Jamaican-born Rt. Rev. Sylveta A. Hamilton Gonzales, the founder, chief executive officer and bishop of QKingdom Ministries, Inc., continues to make her mark in Brooklyn.
Qkingdom is an interfaith community-based organization comprising the New York Ecumenical Convocation; the Mystical Temple of the Rose and Flame; the Inter-Cultural Awareness Council; the Education in Advancement Program/QK Scholarship Foundation; Woman of Great Esteem (WGE) Award; MACADEMY School of Science & Technology, “where students are educated, inspired and advanced;” QK International Student Exchange Program; and the Interfaith Academy.
In 2016, Bishop Hamilton Gonzales was appointed as a human rights commissioner by former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
She is also the chair of the Caribbean Research Center at Brooklyn’s predominantly Black Medgar Evers College, City University of New York.
Bishop Hamilton Gonzales graduated Summa Cum Laude from the College of New Rochelle, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and religion.
She is also a graduate of the New York Theological Seminary, receiving certification in Christian Ministry.
Accepted at both Harvard and Princeton Seminary, Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said she chose Princeton, where she received a Master’s degree in Divinity.
She was subsequently accepted at Drew University to work on her Ph. D in religion and society and a Doctorate in Ministry.
Rt. Rev. Hamilton Gonzales said her service to the community was extended when she became a member of the Brooklyn-based Progressive Democrats Progressive Association (PDPA) “under the magnanimous leadership of the Hon. Dr. Una Clake, CD,” the Jamaican-born, first Caribbean-born woman to be elected to New York City Council. Dr. Clarke is the former Council representative for the 40th District in Central Brooklyn.
On this journey as a member of the PDPA, Bishop Hamilton Gonzales told Caribbean Life that her dream was “to build, in the 35th Councilmatic District, where I reside, an academic institution of higher learning to reduce the gap and disparities in education in Central Brooklyn.”
She said because her passion is education, while observing the lack of opportunities for students in the community, she reached out to Dr. Clarke for “guidance on how to gain access to the proposals being distributed for the Universal Pre-K Program for 4-year-olds.”
She said her intentions were to extend the development of her school and offer more opportunities to parents and students.
Rt. Rev. Hamilton Gonzales said she had a meeting with Dr. Clarke that “crossed the Councilmanic lines, because Dr. Clarke was the council member for the 40th District,” and she lived in the 35th District.
Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said Mary Pickett was her council member, but when she reached out for Pickett’s assistance, she told her she was “unable to provide any assistance or guidance.”
During the meeting with Dr. Clarke, the bishop said Dr. Clarke informed her that “programs come and go when the administration changes.”
Hamilton Gonzales said Dr. Clarke, however, urged her to “continue to build a school and not just have a program.”
She said Dr. Clarke supported her vision, guided her through the process and introduced her to the experts in the field of education, who helped her to “navigate” her way through the Department of Education.
Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said Dr. Clarke’s “assistance and words of wisdom were added to the building blocks that laid the foundation for the expansion of MACADEMY School of Science and Technology, from elementary to middle school, in Central Brooklyn.”
“Dr. Clarke championed to way for this accomplishment,” she said, adding that her two sons, Ashley and Laurence, became “the magnificent columns of strength.”
“They were the young visionaries who renamed the school, wrote the proposals, and continued the process to develop a world class education system for the academic advancement for our students and school,” Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said. “They did marketing promotion, recruitment for the school and managed the day-to-day operations.”
She said she left MACADEMY, under the management and care of her sons; consultant Dr. Brenda Boyd Bell; attorney Earnest Wilson; “a team of competent accounts”; and members of her organization, Qkingdom Ministries, Inc., “and joined Dr. Clarke.”
Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said Dr. Clarke invited her to study “the political arena” and placed on her head “an amazing political hat,” which opened her eyes to the political needs of the community.
“Dr. Clarke’s central goal was to develop a robust, organized, local democracy that brought community members together across various ethnicity to fight together for the common interests of the community,” she said.
Under the “outstanding leadership of Dr. Una Clarke,” Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said she was “exposed to the goals of her political plans and the blueprint were defined.”
She said Dr. Clarke taught her and PDPA members “how to develop a data base information machine governed by facts, research, statistics, and communicate to the community.”
“The information machine was for her to choose the primary issues that were the struggles of the Central Brooklyn constituents,” she said. “Dr. Clarke utilized the results to inform her collective choice of candidates and issues to assist her to vet and endorse candidates, whose decisions to seek political office would be central to the priorities of their constituents.
“Dr. Una Clarke was and is the voice of the voiceless in Central Brooklyn and beyond,” Bishop Hamilton Gonzales proclaimed.
Under her “massive leadership”, she said Dr. Clarke “mastered and directed” her on “how to assess the needs of the community, set goals to rectify them by constructing intervention and evaluating the results.
“She is an outstanding political leader and matriarch,” declared the bishop, adding that, in the City Council and on the streets of Brooklyn, “Dr. Clarke left her marks on the immigrants, the van drivers, street vendors, on the vendors’ market, on Kings County medical facilities, on education and the financial assistance for community-based organizations.
“Dr. Clarke remains our political champion,” she said.
Bishop Hamilton Gonzales is also an educator at MACADEMY School of Science and Technology.
Over the past two decades, she has taught students at the school the importance of science.
She said “the realization that science is the innovation and invention of our new world have stirred an amazing interest” among her students.
“Many students boys and girls are inspired to choose science as their profession,” said Bishop Hamilton Gonzales, stating that she continues to expose her students to “a world that would assist them to become conscious awareness beings, exposing them to the vast knowledge of space and its connection to their spiritual and academic growth and development.”
Her scientific theory posits that “students whom are members of a society that is increasingly technologically and scientifically advancing in the world need to be scientifically literate to succeed.”
Therefore, Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said she has dedicated her life preparing her students to be “change agents for the advancement of our humanity.”
She said her use of science as a connection to spirituality in her curriculum “highlights great scientists,” such as Dimitri Mendeleev, the founder of the Periodic Table; James Webb, whom the telescope is named after, and is now recording and transferring information to NASA from space; and James Lovelock and his Gaia Theory.
“We are connected to everything – birds, bees, trees, seas, animals, etc.”, said Bishop Gonzales, adding that, on a daily basis, she continues to empower and encourage her students to “embrace their natural human curiosity and construct a hypothesis.”
She said she also challenges her students to “search for evidences” to their thoughts and “evaluate the results to make future decisions based on intelligent scientific results.
“This is problem-solving, using the tools of both critical thinking and evidentiary proof to create solutions that make better decisions,” said. Bishop Gonzales, stating that problem-solving and critical thinking are two of the “most important skills” her students learn in the classroom.
“Ideally, teaching the scientific method to students is teaching them how to think, learn, solve problems and make informed decisions,” she added. “These skills are integral to every aspect of a student’s education and life – from school to professional advancement in science.”
Bishop Hamilton Gonzales said her students are receiving a “first-class education because of Dr. Clarke’s support.”