Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz went back to Borough Hall to join Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee in hosting a celebration of Black History Month Wednesday in the Helen Marshall Cultural Center.
The event was filled with music, dances and awards to several outstanding individuals who exemplify the best of Queens, including Karlton Jarret, an assistant district attorney with the Queens DA’s Office. There were performances by the Devore Dance Center and music was provided by the Bartlett Contemporaries.
Katz also surprised the family of William Tucker Garvin, who was the office’s first African-American Assistant District Attorney. Garvin joined the office in 1952 and after a distinguished career retired in July 1966. Denis Jordan and other family members accepted the plaque in his honor.
Kats presented the Office’s first African American Community Partnership Award, named after the DA’s newly-established Community Partnership Division, to ADA Karlton Jarrett. Before joining the DA’s Office more than 10 years ago, Jarrett served in the military and was a runner up for the New York State Soldiers Of the year. He is an immigrant from Jamaica and currently works in the Integrity Bureau.
The guest of honor for the evening was former New York City Councilman Archie Spigner, who served from 1972 through 2011 representing South Ozone Park in the 1970s and later St. Albans, Hollis, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, Cambria Heights and Rosedale. He authored numerous legislation related to construction of the AirTrain, the Parsons Boulevard Subway Extension and secured funding for numerous community projects.
The other honorees included Fred “Bugsy” Buggs, a radio legend honored for his contributions in communications and media, Dorita Clarke, who has worked tirelessly taking high school students on college tours, Ayanna Cole, a dedicated leader doing community outreach and anti-poverty advocacy and is the founder of Life Light Street Production.
Jovoda Cooper was honored for her community service as an officer with the NYPD’s 105th Precinct in Queens Village, Damien Escobar, a world renowned violinist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist from Jamaica, Madeline Johnson, an award-winning producer at QPTV who also serves on numerous boards related to the arts, uplifting women and more.
Dawn Kelly, public relations professional and entrepreneur who is also the CEO of the Nourish Spot, Inc. in Jamaica. Kelly was honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration as Microbusiness Person of the Year in 2019.
The remaining honorees included Roslyn Nieves, the community development manager at QPTV and liaison between the residents of Queens and various government, nonprofits and community organizations, and Branna Young, a registered nurse and a role model for students in the Health Occupations and Profession Exploration program.