Bayside’s QCC honors Helen Marshall, Shulman

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“It’s a good time to be a woman these days in America,” she said.


By Kathianne Boniello

In front of some 100 people in a student auditorium at Queenborough Community College in Bayside last week, City Councilwoman Helen Marshall (D-East Elmhurst) made a declaration.

“It’s a good time to be a woman these days in America,” she said.

Marshall made the comment as she was accepting accolades from QCC last Thursday at a ceremony recognizing “Women Making History” for Women’s History Month. Borough President Claire Shulman and Dr. Louise Mirrer, executive vice chancellor of the City University of New York, were also honored during the event.

Marshall has been a council member since 1992 and is in the running to succeed Shulman in November. Shulman was represented during the ceremony by Melinda Katz, a member of her staff, former state assemblywoman and current city council candidate.

As she accepted QCC’s recognition of her achievements, Marshall recounted a childhood during which both of her parents died before she was 15 years old. Her family was briefly on welfare and she had to work to support a younger sister.

“Never did I think in those days that I would be where I am today,” she said. “The doors of opportunity have opened for me.”

A former five-term assemblywoman and teacher who helped found the Langston Hughes library on Northern Boulevard in Corona, Marshall said she decided to run for the City Council in 1992.

“What a great thing,” she said of the library. “It’s been my motive to use this position I have to help people. I don’t take my responsibility lightly.”

The councilwoman credited Shulman with supporting the Langston Hughes library project.

“Shulman helped push that through,” Marshall said.

Accepting the honor for the borough president, Melinda Katz urged the crowd to remember the significance of Shulman’s term as borough president.

“Claire would say she thought she did what was right, and she did it well,” Katz said. “When she was a nurse, it was unusual for women to end up as doctors, and let’s not make light of the fact that she was the first female borough president in Queens.”

Speaking of her own political career, Katz was quick to point out that women often have to forge their own ground.

“When I got to the Assembly, everyone assumed I was only interested in women’s issues,” she said. “Every item today is a woman’s issue.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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