Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hosted her first African American Heritage Month Event as Borough President on Tuesday, February 25 in Queens Borough Hall.
The highlight of the event was the awarding of Citations of Honor to four distinguished African Americans who were recognized for their outstanding achievements in public service, arts, culture and education.
Among the awardees was the Honorable Helen Marshall, the former Queens Borough President. Marshall served as Borough President for 12 years prior to Borough President Katz.
During Tuesday’s event, Marshall received a lifetime achievement award for her more than 30 years of service to the community. That service includes her time in the City Council and state Assembly, along with her tenure as Borough President.
Also honored Tuesday were:
- Dr. Andre McKenzie, vice president for Academic Support Services at St. John’s University, who was honored with the Education Award
- John Crow Alexander, producer and host of “Caribbean Classroom” on QPTV, who received the Arts & Culture Award
- John Watusi Branch , who was honored posthumously for being co-founder and executive director of the Afrikan Poetry Theatre
“Today’s honorees are a small handful of the many outstanding members of our borough’s African American community who have, and will, make a positive difference in multiethnic Queens,” Katz said. “African Americans have made major contributions to the social, cultural, economic, educational, religious, civic and political life of our borough, city, state and nation. It is important that we recognize those contributions, both during African American Heritage Month and year-round.”
In addition to presenting the Citations of Honor, Borough President Katz also presented Certificates of Academic Achievement to seven high school students who were awarded partial college scholarships of $850 each. The scholarships were funded by Citi Community Development, Con Edison, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Queens Youth & Senior Funding Corp.