Local Elected officials, African-American Community Leaders and Hundreds of Bronxites Come Together to Celebrate Black History Month


BRONX, NY – Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) joined State Senator James Sanders, Jr.  (D-Queens), local elected officials, African-American Community leaders and nearly 300 constituents in celebrating Black History Month at his annual breakfast at Villa Barone Manor on February 21st, 2015. The breakfast included a keynote address from Senator Sanders, musical performances from the Reverend Nathaniel Tyler Lloyd Legacy Choir of Trinity Baptist Church and the presentation of awards to African-American community leaders for their work in the district and beyond.


Senator Klein said: “Black History Month recognizes the incredible contributions of African-Americans in our community. Whether it is working hand-in-hand with community leaders to empower minority candidates running for office or working to ensure that African-Americans have access to quality health care, schools and employment, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to lift up our communities and work with and for African-Americans in the Bronx and across New York. Today we honor those who have helped shape our communities for the better and I’m proud to recognize them for their outstanding efforts.”


Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Queens) said: “Black History Month is a time of celebration and reflection.  It gives us an opportunity to pay homage to the many famous leaders and the countless unnamed people whose selfless sacrifice and desire to make the world a better place for all, has allowed us to progress. From the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 to Malcolm X leading the Unity Rally in 1963, one of the largest civil rights events ever, to the election our country’s first African-American president, Barack Obama in 2009, we are a nation that is continuously moving forward, but we must never forget our past.”


Event honorees included:


  • April D. Horton, Director of External and Government Affairs, Verizon


April Horton is a Director in Government and External Affairs. She leads all government affairs and legislative activity in the NY Midstate region, the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. April has worked for Verizon for nearly 17 years, holding a variety of positions and managing a multi-million dollar Verizon NY Foundation program. Ms. Horton is extremely active in civic and community affairs.  She has served on the board of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Hostos Community College Foundation, Bronx Children’s Museum, the Lehman Performing Arts Center and Bronx Women United. Ms. Horton is a native of the Bronx, graduated from Cardinal Spellman and received her Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University. She received her Master’s Degree in Industrial Organization Psychology from Columbia University.

  • Paul Moore, Principal of Moore Development Group

Mr. Moore is the principal of Moore Development Group and MDG builders, a company which provides project/construction management, planning, financial packaging, and application preparation services for both non-profit and for-profit clients.  Projects have included senior housing, housing for people with AIDS, middle-income apartments, non- and for-profit joint ventures, and state and federal low-income housing tax credit rental developments. His commercial construction work includes being a sub-contractor for Turner Construction on the new Yankee Stadium as well as the redevelopment of 200 Park Avenue for Tishman Speyer and Bovis Construction, both of which were multi-million dollar construction projects. Mr. Moore is a graduate of The John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and has completed Citibank’s Credit Training Program and the NYU Certificate Program in Real Estate Finance.

  • Rev. Dr. Kahlil Mootoo, Pastor, Bright Temple A.M.E. Church

Rev. Dr. Kahlil Mootoo is the Pastor at Bright Temple A.M.E. Church in Hunts Point.  He has made it his mission to serve this high-needs community with dignity, not only guiding it in faith, but also advocating on behalf of our most vulnerable in society.  He is responsible for a number of social programs and has been instrumental in the fight for official recognition of the African Burial Ground at Drake Park.


  • Loretta Masterson, President of the Sack Wern Houses Residents Council

Loretta Masterson has served as President of the Sack Wern Houses since 1997.  She is also President of the Police Service Area 8 (NYCHA Developments) Community Council and is a member of Community Board No. 9. Ms. Masterson is retired, having worked in the back office at the foreign exchange division of AT&T for 33 years.  She has one daughter and 4 grandchildren.

  • Darrin Speight, President of the Shorehaven Condo Association


Darrin Speight served as a member of the New York City Police Department for 20 years, including 17 years in the Bronx. Beginning as a Transit Police Officer, Speight quickly distinguished himself, winning “Officer of the Month” several times and was promoted to sergeant after only three years. In 1995, Speight was promoted to lieutenant and was selected to lead a new unit combating the spread of narcotics. Speight completed his career as a platoon commander in Central Park, overseeing sensitive and important events including the NYC Marathon and Summer Stage. A member of the Guardians, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Latino Officer Association and co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, Speight retired from the NYPD in 2004. Since then, he has spoken out against institutionalized racism in law enforcement on television programs such as “60 Minutes,” “The Montel Williams Show,” and “Donahue.” Today, Speight serves as president of the Shorehaven Condo Association and a member of the Shorehaven Homeowners Board. Speight attended PS 100, IS 131, and DeWitt Clinton and Roosevelt High Schools. Speight graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.


  • Debra Stern, Founder and Executive Director of the Amani Public Charter School


Debra Stern, a former social worker, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Amani Public Charter School in Mount Vernon, NY. Having grown up in New Rochelle, Mrs. Stern is a lifelong resident of the area and was actively involved with the PTA while in Mount Vernon, serving as PTA Council President for two years.  In addition, she has been an active volunteer serving as a Trustee for the Mount Vernon Public Library and a member of the Westchester County African American Advisory Board.  She has also been involved with Girl Scouts, Mocha Moms (a support group for stay at home mothers for which she served as the President) and many years as an alumni leader for her alma mater, Cornell University. She has lived in the Village of Pelham with her husband Charles and three children since 2010.


  • Aleatha M. Williams, Founder and President of ‘Youth Leaders On The Move’


Aleatha Williams has dedicated her talent and energy towards the betterment of the Bronx community by starting her own organization to help mentor young people. She is the Founder and President of “Youth Leaders On The Move.” For the past five years, Youth Leaders on the Move has raised more than $50,000 for educational trips, college tours, community events and the Youth Leaders on the Move scholarship, awarded to the most improved student of their graduating class. Ms. Williams is a Bronx native who majored in Public Relations at Mercy College. Aleatha has volunteered and worked as an intern for various elected officials including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Joseph Crowley. She currently works for Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj of the 80th Assembly District.


Black History Month

***Photo Left to Right: Althea Williams, Founder and President of ‘Youth Leaders On The Move;’ Loretta Masterson, President of the Sack Wern Houses Residents Council; April D. Horton, Director of External and Government Affairs at Verizon; Senator Jeff Klein; Darrin Speight, President of the Shorehaven Condo Association; Paul Moore, Principal of Moore Development Group; Debra Stern, Founder and Executive Director of the Amani Public Charter School.

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