A Plea for Gender Equality – International Women’s Day 2015

Video

Dear Readers,

UN Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka makes a plea to “all countries to ‘step it up’ for gender equality.”

At Brooklyn Legends we celebrate the achievements of amazing women from the African diaspora everyday.  It is our privilege to join the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, and to add our voice to the plea for gender equality.  Won’t you join us?

Please take a few moments to follow today’s conversation on Twitter @womensday or @Women_on_IWD.

Fondly,
Monique

Celebrating International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Women’s History Month!  The past few weeks have been filled with appointments and deadlines that would not let up.  Please know that I truly miss connecting with you, and I am glad to be back on track. During recent conversations with some of my sister-friends, we each shared a common feeling — time is speeding by and we are racing to catch up.  We have so much to do.  Yet, as hard as we work, we continue to feel as if very little is getting done.  Of course these feelings are simply an illusion.

The important contributions that we make — as wife, mother, nurturer or caretaker; entrepreneur, trusted colleague, advisor or volunteer; community leader, change agent or visionary — underscore the value we have added to contemporary society and throughout history.  While our contributions may not always receive public fanfare or recognition, the appreciation we receive, from those we have helped along this journey, is priceless.

At Brooklyn Legends we celebrate the achievements of amazing women from the African diaspora everyday.  We are thrilled to join the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, which is today, Sunday, March 8th, and Women’s History Month, which lasts throughout March.

Julieanna Richardson - via Chicagomag.com

Julieanna Richardson – via Chicagomag.com

Recently, I read an interesting article, The Insider: Julieanna Richardson, Founder of The HistoryMakers, on the #Blackgivesback blog.  This article provided the perfect segue for our Women’s History Month salute.

Founded in 1999, “The HistoryMakers is a leader in helping to educate and enlighten millions worldwide through refashioning a more inclusive record of American history.”  Ms. Richardson has changed the conversation with the impressive video interviews she has conducted to document the lives of African-Americans, their triumphs and challenges.  To read the entire article from the #Blackgivesback blog please click here.  To experience the priceless treasures on The HistoryMakers site, please follow this link.

Ms. Richardson and her team have also interviewed some phenomenal women from Brooklyn.  The photo montage at the start of today’s post, provides a glimpse of some of these trailblazers.  As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it will be my privilege to share more information with you about each of these Legends.  We invite you to join us as we recognize:

  • Dr. Josephine English, a medical pioneer and the first African-American woman to have an OB/GYN practice in the state of New York.  Dr. English died in 2012 at the age of 91 years old.
  • Ernesta Procope, an entrepreneur who used her business savvy to grow her insurance and real estate business from a small storefront in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn to the first minority-owned company on Wall Street.
  • Rev. Julie Johnson Staples, who prior to her career as an ordained minister worked as: a journalist, a Wall Street finance executive and a correspondent for the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Lynn Nottage, a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, screenwriter, Associate Professor of Theater at Columbia University and lecturer at Yale University.
  • Bethann Hardison, a trailblazing model and businesswoman, an outspoken advocate for greater representation of people of color in the modeling industry and creator of The Black Girls Collective.
  • Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Ph.D., an American historian and author, who focuses on early African-American history and African-American women’s history, who is also a Professor Emerita at Morgan State University.

As you can see, we have a great deal in store for March.  We invite you to continue this journey with us.

Enjoy your day!
Monique

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Credits:

Information about Ms. Richardson and The HistoryMakers comes from the Black Gives Back Blog – http://www.Blackgivesback.com
The HistoryMakers – http://www.historymakers.com
Dr. Josephine English – The History Makers and City University of New York, www1.cuny.edu
Ernesta Procope – The History Makers and Black Enterprise Magazine, blackenterprise.com
Rev. Julie Johnson Staples – The History Makers and The Riverside Church, http://www.theriversidechurchny.org
Lynn Nottage – The History Makers and Lynn Nottage, http://www.lynnnottage.com
Bethann Hardison – The History Makers and Elle Magazine, http://www.elle.com
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn – The History Makers and BWHxG – Cross Generational Dialogues in Black Women’s History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Am I & Who Do I Want to Become by Lisa Price

Video

Dear Readers:

For the past 6 months, if not longer, I have been intensely focused on plans for LDF’s annual fundraising gala, which held on November 6, 2014 in New York City.  LDF honored three exceptional business leaders and visionaries, and commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.  More than 600 guests were present.

