ASTORIA – New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilman Costa Constantinides and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan hosted a celebration of Black History Month in collaboration with the Astoria Houses Tenants Association at Reality House in Astoria.
The event celebrated community leaders TA President Claudia Coger, Bishop Mitchell Taylor, TA Vice President Renee Edwards, Pastor Dwayne Jackson, Detective Darryl Johnson, Minor Miracles Vice President Eric Mathews and Minor Miracles Executive Director of Public Programs Aiysha Mayfield.
The three elected officials also sponsored an essay contest asking children to write about the importance of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and present-day African-Americans who have improved American Society, the winners of which took home a Kindle Fire.
“It is an honor to celebrate Black History Month with such distinguished leaders, each of whom does so much to make our neighborhood a better place to live,” said Senator Gianaris. “I am inspired by the words of our young essay contestants, who give me confidence that our future will continue to improve our community.”
Council Member Costa Constantinides said, “I was proud to join my colleagues Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Nolan in paying tribute to Astoria’s leaders as part of the Black History Month celebration ‘Still I Rise.’ Our honorees have worked tirelessly for their community and have made our neighborhood a better and more vibrant place. These great individuals continue the work of the Civil Rights movement day in and day out and we thank them for their service.”
“I am so happy to have been a part of the Black History Month celebration, along with Senator Gianaris, Councilmember Constantinides and the Astoria Houses Residents Association,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “It was a pleasure to celebrate T.A. President Claudia Coger, Bishop Mitchell Taylor and all of the other honorees. I’m so thankful for their great leadership in the community and the good work they do every day to make our district a better place.”
“This event was fantastic,” said Astoria Houses Tenants Association President Claudia Coger. “It created a platform for residents, clergy, elected officials, and community leaders to connect and share in the rich history of Civil Rights activism. It also helped support the Astoria Houses Residents Association’s goal of bridging generational gaps through education and information.”
Bishop Mitchell Taylor said, “I was truly humbled and happy to be a part of the impressive list of poverty champions that were honored at the Black History Celebration co-sponsored by three fabulous legislators, Nolan, Gianaris, and Constantides and hosted by Reality House. It was a night to remember, and we look forward to next year.”
A Reality House spokesperson said that the organization “was extremely honored and pleased to participate in our community Black History Month celebration. Thank you for allowing us to share in this great experience in celebrating 21st Century Civil Rights leaders right here in our own backyard, where seven such leaders were honored. Quoting, from one of the posters hung to showcase other leaders, 2005 MacArthur Genius, Majora Carter said, ‘I believe that you shouldn’t have to leave your neighborhood to live in a better one’. We believe that too and will always attempt to do our part in making it a reality here in Astoria, Queens.”