Caribbean Life Impact Awards: Celebrating excellence and community spirit

The 2024 Caribbean Life Impact Awards honorees at the Terrace on the Park in Queens, NY.
Photo by Corazon Aguirre

Over three dozen distinguished honorees were feted Wednesday night as Caribbean Life hosted its annual Caribbean Impact Awards.

Forty-one honorees strutted their stuff on the red carpet before hundreds of effervescent patrons pulsating Caribbean music before receiving their prestigious award at Terrace on the Park in Queens, NY.

The annual Impact Awards recognize the achievements and contributions of outstanding individuals born in the Caribbean or Caribbean background who have made the most impact in their respective career fields, ranging from healthcare to the arts to advocacy to entrepreneurship.

TD Bank was the Corporate sponsor for the gala. Bank. A roster of esteemed sponsors contributed to the success of the evening, including NYC Health + Hospitals/Community Care, Phipps Houses, J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home Inc, Caribbean Legal Solutions, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Medical, NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health, Deloitte, MetroplusHealth Plan, Women Creating Change, Emigrant Bank, and Ms. Jessie’s.

Caribbean Life said, “The celebrated honorees are committed to creating and framing the path for incoming immigrants and inspiring generations to come.”

“We are pleased to acknowledge the many extraordinary achievements of the Caribbean Americans we are honoring tonight, who continue to significantly impact life in the United States, particularly New York,” said Victoria Schneps-Yunis, CEO and publisher of Schneps Media, Caribbean Life’s parent company.

“These hard-working and dedicated individuals have been so successful because they have a passion for what they do,” she added. “They have positioned themselves as major players, who have positively influenced our city every day. It is my privilege to honor them tonight.”

Amanda Tarley, director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Events and Programs at Schneps Media, coordinated the event. She said it was “an honor to share a room with everyone here tonight.

“Caribbean Life has been a staple and a local source for news, politics, entertainment, and more for Caribbean Americans in New York City for over three decades,” she said. “Every year, we look forward to bringing this event to you.”

Tarley congratulated the 2024 honorees, thanking them for their “endless efforts” and asking patrons to applaud current and past honorees. “It’s exciting to see many familiar faces and the level of support we have for one another in the room tonight,” she said.

Opal Sinclair Chung, Chief Nursing Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals/King County, led the roster of honorees and received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Standing before the gathered audience, her eyes glistening with emotion, Mrs. Chung accepted the award with gratitude. She dedicated the honor to her beloved family and dedicated team. Their unwavering support, she professed, had been the cornerstone of her journey, guiding her through every triumph and challenge.

With over four decades of steadfast commitment to nursing care, Chung has been a beacon of compassion and professionalism in healthcare. Her tireless efforts have elevated the standard of nursing care and inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in healthcare.

Andre White, CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods, was recognized with the Youth Advocate and Development Award for his nearly two decades of dedicated public service. As a nationally recognized leader, White has advocated for empowering and developing youth from underserved communities. His visionary leadership has transformed countless lives and paved the way for a brighter future for generations to come. “Our work is critical now more than ever, and it is important that we ensure that families don’t have to choose between putting food on the table and paying their rent,” he noted.

Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, and actor Dr. Dawnn Lewis was honored with the Philanthropy Award for her exceptional contributions to philanthropic endeavors. As the founder of A New Day Foundation, Lewis has demonstrated a deep commitment to supporting communities in need through various charitable initiatives. Her philanthropic efforts have had a profound and lasting impact on countless individuals, providing hope and opportunities for a better tomorrow. “You see me, but behind me, I have so much family support, and many sacrifices have been made to help me get to this point.”