At different stages during this process, I asked myself – am I doing what I really want to do in my career?  Am I comfortable with who I am?  Do I know who I want to become?  I am working on the answers to these questions.

Lisa Price/Tony Cenicola The New York Times

Lisa Price/Tony Cenicola The New York Times

Frequently I come across articles that I find to be inspirational.  If I cannot read them at that moment, I file them away for the future.

One article was an August 21, 2010 interview between Adam Bryant, a New York Times writer who talks with top executives about the challenges of leading and managing for his Corner Office series, and Lisa Price, President and CEO of Carol’s Daughter, a successful hair, body and skin-care corporation headquartered in Manhattan and one of my personal favorites.

The title of the feature – Don’t Take It Personally – really spoke to me.  Ms. Price discussed her leadership style and how it has evolved over time.  She also gives examples of how she no longer takes challenging business encounters so personally.  I will speak more to her points in a future Brooklyn Legends post.

Also in my “future viewing/reading” pile, I bookmarked a 3 minute where Ms. Price discusses the start of Carol’s Daughter, which was originally located in Brooklyn.  In this segment she touches upon two important questions – Who am I?  Who do I want to become?

I am pleased to share this video with you.  I look forward to sharing more of Ms. Price’s sage leadership advice in future posts.

Have a wonderful day and week!
Monique

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Credits:
Adam Bryant of The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com
Carol’s Daughter – Lisa Price – http://www.carolsdaughter.com

The People’s Champion and The Fight to Save Brooklyn’s LICH

LICH - Archpaper.com

LICH – Archpaper.com

Dear Readers:

Last month, I introduced to some (and re-introduced to others) New York City’s Public Advocate Letitia James. At that time I provided a broad overview of the important items on her agenda: good work for fair pay, access to healthcare, a common sense public education policy, universal school lunch and a constituent services plan.

Brooklyneagle.com

Brooklyneagle.com

Today I will focus on Public Advocate James’ determination to preserve one of Brooklyn’s venerable health care institutions – Long Island College Hospital (LICH). This has been a public fight and some New Yorkers have been critical of her stance around this issue. The plea was to keep the hospital running as a full service medical center – a noble aspiration but one without any real takers.

LICH was a financially troubled institution for many years.  In 2011 when SUNY raised its hand, and agreed to partner with the medical center, there was a collective sigh of relief and another health care crisis seemed to be adverted.

IMG_0084All of this changed in 2013 when SUNY decided to sell LICH, which was losing anywhere from $6 million to $10 million per month. On October 9, 2014, after a lengthy RFP process and many setbacks – including a labor dispute with the New York State Nursing Association (NYSNA) – Fortis Property Group would be successful.

What does this all mean?  Fortis has been given the green light to redevelop the site to include condominiums and a state of the art medical center to be operated by NYU Langone Medical Center.  In 2018, if all goes according to plan, a new housing development will be on the market and the residents of south Brooklyn will have a free-standing emergency room department. This is not the deal community residents and public advocates originally lobbied for, but sometimes success comes in small steps. Here is what the structured settlement will call for:

  • $5 million to upgrade the interim emergency department that NYU Langone Medical Center will operate until the new facility is complete.
  • $175 million to build a new facility with 125,000 square feet of space.
  • A medical treatment plan that will employ 70 doctors.
  • A total staff of 400.

