The People’s Fire House Loses a Fighter
By Fidele Jackanin
My mother, Albina Jackanin, was a very amazing woman. She was born in 1924 in Manhattan, but the family soon moved to Long Island. However in 1934 her father decided to move the family closer to the city because of his brick laying work. He decided on Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Bedford Avenue, where the L line was just a few feet away. From the age of 10 this neighborhood was her home until her dying day eighty-one years later.
As a young woman Albina attended modeling school and worked as a model in NYC to help the family. The drive to help family and neighbors lead her to protest the closing of FDNY’s Engine co. 212 in 1975. At that time she was a mother with five children to take care of, but my mother stood alongside other neighbors and protested day after day, week after week, non-violently fighting city hall. It was a hard fight, yet they won the firehouse back. What they created was astounding: a community so unified they realized they could do so much more good for the Northside that they formed People’s Firehouse, and my mother was one of the founders. Mom took on being the writer, editor, graphic designer of the People’s Firehouse Bulletin which circulated to almost all the 50 State. She poured her heart and soul into each issue because she loved sharing the news of the Northside.
In 1985 Albina began working for the Northside Senior Center. Mom was the first meals on wheels but she didn’t have a car, so she used her shopping cart to stack the meals and deliver them to the seniors in the Northside.
Then in 2003 the city was closing firehouse due to budget cuts and my mom again protested. She gave speeches to encourage support and continued the fight for the community. Mom weathered many storms, but at 91 she lost her fight to cancer. She was a shining example to all who knew her.