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Kids go to court to celebrate Black History Month through song

February 18, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The celebration of Black History Month continued in the Brooklyn courts when the Civil Court hosted groups of local kids for its annual children’s program. From left: Hon. Wavny Toussaint, Hon. Lisa S. Ottley, Zoe Sheares, Hon. Ingrid Joseph, Toriel Sims, Hon. Dena E. Douglas, Hon. Deborah Dowling, Hon. Reginald A. Boddie, Hon. Harriet Thompson, Hon. Theresa M. Ciccotto and Leah Richardson.  Eagle photos by Rob Abruzzese

The Black History Month celebration in the Kings County Courts continued when the Civil Court hosted groups of kids for its children’s program titled “Celebrating Our History Through Song” on Livingston Street on Wednesday.

“For Black History Month, we take this to celebrate our ancestors and their great achievements,” said Hon. Reginald A. Boddie. “We also celebrate those making wonderful achievements and contemplate the future. We celebrate the hard works of our ancestors and what they have done to bring us to this place in America today.”

The program was hosted by Zoe Sheares and Toriel Sims, the nieces of Justice Robin K. Sheares. After singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem, Judge Boddie gave a speech and five different groups of kids put on musical performances.

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Boddie talked about the history right there in the room — Charles Small, the first black clerk in the Kings County Supreme Court; Lisa Ottley the first black female supervising judge in civil court and Boddie himself, the first black male supervising judge in the civil court. He told the kids that it’s proof they can achieve their dreams.

“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve,” Boddie said. “I came from the projects in New Haven, Connecticut. I was told, ‘Reg, you are not going to an Ivy League School, you’re not going to law school, think about something else other than being a lawyer or a judge.’ If I had listened to those people, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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After his speech, the Drill Team community group impressed everyone with their recital of bible verses. Jeremiah Murphy, a 10th-grader from Brooklyn High School of the Arts, played “Amazing Grace” on the saxophone; the Angelic Choir from the Christ Fellowship Baptist Church sang a couple of songs; and three siblings, Kyle, Kennedy and Kayla Carpenter from the Antioch Baptist Church, performed an original song. Finally, Miles Caton, the grandson of the pastor at New Life Tabernacle Church, performed solos, including the Sam Cooke song “A Change is Going to Come.”

There are still four events planned for Black History Month. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, there will be an “Abolition in Brooklyn” presentation by the Brooklyn Historical Society. On Feb. 25 the Family Court will host an event and on Feb. 26 there will be a Black History Month trivia game. All events will take place at 1 p.m. at 320 Jay Street on their respective days.

The final event is perhaps the courts’ biggest — the annual Closing Program Fashion Show. That event will take place on Monday, Feb. 29 at 12:30 p.m. in the lobby of 360 Adams Street. It’s a popular one as judges and court employees strut their stuff wearing some of Brooklyn’s latest fashion trends.


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