I must admit there were times when I felt this would be a hopeless fight, and the residents would end up with little or no hope for quality health care.  In the early stages it was easier to call for an all or nothing proposition, but as we all know life is rarely this simple.  There are always challenges seen, and unseen, that further complicate financial deals of this magnitude. Not to minimize the daunting challenge of operating LICH, but my sense of why this fight was so important for James, and former Public Advocate now Mayor Bill DeBlasio, comes down to one word – ACCESS.  This was their way of ensuring an open dialogue around access to health care, during a time when the need is so great.  Perhaps, one day plans for a full-service hospital will show up in another form.

Outlining her agenda - wn.com

Outlining her agenda – article.wn.com

For me, this does not mean that Public Advocate James’ fight was lost or not needed.  I’m glad to know that we have elected officials who want to win for the people they represent.

While standing in opposition to a huge business deal such as this was may not always be practical, it is indeed admirable. This was not an easy process for Public Advocate James but she stood by the community and saw the debate through to the end.

To me, she still a champion and, from time to time, everybody needs one.

Have a great week!

Monique

_____________________________

Credits:
SUNY, Fortis reach agreement on LICH – Crainsnewyork.com
The End for Long Island College Hospital – New York Time – nytimes.com
LICH Deal Collapses After Hiring Dispute – Crainsnewyork.com
University Hospital of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital – wikipedia.org
LICH History – Dr. Hugh Gilgoff, LICH Pediatrics, Brooklyn, New York

The People’s Champion – Public Advocate Letitia James

Dear Readers:

In a couple of weeks, we will witness summer’s seamless transition to fall.  For many, the shift in seasons ushers in a new set of priorities.  There is a renewed sense of purpose, and we are committed to finishing the year on a high note.

At a New York City Council Meeting - Observer.com

At a New York City Council Meeting – Observer.com

Last year at this time, Brooklynites lent their support to former Councilwoman Letitia James as she pursued her dream of becoming New York City’s Public Advocate.  She would be the first African-American woman from Brooklyn to hold this position.  For many voters, James was the perfect choice, as she has spent much of her career advocating for the people of Brooklyn.  Ascending to this new role was clearly the next step.  On November 2, 2013, she would be successful in her quest.

Outlining her agenda - article.wn.com

Outlining her agenda – article.wn.com

Since taking office, Public Advocate James and her team have charted a broad agenda, and are focused on creating effective change for all New Yorkers.  They envision: Good Work for Fair Pay; Access to Healthcare; a Common Sense Public Education Policy; Utilizing the Court to Preserve Public Education; Universal School Lunch; Keeping New Yorkers in New York, and Legislative Action for Working People.

This past April, Public Advocate James and her team published their first progress report – Our First 100 Days.  Many New Yorkers have expressed their gratitude for the care and concern that she, and her team, bring to today’s challenges.  As a Brooklynite, this does not surprise me.  James is a tireless champion for social justice, education and legislative reform.  While the title that she holds is new, her support for those in need is not.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We will provide you with a closer look at these initiatives, and their impact, in future Brooklyn Legends posts.  Today we wanted to provide you with a glimpse of the many things our champion is up to.

Many of the people who I have come in contact with believe our Public Advocate is just getting started.  She is just sharpening her focus.  I believe that her best days are ahead, and I want to see her win.  Her successes will become our successes, and that suits me just fine.  Besides, everyone needs a champion.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Monique

“Of The People, By The People & For The People”

Dear Readers,

I hope that everyone had a wonderful July 4th holiday. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. I received many e-mails with best wishes for a happy summer, and just to say “hello.” Thank you for reaching out. I truly appreciate hearing from you. For today’s post, I am pleased to share information about The Honorable Yvette Clarke, one of Brooklyn’s favorite daughters.

Rep. Yvette Clarke - Wikipedia.com

Wikipedia.com

Many residents of Brooklyn’s new Ninth Congressional District were justly proud when Clarke was elected to be their Congresswoman in November 2006. The areas that fall under her careful stewardship include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Ocean Hill, communities within Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Sheepshead Bay, Windsor Terrace and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, which is where I live.

I am equally excited that Congresswoman Clarke’s office is within walking distance from my apartment. There is great satisfaction in knowing that my Representative is so accessible.

