The Charley Horwitz Platform is held annually to honor the life and work of a devoted community organizer, civil rights activist, labor lawyer and international humanitarian.
“I thank Charley Horwitz for inviting me to join BSEC in 2004,” says Vandra Thorburn, chair of the Ethical Action Committee. “From a game of tennis to meetings around Haiti, Brooklyn Community Action Network, Bed-Stuy’s PS 44 partnership and various Ethical committee meetings, Charley was always organizing and inviting me to participate. Sometimes I forget that’s what needs to be done: organize!”
“Charley was a wonderful man, as well as a gifted community and issues organizer. He took no personal credit for the myriad of local, state or national organizations, projects and campaigns he worked for over the decades,” remembers former BSEC leader, Lisel Burns. Charley Horwitz left his
Charley Horwitz left his hometown of Chicago for Mississippi in 1964. For the next nine years he worked for the SNC Freedom Fund, the Delta Ministry of the National Council of Churches and organized local chapters of the ACLU. “I regard my work there as the most significant and enriching experience of my life,” Charley wrote in 1985.
“I regard my work there as the most significant and enriching experience of my life,” Charley wrote in 1985. While in Mississippi, Charley met and married Carol Hinds, a teacher and activist, and together they raised two daughters, Rebecca and Allison. In 1974 the family moved north where Charley continued his legal work eventually becoming lead-counsel with the New York State Department of Labor enforcing the garment industry sweatshop laws, minimum wage and related employment laws.
In addition to being President of BSEC Board of Trustees (1997-2003), Chair of its Ethical Action Committee, on the National Board of Fonkoze USA (a micro-credit bank in Haiti), he served on the Executive Committee of the Brooklyn Parents for Peace and its Israel-
Palestine Committee. In 2005, he organized a group of civil rights leaders to visit the occupied territories in Gaza and provide “report backs” to congregations and community organizations in the NY metro area.
“When Charley and I visited Gaza in 2005, we were horrified to see what oppressive conditions were being carried out by the Israeli Government,” shares Carol Horwitz. “I know Charley is with me as I oppose the bigotry and oppression of US and Israeli policies through my work with the Jewish Voice for Peace.”