By Robert Press
During the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in 1955 there was a young 15 year old girl who stood up for her right to sit on a bus in Montgomery Alabama. Her name was Claudette Colvin who happened to be colored (the term used back then), and she became an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement after being taken off the bus by police for refusing to give her seat up to a young white woman.
As Ms. Colvin told the audience Sunday, “I paid my bus fare and it is my constitutional right to sit here.” That lasted only until police officers boarded the bus to arrest Ms. Colvin. She said that she had been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King who was seeking equality in the south by the Civil Right’s Movement. Ms. Colvin went on to say that her colored friends who were with her and gave up their seats stayed away from her.
Ms. Colvin mentioned that a male classmate who was friendly with a white girl wound up being lynched a few years later after six white claimed that he raped them. Life was very tough for a young colored girl growing up in the south during her childhood. Life was tough for all colored people who were treated as second class citizens in the south.
While Ms. Claudette Colvin’s event on a Montgomery Alabama bus preceded Rosa Parks, Ms. Colvin did not receive the media coverage that Ms. Parks was given. That was because the Civil Rights Movement had progressed, and the time the Rosa Parks incident came about it was then news. Ms. Colvin did testify before the Supreme Court in the case that determined that bus segregation in Alabama was unconstitutional. That then began the desegregation movement in Alabama and the rest of the south.
Congressman Joe Crowley was on hand to present to Ms. Colvin a flag which flew over the U.S. Capital, and said that Ms. Colvin is a fine example of greatness and what is good in this country. Congressman Crowley added that he is honored to commend Ms. Colvin for her Courageous achievements.
Ms. Colvin also received a proclamation from State Senator Luis Sepulveda. Senator Sepulveda spoke of his grandfather who taught him about the Civil Rights Movement, and that Ms. Colvin’s act should be in the history books also. he added that it took courage for a 15 year old black girl to do what you did by saying “no I have a constitutional right to sit here.” He finished by saying “Ms. Colvin – you are history.”
Ms. Colvin stayed to take questions from members of the audience, and take photos with them.
Standing next to her is John Perez
State Senator Luis Sepulveda, Ms. Claudette Colvin, Congressman Joe Crowley, and the President of the Parkchester NAACP Ms. Beverly Roberts.
Ms. Colvin taking questions from members of the audience. jennifer Onomo is her asking question.
The officers and committee members of the Parkchester NAACP with Ms. Colvin.
By Robert Press
Public Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza visited the Excellence Community Charter School located at 1960 Benedict Avenue this past week. Chancellor Carranza wanted to see the new seven story charter school to find out why it was so popular in the Parkchester area.
Chancellor Carranza was greeted by the CEO of the Excellence Charter School group Dr. Charlene Reid who took him on a tour of the charter school. I was able to go on the tour with Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid. The school is seven stories tall with grades Kindergarten through eighth grade in the building. We first visited a kindergarten class where the students were sitting on the floor eagerly listening to the teacher.
We then went up to the seventh floor to see some older children in different rooms. There was a music class with so many different instruments, a computer class, where I was also told that each student receives their own lap top computer. As we went down floor by floor we visited various different classes in rooms that you might see in most public schools if it was possible. It appeared that Dr. Reid was showing off her school to public schools Chancellor Carranza. I felt that I was in one of the few New York City schools that was making the grade, because as a citywide parent leader I saw to many schools that were performing below the standards.
In a charter school children have to apply to the school, and if more children apply than seats available there are rules to determine which children will be admitted first. A lottery is then held for the remaining seats available, and a wait list is set up should any children move away or decide to attend another school. I was told that the Excellence Charter School in Parkchester has a wait list of close to one thousand applicants. Dr. Reid said that for the new building the charter school group this school is in was able to issue bonds for the thirty million dollars needed to build the seven story building.
After the tour was completed Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid went into an office for a private discussion. The chancellor came out to say that he was looking to create a relationship between the public schools and charter schools in the city. He then took questions from those of us who remained. Some questions asked about the admission policy to this charter school, what resources charter schools receive as compared to public schools, and how charter schools differ from public schools. Already knowing the answers to those questions, I asked Chancellor Carranza about the poor performance of Bronx public schools, pointing out local public schools which are not performing as well as this charter school.
Chancellor Carranza admitted that Bronx public schools were not doing as well as he and the mayor would like, but that he was new on the job, he would have to look at each individual school, and to give him some time. I replied those were almost the exact words I heard from Chancellor Joel Klein over fifteen years ago. I then said parents want to know why their children are not getting the education they are suppose to get, and that could be a reason that the Bronx Charter School For Excellence was so popular in the Parkchester and surrounding area.
Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid.
Chancellor Carranza and Dr. Reid visiting a kindergarten classroom.
Chancellor Carranza with some Honor Roll students in front of the Honor Roll board.
An outside look of the seven story Bronx Charter School for Excellence located at 1960 Benedict Avenue.
By Robert Press. 100 PERCENT
In 2008 there was a meeting between the then Bronx Democratic County Leader, and a certain Bronx Assemblyman and his father. The meeting was about an upcoming judicial race where the county leader already had a candidate. The Assemblyman and his father had a different person which they wanted as the candidate. After a heated discussion the county leader did not budge on his candidate leading to a contentious primary battle.
