BROOKLYN, NY (Release) - Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the State office building located at 55 Hanson Place in Brooklyn has been renamed the Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building in honor of the late Congresswoman. A plaque commemorating the achievements of Congresswoman Chisholm was unveiled at a dedication ceremony held at the building.
"Shirley Chisholm was a lifelong leader who worked tirelessly to better the lives of those in her community and across this country," Governor Paterson said. "Her ability to inspire action in others is a gift that continues to resonate today. Naming this building in her honor will recognize her legacy in perpetuity and serve as a constant reminder of her dedication to positive change."
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman elected to Congress. She went on to represent Brooklyn for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. Ms. Chisholm became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States and the first woman to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. The legislation to rename the building in her honor was signed into law by Governor Paterson and sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery of the 18th Senate District and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of the 57th Assembly District.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said: "Shirley Chisholm blazed a trail from the streets of Brooklyn in 1972 to the White House in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. We all owe Shirley Chisholm a debt of gratitude for her dogged spirit and indomitable strength that changed the very social fabric of our nation forever. As America looks forward to a brighter future, we must never forget to honor those like Ms. Chisholm who helped pave the way and inspire a generation of leaders to seek justice and equality on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. Indeed, she casts a shadow far larger than this building."
Senator Velmanette Montgomery said: "Shirley Chisholm inspired me to make a difference for my community through the political process. She demonstrated how politics can be a life of service and accomplishment for real issues: equality, education, children's services, women's rights, and the fight against poverty. Mrs. Chisholm worked for the good of all people. I am very proud that there will be a building in Brooklyn that stands in her honor, and I look forward to witnessing the next generation of leaders who are inspired by her priceless examples."
Bill Howard, the former Senior Administrative Assistant to Representative Chisholm, who represented the Chisholm family at the ceremony, said: "Shirley's work can be seen today on the streets of America. Her life's work centered around a better quality of life for all people, especially our youth. Shirley never wanted to be remembered as the first black woman to be elected to congress, or the first black person to make a bid for the presidency of the United States. Rather, Shirley is remembered as she wanted to be – a catalyst for change in America."
The 13-story facility located at 55 Hanson Place, in Brooklyn, (Kings County), was constructed in 1914-15 and designed by Trowbridge and Ackerman Architects as a flagship Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) building. Throughout its history, the building has been used in many different capacities that Shirley Chisholm, a lifelong champion for human services, would have endorsed including a homeless shelter, State human services offices and a child development center.
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