2019 INFLUENTIAL GROUPS, PEOPLE, AND ORGANIZATIONS ON STATEN ISLAND

1. Virginia Allen - Black Angel

Virginia Allen was born on August 15, 1931, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the oldest of three children born to Lawrence Allen and Ruth Sutton Allen. The family relocated to Detroit, Michigan when Virginia was an infant. She was enrolled and attended public elementary and high school in the city of Detroit. Inspired by her Aunt Edna Sutton-Ballard, a registered nurse living in New York City, at the age of 16, Virginia encouraged her parents to allow her to move to Staten Island, New York to pursue a career in nursing.

Thus it was in 1947 that Virginia started working as a nurse’s aide at Sea View Hospital, Staten Island, which at that time was designated as a tuberculosis sanitarium.  She went on to receive an LPN from Central School for Practical Nurses. In 1960 Virginia took a position as a surgical nurse and subsequently became personnel training director at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital. While she was still employed at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital Leon Davis the president of Local 1199 AFL-CIO recruited Virginia. She took a hiatus from nursing to pursue a career in labor relations, attending Cornell University to further her knowledge and inform herself professionally as it relates to the nuances of labor relations. Joining the labor relations’ team offered a renewed opportunity to expand her horizon, so she became an administrative organizer and worked with 1199 AFL-CIO for about a year. During this time Virginia met many important people, including Dr. Martin Luther King, A. Philip Randolph, Ossie Davis, and Coretta Scott King. After completing her tenure as a labor activist, Virginia eventually went back to nursing, focusing on patient care and still holds a current state license. Over the years, Virginia would continue to sharpened her academic prowess by attending several institutions of higher learning, including New York University and the College of Staten Island, at which she earned an Associate Degree.

 In the 1960s Virginia also began volunteering in the Women’s Crisis Center in Port Richmond, Staten Island—a keynote in what was to become her ever-evolving commitment to community service. Her many commitments to civic engagement within her local and neighboring communities include service as past president of the North Shore Staten Island Section of the National Council of Negro Women and volunteering with Bread and Roses (the cultural arm of Local 1199). Additionally, she has served tirelessly as a board member of Cultural Crossroads in Fort Green, Brooklyn and the Art Lab at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, Staten Island. Virginia is a charter member of the National Council of Negro Women, Staten Island Section; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; the New York Urban League; the Sandy Grounds Historical Society; Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, Inc. Lambda Chapter; the Weeksville Society; the North Star Lions Club; the Staten Island Women’s Club (formerly the Business and Professional Women), and the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. Currently, Virginia serves as a board member of Staten Island Out Loud and the College of Staten Island Auxiliary Board for Grants for Education and Vocation.

Virginia is the recipient of numerous awards, citations, and certificates including a Proclamation from the City of New York for Outstanding Community Service; the William A. Morris Humanitarian Award; the Staten Island Hope Community Service Award; the Staten Island Advance Woman of Achievement Award; the Distinguished Service Key Award for Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, Inc.; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Woman of Distinction Award” awarded by the Stapleton UAME Church, and the Senior Usher Board Community Service Award bestowed by St. Philips Baptist Church.

Virginia is a lifelong community activist. In addition, and in pursuit of spiritual sustenance she has been a member of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island for over 30 years. There she has served on many committees, including Social Concerns, Flowers, and Memorial Garden. Also, for three terms she served within the institution on their Board of Trustees. She is presently a member of the Religious Exploration Committee at Unitarian and provides guidance and support to encourage and uplift the spiritual development of the church’s youth.

Virginia Allen’s longtime commitment as an activist on labor issues; healthcare; women’s and senior citizen’s issues; education reform, and youth involvement has evolved into a rich base of personal interests and selfless community outreach. Today, Ms. Allen continues to enjoy traveling, remains an avid reader, and relishes arts and crafts in their varying forms. One of her main beliefs is that this world is all we have and it is our duty to care for one another.

