City Council Member Rory I. Lancman along with co-sponsoring Queens lawmakers Congressman Gregory Meeks, State Senator Leroy Comrie, Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, and Council Member I. Daneek Miller yesterday hosted a Black History Month Celebration to honor African American cultural leaders in the Queens community yesterday at The First Presbyterian Church, 89-60 164th Street in Jamaica.
Lancman awarded proclamations to the following local African American leaders: Greg Mays, Founder and Executive Director of A Better Jamaica; Wanda Best, Founder of Art Transforms; and Andrew Clarke, Founder and Director of BRAATA Productions. In his remarks, Lancman praised all three leaders for their dedication to the Queens community and their work to improve the lives of others.
The First Presbyterian Church Choir and the Flowing Psalms Dance Ministry provided the enteratinment, and Lancman presented proclamations to both groups.
“Black History Month is a special time where we honor African American leaders who have contributed so much to the world and to our local community,” said Lancman. “Greg, Wanda and Andrew are three remarkable people, and their talent, commitment and activism have impacted so many in our neighborhoods. It was a pleasure to partner with The First Presbyterian Church and my colleagues in government to celebrate these cultural leaders and reflect on the importance of Black History Month.”
“From academia to athletics and music to activism and beyond, Southeast Queens has been home to countless African American and Caribbean American legends,” said Comrie. “I commend Council Member Lancman for hosting this wonderful celebration of Black History, and I was proud to join Congress Member Meeks, Assembly Member Hyndman, and Council Member Miller as a co-sponsor.”
“Spreading knowledge and increasing the understanding of our history is key to deconstructing the levels of racial injustice and inequality in this country,” said Hyndman. “Though we only attribute one month to honoring Black History, every day is an opportunity for us to recognize the heroes and sheroes both past and present of our community. However, our battle is still not over. There needs to be significant improvements to our criminal justice system, greater access to quality healthcare, and immigration reform. Let’s stand together and keep striving towards the dreams of our ancestors.”
“I’m proud to co-sponsor my colleague Councilman Lancman’s celebration of Black History Month,” said Miller, who also chairs the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus. “In Greg Mays, Wanda Best and Andrew Clarke he is recognizing three outstanding cultural leaders whose collective body of work has served to entertain and educate our youth, build character and highlight social issues of concern to communities of color. We honor them for the many gifts they have bestowed on us as well as those who aspire to make their own artistic contributions to the world.”
“Council Member Lancman has repeatedly demonstrated his interest in expanding the arts offering here in southeast Queens by allocating funding to us for several of our arts programs — The AirTrain Jazz Festival, Classic Film Fridays, The Delightful Festival, and The Jamaica Dance Festival — and to other arts organizations dedicated to expanding Jamaica’s arts offering. We look forward to continuing our partnership,” said Mays.