Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective (BYMC) hosted its first annual awards luncheon on Saturday, May 18 at Armando’s Restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn. The event was highlighted by the presentation of a proclamation to Jessamyn W. Rodriguez, BYMC honoree and executive director of Hotbread Kitchen, by Deputy Borough President Sandra Chapman Yeashea Braddock, executive director; Benita Miller, Fatima Silver, Deputy Borough President Sandra Chapman and Megan Hogan, board chairperson., recognizing the work of the organization in providing economic opportunities to women.
In her ‘Thank You’ remarks, Ms. Rodriguez gave a moving speech ablout BYMC’s contribution to Brooklyn and how providing support to young mothers can end the cycle of poverty.
Chloe Rivera, legislative aide to Assemblywoman Joan Millman, seconded these remarks and highlighted the importance of organizations like BYMC and Hot Bread Kitchen.
In her remarks, BYMC alumna Fatima Silva explained how BYMC and its founder, Benita Miller, Esq., helped her graduate from high school as the the valedictorian, and from from college, and also helped her earn her paralegal certificate, all while raising three children.
BYMC created its annual luncheon to recognize similar organizations that empower and support women in New York City.
In its role of providing advocacy and support for pregnant and parenting young women, BYMC has been a catalyst, locally and nationally in shaping the conversation around services and support to young mothers. Since its inception, BYMC has provided direct services and leadership development opportunities to more than 500 young women and works to increase the number of young mothers engaged in educational and vocational endeavors, as well as ensuring that their infants and toddlers are exposed to early learning activities.
BYMC presented its first honoree, Jessamyn W. Rodriguez — founder and chief executive officer of Hot Bread Kitchen, with the Award for Social Justice. Ms. Rodriguez and her staff strive to break gender barriers and put women in the food industry on equal footing.
Hot Bread Kitchen increases economic security for foreign-born and low-income women by teaching them bread-making skills and opening access to the billion-dollar specialty food industry. Hot Bread Kitchen’s mission and program complements the work of BYMC as both organizations play such an important role in nurturing low-income women and building economic resources for their families.
Attendees were inspired by the speeches given by Ms. Rodriguez, Deputy Borough President Chapman, Ms. Rivera and Ms. Silva and made connections with each other and with BYMC’s staff and board members. In her speech, Ms. Rodriguez noted that although it is largely women throughout the world who provide and create food for their families, men principally dominate the food industry.
BYMC’s executive director is Yeashea Braddock. Board Members include: Megan Hogan (Chairman), Dawn Cardi (Vice Chairman), Laura Friedman (Treasurer), Laura Brodsky (Secretary), Denise West, Stephanie Akunvabey, Andrea Henderson and Benita Miller.
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