Wednesday, April 24, 2024

SEEN UP NORTH: Salute to Bajan mums


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The sprawling and picturesque Dyker Beach Golf Club is an unlikely yet welcoming place to salute Bajan mothers in the United States.
It’s unlikely because it is off the beaten track for most Caribbean immigrants in New York City. The pristine slice of Brooklyn with its bunkers, sand traps, holes and manicured fairways serves a European immigrant enclave of middle-class homes and tree-lined streets in a predominantly Jewish area. 
It was in the well-appointed golf clubhouse that the Young Barbadian Professionals Society (YBPS) held its salute to the Bajans in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont and California.
The event was held on Mother’s Day, with scores of families, especially women, wearing exotic hats. Under of the slogan Hats Off To Mom, luncheon guests cheered the nine mothers and honourees.
“It’s an interesting place and the salute said it all,” declared New York State Appeals Court Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix, a mother of three daughters who was presented with the YBPS Legends Award.
Dr Velma Scantlebury, a leading transplant surgeon in the United States and the first black woman to have performed organ transplant surgery, agreed.
“It was a wonderful afternoon and an honour for me to be recognized by the society,” she said after receiving the Trailblazer Award.
Scantlebury, associate director of the Division of Transplantation at the Christiana Care Transplant Centre in Delaware, is a product of Barbados’ Alleyne School and has performed at least 1 000 kidney transplants in the past 20-plus years. She is the mother of two daughters, Akela and Aisha.
Other mothers who were awarded:
• Michelle C. Ifill, senior vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Verizon Enterprise Solution, a US$25 billion firm. The mother of two, Ifill has corporate responsibility for the company’s global legal and regulatory interests. Born in New York of a Barbadian father, she is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School and was awarded the Society’s Philanthropic Leadership Award.
• Hyacinthia Roberts, a financial planner and owner of Shooting Stars Business Management, which helps businesses boost their bottom lines and individuals plan investments. The holder of degrees from City University of New York and the University of Texas, including a Master’s in business administration, the certified public accountant is the mother of two daughters, Asha and Shari. She received the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.
• Faye Callender, a public school teacher in New York City who works primarily with children who have special needs. The “gratefulness in each of the parents’ eyes is my salary”, was how the Bajan mother put it.
• Anne Coppin-Carter, who was born in St Patrick’s, Christ Church, is a registered nurse specializing in public health and high-risk pregnancies in California. She lives in Beverley Hills and has a teenage son.
• Janice Smith, recipient of the Jessica Odle-Baril Community Service Award, was an elementary school teacher in Barbados before coming to New York in the early 1970s. A banker in the city, she served as president of the Springer Memorial School Alumnae Association for a decade.
• Valma Miller-Cutting, a retired psychiatric nurse and entrepreneur in New York City, has three children – Vicki, Mark and Renee Cutting. A registered nurse trained in England, she worked in Canada and later New York. She also worked at an early grocery shops owned by her father Leroy Millar. They became Rick’s Supermarket in Bridgetown. She was given the YBPS Mother Of The Year Award.
• Rosita Mapp, a mortgage-lending specialist at several New York banks, emigrated from Barbados almost 30 years ago and is now a realtor on Long Island. The mother of two teenage children, Brandon and Danielle, received a YBPS Mother Of The Year Award.


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