Introducing the Gratitude Gala 2016 Honorees: Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

As we lead up to our Gratitude Gala 2016, we are excited to highlight the 2016 LiFe Award Recipients; Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Dorian Baroni, and Alexandra Bell.

Source: Westchester Magazine,  Women in Business 2015

Source: Westchester Magazine, Women in Business 2015

Since the very beginning of her tenure in government, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins has distinguished herself as a trailblazer in local and state government. With her strong belief in advocating for the underserved and championing the needs of working families, she continues to espouse her core values of empathy, empowerment and civic engagement as she serves in her current position as Democratic Conference Leader for New York State. Join us in honoring Senator Stewart-Cousins on December 9 at our Gratitude Gala 2016 in Irvington, NY, where we will celebrate her dedication to families, and for serving as a role model to the EFLI community and beyond.


“New York state has a history of only having men in that room making decisions. As progressive as New York State has been, we have not been able to break that glass ceiling. Just by virtue of being part of that policy-making process I am able to bring a different perspective that has not been there before.”


Senator Stewart-Cousins’ career in public service began in 1992, when she was the first African-American woman to be appointed Director of Community Affairs for the City of Yonkers. During her tenure she created an internship program for the hearing impaired and for children of working families, and also advocated for and contributed to the revitalization of the City of Yonkers through the creation of "Art on Main Street” and "RiverFest." She then served as Westchester County Legislator from 1996-2006, working tirelessly to pass landmark legislation that included Westchester County’s first human rights laws, living wage laws, smoke-free workplace laws, stricter gun laws, laws that prosecute "predatory lenders”, and laws that have provided tax cuts for seniors and veterans. As Chair of the Health Committee, she brought the "Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program" to Westchester County, a model that has become a national cornerstone of enhanced community/medical rape crisis assistance.

Source: Westchester Magazine,  A Quiet Storm

Source: Westchester Magazine, A Quiet Storm

Senator Stewart-Cousins made New York State history in 2009 when she became the first African-American woman to preside over the Senate, and again in December 2012, when she was elected to serve as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference, becoming the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York State history. Her belief that creating change locally affects changes on the State level has driven her legislative and policy agenda at home and in Albany, where she advocates for human rights, quality education, accessible and affordable health care, and making government more efficient, transparent and accountable to all citizens. 


“I urge us to recognize that we all, as citizens of this planet and members of the human family, have responsibilities to each other. All members of our family deserve respect, all members of our family deserve justice, and all members of our family deserve to live in peace and security.”


Senator Stewart-Cousins has sponsored and passed transformative legislation that has become law, such as the landmark Government Reorganization and Citizen Empowerment Act, Jimmy Nolan’s Law, which was enacted into law in 2009, and the Child Health Plus and School Meal Enrollment Coordination Law, which was signed into law in 2010. Additionally, Senator Stewart-Cousins has created a number of valuable community programs to support the youth in her district, including the JAM (Just About Me) Program in conjunction with The Yonkers Municipal Housing Authority and the Mary J. Blige Center for Women. She was also instrumental in bringing “Operation SNUG," a New York State anti-violence initiative, to the City of Yonkers. She has been honored with numerous citations and awards for her legislative and community service work.

Join us on December 9th as we celebrate Senator Stewart-Cousins and her remarkable achievements at the Gratitude Gala 2016. For tickets and more information, please visit this link:

Source:  New York Observer, Photo: Aaron Adler

Source:  New York Observer, Photo: Aaron Adler