“When you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” That African proverb reigns true to this day when we look at our community. Councilmember Charles Barron and his office hosted a closeout for Women’s Herstory Month to channel the sentiments of the proverb by honoring seven Black women who have advanced the education of many youths across various sectors of expression from the arts to sustainability.

The event took place at the newly rebuilt high school, East New York Family Academy, which towers over its once-diminutive location at 760 Van Siclen Avenue. The program was both celebratory and commemorative, featuring arts and expression.

It was a night to remember. Every sister who attended was greeted at the door with a carnation of their choosing as a subtle nod to providing each woman “their flowers.” 

The honorees included former Councilmember Inez Barron; Superintendent of CED19 Dr. Tamra Collins; executive director of East NY Restoration LDC Colette Pean; founder/CEO of Victory Music and Dance Nicole Williams; founder/owner of Word Up Café Sharron Kennedy-Frost; founder/CEO of Elite Learners Camara Jackson; and the Amsterdam News’ very own Nayaba Arinde, Editor. 

Jeffery ‘Afro’ Antoine photos

Toward the end of the evening, Barron was recognized for her role in the $80 million transformation of the building as the capstone of her council service.

Each honoree received a bouquet of flowers and a framed picture of Shirley Chisholm speaking to children as a symbolic gesture to honor them for their works, both seen and unseen. 

As the program came to a close, the women and men throughout the room went around to each honoree and took photos. From the outside looking in, you could see the “Black girl magic” as a tangible fact in each smile and expression. 

One of the poets read a poem entitled “Education Saved the Nation” and recalled women in his life who made a difference from the first room (the womb) to the classroom. When hearing about the dynamic work of each honoree, you could see how that could be true. Victory  Music and Dance got people appreciatating and moving.

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