During Healthfirst’s annual Women’s History Celebration, Congresswoman Clarke and Deputy Chief Boyd will be recognized for their community service and their trailblazing role as women in leadership
Two pioneering Brooklyn women will be among the ten honorees for Healthfirst’s annual Women’s History Community Awards Celebration on Thursday, March 29. The not-for-profit health insurance company is recognizing the accomplishments of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and FDNY Deputy Chief Tonya Boyd, the first African American woman to attain this rank within the New York City Fire Department.
“The honorees have made an outsized impact across the five boroughs and are role models for their courage, character and commitment,” said George Hulse, Healthfirst vice president of community engagement. “These women reflect the fabric of our city and work daily to improve conditions for others. Healthfirst is proud to salute these women.”
Every year Healthfirst honors trailblazing women who have a commitment to the highest standards of civic and social responsibility. While each honoree has a unique story with a different career path, they share years of giving back and improving their communities – like Congresswoman Clarke and Deputy Chief Boyd.
“I am not ashamed to say that I am my sister’s keeper,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “Our minds and magic can do marvelous things when we work together.”
Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, a Brooklyn native and Flatbush resident, represents the Ninth Congressional District. Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Clarke served on the New York City Council, representing the 40th District, succeeding her mother, former Councilmember Dr. Una S. T. Clarke. Inspired by her pioneering mother, the congresswoman continues the legacy.
“As a young adult, watching my mother’s activism, the way she cared for her community and her fire to make change, I was enamored with public service,” said Clarke. “Because of my mother, I studied government and public policy in college. She continues to inspire me to this day and I am honored to continue her legacy.”
As an activist and legislator, Congresswoman Clarke has been an outspoken advocate for women, the Caribbean community and immigration – issues close to her heart that currently are under constant attack by the Trump administration.
“Brooklyn finds itself within the bullseye of the Trump administration. It isn’t easy for me to see the impact his policies are having on my constituents, but they are my motivation,” Clarke said. “My constituents are brave, hardworking and resilient. Plus, they’re from Brooklyn!”
“The glass ceiling is broken. I am part of living history now,” said Deputy Chief Tonya Boyd. “And because of that, people who look like me now know it is possible.”
Also a Brooklyn native, Deputy Chief Tonya Boyd has spent years of her career at Fire Station 39 in East New York, serving the communities in East New York, Brownsville and Flatbush. After high school, she initially planned to follow her grandmother into nursing and only got her EMT license to earn money for school. She never imagined she would rise through the ranks the way she did.
“It is amazing. This could be anybody. There a lot of women who work as hard as I do and face the challenges of a mostly male-dominated field,” said Boyd. “But God has chosen me and I am very thankful. The glass ceiling is broken. I am part of living history now. And because of that, people who look like me now know it is possible.”
And also Congresswoman Clarke has experienced the magic of possibility when women lead and unite.
“As a member of a double minority in Congress, being both Black and a woman, I can tell you without a doubt that my fellow sister-colleagues are the keys to my success. I am not ashamed to say that I am my sister’s keeper,” said Clarke “Our minds and magic can do marvelous things when we work together. And lastly, celebrate one another.”
Yes, let’s celebrate.
The celebration of these trailblazing women will take place on Thursday, March 29 at Maestro’s in the Bronx.