BY JOE MARVILLI
A national nonprofit organization looking to help the disenfranchised has made its way to Queens.
The National Congress of Black Women, Inc. is establishing a new chapter in Queens, planting roots in Flushing for its endeavors that will spread throughout the Borough.
The organization is dedicated to the educational, political, economic and cultural development of African American women and their families, as well as increasing their presence in those areas. Founded in 1984, NCBW is led by Dr. E. Faye Williams. The founder of the Queens chapter, Pauline Murray, reached out to Williams to get the go-ahead to start the new branch.
“I said I would like to get a chapter here in Queens. She said, ‘Pauline, there isn’t one. We want some of more chapters in New York City.’ I’m on a mission to get the Queens chapter going,” Murray said
While Murray said she had stopped being an active member of the NCBW in 2001, she re-established her connection with the group and decided to help spread its cause to Queens. She added that the organization’s name should not be seen as limiting and her chapter is willing to help any of the diverse individuals in Queens that are in need.
“It’s important that people understand that there’s a shift in the paradigm of thinking. We’re talking about those who still consider themselves of the populations I spoke about, being disenfranchised,” she said. “They could be Hispanic women. They could be Asian women. You could be of Irish descent. You could be of Jewish descent. If we can help you, we will help you.”
Murray added that the NCBW chapter is going to throw itself into issues affecting Queens residents, with separate vice chairs taking the lead on different areas in the Borough. In terms of Borough or Citywide problems, Murray said she wants to help reduce prison populations by finding economic and educational opportunities for parolees. She added that mental health consultation and assistance is also needed.
“How do you keep these individuals back?” Murray asked. “There’s a need for training, education, there’s a need to help them get jobs.”
The NCBW also plans to work with the City Economic Development Corporation to increase outreach to minority women on how they can set up their own businesses and find help running them.
The implementation of universal prekindergarten and registering people to vote are two more goals for the organization that they will be pursuing in the near future.
Now that the chapter is up and running, Murray said that the next step is to increase membership and decide what to work on first. In terms of getting new faces to join, the NCBW plans to hold fundraisers for those who want to join but cannot afford the membership fee. Murray described the process of finding their first projects as “a little tricky” due to the different needs in different neighborhoods of the Borough.
By the end of the year, the Queens chapter of the NCBW should have a physical location somewhere in Flushing, which will be determined once they see what their membership and finances are like. Those looking for more information can come to a meeting on April 27 in the Flushing Library’s conference room D at 2:30 p.m. They can also call the national headquarters of the NCBW at (202) 678-6788.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.