For her steadfast support of the developmentally disabled, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins received the 2012 Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) at their 55th Anniversary Dinner at Chelsea Piers in New York.
Dr. Olivia J. Hooker was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1915, and moved with her family to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her father was a successful businessman who operated a clothing store and her mother was a former teacher in the Greenwood District, which was referred to as “the prairie’s own small turn-of-the-century Harlem”.
Dr. Olivia Hooker was six years old when her community in Tulsa was destroyed on May 31, 1921, in the worst race riot in the history of the United States. The Tulsa Riot resulted in the deaths of more than three hundred people, and the burning of more than one thousand homes and businesses. Dr. Olivia J. Hooker vividly remembers being awakened by the thudding sounds of machine gun ammunition raining down on her family’s home.
Dr. Mary Lane Cobb moved to Westchester County after medical school to pursue her career as a general practitioner in Tarrytown and eventually incorporated obstetrics into her practice.
In 1977, Dr. Cobb served as the Director of Women and Youth Services at the Westchester County Department of Health. While there, she was instrumental in introducing mid-level practitioners into service delivery and the use of community workers for education and outreach. Through her diligence and determination, she also brought about a partnership with Yonkers-based Youth Theatre Interactions to create a teenaged drama troupe that carried HIV/AIDS prevention messages to inner-city youth.
Senator Stewart-Cousins introduced Governor Andrew Cuomo at a ceremonial signing of the 2012 New York State Budget at Manhattanville College in Purchase. The Governor visited Westchester as part of a statewide tour and asked Senator Stewart-Cousins to introduce him before he signed the Budget into law.
Senator Stewart-Cousins was a featured speaker at the New York Power Authority’s Black History Month Program in White Plains. In her remarks, the Senator discussed a new book named, “What Color is my Word?” written by basketball legend Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. The book details notable contributions of African American inventors on American culture and technology.
February 27th marked the 168th anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s independence from Haiti, and Senator Stewart-Cousins celebrated the occasion at two events in Yonkers. First at a flag- raising and reception at City Hall where she presented a proclamation honoring the Dominican Community’s many contributions to the City of Yonkers, and later at the Dominican Independence Day Celebration at the Yonkers Riverfront Library.
A workshop, sponsored and moderated by Senator Stewart-Cousins, offered inspiration to more than 100 women in attendance. Entitled “Women Working It,” the event took place during the Forty First annual Legislative Caucus Weekend hosted by the NYS Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislators, Inc. The message of the workshop was “Empowering Women, Changing the World,” and it featured a panel of strong and successful women sharing their experiences and encouraging those in attendance to reach for their goals and make a difference.
Senator Stewart-Cousins invited representatives from the Department of Transportation to her district for a tour of flood zones along the Saw Mill Parkway. On the tour, DOT gave the Senator on-site progress reports of their debris clean- up efforts along the Saw Mill River. In many communities throughout the region, debris build-up has worsened flooding problems. To provide some relief, DOT workers have pulled several tons of downed trees, garbage and rubble from the Saw Mill in Mt. Pleasant and Greenburgh, and they just began clean- up efforts in Yonkers. This project was initiated in January at the request of the Saw Mill River Watershed Advisory Board (SWAB), which works to alleviate the regional flooding problems in Westchester. Senator Stewart-Cousins, who is represented on SWAB by her Director of Constituent Affairs Janis Morris, was instrumental in placing a representative from DOT on the board.
Senator Stewart-Cousins and Westchester County Board Chairman, Ken Jenkins, hosted a “Coffee and Conversation” meet and greet at the Yonkers Riverfront Library. With over eighty people in attendance, topics covered included: education funding, support for Kinship caregivers, the overall legislative process, healthcare and local issues of concern to residents. The Senator has previously hosted “Coffee and Conversation” events in Mt. Pleasant and Greenburgh with the local County Legislators.
Senator Stewart-Cousins presented a Proclamation to the Captain Lawrence Brewing Company at the grand opening of their brand new facility in Elmsford. The craft beer brewing company re-located from Pleasantville to the larger facility late last month. Owner Scott Vacarro says the new facility will help him ramp up production, sell new products and provide better accommodations to customers. Senator Stewart-Cousins, one of several elected officials and community leaders in attendance, congratulated the company on its continued success and briefly discussed legislation passed by the Senate this year (S.1315) which provides small brewers with greater contract flexibility with wholesalers.
