The Joint Labor-Management Committee of Queens Hospital Center honored Borough President Helen Marshall and Yolanda Smith at its Black History Month celebration.
Marshall, the first black borough president and the second woman to be elected to the position, was awarded the African-American Achievement Award for Government and Leadership. Smith, the founder/director of Holistic Self-Care: Just For Me Inc., in Brooklyn, received the African-American Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship.
“Our theme this year is celebrating black women in history and culture,” said Yvonne Desilus, assistant director of nursing and a Joint Labor Management Committee member. “We thought of these two women as [the ideal] representation. They have offered a lot.”
Prior to the awards being given out, the audience viewed a slideshow of black women who made history in the United States, while the hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing” played in the background. The speaker for the day, Albert Willingham, the labor committee chairman, greeted the crowd and thanked Marshall for all the contributions she has made to the hospital.
The Queens Hospital York College choirs sang while students at the Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School performed a dance.
Smith is a graduate of Hunter College, where she received her master of science in medical-surgical nursing. She then received multiple certifications: 360 wellness coach, certified compassion fatigue educator, wellness speaker and Reiki master/teacher and transformational meditation instructor, to name a few.
Smith since then has developed an estimated amount of 20 nursing programs as well. The mission of her organization, as stated on her website, is to enlighten, empower and educate individuals and many more to a healthier lifestyle of wellness through body, mind and spirit from channeling self-care.
“This is the first time I have received this type of award, I am humble for this experience,” said Smith. “It’s an opportunity for me to share with other black women.”
As the borough president began to speak, one of the things she mentioned was of her encounter with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Marshall expressed that she was always fascinated by the work he did, and what he did; the idea that he did his work with love and she admired that the most about him. Marshall then said she was more than honored to be given the award by QHC, a hospital she has always fought for and when she received her position as borough president she would always answer their calls.
“Sometimes we fail to see what we can do [as women], not just as a woman but as a person,” said Jospehine Alameda, the Health Program planner analyst. “I [want he honorees] to continue the hard work and they make each and everyone of us proud.”
©2012 Community News Group
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