The North Bronx Section of National Council of Negro Women is celebrating an important milestone.
Chartered in May 1967, the section held a golden anniversary celebration at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Sunday, April 30, with a focus on honoring youth leaders that represent the organization’s future, said its president Patricia Kerr.
The section, part of the national NCNW founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune in 1935, was organized by six women under the leadership of Daisy George, who served as the group’s first president.
“The 50th anniversary is a proud moment to lift up Daisy George’s legacy and that of our phenomenal leaders over the past 50 years,” said Kerr.
She adds that she has been a member for three decades and that the organization has always been there to help women and their families, as well as children with their educations.
Founding members included Susie Haskins, Pearl Kirkland, Jessie Profit, Louise Mc Lemore, Kathelyn Rux and Maggie Alston.
For about 35 years, the organization has served as the community sponsor for a city-run day care at the NCNW Child Development Center at 4035 White Plains Road, said Kerr.
Even though the day care is a separate entity, the section works out of that location, with members often volunteering to help children with their schoolwork, and the local chapter is “the reason it is in the north Bronx,” she said.
Kerr said the organization counts as its major accomplishments the work it has done with day care and after-school programing.
Concerning efforts to prevent domestic violence, the NCNW North Bronx section has been engaging with the police department and elected officials, the president said.
They are also deeply concerned about the juvenile justice system and its effect on youth, and have been involved in numerous efforts over the years to stop police brutality, she said, adding that over the years young people dying in police custody has been an issue.
Within the past three years, the section began a series of partnerships and collaborations with local organizations to hold forums that address social issues.
Beginning in 1994 and continuing to this day, the organization has been serving Thanksgiving meals to people without families and to the homeless.
In the mid-1980s, the group initiated an in-house youth tutoring and summer enrichment program.
It has also been a persistent force in voter registration and consumer education.
The organization is politically active, and receives a lot of attention from and collaboration with elected officials, said Varahn Chamblee, section parliamentarian.
The key challenge moving forward, said Kerr, is the need to encourage in young women the same level of commitment as previous generations have had.
The current core members of the group are aging, she said, and young women are needed take the baton of leadership.
“We work to engage the young people,” said Kerr, adding “We are trying to encourage the young people to create a new legacy that is going to be delivered in a different manner and a different form.”
To that end, the anniversary celebration honored Allana Beddoe, Lisa Dawson, Tiffany Dickenson, Jasmine McCook, Nicole Shillingford and Aleatha Williams as 2017 Burmadine Hinds Future Leader Awardees.
McCook is a fourth generation member of NCNW’s North Bronx section, said Kerr.