A salute to Yesterday’s Children is about love, honor, obedience, gratitude and unity — qualities that were certainly expressed on Sept. 20, when five elderly women were treated to an evening of elegance at the New Hope Empowerment Center in Brooklyn.
Elvira Eugene Alexander, 91, a former hairdresser and factory worker from Duncan Village, Port of Spain, credits the blessings she received, and the active lifestyle she led as the reasons for her longevity. Acquiring a good education, working hard and always saving for a rainy day, are standards the mother of four lived by.
Born on May 2, 1925, in Minachy Alley, Port of Spain, Cleopatra Harlow Peters, 90, a former medicine woman from the age of seven, said she was born with the gift of healing. The former teacher and nurse, and mother of seven, enjoyed playing rounders, an activity that helped her to live to a ripe old age.
Rosalind Mahalia October, a proud mother of 14 born in Sisters’ Village on the East Bank of Berbice in Guyana, was inspired to acquire a family compound after selling ice from an icebox for many years. Today, the business Rosalind started with her husband remains the oldest establishment on the busy thoroughfare of Regent in Georgetown.
“Never hurt anyone, and always take care of yourself,” are the words of wisdom from Anna Walrond of Siparia Hill, Port of Spain, Trinidad who celebrated her 100 birthday last July. The former domestic worker, who, back in the day enjoyed playing Hopscotch, is a mother of nine who cherishes being called Mother Annie by the many spiritual children she has.
At 101 years old, Henrietta Stewart from Mucurapo Road, San Fernando, Trinidad, a former seamstress and nurse’s aide, loves watching football. Her long life is due to her faith and the belief that you receive whatever you ask for in God’s name, said the mother of four.
With images of their Caribbean heritage in the hall, the honorees were treated like royalty and presented with “You are a Shining Star” plaques. The beautiful designed image of a shooting star named for each dame, was the brainchild of Trinidad-born Glenda Cadogan, director of Mauby Media Services.
Cadogan honored the exceptional contributions the matriarchs made to their communities during the fifth Annual Yesterday’s Children salute, and spoke about her role as the “Colored Girl in the Ring” who was diligent in her commitment to honor the elders, despite having to work with a “shoestring’ budget.”
The charming senior citizens, who were dressed in their finest, and treated to an African drum salute that had the elders shaking their bodies during the possession into the hall, received their likeness in print, compliments of HM Photographics NYC head.
The Positive Community Magazine, in turn, presented the Front Page Award to the ladies, while Danella Abby of Ahsiro Creations bestowed Lapgans to keep the great grandmothers warm.
During the evening of great entertainment that included a poem by Kenya Jacob, drum salute by Averi Fanfair and dance performance by Lamont Joseph, Senator Kevin Parker who honored the ladies with citations, thanked Cadogan for the magnificent work she has been doing to bring the stories of the elderly to ‘our community and the world.’ “Thanks for everything you have done, Parker told the senior citizens, I stand on your shoulders, I would not be here, as a person and as a senator to represent you if you did not come before me. Thank you for what you have done and what you will continue to do,” added Parker who praised the ladies for their energy and enthusiasm.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, awarded citations, while Liaison of New York Comptroller, Scott Stringer’s office Cory Provost told the honorees that they were God’s work at its finest, and congratulated them for all the work they have done, and will continue to do while rewarding them with certificates of appreciation.
Kyle Jean-Pierre, Gail Yvette Davis, Baba Sangobukunmi Ifaseye, Lani K, Michelle Young, Shirma Cadogan, Roz Smith, Jaael Cudjoe, Collin Winters, and Andy Edwards, participated to make the event a success.