Colors: Purple Color

How to stay positive and busy during this challenging time

In 20 years, what will your child remember? Yearbooks often ask graduates where they hope to be two decades later. In just a few months, we as a nation will reflect on the 20-year mark following the September 11 attacks. How do we want our children to recall the era of the 2020 coronavirus? Do we want them to reflect on the ordeal as a horrible experience where they were climbing the walls, or one where they made arts and crafts and bonded with their siblings?

Elizabeth Crowley was born and raised in Queens, where she attended St. Agnes High School. Her religious education was an important foundation in her life. Both of her parents served on the City Council. Her cousin, Joe Crowley, served as a US Congressman from New York for many years. She earned a BA in Restoration and Preservation from SUNY’s Fashion Institute of Technology and an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Architecture. Crowley did historic preservation work, and was a proud union member of District Council 9 (International Union of Painters and Allied Trade). She worked on various major landmarks in New York City, including Radio City Music Hall and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. As a union member, she was an early advocate for better wages and benefits. Crowley also worked in education.

Donovan Richards was born and raised in Southeast Queens. He received an associate’s degree in Aviation Management from Vaughn College of Aeronautics and went from there to the Academy of Aviation. In March of 2003, after the fatal shooting of his childhood friend in front of his home, Donovan committed to be involved in politics. In 2011, Richards became chief of staff for NYC Councilman James Sanders, Jr., and when Sanders was elected to the New York State Senate, Richards won a 2013 special election to the NYC Council to succeed him, serving a district that includes South Jamaica and Far Rockaway, an office he still holds. During his first term, he secured more than $1.5 billion to help fill the enormous sewer infrastructure problem of flooding in Southeast Queens. In the second half of his term, Richards was at the center of Mayor de Blasio’s push for affordable housing across the city. Donovan has had the benefit of a religious education, at a Christian Academy, a time that he says he will never forget, and this guides his concern with the work he does with the yeshivah school system.

Many of the elderly from our community have been secluded in local nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Generally, patients participated in daily activities all geared to keep their moods upbeat and their smiles forever widening. The onset of the virus left many unanswered questions, many that persist today. A devastating coronavirus outbreak at a Washington State nursing home in the beginning of our nation’s struggles shed light on the need to ensure the safety at institutions that house our vulnerable aging population, considering their close living quarters.

This year’s Independence Day marks the 245th year of the United States, a country that has been attracting more immigrants than any other throughout its existence. The freedom of religion and economic opportunities made this nation the leading diaspora country for the Jewish people. Our expression of gratitude for this country is limited this year not only by the coronavirus pandemic that restricts our presence at public celebrations, but also this year’s Fourth of July occurring on Shabbos.