Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane D. Williams and Deputy Chief of Staff Farah Louis on Friday evening, March 23, hosted the 5th Annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration.
The awards ceremony was held in the Dweck Auditorium at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
The celebration, held during Women’s History Month, is dedicated to recognizing “extraordinary women in New York City who are blazing new trails in their fields, and motivating and inspiring women across the country to pursue their dreams,” said Williams, representative for the 45th Council District in Brooklyn.
He said those recognized this year included women across a diverse array of fields, ranging from music and acting to activism and education.
Each honoree was presented with a City Council Proclamation and an additional proclamation from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams before addressing the audience.
The keynote speaker was Lisa Evers of Fox 5 and Hot 97. Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo made a special guest appearance.
In addition to the presentation of the awards and addresses, this year’s celebration also featured spoken word performances from two “extremely gifted poets,” Delsey Alvarez and Alicia Mitchell Mangual, Williams said.
DJ Pink Assassin, a 13-year-old artist who has already won several major awards for her work provided the music for the event.
“Shirley Chisholm was unbought, unbossed, and unrelenting in her work, a true catalyst for change throughout her decades of pressing for progress,” said Williams after the event. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to recognize these women who embody that spirit in their own work, creating positive change and inspiring others to do the same.
“The trailblazers who we acknowledge this evening are incredible leaders,” he added. “And now, during Women’s History Month, we celebrate them for their landmark achievements and enduring contributions to their communities and the world.”
The following is a brief bio of the honorees: Kathryn Erbe, actress and activist: Best known for her portrayal of Detective Eames on Law and Order: Criminal Intent for a decade, Kathryn has spent decades performing on stage and screen.
She was awarded TONY nomination for her performance in “The Speed of Water.” In addition to these well-known roles, she has engaged in social and cultural issues, fighting sex trafficking and performing with Theater of War, a production company that uses ancient plays to ignite dialogues around modern issues.
Anthonine Pierre, Community Leader: Anthonine serves as deputy director of Brooklyn Movement Center (BMC), a community organizing group based in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The BMC brings together residents of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights to identify issues of importance to them, build power and improve conditions in their community.
When she joined BMC, it had 20 members. It now has nearly 500; and addresses a variety of important causes.
Anthonine is also on the board of Communities United for Police Reform, where she has pushed such legislation as the Right to Know Act, and the Advocacy Project, where she has trained other groups in organizing.
Hafida Torres, community leader and advocate: Hafida came to America in 1999 from Morocco. Since migrating, she has been an “incredible force for good in the community,” Williams said.
She serves as the president of the Moroccan American Council to Empower Women Organization, and is one of the founders of Moroccan American House Association, and a member of The Bridge Multicultural and Advocacy Project, among many other groups.
Young M.A, rapper and Hip Hop artist: At just 25 years old, Young M.A has already achieved incredible success. Her You tube videos have been seen by millions and her song “Ooouuu” heard by hundreds of millions around the world.
An openly gay woman, she has been an outspoken advocate for embracing ones’ identity and strives to make her music uplifting, inspiration, powerful and self-affirming.
She has been recognized by numerous publications and is on Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Music.
Michelle Anderson, president of Brooklyn College, previously served as the dean of CUNY Law School.
Not only has she taken CUNY Law, and now Brooklyn College, to new heights in prestige and academic success, but she has been out front on a number of vital causes, including expanded opportunities not only for students but the broader community in the areas of criminal justice, economic development, equity and peace.
Anderson has also been a leading voice in reforming the approach taken towards sexual offenses and to combating campus sexual misconduct.
Nadia Lopez, founding principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy: After a student spoke of her influence to humans of New York, she has been nationally recognized and celebrated for her educational style and commitment to students success in and outside of the classroom.
She is the highly regarded author of “The Bridge to Brilliance.” She has previously met President Obama and been honored alongside Michelle Obama.
She has also expanded her capacity to do good through her company, The Lopez Effect.
Chisholm, whose mother hailed from Barbados and father from Guyana, became the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress in 1968.
Serving New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms and becoming one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chisholm fought for educational opportunities and social justice.