On the night of February 11th Brooklyn Borough Hall set the stage to honor some previously unsung heroes in the neighborhood. The first ever Black Leadership Celebration was orchestrated by Councilmember Antonio Reynoso to recognize eight individuals who have been exemplary in their community:
- Karen Bell – a Parent, Advocate, and Educator. She has lived and worked in the Bushwick Community for over 35 years. Bell is an Early Childhood Educator and parent liaison at the Audrey Johnson Day Care Center. Her passion for education is unmistakable, she has lobbied and protested for education needs
- Lohoma Shipman – is a wife, mother of three and Senior Court Clerk at Supreme Court-Criminal Term for the Unified Court System, where she has worked since 1992. In 2011, she was elected President of the Bushwick Houses Resident Association and ran unopposed last year. She is committed to improving the quality of life for all the residents of Bushwick Houses and uniting them in the process.
- Yusef A. Muhammad Jr. – Child of Bushwick and alumnus of Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented. An education professional for over a decade, in 2013 Mr. Muhammad accepted an offer to be Principal of City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, a Career and Technical Early College High School.
- Melvin Kendall – joined the New York State Department of Corrections in February 1998. He first worked as a Corrections Officer at Sing Sing Prison then joined the NYPD the following year and was assigned to the 83rd Precinct where he still operates today. He has been the Explorer Advisor since 2008 and assumed the position of Youth Officer in February 2013. He has been involved in running the precinct Youth Council of which he became the CEO.
- Audrey Fraser – is a mother of four children and a grandmother to ten, she has lived in Hylan for 32 years and has been President of Hylan since 2011. Fraser is widely admired for her generous spirit. Many of the children in her building call her “grandma” or “ma.”
- Moneca S. Jackson – recipients of The Black Trade Union Scholarship in 1992. Since 2002 she has been a Special Education Teacher at I.S 291. In 2005, she launched the I.S 291 J-Spot which raised funds for students to pay for their senior dues, prom, senior trip, and to purchase either their prom dresses or suits.
- Priscilla Johnson – Johnson has lived in the Bushwick Community for over 50 years. Her love for her community is apparent when looking at all that she does. She has been serving on the Board of Directors of 1091 Bushwick HDFC for the last 30 years. Ms. Johnson helps her church provide food and clothing for the homeless. During the holidays she works with Angel Tree making sure children that are homeless or living in shelters receive toys and clothing.
- Allen Kinard – Kinard founded a non-profit organization called The Allen Kinard Impact Foundation with the goal to deliver basic resources (mentorship, tutoring, school supplies, clothing, and cell phones) to students for them to succeed in school and beyond. 2011 Mr. Kinard founded the Young Men’s Leadership Academy. This initiative was created to address the vast array of issues that affect young men of color in our community. In addition he began a summer and after-school program at P.S. 257 that quickly caught the attention of the school districts leadership team
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna were there as well to bestow recognition to these special eight.
The celebration was marked by the P.S. 257 Marching Band and Epiphany Lutheran School of Brooklyn’s Step Team.