Hakim, Meet Hakeem: How a Young City Farmer Got to Know a Congressman


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Mihir Zaveri, The New York Times

For most of his life, Hakim Jeffrey’s only connections to Representative Hakeem Jeffries were Brooklyn and their similar names. Then they crossed paths.

Hakim Jeffrey, a community leader in New York City public housing (James Estrin/The New York Times)

Growing up, Hakim Jeffrey did not think much about politics. But people would often point out that his name sounded very similar to the name of his representative in Congress, a rising star in the House and fellow Brooklyn native.

“All of them would just tell me, ‘You should meet this man some day,’” Mr. Jeffrey said.

He brushed it off. Mr. Jeffrey, who lived in the Bay View Houses, a public housing development in Canarsie, thought of himself then as “just a regular 16-year-old boy from the projects.”

Then, at 18, he started working on a new farm at the development, one of several the New York City Housing Authority had helped build to provide healthy food for residents. […]

Mr. Jeffrey, now 24, got more involved, finding purpose in helping a public housing community often overlooked by the outside world, unless a building was falling apart.

On a cloudy March afternoon last year, one of his tour participants had a familiar name. That was when Hakim Jeffrey met Hakeem Jeffries.

Find out what Jeffries saw in Jeffrey’s work for the community in the original article.

Learn about another young activist in this virtual exhibit.

Find more Breaking News here.

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