Brooklyn College Professor Pens Biography on Shirley Chisholm

(Article published on Park Slope Patch on Jan. 28, 2014)

Barbara Winslow is a professor of Women’s Studies at Brooklyn College and a 30-year resident of Park Slope who is responsible for starting and running the Shirley Chisholm Project/Brooklyn Women’s Activism at Brooklyn College.

She was asked to pen the first biography in 40 years on Chisholm for Carol Berkin’s series of books, ‘Lives of American Women’, and jumped at the chance.

Chisholm, who was born in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1924, became the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968 and became the first woman to run for president in 1972. She was a sought-after public speaker and co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW) who once remarked that, “Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes.”

Patch had the opportunity to speak with Professor Winslow about Chisholm, the impact she had on her life and the new book, ‘Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change’.

When did you start the Shirley Chisholm Project, and what are some of your biggest achievements with the project to date?

I started the project in 2006, and I would say the overall greatest accomplishment is keeping Shirley Chisholm’s name alive and reintroducing her to a new generation of people in Brooklyn and across the country to whom she was. We also have the largest collection of archival material about Chisholm as part of the project in our library.

We do extraordinary public events around Shirley Chisholm day in November and have had Gloria Steinem, Anita Hill, Melissa Harris-Perry and others come and speak about the importance of Ms. Chisholm and her legacy.

Given your ties to Ms. Chisholm, when did you decide to write her bio and what was it that made you finally decide to do so?

I was asked to write this bio by Carol Berkin, who was a presidential professor at Baruch College before she retired. She was originating a series of books, ‘Lives of American Women’, and wanted me to do one on Shirley Chisholm. As soon as she asked, it took me a ‘New York nanosecond’ to say yes.

What is it about her that’s inspired you so much, and what do you hope readers take from your book?

I was in a liberation group in Seattle, Wash. in 1972 when she ran for president. I believe our group sent $15 to her campaign, which in 1972 was the equivalent of sending her hundreds of dollars, so that was very exciting. She inspired me 40 years ago. 

When I was teaching in Brooklyn College, I was reminded that she was a graduate of the college. When I proposed we name a women’s study for research (in her name) I was astounded that many of my colleagues, professors of women’s studies did not know who she was. I was galvanized to create this project so that her life and legacy would not be forgotten. While Chisholm is the focus right now, lives of so many other women need to be written about and understood too. 

I think what’s important about this book is that not only is it the first scholarly biography of her, but the book is part of a series that is designed to bring women’s lives into the school’s curriculum, and that’s what I’m very proud of.

Sports Clash Episode 2: Konnichiwa Tanaka

Sports Clash

In the second edition of Sports Clash radio with Rich Arleo and Chris Carey, Yankees fan Rich basks in the glory of another big signing and Orioles fan Chris tells us just how much he hates the Yankees as we take a look at the disparity between the two teams’ off-seasons. Plus, musings about the ever-exciting Pro Bowl.

Click here to listen.

Sports Clash Episode 1: Super Bowl Matchup, Fantasy BBall and Instant Replay

In the debut episode of Sports Clash with Rich Arleo and Chris Carey, we’ll tell you a little about ourselves, chat about the AFC and NFC Championship games and the impending Super Bowl matchup as well as share some Fantasy Basketball advice and our thoughts on instant replay. Rich and Chris are longtime sports fans and rivals who know their stuff but don’t always have the same views. What topic will they “clash” on today? Find out by tuning in to the first ever episode of Sports Clash radio.

Listen to the podcast here.

Some Yankees Officials Not Sold on Tanaka?

(Story posted Jan. 20, 2014 on Yanksgoyard.com)

By Rich Arleo

Since rumors began that Masahiro Tanaka could be coming to Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees have been linked to the 25-year-old Japanese phenom, and rightfully so.

With just a few weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, the Yankees only have three spots in their rotation filled by C.C Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. Tanaka, the most high profile Japanese import since Yu Darvish, has been deemed a “can’t miss” but many and seems to be the perfect fit for the Yanks.

Unfortunately, it may not be such a unanimous decision in the organization. According to a recent report in the New York Post, one official has his doubts.

(Click here for full post on Yanksgoyard.com)

At the Polls: Residents Hoping to Avoid Contingency

(Full story as published  June 19, 2012 at 10:20 PM)

For the second time in just over a month, Mount Sinai School District residents headed to the polls to vote on a budget for the 2012-13′ school year.

With the original tax cap-piercing budget failing to receive supermajority approval, concerned community members flocked to the polls hoping to avoid another failed budget, which would lead to contingency for the district.

A resident for 14 years, Joe Rutolph thinks it’s imperative this budget passes to avoid additional cuts, but he wasn’t surprised the first one failed.

“We knew it was going to be close,” he said. “Getting 60-percent of anyone to vote either way is a lot to get, and I think it was a crapshoot so to speak. We were hoping it would pass but certainly you could understand for some of the older folks who don’t have kids in school, the amount of money that we pay in taxes is high, you could see both sides.

“If this one doesn’t pass the amount of cuts that will take place to all the programs, it will be just too deep.”

