WHO IS MAJORA CARTER?
* Director of Sustainable South Bronx from 2001 until 2008
* 2006 MacArthur "Genius" Fellow
* Host of "Eco-Heroes" on Sundance Channel
* Host of "The Promised Land" on public radio
* Member of the Department of Homeland Security's Sustainability and Efficiency Task Force
* Founder of her own economic consulting firm, the Majora Carter Group
Green economic pioneer Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, told a packed crowd at UTC that part of her success was because of not knowing who she shouldn't speak to.
"All we do really is we work to unlock the potential of places," she said.
And Ms. Carter told students and lecture listeners Tuesday night at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that Alton Park is a place with lots of potential waiting for the door to open.
"It hasn't always been a place with factories," she said. "It can be a great place again."
Ms. Carter spoke at Roland Hayes Concert Hall at the university as part of the George T. Hunter Lecture Series, sponsored by the Benwood Foundation, UTC, the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies and CreateHere.
She was the director of Sustainable South Bronx from 2001 to 2008, and during that time developed one of the nation's first urban green-collar job training and placement programs in a community with 25 percent unemployment, a 40 percent poverty rate and a median income of $20,000.
Her nonprofit organization trained Bronx residents how to restore former waste sites, install "green" roofs, landscape the blighted neighborhoods and create urban farms on formerly toxic land.
When the training was done, she said, "We had an 85 percent (job) placement rate, and 10 percent went on to enroll in college."
Aside from the jobs, she said the goal was to encourage a new class of people who see the environment as not just for rich people.
Since then, she has formed her own economic consulting group.
The Majora Carter Group's purpose, she has said, is to help other blighted communities around the country improve the quality of life in environmentally challenged communities.
When the lecture ended to a standing ovation, she told several members of the audience she hopes to come back here, perhaps to help unlock Alton Park's potential.
Ivane Wiley, a Brainerd resident and UTC student, said Ms. Carter inspired her.
"I want to ask her how she thinks I can help. What I can do," she said.