Just a few years back I remember sitting in my room reading the issue of Bronx Times, flipping through the biographies of twenty-five prominent Bronx women, thinking to myself,”How do I get in here? Could this one day be me?” I was familiar with the work of some of the ladies, who were accomplished professionals, many of whom were several years older than I. I did not see myself being able to compete with or in the same ranks as they, and wondered if I ever would be.
Over the past five years, I’d sometimes revisit the annual issue of the honorees, wondering if it were attainable to one day have my name and bio in there. I knew I needed to accomplish something great and hoped that at some point in my career I’d make the grade. More than receiving accolades and awards externally, I’d always dreamed of making a difference in the Bronx borough of New York City and hoped one day to inspire others to do the same.
I never thought it would come so soon. That is when Lisa Sorin of The Bronx Times e-mailed me in January and told me that I’d been nominated as one of 25 Bronx Influential Women for 2014 for my work with BronxCentric!: Bronx Movers and Shakers, a website and on-line discussion group I’d founded in October 2011. I took a second to digest what I’d just read.
Yesterday evening I and 24 other women were awarded 25 Bronx Influential Women of 2014 by The Bronx Times. The reception, which began at 6 PM at Villa Barone Manor in Throgg’s Neck, featured an Italian-inspired dinner. The ceremony started at 7 PM, each woman announced with a short biography about her work followed by receiving an engraved plaque.
The women were from extremely diverse fields and ethnic backgrounds. The honorees included a Spanish nun, an African-American doctor who studied in Havana, a Puerto Rican environmental activist, an Israeli-American director of a dance organization, and an Italian-American educator, among others. They ranged in age from their early thirties to seventies, many of them mothers and holding multiple degrees. They came from as far as Spain and Puerto Rico, while others were born in the borough and were third generation Bronxites.
This honor is now in its fifth year and its alumni “class” includes the likes of Marcia Cameron, Deputy Director at Mosholu Preservation Corporation, Rosemary Ordonez-Jenkins, Assistant Executive Director of Phipps Community Development Corporation, Margaret Walsh, president of the Parkchester South Condominiums, and Jacqueline Acevedo-Villanueva of Marketing & Advertising Solutions Inc. (MAS).
This is a terrific honor and I’d like to thank The Bronx Times staff. I’m not even sure what word I can use to describe it. Being recognized form my activism in the Bronx is the ultimate honor. When asked about BronxCentric! through e-mail inquiries or in person, many are surprised to know that it is not an incorporated non-profit or LLC. As I explained it last night, I am an activist with a full-time job in workforce development in a non-profit; this is a side project. So, even when I’m done working…I’m still really working. I never really stop.
I am still not certain who nominated me, but thank you. I’d also like to thank Clarisel Gonzalez of Puerto Rico Sun, for inspiring me to further pursue social media, Ed García Conde for his tireless coverage of Bronx issues on his website “Welcome2TheBronx,” George Luis Acevedo of Bronx Women’s Business Resource Center, who also nominated me for the Bronx Women’s Business Resource Center Woman of Excellence in February, my fellow Mychal Johnson and my fellow SouthBronxUnite members, the Sociology Department at Lehman College, and many more people, places, and institutions who have pushed me to achieve.
If I can do it, you can do it too…