Maureen and Jim Clark currently don’t have children in the district, yet still support the proposed budget.

“We are very much pro education, so we supported it the last time even with the larger increase to try to maintain programs and we supported it now,” Jim Clark said.

“It is a very fine school district,” Maureen added. “It’s produced some wonderful students and you have to give what you can to keep it going like that.”

With 20 years in Mount Sinai under her belt, Laura Williams, a teacher at another district on the island, is also crossing her fingers that contingency won’t be needed.

“Yes, it is imperative this passes,” she said.  “I have two in high school for next year, so I think it should pass, without a doubt.”

Some were surprised that it has gone this far, and the district is hoping the support is enough to get an already lower budget approved.

Polls remain open in the Elementary School gymnasium until 9 p.m. Tuesday. Stay tuned to Patch for breaking results later in the evening.

Miller Place Board Adopts Budget Under Cap Without Full-Day Kindergarten

(Full story as published 4/4/13)

The proposal of full-day kindergarten in the 2013-14 school budget in Miller Place has been a hot topic since first proposed by Superintendent Marianne Higuera. On Wednesday the Board of Education made a decision to adopt a budget without the proposal.

After including kindergarten in the superintendent’s budget, the school board listened to varying community views on the topic for about a month before ultimately deciding against it.

“We are all cognizant of the educational merits of doing it, but at this particular time the sustainability issue is just too much for this board to pass,” said trustee Michael Unger.

The budget would have been $67,757,777, a 4.3-percent increase, with full-day kindergarten. Instead, the adopted budget of around $67.3 million will be an increase of 3.64 percent from last year.

“They are putting together the best educational program they can for 2013-’14 and I support their decisions,” Higuera said of the board’s adoption.

The budget not only retains all staff and programs, but also includes other initiatives and comes in under the tax levy cap. The district’s maximum allowable tax levy increase was 4.3 percent but the board managed to reduce the increase to 3.94 percent after initally projecting to be at the cap.

“The board really put a lot of thought and energy into offering the best educational programs for the district they could at the time and also considered the economic and fiscal constraints in the community,” Higuera said. “Their decision to come in under the tax cap was reflective of their beliefs.”

While full-day kindergarten is in the rear-view mirror for this upcoming budget, Unger noted that time taken to analyze the program was beneficial and it is something they will look at again in future budgets. They will also have to monitor whether or not they will still have the New York State Conversion Aid for the program in upcoming years.

“We’re going to keep in contact with legislators to find out the possibility of the aid going away,” Unger said. “The good thing is we looked at it now in detail. It’s important for the community to know that it’s now fully in our laps and we’re going to continue to look at it.”

Debate Persists On Contentious Miller Place Kindergarten Proposal

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(Full story as published 3/14/13 on Miller Place-Rocky Point Patch)

Full-Day kindergarten continued to be the topic of contention at Wednesday’s second budget workshop as the district pitched the proposal again while now including a four-year projection.

Clearly the most controversial topic after the first workshop, the program would come at no cost to the district the first year and little cost in 2014-‘15 thanks to Kindergarten Conversion State Aid that would be received. The first two years of full-day kindergarten would come at a net cost of $105,370 thanks to a projected $750,000 in aid.

After the original meeting the board and residents asked for a projection extended past the first two years of the program. Superintendent Marianne Higuera delivered that on Wednesday. The projections showed that the total net cost of the program to the district over four years would come to $975,513. Teachers, parents and other residents spoke and shared their support or opposition with the proposal with the superintendents and the board.

“I’m concerned about its stability and what it’s going to do to us in three years,” said parent Lori Murphy. “We’ve made a lot of progress this year. How is it possible we can say that we can sustain that and it’s not going to pit everyone against each other once again in years three, four and five?”

Assistant Superintendent Susan Hodun also delivered a presentation on the effects of a full-day program, which included a comparison of the half-day and full-day schedule for students. The current half-day program lasts from 9:15 to 11:45 a.m. and includes four half-hour lessons. The full-day program would last until 3:45 p.m. and include 10 half-hour lessons as well as a 50-minute lunch and recess for the kids.

“I know that people will say, in the past we’ve always had half-day kindergarten and it’s worked, but we’re moving ahead now,” said parent Lauren Getz. “We need to give these children the opportunity and the resources to be the great citizens that I know that they can be.”

Another parent, Lisa McNulty, added, “It’s the time. This is the opportunity to go full-day and see how well our children can do by first, second and third grade.”

The Board of Education is continuing to look at all aspects of the superintendent’s proposal before adopting a budget, including the kindergarten proposal. According to projections, the proposed budget would be $67,757,777 with full-day kindergarten and $67,320,399 without. The budget includes other new initiatives and zero cuts.

“Personally I don’t think the board’s made a decision yet,” board member Michael Unger said regarding the kindergarten proposal. “I think clearly we feel that the educational impact is something you can’t argue. The other side though is the sustainability. Where are we going to be in three years?”

Budget adoption is scheduled for March 20, but at the request of some residents, the board is considering pushing the adoption back in order to leave more time for public comment.