NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — New York Senate Tuesday honoured Dr Waldaba Stewart Jr, a political leader, educator and devoted member of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn, who died on January 1 this year at the age of 85.
“As an Afro-Caribbean elected official, it's important to remember that we stand on the shoulders of giants,” said New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie, whose grandmother hailed from Jamaica, in piloting the resolution.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Guyanese-born New York State Senator Roxanne Persaud and New York State Senator Kevin Parker, an African American.
“Leaders like Dr Stewart paved the way for so many others that followed him into the field of public service, and his legacy of activism and dedication to the people of Brooklyn will never be forgotten,” Myrie said.
President of the Brooklyn-based Southern Diaspora Research and Development Coalition (SDRDC), Rey Allen said Dr Stewart, who had worked closely with the late Montserratian Dr George Irish, director at the Caribbean Research Center and dean at Brooklyn's Medgar Evers College, City University of New York, died of natural causes.
Dr Stewart was also an adjunct professor in the Department of Social and Behavioural Science at Medgar Evers College, a predominantly Black college in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, with a student population that is overwhelmingly Caribbean born or of Caribbean descent.
“Community, tradition, heritage and social justice were the hallmarks of Dr Stewart's public and private life for more than four decades,” said Allen, adding that he had represented the 18th New York Senate District in Brooklyn.
Stewart was born on January 15, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone.
Myrie said Stewart exemplified the dedication, commitment and activism of Brooklyn's vibrant Caribbean-American community.
“He led a life of service to our neighbourhoods and blazed a trail that endures in the institutions he built and the people he inspired. He will be missed, and it's my honour to recognise him with this resolution,” added Myrie.