The Queens Tribune Press honored Caribbean nationals and an organization, on June 28, for stellar contributions to their community, during the 2nd Annual Caribbean Legacy Awards at Douglaston Manor, in Queens, to celebrate Heritage Month.
The common thread of commitment to family, education and achieving the American dream, connected these professionals from Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, Haiti, and Antigua & Barbuda, who spoke of working tirelessly, to make their parents, many who worked two jobs, proud.
Ronda Benda is the co-founder and VP of policy for Venture Smarter and the executive director of the company Regional Smart Cities Initiative.
Rhonda, a Guyanese American, has focused much of her work in recent years on the re-development of downtown Jamaica, Queens, where she was raised.
Horace David is the general manager of Quality Assurance engineering and Program support at Con Edison. David, a Jamaican-born engineer, founded the Caribbean American Society of New York (CASONY), an organization dedicated to working with children from age five to eighth grade, to increase their exposure to the STEM field.
Grenada-born Gregg Bishop is the commissioner for the city’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Bishop spoke passionately about being raised by his mother and grandmother who inspired him to help provide equal opportunity for all business owners and set a platform for future minority business owners to obtain economic self-sufficiency and mobility.
Dr. Fritz Francois, a chief medical officer at NYU Langone Hospitals grew up in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and stays connected to his roots through his commitment to educating immigrant community on myths and misinformation they harbor about healthcare.
His niece, Natalie C. Nazon, nurse manager at NYU Langone, accepted his award.
Proud Guyanese-American Tessa Hackett-Vieira is the third vice chair on the Board of the Municipal Credit Union and a social worker at DC37.
The community activist works alongside 72 attorneys, and helps union members suffering from depression, domestic violence and other issues.
Like his fellow honoree, Dennis Ifill is a Guyanese American, and is the president of Local 1357, representing approximately 126,000 employees and approximately 60,000 retirees in DC 32 union members.
Jennifer Maharajh is the senior manager of marketing and communications at Age Well New York. The Trinidad and Tobago born professional is also the founder of a marketing company, a blogger, insurance broker, and occasionally, a filmmaker.
Moya O’Connor is the founder of the Caribbean Attorney’s Network and a senior trial attorney at MetLife. O’Conner has made it her life’s mission to help aspiring attorneys find opportunities to make it in todays competitive world, and that passion is what drove her to launch the Caribbean Attorney’s Network.
Earl Phillips is the secretary treasurer of the Transport Workers Union, Local 100, which represents 40,000 members employed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit.
The Antigua and Barbuda Progress Society has provided philanthropic work to Caribbean Americans in the five boroughs for more than 80 years.
In addition to providing food to the homeless, to assisting those affected by tropical storms, the society provides assistance to Antiguans and Barburdans here in New York as well as back home.
NYS Senator Leroy Comrie applauded the event that opened with a business networking session. The politician, joined publisher, Michael Nussbaum in congratulating the Caribbean-Americans who excel in their work.
Guyanese American and Assistant Publisher, Shanie Persaud who planned the program, also presented awards and citations provided by Sen. Leroy Comrie and Alicia Hyderman.
New publisher of the Press of Southeast Queens, Jasmin Freeman, assisted her at the podium.