Quintin Cross, Executive Director
Quintin is a young African American community leader. In 2001, at 18, Quintin became the youngest member ever elected to the Hudson NY, City Council, rising two years later to the position of Majority Leader. During his six years on the Council, Quintin chaired the Legal, Police, Youth & Aging Committees and served on the Hudson Development Corporation Board, The Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency and the Columbia County Empire Zone and he served as the Mid-Hudson Regional Director of the NYS Council of Black Elected Democrats. Quintin founded the Hudson African American Leadership Alliance (HAALA) and in 2016, Quintin joined the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Quintin hold a B.S. in Public Affairs with a concentration in Community Affairs from State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State College. He is also the recipient of the SUNY Graduate Diversity Fellowship and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Work and Policy Studies. Quintin is the proud twin daughters Tamaya and Tamyra, who have already demonstrated their commitment to social justice.
Cedrick Fulton, Director of Community Engagement
Cedrick is a lifelong resident of Hudson. He is an organizer, educator, writer, speaker, and devoted father of two. Formerly incarcerated, his work comes from his own lived experiences, and an intimate understanding of the systems most impacting peoples’ lives. He holds an A.A.S. from Bronx Community College, and a degree in Political Science from Framingham State. In addition to his work with SBK, Cedrick has worked with ReEntry Columbia, Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, Kite’s Nest and a wide range of individuals and organizations working together to create long-term, transformative change.
Eli Berkowitz, Director of Advocacy
Eli brings significant experience in the mental health and community service fields, as well as engaging in community-based efforts to combat poverty, racism, and patriarchal violence to his position. Eli has worked as a case manager with a re-entry and jail diversion program in North Carolina, and as an overnight counselor at a residential mental health facility. An organizer, facilitator, and committed father, eli seeks to align his life with the goal of building power for transformative social change led by oppression-resisting communities. Eli holds a BA, summa cum laude, in Psychology from Clark University, with a focus on analyses of gender, race, and class. Most recently, he helped to launch the Hudson chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice.
Tiffany Garriga, Chair of the Board
Tiffany is a long time activist and community member having served as the Chairperson of SBK’s Community Service Committee for over 2 years. Tiffany is currently in her second term on the Common Council and serves as the Majority Leader. In addition to being a vocal supporter for the people Tiffany is also a board member of the United Way Columbia-Greene Counties, It Can Happen 2 You Inc and Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood Steering Committee.
Claire Cousin, Board member
Claire is a passionate advocate and organizer for youth in Hudson. She works to give young people growing up here support and mentorship to reinforce their purpose and passions. Claire is Chair of the Youth & Young Adult Committee for SBK and founder of SBK and Kites Next Collaborative Program, Space 101 . Claire also works as an Americorps volunteer, and serves on the Columbia County Youth Advisory Board, working to affect change. Claire is also a singer, poet, and a mom.
Alan Skerrett, Board member
Alan retired from the Office of Mental Health after 31 years of service in a variety of direct care and administrative positions. Upon retirement, he assumed the role of Executive Director of the Philmont Hearth, a 14-bed community residence rehabilitation program for severe and profound mental illness clients. He is a local photographer who has provided local photographic services to a variety of entities in the area. His photos have been exhibited in group-exhibitions in Hunter Mountain, Catskill, Albany, Cohoes, Hudson, and more. He currently does portrait photography. As a trade specialist, Alan participated in a variety of audio-visual projects and productions, conducted by the Office of Mental Health and the Capital District Psychiatric Center. He was a co-founder and Rehearsal Director of the Capital District Psychiatric Center Mental Health Players, a volunteer education project using role play to educate the community addressing, among other issues, mental health stigma. He has lived in Columbia County for 25 years. Alan Skerrett is the force behind self-empowerment and systems change. Alan has a keen interest in teaching participants about self-identifying and is currently in the process of developing a needs assessment for participants.
Vernon Cross, Board Member
Vern is a graduate of Hudson High School. He attended a Historically Black College (Morris Brown College) in Atlanta, GA for a year. He is a proud father of 4 children: 3 boys and 1 girl. Vernon has lived in Pittsfield MA, as well as Pelham, Alabama. He decided to return to Hudson, NY to help his daughter who was expecting her 1st child. He’s now currently employed at Ginsberg’s Foods in Hudson. He works as an Inbound Freight Coordinator. His duties include scheduling all inbound trucks for delivery, accessing each truck and charging the appropriate price for each truck to be unloaded, which he has done successfully for 5 plus years. Vernon is the Chairperson of the Radio Committee, and is also a member of the Events & Community Service Committees. Vern produces the Barbershop Talks, a monthly local affairs radio program that broadcasts on WGXC: 90.7-FM; he is also a freelance DJ in his spare time.
Valerie Fanarjian, BOARD MEMBER
became involved with SBK through her work as the activities coordinator at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Having met Quintin Cross on a film she was producing, she began attending SBK barbershop talks, volunteering in Hudson, and connecting students at Simon’s Rock with the SBK organization through community service projects and various civic and social events, including several events held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. So far, Valerie has been instrumental in introducing six students to the organization, who went on to become interns for the organization. Valerie used to be an accountant in New York City, where she was an assistant to the controller at Crescent Diversified limited, a subsidiary of the Olayan Group. In 1988, she took over her family business and ran a fully automatic sawmill in the Catskill Mountains. While working at the sawmill, she received a Bachelors of Science in Art Education at SUNY New Paltz in 1997, and was granted a teaching certificate by the State of New York. After 1999, she began working in film doing production. Valerie is also an artist; she has organized art shows, founded an art school, and taught varied workshops to learners of all ages and levels.
Brooke Lehman, Board member
Brooke is a longtime activist and educator. Shewas deeply involved in the Global Justice Movement and the Occupy Movement, where she focused on helping activists build healthy democratic organizational structures, connect to their own sense of purpose, and become more effective leaders. She is Program Director at The Watershed Center, a retreat and resource center for social chance groups in Millerton, NY. She is She is a faculty member at Institute for Social Ecology and spent many years on the collective of Bluestockings Bookstore and Activist Center in NYC. Brooke offers workshop and retreats on meditation, yoga, leadership, democratic decision-making, nonviolent direct action and organizational transformation.
Katya de Kadt, Advisor
Katya (formerly Karen Smith) is a former acting justice for the New York County Supreme Court, Civil Term in the 1st Judicial District of New York. She received her B.A. degree from Reed College in 1970 and her J.D. degree from the Catholic University Law School in 1975. Smith began her career in 1976 as Associate General Counsel to District Council 37 AFSCME. In 1984, she joined the Real Estate Bureau-Enforcement of the New York State Attorney General’s office. Katya was elected to the New York City Civil Court in 1996 and was appointed an Acting Supreme Court Justice in 2004. She also served on the New York City Civil Court prior to her retirement in 2010.