Westchester Legislators Celebrate Black History Month

WHITE PLAINS – On Monday, February 5, the Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated their annual Black History Month observance, starting with an inspiring rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” performed by Tanisha Blanche, followed by a virtual ceremony presenting proclamations to the two honorees.

Board Chair Vedat Gashi (D- New Castle, Somers, Yorktown) convened the ceremony, welcoming guests both virtually and in-person. He said, “The national theme for 2024 is ‘African-Americans and the Arts,’ which highlights the key influences of African-Americans in all fields of cultural expression. As we celebrate Black History Month, it is so important to recognize how much American culture has been enriched over time by African-Americans in our County and throughout the nation.”

“We have two exceptional honorees this evening: Linda Tarrant-Reid of New Rochelle, and the Westchester County Press, accepted by Publisher, Sandra Blackwell. The accomplishments of both honorees are in perfect synergy with this year’s theme – Ms. Tarrant-Reid as the author of two noteworthy books on African-American History, and the Westchester County Press as the County’s longest-running journalistic outlet for the African-American community.”

Majority Whip Terry Clements (D – New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor) presented the first proclamation to Ms. Tarrant-Reid saying, “I chose Linda Tarrant-Reid to receive this honor because she is one of the most accomplished individuals I have ever met. Her work as an author, historian, journalist, photographer and community advocate has inspired me personally – and positively impacted so many others.”

“Although much of her career has been literary, her passion now is addressing food justice and food insecurity in New Rochelle through urban farming. She has been the garden administrator for grow! Eat at the Lincoln Park Community Garden since 2011. Under Linda’s leadership, this effort has grown into The Lincoln Park Conservancy, Inc. Its mission is to preserve, educate, and celebrate the rich history of the Black community in New Rochelle and address food insecurity in disadvantaged communities. As Executive Director, Ms. Tarrant-Reid is spearheading the initiative to establish The Lincoln Park Conservancy History & Culture Center at a community benefit space in downtown New Rochelle.”

Ms. Tarrant-Reid expressed her gratitude for the honor saying, “While Legislator Clements was kind enough to talk about many things I have done in my life, I am very focused on my mission as the Executive Director of The Lincoln Park Conservancy (TLPC), and the work that TLPC has been doing for the past 13 years – growing healthy and safe food and feeding the food insecure. Food insecurity disproportionately affects communities of color, so what better time to talk about it than Black History Month.”

“To receive this recognition is a testament to the fact that our Team is doing the right thing. With grow! Eat, people have access to free, locally-grown, pesticide-free vegetables delivered directly to their neighborhood…The joy, satisfaction and humility that the grow! Eat Staff experience each time we visit and provide healthy, clean produce to the community is immeasurable.”

The Board declared Wednesday, February 14, 2024 “Linda Tarrant-Reid Day” in Westchester County.

Majority Leader Tyrae Woodson-Samuels (D – Mount Vernon) presented the second proclamation to Sandra Blackwell, Publisher of Westchester County Press. He said, “Tonight, as we celebrate Black History Month, we pay tribute to the Westchester County Press, a cherished institution in our community since 1928. It evolved from its original focus to become a voice for Westchester’s African-American communities, first under the stewardship of Jessie and Reverend Alger L. Adams, and then by Orial and M. Paul Redd, Sr. At the time of Mr. Redd’s untimely death in 2009, longtime volunteer, Sandra Blackwell was able to step up and take the helm.”

“As a member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Westchester County Press remains committed to telling the essential stories of our African-American residents, and providing timely information regarding events and happenings across the County. We are thankful for all those who have shaped the Press’s past and present, and we celebrate this institution’s enduring impact on enlightening and uniting our community.”

Ms. Blackwell graciously accepted the honor saying, “The Westchester County Press is an educational tool with archives that must be preserved and made available in digital form so that our next generations can research the contributions and accomplishments of their ancestors, and read stories of how African-Americans helped in many of our communities to make Westchester County the inclusive place we enjoy today.”

“While we may have miles to go, we believe in the promise of democracy and that it must be sustained by each generation. Thank you, Majority Leader Woodson-Samuels, for recognizing the value of the Westchester County Press in our County.”

The Board declared Saturday, February 10, 2024 “Westchester County Press Day” in Westchester County.

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