Member, Urban Land Institute, joined 2015

Richard Parnell Habersham is a native of Harlem, and began his career in the arts when at 12 years old he was picked to star in the Roundabout Theater’s 25th Anniversary production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun.” Having studied theater at the Harlem’s Amas Eubie Blake Children’s Theater with stage legend Rosetta LeNoire, Richard went on to play roles in the original Broadway production of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Making his debut on the big screen in Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed movie “Do The Right Thing” he went on to play Whoopi Goldberg’s son in the movie “Long Walk Home.”

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in American History, Richard pursued a career in journalism. From working as the personal assistant to the legendary newsman Peter Jennings at ABC News, to working as a television journalist for ABC affiliates across the southeast, Richard spent years covering stories all over the country.

Returning to New York to obtain a graduate degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Richard set his sites on real estate and community activism. He established and ran a corporate diversity program for Wareham Associates Inc, a New York headquartered leadership development firm. Richard co-presented the Taking Wings program at Downstate Correctional Facility. He also flew to New Zealand with John Wareham, where they jointly facilitated a highly successful Taking Wings weekend retreat at the sacred Maori Otatara Pa for the local gangs responsible for eighty percent of local crime.

Richard also has worked on public policy issues rallying support for Mayoral Control of the School, which set the stage for the city’s groundbreaking Universal Pre-K program.

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