2. Brothers Care Inc.

Brothers Care Inc is a Non For Profit 501(c)3 Organization. We have been doing business for 18 years. All of our events are free to the public. We cater to less fortunate families and individuals that live in High Crime Rate, Low Income, Poverty Struck Urban Areas in Staten Island, our events are open to the public. Brothers Care Inc consists of 12 dedicated members that grew up in the West Brighton area.

This organization started from a group of West Brighton friends coming together every summer hosting a big free BBQ in The Markham Homes. The event got bigger and bigger every year so we decided to move the event to Corporal Thompson Park and become a 501(c)3 organization. At that time we called ourselves Brothers Who Care, the name was taken when we decided to became a non-for-profit so we changed the name to Brothers Care Inc. We conduct annual ongoing events:

> April: Golden Easter Egg Hunt
> June: PS18 5th Grade Scholarship Award
> July: West Brighton Harmony Day
> August: Back To School Supply Giveaway
> October: Safe Children’s Halloween Party
> November: Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway
> December: Christmas Toy Giveaway
 
 We could not do the things we do for the Staten Island community without the help and support and sponsorship from our long-time ongoing supporters. Our Motto is: “UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY”

3. Jermaine Cameron - Principal, Eagle Academy Young Men of SI

4. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - Staten Island Alumnae

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Staten Island Alumnae Chapter
Staten Island Alumnae Chapter (SIAC) was chartered on January 20, 1996, by 23 members of Delta
Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is affectionately known in New York as the “little chapter with the
big heart.” Within the first six months of our chartering, SIAC awarded its first college scholarship,
provided mentoring and tutorial support to students, and organized our first May Week program.
In 1997 at the Eastern Regional Conference, we received the Eastern Region Social Action Award and
in 1999, the Chapter of the Year Award.

In realizing our mission to provide programs and services to the Staten Island community, SIAC
provides an extensive array of public service initiatives through our Sorority’s Five-Point
Programmatic Thrust – Economic Development, Physical and Mental Health, Educational Development,
Political Awareness and Involvement and International Awareness and Involvement, and over the past
20 years, has implemented several projects and signature programs such as the Thanksgiving Food
Baskets, The Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, Delta GEMS, EMBODI, Kings Who Cook,
Community Christmas parties with the Staten Island Mental Health Society and local churches, and
The Melody Scott-Decuir Annual College Scholarship in memory of our beloved chapter member,
where we have awarded over $20,000 in scholarship monies to high school seniors on Staten Island.

We have also dedicated considerable time to building coalitions and developing substantive
programming through community collaboration and partnerships. Currently, SIAC is in partnership
with The Sisterhood, Staten Island Black Heritage, The College of Staten Island and we have also
worked with Councilmember Debi Rose’s office on various initiatives. Through these partnerships, we
have co-sponsored a leadership development conference for teen and tween girls as well as community
forums on the affordable care act, domestic violence, health and wellness, the roles of elected
officials, voter suppression and the voting process, the workings of municipal government and
many other topics. We have also participated annually in the American Cancer Society’s, Making
Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and in 2017 marked the second year that we have partnered with
The Pride Center of Staten Island on their annual candlelight vigil to recognize World Aids Day.
SIAC has also developed the Teresa A. Gallishaw Undergraduate Mentoring program for Black and
Latino women attending the College of Staten Island in memory of our beloved chapter member. We
have also continued to serve the community by volunteering monthly at the soup kitchen and pantry at
Trinity Lutheran Evangelical Church and have donated turkeys and other food supplies to Project
Hospitality.

We also kicked off in 2017 our first annual diaper drive to benefit various organizations and
families across Staten Island. Project Hospitality was our inaugural organization for the diaper drive. We
have also started an economic development program where we have supported small and minority-owned
businesses on Staten Island through our annual Small Business Crawl during the busy Thanksgiving
shopping weekend and have also introduced and facilitated the free financial freedom workshop series.
Following in our Founders footsteps and guided by our Sorority’s national initiatives, SIAC remains
committed to supporting our local community and looks forward to another 20 years and more of
making a positive impact within the Staten Island community through relevant programs, service,
and collaboration with a spirit of sisterhood.

