Karim Camara is a minister, motivational speaker, and life coach dedicated to helping individuals and organizations reach their potential. He currently serves as Pastor of Abundant Life Church in Brooklyn and the CEO of Camara Strategies International.
Camara served in politics as a member of the New York State Legislature from 2005 until 2015, where he represented over 120,000 citizens of the 43rd Assembly District (the neighborhoods of Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and East Flatbush). In February 2015, he was appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo as Executive Director of the newly created Governor’s Office of Faith Based Community Development Services.
As an Assemblyman, Camara served two terms as Chair of the powerful New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. In addition, he chaired the Sub-Committee on Retention of Homeownership and Stabilization of Affordable Housing and served on the Standing Committees for Banks; Children and Families; Consumer Affairs and Protection; Education; Housing; and Mental Health. He was also the New York State Faith Director for the then Senator Barack Obama’s historic campaign for president. and was one of the first New York State elected officials Because of his outstanding work in government and society, Camara has been recognized as one of the Top 40 under 40 in New York State Government and also as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful People in New York State.
Camara graduated from Xavier University of Louisiana with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature (Minor: Chemistry). As a student at Xavier University, he was also very active in community service. Camara was a leader in the nationally recognized community service organization M.A.X. (Mobilization at Xavier). As part of this organization, he started and led a program called Project R.I.S.E. (Reducing Illiteracy Scars through Education), a literacy program at a New Orleans public school with some of the lowest reading scores in the city. Due to the success of this program, Camara was invited to stand with President Bill Clinton at the news conference to announce the President’s new initiative: AmeriCorps, a National Community Service Program.
He received a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) from the New York Theological Seminary and also studied at Alfred University, Fordham University, and Wesley Theological Seminary.
Prior to his election to the Assembly, Camara was the Director of Institutional Advancement for the Cush Campus Schools, a pre-K - 8th grade independent school, located in Crown Heights. He has also worked with the American Red Cross of Greater New York in their Emergency Family Center, a transitional housing shelter for displaced and abused women. Camara also participated in the National Capital Seminarians for a semester-long program where he studied Legislation and Ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary’s D.C. campus, worked with the Children’s Defense Fund, and worked as a Congressional Intern for former Congressman Major R. Owens (D-NY). He has also served on the Community Advisory Board of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, as the Faith Leader Advisory Committee of New Visions for Public Schools and on the Board of Managers of the Bedford YMCA.
Camara has spoken at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, New York University School of Medicine, Verizon, American Red Cross of Greater NY, and numerous other companies, churches, colleges, schools and community organizations. He has also received numerous awards and distinctions from churches, faith based organizations, schools, and community organizations.
Camara and his wife, Orelia Merchant Camara, are the proud parents of two children.