It's been an electrifying week – QNS.com

It’s been an electrifying week

There seems to be new energy and excitement in the air. With all the potential doom and gloom we hear, after watching President-elect Barack Obama speak on “60 Minutes” my hopes are revived about our bountiful country.
There was something so reassuring about Obama’s smile and sensibility. He seems to get it about how critical it is to protect everyday people like you and me. How many of our loved ones are now living in dread that their livelihoods will be lost? How many of our loved ones fear for their homes? Ours is a country of amazing resources. That’s what makes us great. Last week I had the privilege of interviewing, along with my editor and videojournalist, Queens State Senator Malcolm Smith. He reminded me of our newly-elected president.
Smith is from our southeast corner of Queens and has worked hard and smart to be positioned to be the next Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, a legislative body that was controlled by the Republican Party for decades and now will be under Democratic control because of the landslide created by anger at Bush policies.
As a “Queensophile,” I’m delighted that the highest office next to the governor could be held by one of our own. Smith shared with me and Pete Davis, my editor, an interesting trivia point, that there was a secret to his success, Governor David Paterson’s, and President-elect Obama’s — they all have wives named Michelle (ele)!
Both outstanding men seem to get it about the need for creating jobs. I was so happy to learn that the City Council overwhelmingly voted for the Willets Point project — now the mayor must move quickly to get it on track, with shovels in the ground. As I look around our great borough, it seems it is brimming with projects and potential jobs.
One such project that is near to my heart is the Holocaust Resource Center on the grounds of Queensborough Community College in Bayside.
Under the leadership of its president, Eduardo Marti, the school is booming. The Kupferberg family donated money to see the building built, and now it’s coming to fruition.
Last Monday, it was the 70th anniversary of the horrific, historic Kristallnacht. The Holocaust Center recognized The Queens Couriers because of the powerful five-part series of interviews of Holocaust survivors written and videotaped by my talented writers, Jessica Lyons and Noah Rosenberg. We are hoping to have all the interviews reprinted in a book to circulate widely to young and old throughout the city. We must never forget . . .
Alongside me was my dear friend, Linda Spiegel, who was also honored that night. She is an extraordinarily humane woman who, through her position of leadership at the Margaret Tietz Nursing Home in Jamaica, has created numerous programs for the community commemorating the Holocaust. When she accepted her honor she made profound remarks that I want to share with you.
She explained that she grew up in a protected nurturing environment, untouched by the Holocaust. But her job at Margaret Tietz opened a new world to her. The nursing home was born out of the need of caring for Holocaust survivors. It was the facility’s primary mission to provide exceptional care and a safe haven for those who had lived through those atrocities. To this day volunteers and board members work tirelessly to assure quality of life for those who had lost so much.
Then Linda wisely asked the few hundred people attending the memorial event, “The question is what can we do today? What have I done? Give of yourself like it really matters.” What great advice.
Don’t stand by when you see or hear hateful things about a person because of his race or color. Sadly, just last week an Ecuadorian, Marcelo Lucero, was murdered by a bunch of thugs, similar to the Nazi thugs of years ago in Europe. But this was here on Long Island. How sad, how sickening, how frightening — killed just because he was Hispanic!
I do believe each of us has the power within us to make a difference. Let’s begin today! Speak out when you hear hateful words, reach out to help. I really believe that when you give to others, you get back doubly. Do it, it will feel so good!

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