Barbara Brown: Southeast Queens activist fights airplane noise

By Tammy Scileppi

Longtime Queens resident Barbara Brown is known for her dedication and desire to help folks in her southeast Queens community as well as her ongoing efforts as head of the Eastern Queens Alliance.

And as an educator, excellence in education is her beacon. Her positive energy and belief in the abilities of all those she served have inspired her to constantly seek to provide the best possible education for all children.

In addition to being an umbrella organization for civic groups in southeast Queens, the Eastern Queens Alliance runs the Idlewild Park Environmental Center and has led the charge against airport noise in that area.

Additionally, the alliance has held many community cafes on various topics affecting the lives of people in that community.

As president and a founding member of the Springfield/Rosedale Community Action Association Inc., a civic association that has effectively served the Brookville community of southeast Queens for the last 25 years, Brown has worked tirelessly to preserve the quality of life of the neighborhood by safeguarding its environmental, economic, political, social and cultural stability.

“My guiding philosophy: Our passion for life, our love for our fellow human beings, indeed, our caring for all living things, should guide us along life’s pathways,” she said. “When we encounter obstacles, things that are unfair, things that are unjust, how we deal with them shapes who we are, what we are and ultimately how happy we are.”

As an extension of her work in the Springfield/Rosedale civic, she is also a member and the current chairwoman of the Eastern Queens Alliance as well as the Idlewild Park Preservation Committee, an initiative of EQA. Its goal is to preserve and restore wetlands in Idlewild Park and promote environmental education and stewardship through its Idlewild Park Preserve Environmental Science Learning Center project.

The alliance also embraces social justice and sustainability. Under Brown’s leadership, it has been awarded over $800,000 in grants from the city Dept. of Environmental Conservation and other groups.

She recently served as co-chair of the Community Planning Committee for a $6 million allocation for the New York Rising Idlewild Watershed Communities—Brookville, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.

Brown was employed by the city Dept. of Education as a teacher, reading coordinator, assistant principal, and elementary school principal. During her tenure as principal of PS 164, a magnet school for the arts in School District 25 in Queens, the school was recognized on a local and national level as an exemplary arts integrated school. To support its innovative program, she was successful in acquiring several federal and state grants.

In her spare time she also pursues her passion for music.

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