The 2024 honorees were

Roger G. Arrieux Jr., Deloitte’s East Region Market Leader and New York Managing Partner;

Rose Astrid Benjamin, MSN RN – Kingsboro Psychiatric Center – Office Of Mental Health – Chief Nursing Officer;

Joanna Bosquet – MetroPlus Health – Sales Supervisor,

Orlando Charles – Urbane (Flatbush Central Market) – General Manager The Mangrove Kitchen, Humphrey Crookendale – Metropolitan College of New York – Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Tania Desgrottes – NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Medical – Associate Executive Director, Ambulatory Care Services,

Atiba T. Edwards – Brooklyn Children’s Museum – President & CEO,

James Foster Phillips, IV – J Foster Phillips Funeral Home Inc,

Amanda C. Gayle, Esq. – Self Made Law, PLLC – Owner & Managing Attorney

Wilhelmine Herard James – Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated & NYC Public Schools – New York State Director/Senior Director Leadership Coaches and Professional Learning

Dr. Francine Hippolyte – Northwell Health; Long Island Jewish Katz Women’s Hospital – Vice Chair

Lamar Hughes – United Federation Of Teachers – Chapter Leader, Delegate, and Advocate

Bridgette Ingraham-Roberts – NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health – Director of Strategic Initiatives and Public Affairs,

Yvette Janniere – Rigor Management LLC – President & CEO,

Pearl John – Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Auxiliary – President,

Nicole Jordan-Martin – NYC Health + Hospitals/Community Care – Executive Director and CEO,

Renee Kendall – Caribbean Legal Solutions – Founder,

Sonia Lawrence – New York State Nurses Association – Director at Large,

Christine Lewis – Domestic Workers United – Secretary/Cultural Outreach Coordinator,

Dawnn Lewis – A New Day Foundation – Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, actor & philanthropist,

Dr. Sophia Lubin – Symphony Medical – Faculty Physician, Hazel-Ann F. Mayers, Esq. – Turnitin, LLC – General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Major Tracee Yvette Millard Esq., J.D., LL.M – National Association of Black Military Women – United States Army Judge Advocate (JAG)

Natasha Pierre McCarthy – National Vitiligo Bond Inc., Foundation – Founder and Executive Director,

Magna McQuilkin – NYC Health + Hospitals | Kings County – Assistant Director of Nursing

Dr. Anthony E. Munroe – Borough of Manhattan Community College / CUNY – President

Daniella Piper – New York Power Authority – EVP & Chief Innovation Officer,

Sean Ramdhanie – Institute For Community Living – Vice President of Transitional Services,

Yvette E. Rennie – J’Ouvert City International, Inc – President,

Sharon Sewell-Fairman – Women Creating Change – President & CEO

Opal Sinclair-Chung, RN – NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County – Chief Nursing Officer,

Ramdat Singh – Caribbean Equality Project & Bronx Democratic Party – Board Member & District Leader,

Nicole Smart – Partnership Solutions – Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging,

Lynn St. Hilaire, RN, ANP – Metroplus Health – Vice President of Clinical Services at MetroPlusHealth,

Raul Angelo Van Rossum – Neighborhood Housing Services & Citizens International Realty, LLC – Real Estate Broker

Jennifer Viechweg-Horsford – Leaders Engaging in All-Round Development (LEAD’INT) & Cycles of Resilience Canarsie Street Team – Founder

Andre White – Phipps Neighborhoods – Executive Director and CEO,

Anaka Earle – Phipps Houses – Director of Rentals,

Cynthia Strother – Phipps Neighborhoods – Senior Director of Community Education and Schools,

Jennifer Wainwright – Phipps Houses – Director of Communications,

Natalia Veras – Phipps Neighborhoods -Marketing and Communications Manager.

Caribbean Life senior writer Dr. Nelson A. King, who began writing for the paper shortly after its formation almost 33 years ago, was the emcee.

Trinidadian Angela Cooper sang the U.S. National Anthem to wide acclaim.

Wulkout Soca Fitness performed an energetic dance piece.

Caribbean Life raises funds for a local not-for-profit organization through the annual Impact Awards gala. This year, the paper raised funds for the Society for the Advancement of the Tobago Empowerment and Alliance Mission. One hundred percent of the raffle proceeds from Wednesday night will be donated to TEAM.