Local electeds Assemblyman Joe Lentol and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney commemorated Women’s History Month in a celebration last week by honoring two local activists – Tish Cianciotta and Dana Rachlin.
Both have been formidable community organizers with Cianciotta having created the neighborhood block association on Withers Street and Rachlin having worked extensively with youth reform issues through the Greenpoint Youth Court.
“I am truly honored to present Tish and Dana with Certificates of Congressional Recognition for their extraordinary contributions and service to the Brooklyn community,” said Maloney.
Cianciotta has been a lifelong Greenpoint resident. She formed the Concerned Citizens of Withers Street along with her husband in 1978 – and the group has gone from strength to strength each year being at the forefront of a number of critical issues that affected the neighborhood. In the eighties the group was instrumental in helping close a methadone clinic in the neighborhood, which the group argued contributed more to the drug problem than diminish it.
In subsequent years, apart from working for the Community Board and the Greenpoint YMCA, Cianciotta campaigned against the closure of the hospital on Skillman Avenue and Engine 212 on Wythe Avenue, along with her neighborhood association.
Cianciotta had been a staff member in Lentol’s office for over 30 years before she retired in 2013. She said he had been instrumental in aiding her with the community’s concerns.
“I’m still not giving up,” said Cianciotta, about working with the community even after retirement. “I’m old but I’m still fighting. It’s really an honor to be recognized like this, especially for work that is for the betterment of the community.”
While Rachlin has not served the community as long, she has displayed a continued zeal towards improving the life of youth in the neighborhood. For the past two years she has been working as a community organizer for the Greenpoint Youth Court – primarily working with children who help their peers in the neighborhood that have committed low-level offenses. In addition Dana works at the Youth Court to make her students active participants in the neighborhood by getting them involved in different forms of community service.
“More than just ensuring that these kids stay in school our work ensures that they understand that they are the solution and they are the future of the community,” said Rachlin. “I’m so honored and grateful that they (local electeds) see value in the work that I do.”
At Friday’s ceremony, Rachlin and Cianciotta were presented with Congressional Certificates of Recognition for their contribution and service to the neighborhood.
“The contributions these fine women have made to the community are incredible,” said Lentol. “While Dana Rachlin has just begun contributing in the area, Tish Cianciotta has been making this community better for years – her tireless commitment to Greenpoint and Williamsburg is unmatched. Dana certainly has some big shoes to fill. Both of these women serve as great models for future activists and community organizers.”
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