Several residents, healthcare workers, officials and members of the community were on hand Friday, Dec. 7 for the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony at NYC Health+Hospitals McKinney on Albany Avenue in Brooklyn.
“The Christmas / holiday season is one of the most popular and cherished holiday customs,” said Angela Cooper, the Trinidadian-born assistant director, hospitals, at McKinney, who also served as Mistress of Ceremony, at the foyer of the major rehabilitation center.
“Each year, in the United States along, millions of families celebrate the season in a culturally-sacred style, and the lighting of a Christmas tree, Hanukah and Kwanzaa candles are some of those traditions that are very fashionably accepted and celebrated at McKinney,” she added.
“In the real spirit of such a festive time of the year, and for the past 11 years, McKinney not only lights a tree, but we also light the Menorah and Kwanzaa candles,” Cooper continued. “As light emanates energy, we are optimistic that this energy will transmit the greatest expectation of love.”
She said the love represents “hope for tomorrow, the prosperity of permanent peace, the universal gift that keep on giving, the innate gift of infinite love, and the glory and honor of the revelation of the light of life.”
Cooper said McKinney remains “that symbolic ideal of hope for all who look to us for quality service and care, as we continue to encircle our birthright of this love and light all year round.”
During the lighting ceremony, she reminded the audience to remember “those in our community who might only have one little candle or none at all.
“Let us send the energy of hope, forgiveness and love, and all the principles of grateful living,” she urged. “Let us leave here with the knowledge that a gift isn’t a gift unless it has meaning.”
Some of Cooper’s gift suggestions include forgiveness (to an adversary); tolerance (to an antagonist); your heart (to a friend); service (to a customer); charity (to everyone); a good example (to every child); an experience (to your residents); and happy holidays (to our self-respect).
The McKinney Angels, McKinney Expressions, Lisa Bates, Veronica Kaninska, Shoran Legendre and Hilton Samuel were among serenaders and speakers at the event.
David Weinstein, McKinney’s chief executive officer, as well as Stephen Catullo, deputy executive director, and Maria Teresa Cuevas, assistant director of nursing, were also among others who brought holiday greetings.
“I’m pleased as to how they put everything together and to include the residents in their festivity,” Dr. Ionie Pierce, the Jamaican-born president of the Brooklyn-based West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) told Caribbean Life afterwards.
“It’s an atmosphere for them (residents) to enjoy,” she added.
Victoria Glasgow, a Vincentian-born patient care associate at McKinney, described the event as “beautiful.”
“It’s multicultural,” said Glasgow, Local 420 union chapter chair, who has been working at the facility for 21 years. “We’re making sure the residents are happy and comfortable. I know Dr. Susan Smith McKinney (after whom the center is named) will be proud.”