Black History Month: At Schomburg, Comptroller Stringer Honors Three Top Achievers


 Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Regina Wilson, Stringer, and Michael J. Garner.


New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer hosted his annual Trailblazers Awards & Program to honor distinguished New Yorkers and celebrate African American History Month On Tuesday, February 10th.

The event was held before an audience of hundreds at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and included a performance by Matthew Brown, from The Mama Foundation for the Arts. 

“Tonight we are honoring three of New York’s Trailblazers, Regina Wilson, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones and Michael J. Garner and what a privilege it is to do so here at the Schomburg Center,” Stringer said.  “Harlem must continue to be a beacon for the future, a community where we honor our City’s long standing promise to provide economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.  Expanding that promise is my top priority as Comptroller.  We need to build a path to success for every man, woman and child, no matter where they were born, no matter where they live in our City.” 

Before presenting commendations, Comptroller Stringer paused to remember the life of Theresa Freeman. “Theresa Freeman was a State Committee member, a district assembly leader and a powerful force for good in the community. She will be missed,” Stringer said.

The evening’s three honorees have all made indelible contributions to civic life and to the African American community in all five boroughs:

Michael J. Garner, the Chief Diversity Officer for Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Regina Wilson, the first female President of the Vulcan Society – a fraternal organization of African American firefighters in the FDNY, and Valeisha Butterfield-Jones,  the CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).

“This evening we will honor three remarkable members of the community who are an inspiration to us all. They are carrying on the spirit and commitment of leaders like Dr. Marin Luther King, Malcom X, Frederick Douglass and Nelson Mandela,” Stringer  said.

“Michael pioneered America’s first ‘Regional Small Business Mentoring Program’ — which spurred a 40% rise in contracts to MWBE’s.  He is a member of my Advisory Council on Economic Growth through Diversity and Inclusion – and President of One Hundred Black Men in New York City.”

“Regina has been a New York City firefighter for 16 years—one of only 44 women in a workforce of 10,000 firefighters. She’s a leader in FDNY recruitment drives, and she’s worked extensively with its family assistance unit after September 11th. Regina has also used her gift of voice to sing at events including President Bush, the Yankees, Mets, Rangers and Brooklyn Nets.”

“Valeisha was named a top executive under 40 by Essence Magazine. She served President Obama as Deputy Director of Public Affairs for International Trade from 2009-2011. She was also Executive Director of Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.  Valeisha directed youth outreach for President Obama in 2012, and she continues to inspire young leaders here in New York and across America — like Camille Joseph, my Deputy Comptroller for public affairs.”



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