Nine get Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction award

Council Member Jumaane Williams (c) and District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte (5th right) hosted Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Awards, with First Lady Chirlane McCray at center.
Photo by Ernest Skinner

New York City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, and Brooklyn District Leader Rodneyse Bichotte, hosted the first annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration & Awards at the Brooklyn Public Library on Mar. 28, honoring nine extraordinary women from New York City who are making tremendous strides in their fields.

Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said the honorees use their “skills and expertise to strengthen our communities.”

Each honoree was presented with a New York City Council Proclamation during the celebratory gala.

The keynote address was given by the First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray.

“It is fitting that we honored these nine extraordinary women as Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction during women’s history month, as no one exemplified what it means to be strong, tough, accomplished woman, let along a trailblazer, than Shirley A. Chisholm,” Williams said.

Bichotte said it was “an honor to co-host this event with Council Member Williams and to stand with First Lady McCray- a dedicated leader and advocate in her own right -in honoring these unsung sheroes who are distinct trailblazers carrying Shirley Chisholm’s Legacy every day into their work.”

Rachel Lloyd – is the founder and chief executive officer of Girls Educational & Mentoring Service (GEMS). She started the organization to provide services for commercially sexually-exploited and domestically-trafficked girls and young women.

Angela Yee – is a radio personality, who started her career as a co-host on the Shade 45 morning show at Sirius Satellite Radio. Angela’s ambition soon led to her own weekly nighttime show, “Lip Service,” a platform for women who were usually seen and not heard and provide unique interviews alongside artists, athletes and actors.

Recognizing her nationwide appeal, executives at Sirius offered her the lead position on “The Morning After with Angela Yee” and soon became one of the most coveted urban radio hosts.

After six years at Sirius, Angela joined “The Breakfast Club” at Power 105.1 in New York City.

Zakiyah Ansari – is the advocacy director, for the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE). Previously she was an organizer with AQE and the New York City Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ).

Ms. Ansari is the mother of eight children, all of whom have attended, or are currently attending, public school. She honed much of her expertise as an active parent volunteer in her children’s PTAs and as a founding parent leader with CEJ.

Linda Sarsour – is the National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and ACCESS and locally serving as the Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service and advocacy organization serving the Arab community throughout the five boroughs.

She is also a board member of the New York Immigration Coalition and the Network of Arab American Professionals-NY Chapter.

Demetria Lucas – is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life;” the creator of the award-winning personal blog:; and the founder of Coached By Belle, a life-coaching service dedicated to helping clients solve dating dilemmas and build healthy relationships.

She is also a contributing editor for The Root, where she pens two weekly columns, and is a contributing writer for the websites of The Grio, XO Jane, Essence, Clutch, Vibe Vixen and Uptown.

Michaela Angela Davis, is an “image activist,” writer, editorial director, feminist, fashionista, community servant, and thought leader who examines–and champions-culture, style and equality.

She has worked tirelessly to advance the images of women and people of color at every major media outlet targeting African Americans.

She was fashion editor at “Essence” and its only executive fashion, beauty and culture editor. She was also the first fashion director for “Vibe” and the fashion director and editor-in-chief of “Honey Magazine.”

Lisa Fernández – as principal of P.S. 119 Amersfort School, she has employed the Peacebuilders curriculum and other programs to transform the school into a place where the students’ dreams and wants are important, a where their needs are met, and their treated with dignity and respect.

Michelle McClymont – as the executive director of the Flatbush Nostrand Junction Business Improvement District (The Junction BID), she plays an intricate part in transforming the look and feel of the Flatbush Nostrand Junction district.

Ella Weiss, president, Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) – As president, she has strengthened BAC’s partnerships with borough, city and state agencies.

“You may never know how many lives you touch. You may never know what kind of impact your work will have on others. But you get up and you get out there and do what’s right anyway. And that’s what it’s all about — taking on challenges and putting ideas into action,” First Lady McCray told the group.

“Our honorees represent exactly the reason why women should be honored during the month of March. And, all year round!” she added.

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