As for the judicial race the candidate of the Democratic County Leader lost, and it was the candidate of the Assemblyman and his father who won. This heated primary also led to a revolution against that Democratic County Leader from all corners of the borough. At the next County Committee meeting known as ‘The Night the Lights Went Out at the Paradise’ a new county leader was elected.
There were promises of an open style of leadership where decisions would not be made just by the county leader, but of the membership. That was fine until that county leader moved on to a higher position, and a new Democratic County Leader was chosen. This new county leader was very young and inexperienced. Decisions were now being made by a select few. The Bronx District Attorney was up for re-election, and at the same time thinking of becoming a Judge. A spokesperson for a Bronx assemblyman announced that said Bronx Assemblyman was going to run for Bronx DA if the seat was open. It was decided that the DA would announce that he was running for re-election so there would be no primary challenge. The DA then was nominated at the Judicial Conversation for a judgeship. Being after the petition period with no candidate for Bronx DA the Executive Committee of the Democratic County organization then met to select the Democratic candidate who won the election for Bronx DA easily.
In the 32nd State Senate District there will be a special election to fill the vacancy left by the election of Ruben Diaz Sr. to the City Council. Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda was nominated as the Democratic candidate by the county committee, and should win the April 24th special election. This now leaves the Parkchester Assembly vacant, and while there will be no special election I spoke to the current Bronx Democratic County Leader Assemblyman Marcos Crespo about the soon to be vacant assembly seat. I asked if individuals would be interviewed, and Democratic County Leader Crespo told me that he already has a candidate for the assembly seat. I asked how you can already pick a candidate before the assembly seat is even vacant. Crespo answered we already chose a candidate. I asked what happens if Sepulveda does not win the special election for the 32nd State Senate seat? Crespo answered, “Well then I guess we won’t have a candidate then”.
It looks like Communism has returned to the Bronx Democratic County organization. Is it time for another revolution in the Bronx Democratic Party, one which would come at a time the current term-limited Bronx Borough President wants to run for mayor in 2021.
Photo credit: John Perez facebook
East Elmhurst, NY — Today, the New York State Senate passed Senator Jose Peralta’s bill that will include a space on applications for student loans and aid programs to voluntarily sign up for the Donate Life Registry. The proposal (S.6196) will increase opportunities for New Yorkers to register as organ donors. Currently, New York State ranks third in the nation with the highest need for donors, and it is second to last in the nation per capita when it comes to registered organ donors.
Donate Life, a nonprofit donor organ organization in the country, pointed out that nearly 9,500 New Yorkers throughout the state are waiting for organ transplants. Over 1,600 New Yorkers have been on a waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant for more than five years. In 2017, more than 2,200 New Yorkers received a lifesaving organ transplant.
“Signing up for the organ donation registry is the highest form of solidarity with others. One organ donated is one life saved. Unfortunately, far too many New Yorkers are waiting for organs. Simply put, this proposal will increase the number of New Yorkers who become organ donors by including an option to check if you want to be included in the donate life registry on student loan forms,” said Senator Peralta. “This is a common-sense approach to increasing the number of people who register as organ donors.”
Under the legislation passed by the Senate, the student loan and student aid applications will include the question: “Would you like to be added to the Donate Life Registry? Check box for ‘yes,’ or check the box ‘skip question.’ Currently, New Yorkers who want to become organ donors can only do so by signing up for the Donate Life Registry at the Department of Motor Vehicles, when applying for health coverage through the New York State health exchange, on voter registration forms, and separate stand-alone forms.
Senator Peralta urges the New York Assembly to follow suit and pass his proposal to make it easier for New Yorkers to sign up for the organ donor registry.
Bronx, New York – Like Bronx itself in the last two decades, Parkchester’s quality of life has markedly improved. This improvement has attracted residential and entrepreneurs back to Parkchester after years of business and middle class exodus.
Due to gentrifications and commuting convenience, diverse young couples and recent graduates have been moving to Parkchester in great numbers, joining the proud and middle class immigrant families who have been making similar moves since the eighties.
Against this backdrop, we are excited to inform you of a new addition to this growing and vibrant Parkchester business environment, the Parkchester Times. Parkchester Times, unlike other Newspapers, is a Parkchester based newspaper founded by long term residents to serve the residents and businesses in Parkchester, primarily. “We lived, worked and raised college-bound children in Parkchester. To us, it’s one of the best places in the Bronx to do the three.” Said Mrs. Shireena Drammeh, co-founder and principal of Islamic Leadership School.
Journalists, advertisers, investors, writers, interns, videographers, Newspapers dropping venues, and volunteers are welcome.
So we’re happy to invite folks to send us their press releases, activities, announcements, celebrations, community and religious events beneficial to Parkchester community or are taking place the neighborhood. We would equally be honored to receive your messages of encouragement/support.
The maiden issue will come out on Friday, March 2, 2018 and shall be distributed at the luncheon ceremony party to be held in the evening of same day.
For further information about PT, please contact us at 718-822-5555 or visit our website later at: www.parkchestertimes.com (under construction). Thank you!
Parkchester’s quality of life has markedly improved. This improvement has attracted residential and entrepreneurs back to Parkchester after years of business and middle class exodus.