s imagine growing food in a community that is abundant with fresh food,” said Alleyne.
Alleyne said it was difficult to reach people throughout 2020 who were in need of fresh foods, but eventually organized a small advocacy group of community gardeners, farms, and people to deliver produce to those in need. The advocacy group is now partnered with the NYC Parks Dept. Greenthumb community gardens program to raise awareness and support for East New York growers.
Towards the end of the conference, the group surprised I. Barron with a bouquet of flowers to thank her for her service. She said that she was “excited” to be a part of the next chapter for Alleyne.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w