Rep. Clarke & Dr. Una Clarke - via Jamaicangleaner.com

Rep. Clarke & Dr. Una Clarke – via Jamaicangleaner.com

Prior to her election as Congresswoman, Clarke served on the New York City Council where she represented Brooklyn’s 40th District. She has the distinction of succeeding her pioneering mother and former City Council Member Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the Council.

As Brooklyn’s Representative for the Ninth Congressional District, Congresswoman Clarke stands by her commitment to the legacy of excellence set forth by the Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman and the first Caribbean-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Chisholm would become the first woman of African-American and Caribbean descent to run for President as a major-party candidate.

Shirley Chisholm - via Makers.com

Shirley Chisholm – via Makers.com

Like Congresswoman Chisholm, Clarke is an unwavering champion for the people of her native Brooklyn. While she presently holds the title of legislator, Clarke has effectively used her experiences as an activist and community organizer to become an effective leader and tireless advocate on issues of paramount importance to the people of Brooklyn; particularly jobs, immigration reform, education and housing. These are indeed weighty issues for they affect our nation. Today, I will focus on Clarke’s recent movement in the area of job creation and her fight for an increase in the minimum wage.  I will share additional information with you regarding her advocacy for immigration reform, education and housing in future posts.

H.R. 803 signed by Speaker Boehner - www.speaker.gov

H.R. 803 signed by Speaker Boehner – http://www.speaker.gov

On Thursday, July 10, 2014, Congresswoman Clarke released a statement on the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 – H.R. 803. The bill passed by 415 to 6.

“The people themselves have always been our most important resource. To remain competitive in the Twenty-First Century in an economy that includes every nation in the world, we must support people in the development of their individual capacities.”  Congresswoman Clarke goes further to say “I believe that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will allow more people to access training programs to develop the skills our economy needs.”

Photo via GerritsenBeach.net

Photo via GerritsenBeach.net

Two weeks ago, just before the July 4th holiday, Congresswoman Clark released a statement on the June Jobs Report, which indicated the long-term unemployment rate has declined to 2.0 percent, as more companies are hiring workers who had been unable to find a job for more than six months.  “This report demonstrates that our economy is rebounding.  Small business lead the way in creating 117,000 jobs last month and our economy has continued to recover from the economic crisis under the leadership of President Obama.”  Congresswoman Clarke also uses this upward movement to make the case for supporting an increase in the hourly wage.  “I’d also urge my colleges in the House of Representatives to allow for a vote on increasing the minimum wage.  There are millions of workers with full-time employment whose wages are insufficient to support their families.  An increase to $10.10 an hour would affirm the dignity of work, and allow millions of Americans to escape poverty.”

fortuneaskannie.files.wordpress.com

fortuneaskannie.files.wordpress.com

In early March, Congresswoman Clarke lobbied for a vote on unemployment benefits for Veterans. This request was based on a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities which determined that 200,00 veterans of the armed forces have already lost benefits this year.  This request was submitted to Speaker of the House John Boehner in a letter signed by 161 members of Congress.  In Clarke’s words, “the failure to extend unemployment benefits has been inexcusable.  The women and men of our armed forces who sacrified for us, their follow citizens and for their nation, deserve better from their representatives in Washington, D.C. The continued refusal of Republic leaders to schedule a vote on this matter demonstrates the intention to avoid the issue.  The soldiers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and cannot find jobs, cannot avoid the issue and their obligations to their families.  We have a responsibility to act.”

I would like to close today’s post with a video featuring Congresswoman Clarke’s plea for the passage of a Jobs Bill.  For me, this is a stark reminder of why we need a dynamic leader, such as our esteemed Congresswoman, advocating on our behalf.

We are all in this together! Continue to be inspired. Also, do not be afraid to add your voice to the many issues that challenge us in today’s economy.

Credits:
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke – Clarke.house.gov
Wikipedia – Congresswoman Yvette Clarke – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvette_Clarke

 

 

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.

Monique

Credits:

________________________

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