Will All Roads Lead to Brooklyn in 2016?

Dear Readers,

The recent speculation around the 2016 Democratic National Convention coming to Brooklyn has everyone excited, and with good reason. Our borough is in the midst of a renaissance that we have never seen before.

The completion of the new Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn set the stage for the new burst of enthusiasm around building projects. This is a time of tremendous growth, but there have also been some challenges too, which I would love to discuss in the coming months. I remember hearing many years ago that nothing is ever as easy as it seems, and true progress comes with a price. Having said this, I chose to remain excited about the possibilities for all Brooklyn residents.

logoYesterday the Brooklyn Daily Eagle featured a great article that caught the world’s attention: Local politicians say Brooklyn is perfect spot for 2016 Democratic National Convention.  Several elected officials have weighed in including: Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Representatives Jerrold Nadler (representing New York’s 10th district), Carolyn Maloney, (representing New York’s 12th district), Nydia Velazquez (representing New York’s 7th district), Yvette Clarke (representing New York’s 9th district) and Hakeem Jeffries (representing New York’s 8th district).  Of course this is just the beginning of a very long conversation, but if each elected official could wave a magic wand all roads will lead to Brooklyn in 2016.  As this is such a hot topic, we will continue to update you as events unfold.

Rep. Yvette Clarke - Wikipedia.com

Rep. Yvette Clarke – Wikipedia.com

Today, I would like to make special note of Representative Yvette Clarke’s commitment to bringing the 2016 Democratic National Council to Brooklyn.  The objective is to set the stage for a comprehensive look at her significant contributions, which date back to her early days as a member of the New York City Council representing Brooklyn’s 40th district.

Representative Clarke has the distinction of succeeding her mother, Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, the first Caribbean-born woman elected to the New York City Legislature.  This was the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the Council.  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to live in the district that both of these esteemed women serve as leaders. Of course the stage was sent for them many years ago by the late Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman and Caribbean-American elected to Congress.  She would later run for President of the United States.

In closing, I wanted to leave you with this quote which, in my opinion, says it all.

“Brooklyn has always been the starting place for the American Dream where people from around the world have come to build a better future for themselves and their children.  The same spirit that animates Brooklyn animates the Democratic Party: the belief that everyone should have the opportunity for full participation in our society.  We are a diverse community that has much to share with our fellow Americans, as I believe the Democratic National Convention here in 2016 will demonstrate to the thousands of guests and millions of viewers at home.”

Representative Yvette Clarke
June 25, 2014
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

We at Brooklyn Legends are so proud to count Representative Clarke as one of Brooklyn’s favorite daughters. You will have a chance to learn more about her dedication in the coming weeks.




Brooklyn Daily Eagle – June 25, 2014
Representative Yvette Clarke – http://clarke.house.gov






As We Begin Another Week – Press Forward


Dear Readers,

forces-of-nature-blog - tumblr.com

Like many of you, I am spending more time giving shape to my dreams for the future. There are times when I can come up with 100 different reasons why I can’t move forward.

Some days it can be something as simple as an insensitive remark by someone who already has way too much to cope with, to my own feelings of insecurity about what will people think if I achieve this?  Will they care enough about my dreams to understand why them are important to me?  Are my dreams relevant in the space that we now live?

After weeks (or what felt like weeks) of this incessant dialogue, I realize that I was stuck.  The answer came in the form of a quote by Mother Teresa that now serves as a screen saver on my iPad.  I am sharing it below, in the hope that you will continue to be encouraged and move in the direction of your dreams.

Have a great day!



Quintessential Elegance – In Memory of Ruby Dee

Dear Readers,

Another beautiful Legend has made her transition, the elegant Ms. Ruby Dee.  I am so heartened by the many posts about her life and talent.  She was truly one of the giants of stage and screen.  If I live to be 91, I certainly hope that I age as gracefully as she did.

