With the long weekend of July 4 celebrations upon us, I began my celebrations last week by honoring Health Heroes from my Caribbean Life publication and saluting Carol Conslato, who was retiring from Con Edison after 40 years.
Then, our Gay City News also celebrated World Pride and the 50th anniversary of Stonewall by creating a special, 120-page issue chronicling the struggles and victories of the LGBT movement over the last five decades.
As I entered the lobby where our Carribean Life Awards were being celebrated, I felt the energy, excitement and elegance of the 25 people being recognized that night, along with their friends, family and professional colleagues who were there to cheer them on.
One of our honorees, Dr. Seanna-Kaye Denham-Wilks, the patient experience officer at Kings County Medical Center, had 4 tables literally roared for her and her decades of devotion to her patients.
I was so impressed by Dr. Charnelle Small, the only black orthodontist in Manhattan, and a celebration of a mother and daughter medical team, Vilma and Michelle Joseph, who, through their simultaneous careers, have made an impact.
The overflowing crowd got treated to a performance by the remarkable Xavier Strings, violin-playing sisters Janelle Xavier and Janine Xavier-Cross from Trinidad, who brought the house down with their electrifying performance. Their music was unique and the audience gave them a rousing, standing ovation!
As always, it was all the work of the great event team, led by Jasmin and Lori, and the staff of Caribbean Life in our MetroTech offices on Jay Street. The previous week, we celebrated Power Women in the Bronx, and my team there did a spectacular job too!
Caribbean Life is distributed in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Manhattan, where we celebrate each week the people from the Caribbean countries who have an impact on their communities.
It was also World Pride week in New York City, and I had pride in my editor of Gay City News, Paul Schindler, who was honored for his contribution to his community this week. It was a remarkable week where the LGBT community celebrated with joy the justice that they have achieved.
A bittersweet celebration
I was happy to share the moments of joy as Carol Consolato was lauded by her staff friends and family.
The setting was on the East River and the Anable Basin, just across from the gated, closed and once-beautiful Waters Edge restaurant and catering hall, where my son Josh was married!
The skyline of Manhattan views are special indeed, but nothing was more special than hearing the tributes from everyone in the room. Carol is a professional who walked the line of great professional, adviser (to me), and a wonderfully proud mom and wife.
Her intelligence was like a beam of light that we all wanted to share. She was my go-to person for business advice and sharing stories about my children and grandchildren.
She was responsive for any Con Ed related problems in Queens, putting a human face to a corporate entity that made me feel I had a friend at a giant utility. Every member of her team was trained by her to be responsive, and they always are.
Carol served her company and community well, and I will miss her — and I know there are few who can fill her shoes.