Board of Directors

Herbert_Sweat_Pic001Herbert Sweat is a genuine hero of the Vietnam War. He served in the U.S. Army from April 1966 to October 1970. He earned honors and medals for his gallantry, bravery and commitment. Mr. Sweat was born and raised in Bedford Stuyvesant. He attended P.S. 35, Franklin K. Lane High School and New York Technical College. He has been married for 14 years and has eight children and twenty-three grandchildren.

Mr. Sweat came to BVSJ over 20 years ago, homeless and seeking services and bonded with our organization. He participated in veteran discussion groups with other homeless veterans who were experiencing a familiar service-related problem: mental illness, unemployment, undiagnosed disability and poor social re-integration back into society and family life. The Veterans Action was formed out of these sessions. Over the years he transformed from being a client in need to a provider of help and support. Mr. Sweat helps veterans with employment opportunities, medical issues, compensation problems with the Veterans Administration and a myriad of other concerns that they encountered.

He organized and provides leadership to the organization body and helped our Veterans Action Group become one of the most powerful veterans, self-help groups in New York City. His work has been recognized by various community-service organizations, the New York Press and the Mayor of New York City.
In 2013, Mr. Sweat was featured in Phillip Napoli's book, "Bringing It All Back Home and Oral History of New York City's Vietnam Veterans".
Mr. Herbert Sweat continues to provide exemplary service to the entire veteran community.


Charles Davis grew up in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, the oldest of four sons where he attended PS 54, JHS 117 and Boys High School. He was drafted and entered the Army where he served from September 1966 to August 1969In the Army he attended Infantry Officer Candidant School, Ft. Benning, Ga. where he graduated as a Second Lieutenant. He was later assigned to the 25th Infantry Division, Viet Nam and served as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer and Company Commander during which time he was awarded the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge (CIB), Vietnam Gallentry Cross w/palm and commendations.

Charles went back to college after leaving the military and graduated from NYC Community College with an A.A.S. degree and Medger Evers College, CUNY with a BS in Management. He worked at NYC Community College as a Veterans Counselor for several years and also worked at Amtrak for 30 years and retired as Director, Contract food and beverages for the East Coast.

Charles has been a member of Boys High Guys for 25 years where they have awarded scholarships, mentored students and financially supported athletic programs at Boy and Girls high as well as taking part in various community programs such the Katrina Committee. He has received commedations from the Mid-Brooklyn Civic Association and Black veterans for Social Justice for his contributions.            



Paula_Bloome_HeadshotPaula Bloome has been a member of BVSJ's as Board of Directors since 1998. She now serves as our Secretary. Paula is a public health nurse who works with the American Lung Association organizing and training nurses in the Open Airways Program for Asthmatic children. Her duties include the training of contract nurses and the liaisons between contract nursing agencies, nursing schools and the Department of Health. Ms. Bloome is a Captain in the United States Air Force Reserve. She is a trained Flight Nurse and Clinical Nurse, Gulf War Veteran and Past Matron for the Order of the Eastern Star. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Long Island University and a Masters in Public Health Administration from Central Michigan University.



George Johnson has been employed for twenty-five years by the New York State Court system. He is the proud son of Ethel and Hollis Smith of Queens, New York and the proud father of daughters Nina Dakata, 8; Dara Elena, 26 and sons Derek Troy, 37; David, 35 and Jeff, 34. For seventeen years, he created and hosted benefits that collect toys during the holiday season for needy children. To date over 20,000 children have benefitted from these efforts distributed through Community Parents such as the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church and Catholic Charities. George has been honored numerous times by the New York City Council, New York State Division of Parole Guardian, New York State courts and others.



Phillip “Jay” Jones joined the Army in July of 1971, and served in Europe and Indochina with the 3rd Infantry Division, A Troop, Seventh Calvary Division and the 307th Signal Battalion. He patrolled the borders of the Iron Curtain and Jungles of Far East Asia. A Disabled Vietnam Era Veteran, Jay was honorably discharged as a specialist five class in 1976. Jay had a long stay in the hospital in Ft. Huachuca AZ, for a service related illness/injury inflicted overseas. Jay’s association with Black Vets was fortuitous. In 1977, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, Jay noticed a group of veterans preparing to march over the Brooklyn Bridge. His was told, "We are marching for the injustices that are being committed against the black veterans and our community.” He then joined Black Veterans for Social Justice and dedicated himself to building the organization’s programming and technology infrastructure. He has received the "Fatherhood Award," from the Sisterhood of Single Black Mothers, presided as president of PS-316 Parent Teachers Association for two terms, and is the proud recipient of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators "Parent Leadership Award." Jay also earned a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, “in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community” in 1999.



Al McClary has been in business for himself since the age of eighteen. After high-school Al operated a successful Boot Black and Candy Store on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn. After serving two years in the US Army and receiving an Honorable Discharge, he worked for Xerox Corporation and also owned three private cabs.
On May 12, 1969, Al opened a Sunoco Service Station on Bedford Avenue and Sullivan Place in Brooklyn, which expanded into one of the largest independently owned repair shops in New York and included an auto parts store. After selling his auto business, he went into real estate management, which grew into construction as well as real estate financing. He has served as a BVSJ board member at large since 1995.



Elizabeth Shell-Carr hails from a family of veterans of honorable military service. Her family served honorably in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan War on Terrorism. Elizabeth's family history sparked her interest in a career of serving those who served their country. Elizabeth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has over 25 years of experience in Supervision, Program Development and Coordination, and as a Employee Assistance Program Coordinator. Her education includes a BA degree in Education from Brooklyn College and a Masters Degree in Social Work from New York University. Elizabeth began her career in Social Work at St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Medical Center in Health & Mental Health and was an Adjunct Professor of Graduate Social Work at Columbia University and New York University. She chairs our Quality Assurance and Fundraising committees.


Peggy A. Lawrence

Ms. Lawrence a  native of New York, has been a part of the Black Veterans of Social Justice family since  2006 and a member of the BVSJ board of directors as the treasurer since 2009. As a member of the active duty component of the United States Air Force, Ms. Lawrence served in McGuire AFB in New Jersey, Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan, Europe, Turkey, Guam and Alaska. Her duties led to deployments in the Philippines, Osan Korea, and service in support of Operation Cope Thunder, Operation Desert Shield /Desert Storm to attain of the rank of Sergeant as a Section Supervisor.  On completion of her active duty tour, Ms. Lawrence entered the U.S. Air Force Reserve as member of the 514th Mission Support Squadron at McGuire AFB as a Personnel Specialist.  T.Sgt. Peggy Lawrence awards include an Air Force Commendation Medal, AF Outstanding Unit Award w/4 device, GWT w/5 device and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/3M device.  T.Sgt. Lawrence retired from the Air force after 28 years of outstanding service.    

Ms. Lawrence currently works for the NYC Board of Education as a Payroll Administrator and Pupil Accounting Administrator.  Ms. Lawrence holds a Masters in Business Administration.


Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc.
665 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11206
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