“She was a force of nature. Sometimes, she was more of a force than nature.” -Steven Safyer, CEO and president of Montefiore
Megan Charlop is being remembered in the community she helped save from blight when much of it was literally on fire in the 1970s.
Meg Charlop Way, named after the community activist who was killed while riding a bicycle to work on March 17, 2010, was officially dedicated on Thursday, May 10 in Morrisania on Fulton Avenue between East 165th Street and East 167th Street.
Among those speaking about Charlop during the renaming were Montefiore CEO and president Steven Safyer, Deputy Borough President Auriela Greene, Community Board 3 district manager John Dudley, her husband Richie Powers, and her brother Gordon Charlop. Charlop was a housing advocate in the south Bronx in the 1970s before working at Montefiore as a public health worker specializing in lead paint issues and preventing childhood obesity.
They remembered Charlop as someone who had a great amount of energy, and the drive and conviction to do what is right, colleagues and relatives said.
“Megan was very idealistic, for as long as I knew her,” Powers said. “She had a very keen sense of right and wrong. To her, it just wasn’t right that the south Bronx was burning and it was in the United States of America – the richest country in the world.”
Had she had attended the ceremony renaming the street in her honor, she would have no doubt been honored, but would have also been embarassed because she was not someone who relished the spotlight, Powers said.
Charlop worked as a housing advocate while living in the neighborhood in the late-1970s, at 1165 Franklin Avenue, Powers said. Friends and co-workers remembered that she also helped save Estella Diggs Park, which was recently renamed in honor of the former assemblywoman, when it was known as Roots and Rocks Park.
Charlop made a commitment to the borough when it was at its lowest, said Greene in her remarks, working as a housing organizer for tenants in the Morrisania community, which was once plagued by blight, arson and abadonment.
Since 2004, Charlop worked to develop classroom, school, and community prorgrams that econurage children to eat healthy and be physically fit, fighting obesity, said Dr. David Appel, director of Montefiore School Health Program.
Some considered Megan Charlop “the Mother Teresa of the Bronx,” which is surprising since she was Jewish, said Gordon Charlop. Gordon Charlop remembered Megan’s feelings that all should be included, which was evident in childhood, extended into her community and public-health work.