My fondest memory of this Grand Dame was her performance in one of my favorite plays – A Raisin In The Sun, which premiered in 1961.  Ms. Dee starred as Ruth Younger, a steadying presence for her husband Walter Lee Younger, portrayed by Sidney Poitier; her mother-in-law Lena Younger, portrayed by Claudia McNeil and her sister-in-law Beneatha Younger, portrayed by Diana Sands.

A Raisin In The Sun addressed the ever-present civil rights issues of that time – racial discrimination in housing and impediments to economic advancement due to limited employment opportunities.  Despite these challenges, there were three aspects of this story that I am most fond of: the family’s decision to move into their new home in the Lakewood section of Chicago despite attempts to dissuade them, Beneatha’s dream of becoming a doctor, which was rarely seen on film during that time in our history and the prominent status given to each of Beneatha’s male suitors.

Ms. Dee’s appearance in this play (and movie) did not come as a surprise to her family, friends and colleagues.  Like her husband, Ossie Davis, she took an active role in the fight for civil rights and used her status to promote the cause of African-Americans in the entertainment industry.   In 1963 this dynamic couple served as Masters of Ceremonies for the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  When the world said goodbye to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she and her husband were there.  Similarly, when the world bid farewell to Malcolm X, they were also present.  These are just a few examples of their many contributions to the cause of racial and social justice.

Brooklyn Legends joins the world in saluting the life and legacy of the great Ms. Ruby Dee.  She was truly a woman of style and substance.  For me, she had a quintessential elegance that I will always remember.

I would like to close this post with a quote from her daughter: Nora Davis Day:

We gave her our permission to set sail.
She opened her eyes, closed her eyes and away she went



Memories of My Father

Dear Readers,

With this post comes my very best wishes to all fathers throughout the world.  I came across a quote by Billy Graham that made me realize how under appreciated fathers can feel.

A good father is one of the most unsung, unpriced, unnoticed, and yet
one of the most valuable assets in our society.

After reading this, I am inclined (somewhat) to agree with this statement.  Simply put – we must do better.  Next month will mark the 10 year anniversary of my father’s passing.  As I write this, I realize that I have not really shared memories of my father in this medium, owing simply to my need to reconcile the sadness.

My father’s name was Herbert Brizz.  He struggled with stomach cancer for many years, and his last days were painful for both of us.  Nevertheless it was my honor to walk the last step of his journey with him, for I realize the time will come someone will hold my hand as I let go of the pain and make my transition.  Watching him during his last days, I realize that he struggled to fight until I reassured him that all was well and that I understood his time had come.  I told him that I would be okay and promised to take care of myself.  Only then, did I see his struggle end. I am convinced that this reassurance is truly the last act of love that we can give to another person.

I am grateful to my father for his quiet strength, and his wisdom.  There was something gentle in his voice, he never screamed or shouted.  He had what I refer to as a quite personality.  In many ways he was a “quiet voice of reason” that my friends, over the years, have come to attribute to me.  In future posts, I will share more of him with you.  For now, I will close with the good memories I have of him, and I will hold onto them forever.

Please remember if your father (or father-figure) is no longer living, you can still celebrate him!  If he is still with you, then everyday is Father’s Day!



As We Begin Another Week – The “Quality of Our Intent”

Dear Readers,

Happy Monday!  I hope that you had a restful, yet enjoyable weekend.  Since last week, I have been replayed discussions with colleagues and business acquaintances about character.  Each conversation revolved around how we treat people and our perception of how people treat us.  Are we consistent in our actions – good or bad?  Even more intriguing, are they? Again, the same criteria applies – good or bad?

I am still working through the situations that challenged me.  However, I came across these two quotes that encouraged me.  I wanted to share them with you.  I hope they will be useful to you at some point.


Robin Davidman via Pinterest

Robin Davidman via Pinterest

Have a great day and remember to stay encouraged.



Free to Be…Phenomenal

Dear Readers,

In a few hours we will have a front row seat at Dr. Maya Angelou’s memorial service.    The livestream begins at 10:00 am.  You may watch it on OWN or via livestream at: http://new.livestream.com/wfu/angelou.

