The Black Lives Matter movement first arose in the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who killed 17-year-old Martin in an Orlando suburb in 2012. This year, the movement grew to involve people in every city in the country, fueled by the furor over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Of course, the fight for equal rights and treatment for Black Americans has been waged for centuries, and today’s activists are building on the accomplishments of countless civil rights leaders of past generations. Then and now, New York has been home to many of the most prominent Black individuals who have taken up the cause.
Today, City & State’s Black 100 list, created in partnership with Stephon Johnson of the New York Amsterdam News, recognizes many of the Black New Yorkers who are making a difference in politics – legislators championing criminal justice reforms, groundbreaking candidates for elected office, advocates and policymakers evening the playing field, and, of course, the activists who have taken to the streets in recent months to stand up for their rights.
Patrick Jenkins may have his roots in Queens, but he has become an influential lobbyist both in New York City and in Albany. His firm has represented an impressive roster of corporate clients, including Charter Communications, CVS Health, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and charter schools. A longtime friend of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Jenkins has also worked for Carl McCall, Eliot Spitzer and Rep. Gregory Meeks.