Public Employee Press
Mother, daughter duo: Answering the call of public service
By JANE LaTOUR
In 1995, when Daniqua Goyans was 6, her mother, Local 983 member Danielle Clemons, started out as a seasonal worker for the Parks and Recreation Dept. Mom then moved up to become a Playground Associate and soon an Urban Park Ranger.
Danielle Clemons with her daughter, Urban Park Ranger Daniqua Goyans.
Clemons worked in Prospect Park, Hudson River Park, St. John's Recreation Center, and eventually the rec center in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Every day after school, Daniqua, an only child, went to her mother's job.
In 2007, she received one of the 13 family scholarships awarded annually by DC 37's national union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. She began her college career at Kingsborough Community College and transferred to Brooklyn College. In 2007, her mother began a new career as a New York State Court Officer and member of the Supreme Court Officers Association.
Goyans graduated from Brooklyn College in 2011. In selecting a career, she was inspired by her mother's example.
"I was very influenced in my choice of job by my mother, because she made her job look excellent. She was very professional and productive, and she looked great in her uniform. She influenced me to be a person who wants to get up in the morning, serve the public, and keep people safe. I saw my mother move up to Seasonal Sergeant. When I saw her in her white shirt with her utility belt, I could see how sharp she looked and how well respected she was by others," said Daniqua Goyans.
"I said to myself, 'That's what I want to do.' And here I am now, a UPR who completed my Seasonal Sergeant training last summer, following in my mother's footsteps," she said.
Patrolling public spaces
After receiving training for three months at the Randall's Island Academy, Goyans was assigned to Hudson River Park, where she patrols to ensure safety and services to the public.
"This is a beautiful, 550-acre park in lower Manhattan. It holds a lot of history and is a relaxing and peaceful environment. I enjoy the park because it's breathtaking. I like its compelling attractions, the peaceful view of the water, the acres of green and the people who come to visit. As I patrol, I see how the cityscape changes," she said.
"I feel like I've set a great example for my daughter," said Clemons. "I'm honored that she wanted to follow in my footsteps, and I want her to surpass me - by all means."
In comparing her two positions, Clemons says that, as a court officer, she's still in uniform and working directly with the public. But there are some things she misses - like the smell of dew early in the morning. "The inmate holding cells don't compare to Prospect Park," she said. "I miss the good mornings with a smile from the joggers and dog walkers in the park."
Clemons is grateful to DC 37, AFSCME and Local 983. "I never could have done it without my union, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart," she said.
Like her mother, Goyans loves the freedom of working outdoors.
"I like helping the public and enforcing the rules in the park with my peace officer status. I like the job benefits and the unity I have with my co-workers," she said.