Cecil Brooks Jr.
Prior to his selection as a National Urban Fellow, Cecil served the House of Representatives as a Senior Constituent Services Liaison for the 15th Congressional District where he grew up. In addition to fielding casework from across the South Bronx, he tracked New York’s response to the COVID pandemic while providing insight into emerging community leaders. He was proud to join a diplomatic mission investigating the economic drivers of emigration from his native Honduras – becoming a trusted expert on casework involving commercial, tax, and planning issues. Prior to his time as a Congressional staffer, Cecil worked as a Program Manager at the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) managing 30 mayoral initiatives through the Small Business First portfolio. Much of his work at SBS revolved around commercial regulations, tax incentives, and financial literacy. His notable projects included a digital portal for corporate transactions, the expansion of Amazon’s NYC headquarters, and a repeal of outdoor sidewalk café requirements (in time for the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic). He been recognized for his work outside of government, raising more than $250,000 for local investments and becoming a delegate to the inaugural Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg in 2018.
Cecil earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Latin American Studies at Colby College before completing the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs (where he first met Congressman Torres). As a Colby student, he developed a presence on campus through his political advocacy and led the Four Winds Native American Alliance as co-President. While a sophomore, a dean appointed him to a delegation to investigate racial disparities among Haitian migrants in the Dominican Republic. Then, his research as an Afro-indigenous Latino earned him a Walker Grant to cover a research project on Bolivian nationalization during his junior year abroad. Cecil is most proud to have served the United States Embassy in Lima while studying developing economies in Perú. Later, as a senior, he was appointed as the Chair of Multicultural Affairs in student government. Throughout his time in New England, Cecil led bipartisan coalitions among Mainers and helped launch our nation’s second Truth & Reconciliation Commission for the Wabanaki Confederacy. He fostered relationships with public officials across the political spectrum as an active member of Colby Republicans and Colby Democrats – and Maine provided the perfect backdrop for this.
For Cecil, public service provides each of us with the best channel for creating opportunity and building bridges. Those values influence his perspective on grassroots activism, government service, and high-level policy. He is currently expanding his leadership experience as a Fellow in the New Leaders’ Council (NLC). Cecil serves as a Board Member and alum at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) which advocates for academic enrichment for underserved students. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Bartow-Pell Mansion, a national landmark and historic estate within New York City’s largest park. An avid traveler, he always seeks opportunities to learn about new communities while uplifting his own in pursuit of prosperity for everyone. Cecil was born in Mott Haven of Honduran (Garifuna) heritage and contributes to several causes throughout New York in support of civic engagement, green space, economic mobility, and fine arts. In his spare time, Cecil loves hosting events, reflecting on scenic bike rides, and jamming to hip-hop albums. You should ask about one of his walking tours through his New York neighborhood!
Through the National Urban Fellows program, Cecil hopes to gain insight into collaborative legislation that can support American economic interests while forging lifelong partnerships in pursuit of his dreams. Cecil’s curiosity, ambition, and empathy have earned him the trust of powerbrokers in every sector. Cecil looks forward to meeting each of the other Fellows!