5 Black Stamfordites Making A Difference

Stamford Patch briefly profiles five black Stamford residents whose efforts to improve the community are appreciated by everyone in it, especially children.

(Originally an idea executed by Patch freelancer Caroline Sadowska. Do you know of someone not among these five making a difference in the lives of Stamford residents? Tell us in your comments!)

Mary Jennings

In the midst of constant changes in the realm of education during the early 1990's, Stamford educator Mary Jennings, principal of Rogers Elementary School in 1993, guided the school through its transformation into a magnet school.

Jennings' apparent ability to keep up with changes in local education makes her critical to Stamford Public Schools in her role as the Director of Literacy & Social Studies, a role in which she's advised Stamford parents and administrators alike on how to effectively participate in state exams, such as the Developmental Reading Test and the Connecticut Mastery Test.

A supporter of heterogeneous grouping, Jennings is one of many committed to such initiatives to eliminate the achievement gap in Stamford, but her high position and experiences have made her one of SPS's most valuable sources of information.

Silas Redd

As SPD's Officer of the Year in 2010, Silas Redd, 50, could literally be the finest of Stamford's finest. Besides having a reputation for impeccable professional conduct, Redd is known for his active involvement with local youth who are headed down the wrong path.

Since joining the department in 1998, Redd, a former Marine, Redd, served in Stamford's Street Narcotics Unit. For five years, he run SPD's Truancy at Risk Intervention Program, which aims to keep troubled juveniles in the educational system rather than the justice system.

Redd receives a great deal of respect around the SPD facility even now, and continues to set an example for other, younger officers.

Dudley Williams

Dudley Williams' influence is felt in many political pockets of the city, largely due to the number of important positions that Williams has occupied, such as president of the Board of Education, as well as seats on the Charter Revision Commission and the Stamford Board of Representatives.

Williams, who was president of the Board of Ed. for nine years, was handpicked by by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to participate in an Education Cost Sharing Task Force, which is designed to review educational grants in the state of Connecticut.

Williams eagerly represents the interests of Stamford residents, and has admitted that he wishes to serve Stamford in even greater capacities.

Jack Bryant

2012 will be a busy year for Jack Bryant and Stamford's NAACP, if the public participation in last month's MLK Day March is any indication of interest in NAACP's local activities.

On top of welcoming NAACP national chairman Ben Jealous in Nov., Bryant has been one of the primary organizers behind the recent movement in Stamford to have CT's death penalty abolished.

While Bryant is not directly involved in education, the Stamford chapter of the NAACP, under Bryant's leadership, have focused a great deal of attention towards equality in education, even going so far as to tell the Stamford Advocate that the NAACP would sue if homogeneous grouping returned to Stamford Public Schools.

Eugene Campbell

In the past, there's been the problem of children in Stamford schools not receiving enough food from home, and sometimes, at school. At the same time, there are always questions as to how Stamford kids should spend their time after-school, and during summer vacations.

The Yerwood Center, run by Eugene Campbell, takes care of all of those needs and many more through it's after-school and summer programs alone. Under Campbell's supervision, the Yerwood Center manages to provide all of the children who pass through its doors with two things: a full belly and a way to succeed in school.

Campbell is not directly involved with Stamford Public Schools, but keeps an eye on all of SPS's curriculum's, if only so that he can know what the broader issues are affecting kids under his watch at any given time.

StamfordNative February 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Yes, you should include John and Cecilia DaRosa. They are remarkable and truly giving of themselves to the community.
Trenet DaRosa March 26, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I very much agree with the above comment. For more than 30 years, John and Cecelia DaRosa have been an intergal part of the Stamford community by helping others who have been in need. They are very deserving of this honor because they stop at nothing to be involved in the community and make a difference. They truly deserve to be recognized for their hard work, dedication, and committment to the city that they have lived in for over 40 years.


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