Jamaica educator among COVID-19 honorees

Rose Graham with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
Rose Graham

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has honored a Jamaican-born assistant principal among several honorees for conducting outreach and supporting residents of the borough during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rose Graham – an assistant principal at PS 399 in Brooklyn, executive member of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) and a member of CSA’s Political Action Committee – was honored recently during Adams’s second “Brooklyn COVID Heroes” ceremony, outside Brooklyn Borough Hall, recognizing 186 Brooklynites from all walks of life who have gone “above and beyond” during the pandemic.

“We have heard so many stories of those distributing personal protective equipment (PPE), food/meals, and resources to their neighbors,” Adams said. “We have seen videos of those providing impromptu stoop concerts, calling seniors sheltering at home, or just offering a listening ear.

“Your work to support your fellow Brooklynites is greatly appreciated,” he added, stating that he was “honored to recognize you for the work that you have undertaken.”

Graham, also District 17’s political liaison, told Caribbean Life on Tuesday that she was “truly humbled and honored to being selected as a Brooklyn 2020 COVID-19 Hero, along with Dr. Anthony Fauci and other Brooklynites.

“It is truly an honorable accomplishment for me,” she added. “I stand today as a proud assistant principal of Community School District 17, and a proud Brooklynite,” she said. “I stepped out at the height of a global pandemic without fear or reservation on a mission to serve my community. Being the servant leader that I am, with a heart of compassion and love for humanity, made the task more like a labor of love.

“I will never forget the smiling faces of the children at the REC, when I arrived daily, my motivated staff and not to mention the grateful hearts of the first responders who were able to serve their borough, because we answered the call to action,” Graham added. “I have learned a while ago that I am here to serve the public and not the public serving me.

“I thank Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, I thank my community, I thank Brooklynites for giving me a seat and a voice at the table,” she continued. “I will continue to serve my district, my community, my school, and, by extension, New York City.”

Dr. Fauci — who was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and currently serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) — appeared virtually via Zoom to deliver remarks during the ceremony.

He noted his upbringing in Brooklyn and how the values he was raised with help to guide him in his current role.

“The 186 heroes we recognized today embody the best of our borough, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service to their communities during this pandemic,” Adams said. “It is a particular privilege to recognize a widely-admired public health official and a proud son of Brooklyn, Dr. Anthony Fauci, as one of our COVID Heroes.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Brooklyn Borough President said that Dr. Fauci has been “a reassuring champion of science and reason who has navigated our nation through turbulent times.

“Dr. Fauci is the best of what public service can be, and we are so proud to be able to welcome him back (virtually) to his home borough, as we thank him for his heroic and lifesaving leadership,” Adams said.

He said the honorees showcased the diversity of a borough, where 47 percent of residents speak a language other than English at home.

Adams, who previously held a COVID Heroes ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall in September, said his recent honorees hailed from neighborhoods around the borough and all walks of life.

Graham was honored by Adams as the June 2016 Hero of the Month.

She was also honored by former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and the National Organization of Black Business and Professional Women.

Additionally, she has received a congressional citation for her contribution in the field of education.

At Community Board 17, Graham serves as chairwoman for the Youth Services Committee.

She said her belief in giving back to the community is the driving force behind being a committed volunteer with New York City’s annual Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE) and Habitat for Humanities.

Graham is a member of numerous educational and community organizations, including the National Reading Association, Brooklyn College Alumni and the Association of Assistant Principals.

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