Brownsville Honors Women in Leadership
By Mary Alice Miller
Anyone who is graced with the presence of Black women knows that when anything needs to be done in their families and communities, Black women step forward and get the job done. Often, they do it without acclaim or fanfare. Brownsville took Women’s history month as an opportunity to give them their flowers while they can smell them.
Officer Daniella Spears, Community Affairs, NYPD, was granted a citation because whenever the community is in need, and there are certain circumstances that the community needs to call on the police department, she is there. With her big van, she loads people on it, and if it’s not people, she loads up things to take from one event to the next and makes sure our community and our children are safe.
Carrie Goodine, MEL (Cure Violence), recently retired from the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. Whenever the snow wasn’t properly handled, she ensured our community was not forgotten. She also got a number of people jobs. She has served on Community Board #16 and is an anti-violence activist on her block and in her community.
Patricia Winston, Community Board #16, stepped forward when Assemblywoman Latrice Walker first got elected. The former Assembly Speaker was reluctant to place Walker on the Housing committee despite having Mitchell Lama and over 29 housing developments, homeowners, and renters in a number of different circumstances in her district. Winston got petitions signed in order to send a resounding message to the NYS Assembly leadership that Walker needed to be on this committee.
Allison Jones-Harding, BMS, has been providing health care at BMS for 32 years. BMS has been providing health care in our community since Day 1. BMS’s existence didn’t just happen. There were a number of community members who went to the Urban Development Corp in Washington, DC, many years ago and said that we need to have a health care facility within our communities because there were no doctors. There was a time when BMS and Brookdale were our only hope. The community appreciates the fact that BMS is there and that it is still community-centered and community-grounded.
Alishia Antonetti, Brownsville Collaborative Middle School, is a youth advocate who got a community refrigerator at her school. Alishia saw hunger and lack of access to food happening in her neighborhood. She went to her principal and her community and asked to put a refrigerator outside her school so that people can have access to food, whether it be families or students who may be hungry as they are coming to school or going home. And she got it done. Next thing you know, somebody came and took the refrigerator. But she was not done. She’s got that Brownsville grit. She was able to get access to more refrigerators.
Brenda Thompson-Duchene, Isabahlia Farms, started talking about farming in Brownsville. She showed and taught the community what farming is actually like. She put greenhouses on our community’s vacant lots and provided vegetables like zucchini and squash. Corner stores don’t have that. We had to fight for access to fresh fruit and vegetables. But Ms. Thompson-Duchene had foresight. It sparked a flame because there are farming lots all over Brownsville, East New York, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, all doing the same work that Ms. Thompson-Duchene started.
Lashaun Muhammad, Central Brooklyn Economic Development, is working with Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso to create a business incubator to revitalize Belmont Avenue and transform it into a restaurant row. Ms. Muhammad works in community development, small minority and women-owned business access, workforce development, and new skills and technology development for community children.
Miriam Robertson, Brownsville Heritage House, is a curator honoring the legacy of Queen Mother Gaston and former tenant association president for Glenmore Houses.
“A number of women have made a vital contribution to the legacy of our community, our city, our state, and our nation. We are honoring a number of you today.,” said Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, who hosted the event. “We have the opportunity to acknowledge some of you, but know collectively and individually that we love you, and we could not do what we do as a community without you.”
The event took place at Doral Health and Wellness, a full-service adult daycare center