Central Brooklyn Education Reform

Assemblywoman Annette Robinson (left) presents a citation to Jemel Irby while Lorrelle Henry looks on.
Photo by Lem Peterkin
Photo by Lem Peterkin

An assembly of 250 Central Brooklyn education leaders strongly demanded that stimulus dollars be focused more on the Borough with the greatest number and the poorest students.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, at a luncheon sponsored by the Central Brooklyn Martin Luther King Commission at Janes United Methodist Church Congressman Major Owens declared: “This is a pivotal moment in education reform and experienced, dedicated activists are being left out of the decision-making process. Brooklyn needs a ‘Promise Neighborhood’. We must be part of Race to the Top. We need more community college opportunities.”

Commission President Lorrelle Henry explained that as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the MLK Commission, the group serving as a sparkplug, issued a call for emergency action and unity among all of the community citizens concerned about education.

“We are a small but enduring band of advocates. We are appealing to all who care about our children to bond with us. Everybody is talking about education improvement but we don’t see it happening in Brooklyn,” said Henry.

Congressman Ed Towns and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, two powerful leaders at the national and state level attended the gathering and pledged their priority support.

Towns was congratulated on the publication of his recent book, “Harvesting the Fruits of Power,” and saluted as one of the most powerful Black leaders in America. As chair of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Towns enjoys special powers in tracking the allocation of federal funds.

“We must hasten to complete our own Central Brooklyn Master Plan for Education Reform and Expansion because when we are ready Ed Towns can get us an appointment at the White House,” counseled retired Congressman Major Owens, founder of the Central Brooklyn MLK Commission.

Among the other education leaders were Renee Young, the wife of Regent Lester Young, representatives from the offices of Councilman Al Vann, Assemblymen Jeffries, Brennan and Barron, Senator Eric Adams and newly elected District Leader of the 52nd AD Chris Owens. Another dozen legislators accepted invitations and welcomed the unity effort. Former Regent Adelaide Sanford sent a message of support.

In addition to serving as lead agent for the united effort, the Commission announced that it was continuing with its essay, poetry and art contests. Winners will be announced at the annual King Holiday Celebration in January 2011.

Among the past supporters and teachers who were honored at the luncheon were: Gairre Henry, Judith Rosenbaum, Claudine Young Howard, Principal Pamela Randazzo-Dorcely, William Suggs and Saint Catherine of Genoa.

During the event, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson presented citations to Jemel Irby and Congressman Major Owens.

The MLK Commission will conclude its year of anniversary celebrations with a Gala later this month. At that time a new King/Lindsay Award will be presented to a public official who has demonstrated the compassion of Martin Luther King and the vision and dedication of former New York Mayor John Lindsay, a champion of parent involvement, who sought not to control or manipulate the politically weak but instead to create opportunities for them to empower themselves.

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