Public Employee Press
Political Action 2007
Believers to achievers
Hillary honors our Lillian
LEADERS: Senator Hillary Clinton (left) honors DC 37 Exec. Director Lillian Roberts.
By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
District Council 37 welcomed U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clintons seventh
annual African American Heritage celebration to the union hall Feb. 25 for a ceremony
that honored DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts and six others as exceptional
leaders and innovators.
The best way to predict the future is to
create it, and I believe that todays honorees have all understood that.
They have been creating a new and better future, sometimes against difficult odds,
Clinton said, but they believed change would come for the better.
Clinton chose the union hall the home of everyday heroes
because DC 37 is always ready to step forward and help, whether
it be Congressional hearings on health issues for 9/11 responders or celebrations
such as the unions Black History Month programs throughout February.
Clinton praised Roberts and DC 37 for doing so much to see that members
live in dignity.
Shes a lifelong champion for working
people, tireless, fearless and one of the best-dressed women I know, said
Clinton, who awarded Roberts a distinguished service certificate. Clinton praised
Roberts for her innovative leadership, for creating the Municipal Employees Housing
Program, and for bringing education opportunities to union members.
have only been able to accomplish these things with the support of the members,
Roberts said. Before she passed my mother told me, Your work is not
finished. Roberts said DC 37 would continue to press for better wages,
affordable housing, available child care and quality health care. Its
a crime and a shame that people lack quality health care, Roberts said.
These issues are challenging, but we are going to make them happen.
Divine Bradley, Marcia
Keizs, Roberts, Hon. Ernest Davis, Clinton, Elsie Crum McCrae and Sheena Wright.
historic struggles of those who started in slavery and ended in triumph,
Clinton also honored the following African American achievers: youth activist
Divine Bradley; Mount Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis; Dr. James Forbes, retired senior
minister of The Riverside Church; York College President Marcia V. Keizs; Museum
of African Art founder and President Elsie Crum McCrae; and Sheena Wright, president
and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corp.
The event also featured master
drummer Don Ebadunde Eaton, 18-year-old opera singer Melanie J.B. Charles, and
teen jazz quintet Q5 Youth Band.
Clinton paid special tribute to freedom
fighters Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, who both settled in New York, by
introducing legislation to fund memorials to their legacies. The senator also
introduced a bill that established the African Burial Ground National Historic
Site and the African Burial Ground International Memorial Museum for the more
than 400 African ancestors whose Lower Manhattan gravesite was disturbed in 1991.