On Saturday, January 28th, an inaugural gala in honor of Monique Chandler-Waterman, newly-elected assemblywoman for the 58th District, was held at Holy Family R. C. Church, located at 9719 Flatlands Avenue.
A host of fellow Democratic members including newly-minted House Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Attorney General Letitia James, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assembly Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, State Senators Roxanne Persaud, Zellnor Myrie and John Liu, and Councilwoman Mercedes Narcisse converged in the church’s auditorium, with 500 other guests, to celebrate Chandler-Waterman.
The event was emceed by Minister Nicole Langlaise and included remarks from several elected officials, all of whom extoled the merits of Chandler-Waterman. In her praise, Senator Persaud said, “She hit the ground running and never stopped. She’s a hard worker. She’s never shied away from doing the hard things. When you talk about ‘good trouble,’ Monique Chandler-Waterman is ‘good trouble.’ When you talk about fighting for people in the streets, Monique Chandler-Waterman does that. When you’re talking about helping our seniors, she does that also. So, I’m pleased to have her as part of the team that’s representing the 19th Senatorial District.”
Public Advocate Williams, a longtime friend and close ally of Chandler-Waterman, spoke of her grit and tenacity. Standing at the podium, he shouted, “Monique, you did it!” while pumping his fists in the air. “She and her family were doing all of this work before they even thought about running,” he exclaimed. “That’s what you want in an elected official. If you tell her no, she’ll speak to the person who could tell her yes. She has the gumption and the ability to stand tall and say it’s hot but I’m gonna take the fire.”
The Very Reverend Edward R. P. Kane V. F., from Holy Family Church, Pastor Michelle Mota, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Imam Osama Ahmed, Bishop Orlando Findlayer, Dr. Charles Galbreath and Pastor Patricia Malcolm all bestowed their blessings on the assemblywoman, her family and the community.
The program included an array of spectacular performances. There were presentations by Blue Angels Drumline Performers, Honor Guards from P. S. 135, from which both the assemblywoman and her mother graduated and her four children now attend. There was also steel pan playing by Sesame Flyers. Shannel Pixley sang the National Anthem and later wowed the audience with a rendition of “The Greatest Love of All.” Kasiem Aboti Walters performed a dance, as did students of P. S. 276 The Louis Marshall School. The students also sang the Black National Anthem at the beginning of the event and later Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” as a tribute to Chandler-Waterman. Her family then did a video presentation highlighting the work she did over the years.
The assemblywoman gave thanks to God, her amazing family, dedicated staff and volunteers for their unwavering support. The self-proclaimed Nick Perry protégé also thanked her predecessor, “a father-figure and mentor who guided me through everything and represented our community for nearly 30 years.” Chandler-Waterman also extended special thanks to Perry’s family “for supporting me.” She stated to the crowd, “When I was elected, I committed to focusing on issues like public health, especially mental health, public safety, education, quality of life, small business and nonprofit. We have created a task force out of our office that works together to address the issues of Assembly District 58.” She proudly announced that although she’s new to Albany, “Yesterday I was appointed chair of the Anti-Gun Violence Committee of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus.”
Before she closed, the die-hard activist made reference to the killing in Memphis of Tyre Nichols, by five black police officers. “Now you know I’ve been an advocate with my people for over 20 years so you know I can’t leave this stage without doing this. Say his name!” she shouted, as a group of supporters carrying placards with “Tyre Nichols” written on them, replied, “Tyre Nichols!”