Ceremony Featured Rousing Inspirational Reverends, Astounding Musical Acts from Local Residents and Keynote Remarks from Civil Rights Attorney who Represented Goosby in her Decade-Long Lawsuit
Recognizing the historic and ongoing achievements of a local civil rights leader and trailblazer, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and the Town Board officially dedicated Hempstead Town Hall Plaza to Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby. Holding an outdoor ceremony in the newly renamed plaza today, the officials unveiled the bronze-casted dedication plaque in front of family, friends and prestigious colleagues of the Senior Councilwoman, including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, NYS Attorney General Letitia James, NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and more. All of her fellow board members were in attendance at the dedication ceremony, including Councilman Bruce A. Blakeman, Councilman Anthony P. D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Councilman Thomas E. Muscarella, Councilman Christopher Carini, Town Clerk Kate Murray, and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine C. Driscoll.
“Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby fought relentlessly against the status quo and fought for equal voting rights for all because she knew that it was something worth fighting for,” said Clavin. “She continues to utilize that ideology in her two decades of service to the taxpayers of America’s largest township. I cannot think of a trailblazer more deserving of this honor than our beloved Hempstead Town Senior Councilwoman.”
The ceremony was kicked off by Supervisor Clavin, who welcomed the crowd and emceed the event. Councilman D’Esposito introduced local Boy Scout Troop 300 to lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. United States Senator Charles E. Schumer followed the invocation to kick off the remarks section – he was followed by Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“I am humbled to receive this honor on behalf of the residents of the Town of Hempstead and all of those people who have fought for civil rights throughout history,” said Senior Councilwoman Goosby. “I thank Supervisor Clavin and the entire Town Board for this honor, and it is my hope that Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza will help educate future generations on the history that happened here and the great things that can be achieved when people work together.”
“We are blessed to work alongside a true fighter for civil rights and equality,” added Blakeman. “The Town of Hempstead is a better place to live, work and raise a family because of Dorothy Goosby.”
The event included a spectacular performance by KG Group Entertainment – a musical group of graduates from Uniondale High School’s famous Rhythm of the Knight Show Choir. The keynote speaker of the event, Civil Rights Lawyer Fred Brewington, who represented Dorothy Goosby in her decade-long civil rights lawsuit, spoke about the trials and tribulations they faced together in the pursuit of equal voting rights.
“Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby continues to do what is right for the residents of Hempstead Town, and we are eternally grateful for her contributions to our township,” remarked D’Esposito.
The woman-of-honor herself Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby spoke words of heartfelt gratitude and shared her inspirational outlook on the bright future of America’s largest township. That was followed up by the unveiling of the Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza plaque.
“The councilmanic districts that we utilize would not exist without Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby’s historic battle,” said Dunne. “Her legacy will continue to inspire residents for many years to come as they visit Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza.”
In 1988, Dorothy Goosby – then a private citizen – filed a lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead, stating that its at-large voting system for electing town council members discriminated against African Americans and other minority groups who comprised a smaller percentage of the town’s population. Taking almost a decade to reach a verdict, in 1997 a federal judge ruled in favor of Goosby and her supporters. Following, in 1999, Goosby ran for office and became the first African American woman ever to serve on the Hempstead Town Council. As a result of Goosby’s lawsuit, six councilmanic districts were established over different geographical areas of the township. This allowed for more equal representation of African Americans and other minority groups in Town of Hempstead government.
“Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby has been a champion of civil rights and public service for more than two decades, and we are proud to make her name a permanent part of Town of Hempstead's history,” said Muscarella.
In November 2000, a special election was held for all six seats; Goosby was re-elected to serve Councilmanic District 1 – which encompasses Hempstead, Lakeview, Roosevelt, and portions of Baldwin, Freeport, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre, Uniondale, and West Hempstead. Over the past 20 years, district residents have repeatedly re-elected Goosby by an overwhelming majority.
“As the freshman member of the Hempstead Town Board, I have learned so much from Senior Councilwoman Goosby on how to better serve Town of Hempstead residents,” said Carini. “I am honored to stand with my colleagues on the Town Board to bestow this prestigious honor on a true Hempstead Town hero.”
“As the former Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead, I had the pleasure of working in collaboration with Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby on many important programs and initiatives in service of America’s largest township,” said Murray. “Whether we were breaking ground on a multimillion-dollar facility for children and adults with special needs or responding to the devastation in our communities after Superstorm Sandy, Senior Councilwoman Goosby was always there to do the right thing for her constituents.”
“Congratulations to Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby on this well-deserved honor and thank you for everything you have done for the residents of the Town of Hempstead,” said Driscoll.
“On behalf of the entire Town Board and the nearly 800,000 residents of the Town of Hempstead, we thank Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby for her decades of service and commitment to America’s largest township,” concluded Supervisor Clavin. “From this day forward, all visitors to Hempstead Town Hall will now travel through Senior Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby Plaza!”