A Black Woman’s Dream
Vivian McKenzie, Lakisha Bellamy, Corazon Paneda-Isaac, Shanae Williams, Tasha Freeman-Diaz, Danielle Browne, Esq., Gabrielle Hamilton, or Stephanie McClaine, may not know or have ever heard of the late Alice C. Scott of Mount Vernon, but they are surely “living out her dream.”
In 1976, Alice’s dream, the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, was born and Alice C. Scott served as its first president. Attorney Joan Mosley and Alice Scott, the cofounders, drafted the bylaws and structure for the new organization. Under Scott’s watchful eye, the county organization served as the hub and set up chapters in Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Greenburgh/White Plains, and Peekskill.
The good news spread countywide without ONE cell phone. The attendance doubled at each new meeting bringing women from all corners of the county together every month. Alice Scott, Joan Horton, Carole Morris, Ruth Thompson, (Mount Vernon); Joan Mosley, Esq. (Greenburgh); Orial Redd (Rye); Mae “Mom” Robinson, her twins, Joanne and Roberta, Ethel Harmon, Rose Taylor, Jeanette Ray, and Cheryl Brannan (Yonkers); Bernadine McWilliams, Annie Johnson, Leola Gaines, Vera McCorvey, Ruth Tibbs, and Eugenia Hayes (Peekskill); Annie Grant (Yorktown), Gwendolyn Lynch, Alfreda Williams, Eddie Mae Barnes, Bernice Burton, Lois Bronz, Mae Kyle Jones, Marion Young, Lucille Gray and Irene Lane, (Greenburgh); Pearl C. Quarles, Ilza Williams, Rhoda Quash, Audrey and Geraldine Clark, (New Rochelle) and a few others.
Since its inception, the mission of the Caucus has held steadfast – to encourage greater participation of black women in all phases of the political process and to project, pursue and support causes and issues which or persons who advance the socio-economic and political position of women and minorities.
Lois T. Bronz was the only member who had been elected to office before the organization was formally organized. Lois was first elected to the Greenburgh Town Council in 1976.
The Caucus collaborated with other community groups like the Black Democrats of Westchester, the Black Republicans and the NAACP, and brought in experts who offered workshops on 1) How to run for office, 2) Setting up a campaign committee, 3) Public speaking, 4) Studying/debating the issues 5) Writing a campaign platform, 6) How to campaign, 7) Raising campaign funds, 8) Getting the nomination and getting on the ballot, 9) Registering voters and 10) Getting out the vote.
Over the years, more and more members tossed their hats into the political ring. Soon we started to see the fruits of our labor.
We are reminded from whence we came as we witness the different swearing-in ceremonies this January 2022, and that we have to keep our eye on the ball. Politics is not for the faint at heart.
Our newly elected officials will need our support at these city, village and town board meetings. We, the members, have to attend our respective board meetings so we can be in the room when the decisions are made about our communities. We must speak up. And, our new elected officials have to let us know when they need us to show up and be supportive. Sometimes, we just need to be there as a witness.
The Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc. meets monthly via zoom and our President Subomi Macaulay always makes room on the agenda for elected officials. We urge you to form a bond with the other women who are serving in similar positions and to share your experiences and expertise so that as you grow, learn, and climb, you can light the path for another sister.
Alice C. Scott is very pleased with the progress we have made, but Alice always looked ahead. And, we have to do that too.
I know from whence I came. I served as the second countywide president after Alice. I also ran for office twice, and even though I was not victorious, I was happy that I was a member of the Caucus and I had a soft place to fall when the road was bumpy. The Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc. is greater than any one of us and it needs all of us to survive.
Sandra T. Blackwell