PRESIDENT, 70th PRECINCT COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Community Involvement: Ed Powell is an active member of the Flatbush community, where he has lived for over 35 years. But, his community involvement began when he was a child living in Memphis, Tennessee.
“My parents were very community oriented. They did not feel comfortable if they knew of anybody in the neighborhood who did have food to eat or adequate clothing,” he said. “When I came to New York, there were so many people in need of all kinds of things. I just naturally shifted toward doing whatever I could to assist.”
For over 20 years Powell has served as president of the 70th Precinct Community Council, connecting the community with the police. “If I am not mistaken I am the longest serving precinct council president in Brooklyn, if not in the city,” he said.
In addition, he is first vice chair of Community Board 14.
“That was sort of a natural outgrowth of volunteer work that I have been doing in the Flatbush area,” said Powell. “I don’t know if it was luck or misfortune, but I moved up to second chair then first.”
Adding to a long list a volunteer work, Powell co-founded the Umma Group over 30 years ago. The group, meaning community in Islam, is a volunteer patrol force that works in the north area of Flatbush assisting the police. Umma Park, located at Ocean and Woodruff Avenues, was named in honor of the group after they cleaned up the area.
Powell is also a Democratic district leader in the 42nd A.D. district, running when the former leader became ill and could not run for re-election. “Initially I didn’t really want to do that because it is hard even now to see myself as a real politician. I did not expect to win, however I did,” he said. “That was the beginning of my political experience.”
Career: For the past 11 years, Powell has served as community liaison for Assemblymember Rhoda Jacobs, keeping her aware of constituent needs in her district. “Someone asked me recently when I plan to retire, I don’t,” he said. “I wouldn’t know what to do.”
Personal Life: When Powell is not running from meeting to meeting, he can be found at the mosque, where he has been assistant imam for five years.
He currently lives in Flatbush with his wife, a five-year-old daughter, a stepdaughter and a stepson. He has other children who live in the Memphis and Arkansas area.
“In my spare time I try to spend as much time with my family as possible,” he said.
As for the future, the district leader plans to run for reelection in September, 2014.
Biggest Challenge: “My age. Thank God my health appears to be really good,” Powell said. “I just recently had surgery but I am recuperating from that quite well. Although I feel wonderful, there is no denying that age is a factor.”