Morry Galonoy, Part-Time Assistant Professor in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons, Balances Local Civic Leadership and Teaching
According to news outlets, politicians, polls, and millions of people across the country, the health of the United State’s democracy is of grave concern. As red states and Republican politicians do their best to deny election results and restrict voting rights, democracy is more important than ever.
Growing up with parents who were politically and civically involved in their community, Morry Galonoy, a Part-Time Assistant Professor in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons, saw firsthand how vital community engagement is to democracy, which helped inspire him to run for a position on the Queens Community Board 2, which he was elected to in 2020.
After serving on the board for about a year, Galonoy was encouraged to run for the position of Chairperson of Queens Community Board 2, which he ultimately won after garnering support from long-standing and newer board members, as well as a variety of diverse leaders in the community.
“My goal is to focus on engagement and inclusion among the Board and within the community as a whole,” explained Galonoy about his vision as Chairperson. “My main priority is to ensure it’s easy for people to be heard, and that we support and encourage participation from the full range of views in the community.”
Growing up as a politically engaged person, Galonoy knows that the gift of democracy comes with a responsibility to participate in the process, and is eager for New Yorkers to get to know their community members so they can work together towards shared goals.
“It’s easy to point out all the problems with our democracy and our national debate and see all the divisiveness,” he shares. “It’s easy to think that a post or a tweet is participating but it’s not the same as active civic engagement. Members may agree or disagree on specific issues but at the end of the day we see each other regularly and have to work together to represent our Community.”
Galonoy is conscious of the fact that his role as Chairperson requires time and energy, which is why he didn’t teach in the Spring as he ramped up in his new role. As he gets ready to return to campus this Spring, he already sees his work as an educator showing up in his work as a politician.
“Because I’m so new in the role of Chair, I feel my role as a professor has more of an impact on my style as a Chairperson than the other way around,” he explains. “I often tell my students they will learn more from fellow classmates than they will from their professor. I see this on the Board when there is healthy and engaged discussion and we listen to each other. In these instances we not only learn from each other but it’s the basis for finding common ground on contentious issues so we can serve the community.”