5. Distinguish Gentleman

                 111 City Blvd. Staten Island N.Y. 10301, www.distinguishedgentlmangroup.org

The Distinguished Gentleman Group: Is a non-profit Organization, made up of men who care about the well being of Families in all communities. The Distinguished Gentleman have been established for 20 years and have committed themselves towards serving the community and working towards implementing programs that will strengthen our communities, such as ( Backpack giveaway for school, Feeding families for Thanksgiving, Toy  give away at P.S. 18 and Staten Island Hospital Children’s Ward for Christmas ) men who will continue to work towards bridging the gap between the youth and positive adults by sponsoring and mentoring families in need.

The men of this group utilize the resources we get from Fundraising and Donations to create a bond with the community. It is the goal of this group to educate and be supportive to anyone in need by providing services directly or indirectly through referrals or other agencies and support services to strengthen family ties and the future of family legacies. The men of this group will continue to implement high standards of professional conduct and lead by example for the young and the old.” Each One Teach One” is our Moto, therefore sharing our knowledge and life’s experiences with the everyone in our communities, which can only happen by spreading integrity and the tools of life to engage society and embrace the healthy ethics needed to provide a safe place where all members of society can nurture one another.  

 President:  Dayfan Grant

 Vice-President:  Michael Browning

 Treasurer:  Clarence Hines

Secretary:  Darrell Grant

Asst. Secretary: James Browning                                                                                                                                         

Members

Mark McGhie

Kevin Finley

Freddie Cabrerra

Tyrone  Jones

6. Katia Gordon

 

 

7. Sandra Graydon-Long – Borough Deputy Director, NYC ACS

Sandra Graydon-Long is a Licensed Social Worker and she is a native of Tifton, Georgia.   She graduated from Valdosta State University and received her B.A. degree in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Work, and a minor in Music.Ms. Graydon-Long received her Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University in 2003.  She was chosen to give the student commencement speech at the graduation ceremony.  While at Fordham University, Ms. Graydon-Long served as the President of Fordham University Association of Black Social Workers.  Sandra has a heart for service. She serves on several committees within the Richmond County Community in which she resides. She has held a position as one of the Co-chairs of the Staten Island Community Partnership Program, she is a member of the Borough President Advisory Council on Children and Families and serves on the Board of Directors at the Sandy Ground Historical Society to name a few.

In her position as Borough Commissioner of NYC Children’s Services for the Staten Island Office, she manages and oversees the daily operations of the borough office for the County of Richmond.  She continues to work with the various community partnerships here on Staten Island so that the families receive the best services possible as it pertains to the safety and well-being of children.  Ms. Graydon-Long has been instrumental in ensuring that families who are in need receive food from an on-site food pantry, provide clothing to children and families who are in need, be as well as facilitating Holiday Food Drives and Children’s Parties.

Ms. Graydon-Long is also a professional singer and has performed at both the Apollo and Lincoln Center.  She has directed and sang in church choirs in the past and she is currently a member of the Worship Team at International Christian Center.  Her first CD, “It Gets Better” was released two years ago.

Every day she is thankful for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon her and because she is blessed, she strives to be a blessing to others.

8. Dorcas Meyers – Founder, Roc-A-Natural

Dorcas Meyers is the Founder of Roc-A-Natural, LLC which is dedicated to building self-esteem through emphasizing the beauty of natural hair and educating a diverse generation of all ages about the importance of proper nutrition and exercise for optimal health and a holistic new you!

Roc-A-Natural inspires beauty that illuminates from the inside out! Beauty begins from within and starts with Roc-A-Natural.  Dorcas is an advocate for empowering young women and she believes feeding the body whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing, detoxing and exercise can decrease the alarming high obesity rate, diabetes and high blood pressure in the community.  Simply changing our diets, incorporating exercise and eliminating chemical based products from our daily regimen can improve mental wellness, physical ability and natural beauty from head to toe. 

