The New York City Council, in a February 25 evening event in Council Chambers, honored Black History Month by recognizing four leaders in the African-American community as well as presenting both young dancers and comedy. The evening was hosted the Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, its co-chairs I. Daneek Miller of Queens and Ydanis Rodriguez of Manhattan, and Chelsea’s out gay Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
The ceremony honored Robbie Garrison, the co-chair of the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground Conservancy, a group that preserves a mid-19th century cemetery where more than 1,000 New Yorkers, most of them Black or Native American, were interred; Butterflies by Blaq, a non-profit founded in 2012 that provides wigs for children going through medical hair loss; Kyle Bragg, the president since last July of Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, the nation’s largest union for workers in building property services; and Dawn Pinnock, the executive deputy commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.
Young Cydnee Buggs opened the evening by singing the National Anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black National Anthem. Young dancers from E.P.I.C. Dance, an arts school in Jamaica, Queens, also performed, as did a comic troupe from NYLaughs.org, a non-profit that presents free comedy in public spaces across New York.