In Honor Of Pat Dolan
To The Editor:
I feel it is safe to say that all of us involved in community life appreciate the enormous contributions of Pat Dolan. As someone who knew Pat Dolan, I was very unhappy that a temporary foot injury prevented me from attending memorial services for her.
I was pleased to read the well-deserved testimonials from many of the civic leaders, editors and her personal friends honoring her that appeared in our local community papers.
Pat Dolan was not a close personal friend. I became acquainted with her as a leader of the Doug Bay Manor Civic Association. I certainly want to add my appreciation for her enormous contribution and her lifelong devotion to our community residents’ quality of life. There is, however, an aspect to Pat Dolan that I want to highlight.
As the founder and chair of the Center for the Women of New York, I want to pay tribute to Pat Dolan as a strong feminist, a role that she would not necessarily claim. She was, however, a definite role model of a strong woman leader. Pat was independent, articulate, fearless of elected government authority figures, intolerant of hypocrisy and inefficiency.
I am not aware that she was involved in any organization devoted to women’s rights. She did come to visit me when I had the first building at 401 Murray Avenue at Fort Totten. She came without an appointment and announced in a no nonsense tone of voice, “I came to see what is going on here!” I welcomed her and gave her a tour of the building, introduced her to our volunteers and staff and described our programs and activities. She seemed satisfied with what she saw and left.
I did not work with her directly until years later, she was head of the Queens United Civic Association. I took the initiative to ask her to join with the Center for the Women of New York and the Coalition to curb sex trafficking in Queens. I sent a formal letter describing the horrific incidents of sex trafficking in Queens. Because of our large immigrant population, and the presence of international and national airports and railroads, Queens was becoming one of the major areas for smuggling and kidnapping of young women from around the world and nation!
The first initiative was to stop the advertising of sex partners that was taking place in the local community newspapers. We started with the free English language Queens community newspapers.
The Village Voice, the free subway daily, AM and one daily Queens paper, did not cooperate but all the others agreed to our request that they voluntarily stop and refuse to accept any ads that demean and serve to entrap women in illegal sexual activities!
At first, Pat did not see the connection between her concentration on issues on zoning and illegal apartments and the issue of sex trafficking. I explained that neighborhoods that catered to these activities were allowing acts that were not only illegal but were ugly blights in the community and a real danger to the health and safety of the residents and especially women and young girls! She was involved in a very heavy agenda for the fall and winter months but promised to add it to the items for consideration and discussion.
The Coalition which includes the Queens Chapter of the United Nation’s Committee on Elimination of Human Trafficking, has been continuing its program on developing consciousness raising and education of the general public on this issue and will broaden its outreach into ethnic communities.
I really believe that given the time to study the issue, Pat Dolan would have provided the leadership for civic associations and community boards to help stop the sex slavery scourge that is taking place under our very eyes.
Queens is fortunate in having many of its citizens take an active interest in the health, freedom and safety of its residents. We honor Pat’s memory and hope that her legacy will inspire others to step up and try to carry on her values and example. Ann J. Jawin Chair, Center for the Women of New York Kew Gardens, NY