Senator Stewart-Cousins was invited to kick off the opening night of “Big River” at the Westchester Broadway Theatre as part of their inaugural Black History Month celebration. Prior to the start of the show, the Senator delivered welcoming remarks to a full house of theatre-goers, praising the Westchester Broadway Theatre for their commitment to recognizing Black History Month. She also introduced two Westchester actors who starred in the show that evening; Anthony Malchar of Yonkers who played Huck Finn and FaTye of Elmsford who played Jim. “Big River” is a musical adaptation of the story of Huckleberry Finn. It addresses the enduring themes of acceptance, freedom, diversity and respect.
Senator Stewart-Cousins was the Mistress of Ceremonies at the annual Human Rights Breakfast organized by the Yonkers YWCA and the Yonkers Human Rights Commission. The breakfast commemorated Human Rights Day and featured a keynote speech by Sobeida Cruz, the first Latina woman to serve as a Vice President at the New York Power Authority. Senator Stewart-Cousins, who authored Westchester’s first human rights laws as a county legislator, said human rights are just as important in our own communities as they are around the world. She quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world…”
Senator Stewart-Cousins outlined the Senate Democratic Conference's legislative priorities for the 2012 legislative session in a video released following Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State Address. The text of the speech is pasted below.
Two students from Westlake High School, Josh Yamuder and Dennis Collen, recently interviewed Senator Stewart-Cousins for a film they are producing about the military draft in the United States. The documentary will present a range of opinions about the draft from public officials, veterans and the students themselves. When completed, it will be entered into the CSPAN StudentCam Competition, a nationwide video contest that encourages students to “think about issues that affect our communities and our nation.” Senator Stewart-Cousins said a draft is acceptable under certain circumstances, but added that young people should be encouraged to voluntarily serve the country, whether in the military or otherwise.
Senator Stewart-Cousins was in Albany for the first Regional Economic Development Council Awards Ceremony last week. The Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council won $67 million in grants, with $43 million going to Westchester County. The grants, part of this year’s budget agreement, will fund several key projects including $4 million for a biotechnology incubator at New York Medical College in Valhalla, $990,000 to install green roofs at St. John’s Riverside Hospital, $400,000 to revitalize the Tarrytown Music Hall, a total of $359,000 for projects in the Villages of Sleepy Hollow and Dobbs Ferry, and $40,000 for a job-training program at the Yonkers YWCA. In addition, $29.6 million will help transform School 6 in Yonkers into a 120 unit affordable housing building.
Senator Stewart-Cousins was one of several Hudson Valley State legislators to attend a meeting of the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents. The topic of the meeting was mandate relief, and how the State can help cash- strapped school districts save money. The superintendents presented several specific proposals, many of which the Senator supported and promised follow up.
Senator Stewart-Cousins presented a proclamation to the Dobbs Ferry High School Varsity Football Team to recognize their achievement as the Class C New York State Champions. The Senator presented the award at a victory parade and celebration in honor of the team on Cedar Street in Dobbs Ferry. She then joined Mayor Hartley Connett and trustees for the community Christmas tree lighting.
On December 7th, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution commemorating Pearl Harbor Day in honor of the American lives lost during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1941. Four days later, Senator Stewart-Cousins presented a copy of the resolution to Harold Dworetzky, Chairman of the Yonkers Central Committee of Veterans following a Flag raising event the group held at the historic Sherwood House in Yonkers.
Senator Stewart-Cousins recently met with the Roosevelt High School Skills USA Team and their teacher Mr. Frank Leonetti to discuss proposed legislation that would prohibit smoking in State parks. Skills USA is a national organization that helps high school and college students develop leadership and career skills. The Roosevelt team has been working on a project to raise money and awareness about cancer research. They requested the meeting with Senator Stewart-Cousins as part of their project and also organized “A Walk to Support the Fight Against Cancer” which will take place at 10:30 AM on December 17 at the Roosevelt High School Athletic Field. Their work will culminate in June at the Skills USA National Leadership Conference, where they will share their experiences with other Skills USA Teams around the country.