Center for the Women of New York celebrates 30th anniversary at luncheon
Ann Jawin is founder for the Queens Center for Women, which is holding its 30th annual lunch this weekend.
By TimesLedger Staff

The Center for the Women of New York is celebrating its 30th anniversary at its annual awards luncheon Saturday by honoring two women who were at the forefront of the Women’s Movement.

Carole De Saram, who was responsible for removing credit barriers for women, and Merle Hoffman, who helped establish one of the nation’s first abortion centers, will be honored April 29 at the Trailblazers for Women’s Rights event at Douglaston Manor.

Other honorees also will be recognized for their roles as “Women of Distinction” and “Good Guys” in helping women achieve their goals.

“We’re honoring some who made changes in the second wave of the Women’s Movement,” said Ann Jawin, founder of the center, who worked with the National Organization of Women on education and employment issues. She was part of a 10-year class action suit against the city Board of Education to make changes in the curriculum and policies involving girls.

De Saram, who joined NOW in 1970 and was president of the New York Chapter, fought against financial discrimination that women faced and enabled them to obtain credit cards in their own names. She led a protest against unequal pay for women that shut down the American Stock Exchange.

In 1976, Hoffman, a women’s health care pioneer, co-founded the National Abortion Federation, the first professional organization of abortion providers in the United States. After New York state made abortion legal in 1971, Hoffman helped establish Choices Women’s Medical Center, now one of the nation’s largest women’s medical facilities. She is president and CEO.

In the next generation of women making a difference, former Queens Assemblywoman Ann Margaret Carrozza has just written a book called “Love and Money” on economic power for women. A practicing elder law attorney, Carrozza is an executive member of the New York State Bar Association and a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. She has appeared frequently as an expert legal contributor to TV programs.

Among the other women to be honored are Yoselin Genoa-Estrella, the executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens, who works with vulnerable families so they can keep their homes and find new ones. She has helped 120 families buy their first home and saved 75 from foreclosure.

Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur, the director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Outpatient Department at Elmhurst Hospital, has committed her career to improving and redefining women’s health care and medical education. She is the medical director of the Queens Health Network.

Malini Shah, who is president of her own diamond company, is an influential community leader as a volunteer liaison for Councilman Paul Vallone. She spent more than 30 years teaching children in India and is a cultural ambassador for India arts at festivals around the world.

On the “Good Guys” list, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi has developed a new initiative to enable individuals and families on the verge of homelessness to remain in their homes. His proposed rental subsidy program has drawn wide support across the political spectrum and would slash the city’s bill for housing the homeless.

Harbachan Singh, who is the president of the Queens Civic Congress and the Sikh American Friendship Foundation, has spent more than two decades fighting for Queens residents on every front, from quality-of-life issues to women’s rights. He is the former chairman of the UN Headquarters Committee on Contracts.

Rev. Ned Wight, a minister at the Unitarian Universality Congregation in Shelter Rock, L.I., has campaigned women’s causes and pushed for full gender equality. He spent 10 years overseeing the congregation’s Vetch program that allocates some $12 million annually to grantees to promote social change.

The nonprofit center, founded by Jawin in 1987, is dedicated to empowering the women of Queens through workshops and events that give them the skills to improve their lives, both professionally and economically.

The luncheon runs from noon to 4 p.m. at Douglaston Manor, 63-20 Commonwealth Blvd. in Douglaston.

Tickets for the event are $125.

RSVP by phone at 718-793-0672 or by email at centerwny@yahoo.com

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