On Thursday February 12th, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his Annual African-American Heritage Celebration in Co-op City. Pictured are: Jamaal Bailey, Borough President Diaz, Dr. Dena Robins, Bessie Jackson, Karen Washington and PIX11 co-anchor Kori Chambers, who emceed the event.

On Thursday, February 12, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. hosted his Annual African-American Heritage Celebration, recognizing “A Century of African-American Life, Heritage and Culture.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and Karen Washington, a community activist and urban farmer who encourages healthy eating, were honored by Borough President Diaz at the event. Borough President Diaz also honored the Association for the Study of African American Life & History’s (ASALH) Bronx branch.

“During this time we have to reflect on the past and how it has shaped us. History is made each day and it is because of the hard work, protesting, marching and speaking of injustice from leaders in the past, we are able to celebrate freedom of African-Americans,” said Borough President Diaz as he spoke to the community members and invited guests.

District Attorney Thompson spoke about his upbringing and memories of The Bronx. “My heritage is in the Bronx and in Co-op City, where my mother still lives. Back in 1973, we were one of the first black families to move into the area and it has helped shaped me to be who I am. I am grateful for all that I have been blessed to do because of the opportunity that started here in this borough,” District Attorney Thompson stated.

“I am excited and so happy to be here amongst everyone,” said Karen Washington as she accepted her award. “With our borough facing such high rates of obesity, it is important that we educate and break down the race barriers and address a more holistic approach to eating garden vegetables.”

In addition, Jamaal Bailey was presented the inaugural Jonathan Hicks Memorial Award, named for the pioneering journalist, mentor and activist who passed away in 2014. “There is a quote by Frederick Douglass that says, ‘If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress’ and I truly believe that if we continue to struggle we will make progress,” stated Mr. Bailey, who serves as a Democratic District Leader in the 83rd Assembly District, as he accepted his award.