Since our dear Maya’s transition, I have been heartened to read the tributes that have poured in from around the world.  I simply love knowing that someone who looks like me has made such an enormous impact and has touched so many lives.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, Maya’s writings helped shape my life.  I am honored to add my voice, to countless others, she has touched with her writing and poise; her hope and determination.  What awesome gifts to leave the world.

During times like this, I always ask myself, what will they say of me when the time comes?  I am quickly reminded that each day provides me with a new opportunity to decide how I want to show up in the world and to make tangible contributions.  It is up to me to shape this narrative through my thoughts and actions.

As we say farewell to our dear Maya, and marvel at her stellar accomplishments, I would like to encourage each of us to marvel at all that we have achieved.  Lets also give ourselves a little more credit too!  While many of us could relate to Maya’s ‘caged bird” at one point or another in our lives, that time has come and gone.  We are now free to be ….phenomenal.

Have a great weekend.

Brooklyn’s Power Lunch

Dear Readers,

It is my pleasure to introduce to some, and re-introduce to others, Latisha Daring, a dynamic Brooklynite who has given new meaning to the words Power Lunch.

Ms. Daring is a beautiful sister who owned and operated Pieces Boutique, on Vanderbilt Avenue in Brooklyn for 10 years.  Pieces was the “go-to” shop for women who wanted a one-of-a-kind dress, or accessory, that was guaranteed to be a conversation starter.  After the boutique closed, Latisha decided to use her business triumphs to inspire women to pursue their dreams of starting, and managing, a thriving business.  This vision led her to create Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring.

For the second year in a row, on Sunday, April 27th I put my role as special event planner aside, and happily took on the role of a guest when I attended a Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring held at event Milk River Brooklyn.  The theme for this year’s luncheon was Faith, Focus, Forward.

Each year, Ms. Daring invites several dynamic women, who are also successful business owners and community leaders, to share their stories with us and provide motivation and inspiration.  This year’s panelists were:

Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, an award-winning political strategist, women’s activist and lifestyle expert, Nancy Hass, a renowned author who focuses on fashion, culture and business, Aisha Hinds, a celebrated performing artist who appears in leading films, television shows and the stage, Darlene Gillard Jones, the former Essence magazine fashion editor, who is the founder of the Gillard Jones Agency, Renee Neufville, award-winning songwriter, musician and co-founder of the platinum selling duo Zhane, and April Walker, fashion pioneer, business woman and founder of Walker Wear in the early 90s.

In addition to the heart-felt encouragement we received from the esteemed panel, we were able to ask questions of our host and panelists, and network with our table guests.  Established business owners were also given an opportunity to present their brand to this gathering of nearly 200 women.  I purchased some wonderful items from two impressive Brooklyn companies: She’s Got Papers, a unique online stationery boutique and Flourish Accessories, a unique home furnishing boutique.

I was reminded that my agenda needs to be front and center and that I need to continue to sharpen my vision for Brooklyn Legends.  I left feeling pleased that I attended and impressed with how the day unfolded.

Ms. Daring has taken this concept to Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA and Chicago, IL.  Each event is sold-out for one reason – women, like me, are waiting to be inspired, challenged and nurtured.  If you are an aspiring business owner, or if you are looking for that extra bit of motivation and a chance to grow your network of friends and supporters, I encourage you to attend a luncheon.  With her career in fashion to guide her, and an ability to draw positive and dynamic people into her circle, I know Latisha’s vision for Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring will soar.

Brooklyn Legends is proud to salute The Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring, and we applaud Ms. Daring for her unique vision.   So that you can follow her progress, we have added this site to the Brooklyn Legends blog roll.

Remember, the possibilities are endless so dream big!




Information on Latisha Daring – www.theladieswholunch.org
Madam Noire – A Lifestyle Guide for Black Women – madamnoire.com
Photos of 2014 Panelists taken from http://www.theladieswholunch.org
She’s Got Papers from – http://www.shesgotpapers.com
Flourish Accessories logo from http://www.flourishaccessories.com