Brooklyn State Park Honoring Shirley Chisholm Partially Opens
The park, which includes acres of green space and bike and hiking trails, is now New York’s second largest state park.
July 09, 2019 at 9:33 pm
More than 50 years after making history as the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, groundbreaking politician and educator Shirley Chisholm is being honored with a state park in New York.
Located in Jamaica Bay in East New York, the first portion of the 407-acre Shirley Chisholm State Park opened on July 2 as part of the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, reports Curbed New York. The state-funded initiative is a “model for community development and wellness” and provides funding for healthy food, community-centric healthcare, as well as educational and recreational spaces.
“Shirley Chisholm fought to improve the health and wellness of underserved communities, a legacy we are carrying on through the Vital Brooklyn Initiative, so we are proud to dedicate this park in memory of her leadership and accomplishments,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Beautiful mural by @DANIELLEBKNYC at the Shirley Chisholm State Park!
We opened the first phase of the park yesterday. When completed, it will be the largest state park in NYC.
Very proud to dedicate this park in memory of Shirley Chisholm's leadership and accomplishments. pic.twitter.com/wQ170854go
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 3, 2019
The park includes a vibrant mural of the pioneering politician, bike and hiking trails and large green spaces with a diverse ecosystem of plants, meadows, wetland and wooded areas.
Chisholm was a trailblazer for women’s rights, and in 1972, she became the first African-American woman to run for president. A daughter of first-generation immigrants from the West Indies, the Congresswoman defied limited expectations and helped lay the groundwork for Black politicians in the 20th century.
“My fellow black female members of Congress and I stand on the shoulders of the great Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm,” Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke said in a statement. "The opening of the Shirley Chisholm State Park is a historic victory for the Brooklyn community that will continue to help educate future generations about her legacy and empower Black women and girls to also be unbought and unbossed."
According to Untapped Cities, the new park replaces a former landfill in Brooklyn and is expected to be completed in 2021.
“As we open this beautiful park and open a whole new area of interest to generations of young people, right here in the backyard of Brooklyn, let us also remember the lesson and the moral of Shirley Chisholm, and fight the good fight,” Cuomo said.
A monument commemorating Chisholm will also be placed at the entrance of Brooklyn's Prospect Park by the end of 2020, thanks to the She Built NYC initiative, reports Curbed NY.