John McBeth

Deacon, St. Philips Baptist Church
Co-Founder, Occupy the Block
Community Activist and Community Board #1 Member

Born in West Brighton, lived in Port Richmond and New Brighton, now a resident of Mariners Harbor... a genuine product of Staten Island’s north shore.
I wear a multitude of hats in my community and here on Staten Island. I’m an ordained deacon of St. Philips Baptist Church and a Sunday School teacher. I serve on Community Board #1, and I chair the Local Area Committee which encompasses Port Richmond, Mariners Harbor, Elm Park and Arlington. I’m on the Board of Directors of Project Hospitality, and part of their Executive Committee. I am a co-founder of Occupy the Block, a group of committed men that stand on street corners where violence had occurred and redirect youth to alternatives. I’m also a member of Communities United for Respect and Trust, Staten Islanders against Anti-Semitism, Port Richmond Proud!, Building Bridges Interfaith Group, and the RCDA’s Hate Crimes Task Force. Trained by the US Department of Justice in Racial Dialogues, I participate in a multitude of efforts that increase community unity, religious understanding, and improving police/community relations. I’m a Community Partner with NYPD and the liaison of the sector I reside in and regularly attend Precinct Community Council meetings. I’m a passionate advocate of the committee to bring the Staten Island Justice Center to Staten Island.

What’s your SI story?

I’m a lifelong Staten Islander, a graduate of McKee High School. In my earlier years I could regularly be seen working in local bodegas where I turned my Spanish language study into fluency in the language. At McKee High School, I regularly submitted articles to the school newspaper and to the Staten Island Advance as a budding journalist. Upon graduation, I joined the United States Navy where I traveled the world as I served aboard the USS Nimitz as a Machinist Mate Nuclear Operator. Passing Nuclear Power School and serving in the Navy are my proudest secular moments. I completed Cittone Institute’s Network Engineering Certificate Program where I received the Director’s Award for Excellence. I hold numerous computing certifications.

I began my own retail, service, and repair business, PCRX, with zero startup capital. It would eventually expand into four neighborhood sites often providing first jobs for many neighborhood teens. As a small business owner, I used my success to give back by coordinating with the Staten Island Advance (they provided the tickets) where I would provide transportation for disadvantaged neighborhood youth to visit the Circus that once made Staten Island a regular stop. One such outing filled two full-sized school buses.

I’ve been an employee of Consolidated Edison of New York (Con Ed) since 2004. I began this new career as a Junior Designer, quickly moving into management after only 14 months. I now work at Con Edison’s Learning Center in Long Island City where I teach both new and existing employees safety courses. Even in secular work, my integrity and willingness to listen and help are recognized; I was chosen to be a Values in Action Advisor for my work area encompassing all employees of The Learning Center providing ethical guidance to employees with questions or facing ethical dilemmas.

I also enjoyed success and responsibility within the church. At Shiloh AME Zion Church in West Brighton, where I gave my life to Christ at the age of 12, I was eventually appointed the youngest Steward to the Board of Stewards. I now proudly serve at St. Philips Baptist Church in Port Richmond where I’ve been a Deacon since 2005. I’ve presented sermonettes and Bible studies regarding faith and love. I have coordinated for the St. Philips HEAT drumline and could often be seen leading them in parades and performances. I ensure that St. Philips’ social media presence reflects the happenings at the church I love.
I’m a lifelong original Staten Island resident and I’m raising my children here. The future is just as important as the present for me. Legacy matters to me. The Hate Crimes Task Force provides a unique opportunity to bring together caring Staten Islanders focused on finding ways to eradicate hate on Staten Island. When we, as a whole community, understand each other, trust ensues. Where there is trust, room is made to build relationships. In relationships, we can focus our strength and efforts on building a better society than the one we were born into.

What makes you so passionate about the work of the Task Force?

Having participated in so many deep and impactful discussions around equity and understanding, my only complaint remains consistent: we must reach a wider audience. We need to develop practical tools and methodologies to bring disparate groups to the table to face their fears and misconceptions. The first step is getting everyone to recognize the humanity, or if I may, the divinity in all of us. From the Sanskrit greeting; Namaste, literally, “I bow to you”, but more commonly “I recognize the divinity in you” is representative of how I see my neighbors first.
Learn more about our HCTF members
African American male sitting in a church looking at the camera
John Mcbeth
woman with short hair in front of books in a lirary

Lisa Sloan, PHD

Michelle Molina profile pic
Michelle Molina
profile of a man with blue suit and grey hair
Scott Maurer
man standing next to wooden staircase in a black long coat
Tahir Kukaj