Celebrating African-American culture in Elmont

Susan Grieco

February 24, 2020

Originally published in the LI Herald on February 20, 2020.

African-American culture was on full display at Elmont Memorial High School on Feb. 13 for Sen. Anna Kaplan’s second annual Black History Month celebration.

The evening featured Cub Scouts form Pack 294 leading the National Anthem, an invocation from Pastor Ralph Taylor of the Emanuel Baptist Church, performances by Elmont High School students and food sponsored by Salvatore’s of Elmont, King Umberto and Sapienza Bake Shop.

The state senator also used the opportunity to recognize residents who have made a difference in the community. She first spoke about the Men of Elmont and the Leading Ladies of Elmont. The Men of Elmont is a group of students “who strive to better themselves both inside and outside the classroom,” Kaplan said, by learning disciple to make them self-sufficient young men who could return to their community and create meaningful change.

The Leading Ladies, meanwhile, seeks to empower young women “to be positive and self-confident agents of change within their community,” Kaplan said. The group meets every week for guest lectures, discussions and community service projects.

“Elmont Memorial’s Leading Ladies are an indispensable part of our community,” Kaplan said at the celebration. “And it is my honor to present them with a proclamation and to recognize their excellent work.”

Kaplan also recognized Sergeant First Class Sharon Earley Davis, who served as a supply specialist in the United States Army Reserves for 20 years during the Gulf War. She retired in 2004, but continues to serve her fellow veterans as the treasurer of American Legion Post 1033.

“Sergeant Davis doesn’t just talk about community involvement and service, she lives it,” Kaplan said before calling Davis to the stage. “Our community is a better place because of her tireless efforts, and her commitment to creating a positive change.”