2018-02-14 / Front Page

Peralta, NAACP Commemorate African American Heritage, Honor Community Leaders

State Senator Jose Peralta with the honorees.State Senator Jose Peralta with the honorees.State Senator Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and the Corona-East Elmhurst branch of the NAACP hosted the African American History and Heritage celebration at the Langton Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center on February 8, honoring the achievements of several key community leaders and activists. The celebration included amazing performances by Dena’s School of the Art with the Kehinde O’uhuru and the Djembe Orchestra, and the Jazz Unlimited Band. Additionally, students and faculty from the Louis Armstrong Middle School presented original artwork to the award recipients.

“This month is a time to reflect upon the countless contributions made by African Americans not only to our communities and our state, but also to the entire nation. Contributions to the arts, the economy, culture and politics that strengthen and enrich our communities. As we continue to fight for social and economic justice, our daily struggles for equality continue,” said Senator Peralta. “I want to congratulate all the honorees for their outstanding contributions and the tireless work they do to help others and make our neighborhoods stronger.”

Senator Peralta and the NAACP honored the vital contributions of Deirdre Cooper Owens, Queens College Assistant Professor of History (Lifetime Achievement Award); Atiya Butler, Director of External Affairs and Marketing for Elmhurst Hospital (Public Service Award); Sakinna Conyers (Good Spirit Award); Lester Youngblood, President of the NAACP Corona-East Elmhurst branch (Civic Leadership Award); and Nakaeh George, Residential Manager at AABR (Community Activist Award).

“Senator Peralta's mission to honor the achievements of Queens-based leaders committed to service and justice is so appropriate for the mission of Black History Month. I look forward to participating in such a worthy event,” said Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, Assistant Professor of History at Queens College and keynote speaker at the event.

“I am extremely honored to be receiving this award from Senator Peralta's office and for being acknowledged for my community efforts.  It fills me up with happiness and excitement to know that I made a difference in my community. I know my father is really proud of me and is looking down from heaven right now as we speak. Overall, I am beyond blessed to be receiving this award, and I look forward to the opportunities that this will bring,” said Nakeah George, Residential Manager at AABR.

“I am beyond elated to be recognized for my community service. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with dignity and distinction, first as a member, vice-president and now, as president of the NAACP Corona-East Elmhurst Branch. I would like nothing more than to see the youth of our community pick up the baton proudly, to carry on this path of service in years to come. I thank Senator Jose Peralta, the Corona-East Elmhurst NAACP, HSBC Bank, LaGuardia Gateway Partners, and Wellcare for making our 8th Annual African American History and Heritage Celebration such a phenomenal event,” said Lester Youngblood.

“LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP) is proud to support the 8th Annual African American History and Heritage Celebration sponsored by Sen. Jose Peralta and the NAACP Corona-East Elmhurst Branch, as they celebrate the diversity that is a hallmark of this great city. The honorees are a credit to this city and their home borough of Queens. Diversity and inclusivity are the bedrock on which New York was built, and are essential to the successful operation and development of Terminal B as part of the overall redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport. LGP is thrilled to be part of this dynamic community and tonight’s exciting event,” said Ed Baklor, Chief Commercial Officer of LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the company operating and redeveloping LaGuardia’s Terminal B.

Said Dave Lee, SVP and Queens Area Manager for HSBC, “It’s crucial that we support the communities we operate in by engaging in events like this and recognizing the important work of the honorees and the NAACP for their tremendous work in the community and in supporting and celebrating African American History and Heritage.”

“WellCare of New York congratulates the award winners for their tireless efforts serving the community,” said John J. Burke, WellCare’s State President in New York. “We understand that for our communities to be healthy we need to go beyond healthcare.



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