Dorcas has excelled as a hair model for many years and has been featured in Essence Magazine for New York’s legendary Stylist, Derrick Scurry, and New York Magazine’s Look Book.  She has also walked the stage of Bronner Brothers International Hair Show on several occasions as a model.  Dorcas is the creator of Body by R.A.N B-Oils and B-Butters; 100% natural moisturizers from head to toe. These natural products are known to heal the skin from excessive dryness and are scented with essential oils and are available online, www.rocanatural.com.

May 13, 2017, Dorcas hosted the 4th Annual Roc-A-Natural Hair, Health and Beauty Transform Your Life Expo.  The Expo was held at the Watson Hotel, 440 West 57th Street, New York 10019.  Participants included Guest Speaker, Dr. Rodrigo Imana, featured sponsors, The Event Strategist, FidelisCare, Raw Revolution, Miss Jessies, Nature’s Bounty, Curls, Natural Roots, NYC, Body Sculpt of New York, Pure Onyx Movement, Taji Mag, and Michi Knitwear.  The event highlighted natural hairstyles, educators, vendors, and attendees of over 300 consumers from the Tri-state area to enjoy this industry through a different platform.  The 5th Annual Roc-A-Natural Expo was held on Sunday, May 13, 2018, at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, 2180 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10035 and Our 5th Annual Expo had an estimated 300 participants in attendance.

The 6th Annual Roc-A-Natural Expo will be held in the spring of 2019 and attendance is expected to be even greater.

Dorcas Meyers, Founder:  Roc-A-Natural – Email: [email protected]

9. Silver Queen Chapter #43 OES

EUREKA GRAND CHAPTER PRINCE HALL ORDER EASTERN STAR

1945 – 2019

The Order of Eastern Star is an adoptive rite of Freemasonry with teachings based on the Bible and whose objectives are charitable and benevolent. Charity: equals that, which you do for your fellow man. Silver Queen Chapter#43 has humbly served its community for 74 years, Chartered June 6, 1945, as number forty-three (#43) under Eureka Grand Chapter Order Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliated. Like all Eastern Star Chapters, our objective is to instruct each other, to comfort, protect, aid and help lighten various hardships we encounter as we journey through life.

Our cheerful companionship empowers us to give advice in hours of trouble, sympathy in time of sorrow and misfortunes, and this is one of the greater strengths of our Order. For more than seven decades Silver Queen Chapter#43 has offered so much to the Order andtheStatenIsland Community. The first charities were three hospitals on Staten Island who at that time, served our military veterans; Sea View Hospital, Farm Colony (operated as a poor house located across from Sea View Hospital) and Halloran Hospital. It was here where many black men and women in the Order found employment as nurse aides, housekeeping and kitchen help, in the most dangerous health environment imaginable (as Tuberculosis was highly contagious and deadly). “Good things come out of bad situations”. It was there where so many of our unskilled labor force grew. Some of the members of Silver Queen Chapter#43 were employed at these hospitals and were aware of the need for donations. They worked diligently to provide blankets, pillows, personal toiletries and books for reading, including the Holy Bible. In the past, we have sent children to the Eureka
Camp in Roscoe NYthrough fundraising and working with the Dept. of Youth & Community Development and local SI Assembly to secure additional funds. This allowed the families of the youth to take advantage of a free summer for two weeks.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Silver Queen Chapter #43 took immediate action by collecting and distributing such items as, blankets, clothing, baby supplies, water, food (MRE), flashlights, paper goods, and battery operated warming pads. We worked diligently to see that those in and around our community received much-needed supplies. Yearly we sponsor an H.S. Student on The Staten Island Strong HBCU College Tour, visiting several historically black colleges and universities along the east coast. This helps youth take an active role in getting ready to apply to college. Silver Queen Chapter #43 encourages all women, eighteen years and up to join our mission. We are proud of our heritage and many accomplishments. We stand strong with a membership of 54 sisters, which include 13 Past Matrons (living). We know we have an Order which will grow and expand for all women of moral judgment and spiritual strength.