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Vincentian outlines vision for Brooklyn

Vincentian outlines vision for Brooklyn


by Nelson A. King in New York

Renowned for her propensity in endeavoring to utilize every available opportunity, the new president of the year-old Clarendon, Cortelyou and Beverly (CCB) Block Association has wasted no time in outlining her vision for the area in Brooklyn.

Vincentian-born Gailene Windsor, who recently replaced St. Lucian Frances Roberts, said her community work and general background have prepared her for the tasks ahead.

“The reason for taking this position is based on my past leadership roles and the need to share my experience in helping with the development and revitalization of the neighborhood,” she said in an interview.{{more}}

Windsor, executive director of the Donna Reid Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists underprivileged youth, said her first priority is assisting homeowners with “critical” issues.

She said sanitation problems, including illegal dumping of garbage and constant littering, are some of the issues homeowners face.

Windsor, a foundation member and past president of the local Caribbean netball association, said the block association is already working with Community Board 17, the Sanitation Department and the 67th Police Precinct in Brooklyn in addressing some of these matters.

She said many homeowners have been ticketed by the Sanitation Department because of garbage strewn across their block allegedly by commuting employees.

“To help improve the value of homes, we are urging more police presence,” she said. “My first task is fighting the litter.”

In addition, Windsor – a member of the Brooklyn-based Vincentian American National Charities Inc. (VINCI) and Antillians Sports Club, one of several Vincentian sporting organizations in the city – said she is drafting a petition for submission to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to improve the image of the Beverly Road-Nostrand Avenue subway station.

“When it rains heavily, the subway becomes filled with sewage water,” she said. “Litter is all over the subway, the staircases are very dirty, and very poor lighting allows opportunities for muggings.”

On July 22, the CCB Block Association held its first clean-up campaign, from Clarendon Road to Beverly Road on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, and a series of similar events is planned for the months ahead, Windsor said.

“I have met with local business owners, urging them to keep their storefronts clean,” she said, noting that many of them do not live in the community.

She said she is working in gaining tax-exempt status for the block association, which, she hopes, would permit more resources to aid the youth and senior citizens.

Windsor is also enlisting the support of local politicians, some of whom were present, at her behest, at a recent backyard fundraiser.

For the past years, she volunteered on Councilmembers Vincentian Kendall Stewart’s and Yvette Clarke’s, and Clarke’s mom, Una Clarke, campaigns.

The younger Clarke, whose mother is Jamaican-born, told the fundraiser that she was “heartened” by the association’s feat, noting that members “remained steadfast,” despite challenges.

“It makes a difference in our lives,” she said. “I can also say conversely that when our neighborhood is not together, it leads to chaos.

“What is important is that you not only come together, but you have sustainability,” she added. “Make sure that you continue to flourish.”