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Hundreds of Brooklynites joined Councilmembers Williams, Cumbo to honor six prominent NYC women

Third Annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration Highlighted Leading Women in Advocacy, Media, Business and Community Development

March 18, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmembers Jumaane D. Williams (right) and Laurie Cumbo (left) honor six inspiring women: Chaka Pilgrim, Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Tamika Mallory, Robin Redmond, Lisa Evers and Opal Tometi (pictured left to right). Photos courtesy of Councilmember Williams’ office
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Councilmember and Deputy Leader Jumaane D. Williams hosted the third annual Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration last week, where hundreds of Brooklynites gathered to honor six prominent women from diverse fields, including activism, media, business and community development.  

The celebration was co-hosted by Councilmember Laurie Cumbo and featured a keynote speech by Public Advocate Letitia James. Additionally, Councilmember Darlene Mealy, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblymember Latrice Walker and District Leader Olanike Alabi joined to celebrate the honorees and Women’s History Month.

“I’ve been surrounded by strong women my entire life — especially my mother and sister — and am well aware that while it might be 2016, society still has a long way to go before we achieve real gender equality,” said Williams. “Too often, women’s contributions are ignored simply because they were accomplished by women. In honor of Women’s History Month, I’m excited to celebrate six distinguished women who have made great contributions both in their respective fields and in our communities.”  

Monday’s celebration honored Lisa Evers, hosts of Fox 5’s “Good Day Street Talk” and Hot 97FM’s “Street Soldiers;” Opal Tometi, activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement and executive director at Black Alliance for Just Immigration; Valeisha Butterfield Jones, CEO of Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network and head of Black Community Engagement at Google; Tamika Mallory, nationally recognized civil rights leader, anti-violence advocate and NYC co-chair for the Gun Violence Awareness Month Initiative; Robin Redmond, advocate and executive director of Flatbush Development Corporation; and Chaka Pilgrim, veteran music business executive and current president of Roc Nation Records.

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“For nearly 30 years, Women’s History Month has been a national celebration of women — past and present —whose invaluable contributions have made a positive, lasting impact within our community,” said Cumbo. “As chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and co-chair of Women’s Caucus, I am proud to co-host the Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Celebration with Councilmember Jumaane D. Williams. Through their exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment to community empowerment, each honoree has played a tremendous role in the growth and development of Brooklyn and the City of New York. As we pay tribute to our trailblazers, let us also work towards the continued advancement of women within our society.”

The event is named for the late Shirley Chisholm, the first black congresswoman and first major-party black candidate for president. Chisholm, who was born and raised in Brooklyn to parents originally from the Caribbean, broke barriers as a community advocate and legislator and continues to serve as a role model for our children.

“It’s a privilege to celebrate the Shirley Chisholm Women of Distinction Awards, in honor of the woman who was famously ‘unbought and unbossed’ and an inspiration to generations of women and black leaders,” said James. “Today her legacy continues through the strong women leading our communities, including this year’s honorees. I want to thank Councilmember Williams and Councilmember Cumbo for hosting this celebration, and look forward to working together to uplift women and families across our city.”

At the event there was a renewed call for local and national policies targeted at creating gender equality in New York City — and more broadly — throughout the country. 

Williams said, “Whether we’re talking about housing, public safety or pay equity, we must acknowledge the gender gaps and challenges and decisively move forward.”

The Brooklyn United Marching Band Dancers kicked off the event with a commanding, women-only drum and dance act.


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