Kelsey Brow, King Manor Museum

As executive director of the King Manor Museum in Jamaica, Kelsey Brow is tasked with preserving the house and former estate of Rufus King, an original signer of the U.S. Constitution.
With public tours and educational opportunities available at the museum, Brow is also in charge of scheduling programming that is meaningful and accessible to the community.
“It’s a real honor and privilege, but also a lot of stress,” said Brow.
Much like King, Brow also places high priority in pay equity, while maintaining quality staff who help uphold the history of an outspoken opponent of slavery.
“So many times, people who work in museums are asked to do it because they love it or they believe in the mission,” said Brow. “But believing in the mission doesn’t pay the bills. People should be compensated fairly for their labor.”
Brow started her role as executive director not too long before the pandemic started, and she recalled what it was like having to maneuver through the past 18 months,
“We were very fortunate to have such a large building and such a good outdoor space,” said Brow. “We did a lot of renovations on the inside.”
The museum recently expanded its viewing tours to include the second floor of the house. The museum has also partnered with South Queens Women’s March (SQWM) to host local food pantries and personal protective equipment giveaways.
Currently, the second floor is hosting a “Made in Queens” exhibit, curated by the SQWM.
“We really wanted to give the space to the community to express what they wanted to express,” said Brow.

Do the math!

Dear Editor,
New York City’s public schools began the fall semester with sharp declines in enrollment and education standards. Enrollment in grades K-12 fell to 890,000, the first time in 20 years that it fell below the one million mark.
Many parents pulled their kids out of public schools offering only remote learning over the past 18 months and put them in private schools with in-person learning. New guidance from the Department of Education (DOE) may trigger another exodus of students.
DOE wants to scrap grades, honor rolls and student rankings that are “detrimental to learners” and “negatively influence future student performance.” This is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s racial equity program to replace merit with mediocrity.
He wants to level the playing field for minority students, but it is really the soft bigotry of low expectations that sets kids up for failure when they graduate high school unprepared for college or the workplace.
DOE’s guidance is the latest step in an effort to dumb down education that ended academic screening for middle schools and reduced Gifted & Talented programs. These measures cheat students and taxpayers.
New York City spends $28,808 a year for every public school student, more than any other U.S. public school system.
We get a poor return on our investment, based on the results of the state’s English Language Arts & Math tests for students in grades 3-8 in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year in which those tests were given: 45.4 percent of all test takers were proficient in English and 46.7 percent in math.
That means the majority of the city’s elementary and middle school students can’t satisfactorily read, write or perform basic math functions.
A voucher system giving parents funds to send their kids to private schools makes more sense than the mess we now have. I hope that Eric Adams, our likely new mayor, replaces DOE’s woke warriors with responsible educators who value academic merit over corrupt manipulation.
Richard Reif
Kew Gardens Hills

Booster bozos

Dear Editor,
The FDA’s decision to limit distribution of booster shots to people 65 and older is ridiculous. I am 62 years old, and my wife is 66, which means she can get it but I can’t.
I have aortic stenosis with a 50 percent blockage in the artery leading to the aortic valve of my heart. I need to also receive this booster, but thanks to the asinine decision made by the FDA, I will not be able to receive this shot.
Anyone 16 or older should be permitted to get this important booster shot.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Get tested

Dear Editor,
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and he pandemic has caused many men to avoid getting tested for prostate cancer. Now is the time to get tested.
About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 248,530 new cases and 31,130 deaths from prostate cancer in 2021.
Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths, but it is 99 percent curable if caught early. I know that only too well.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015. I was having knee surgery and needed a physical by my primary doctor, who found my PSA was high and directed me to see a urologist.
At age 66, I had aggressive prostate cancer and required surgery. Today, I am 72 years-old and cancer free. These doctors truly saved my life and I am eternally thankful.
I urge all men over the age of 40 to get tested.
Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.

Mandate solution

Dear Editor
Republicans aren’t really afraid of mask mandates, they’re just terrified of the hate-filled, conspiracy-loving base they have cultivated.
Masks aren’t just about medical science and preventing germs. Putting on a mask each day is a psychological prompt to remind you to change your behavior and ia conscious signal that you uphold the values of the community and have some sense of responsibility to everyone else.
But I think I’ve come up with the perfect solution for anyone who doesn’t want to wear a mask or get the COVID-19 vaccination. The Health Department should just issue permits, basically a license showing that you’ve filled out the proper paperwork permitting you to go maskless and refuse vaccination.
When this person arrives at the emergency room, doctors can check the anti-mask/vaccine database and give this person the specialized treatment they deserve: a coupon for bleach and gently guiding them to the “treatment room” marked exit.
Robert LaRosa, Sr.

New citizens sworn in on Constitution Day

Forty new American citizens were sworn in on the grounds of King Manor Museum last Friday, pledging their public oath and allegiance to this nation.
Remarks from immigration officials and oaths administered by Judge Sanket J. Bushar of the Eastern District of New York marked the long-awaited day for many, which coincided with Citizenship and Constitution Day.
The naturalization ceremony was part of a larger welcoming of 21,000 citizens in 355 ceremonies across the country last week, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Karen Jachero, one of Queens’ newest citizens from Ecuador, said the joyous day was six years in the making.
“I’m excited and ready for my new path as a citizen,” Jachero said, clutching her newly received naturalization documents. “For me it was very important to get U.S. citizenship so I can bring my mom from my country and, of course, to have the right to vote. I was waiting for this for so long.”
Following the ceremony, Jacero and others re-enacted what the founding fathers did 234 years ago: signing their name to the U.S. Constitution.
Bushar spoke to the significance of King Manor Museum, the home of Rufus King, serving as the host for the Friday morning event.
“Decades before the civil war, he spoke out against slavery when it was a radical thing to do,” said Bushar. “He was able to do so because our United States Constitution protects freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly, rights that are forever shrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.”
The magistrate judge for the Eastern District of New York said his district, which serves over 8 million people, is one of the most diverse places in the country and possibly the world.
“More languages, customs, international cuisine and houses of worship are found here than anywhere else,” said Bushar, who added that his parents became citizens in the 1970’s, shortly after immigrating from India.
“They came in search of opportunities not available anywhere else,” he added. “They first landed in Queens and moved to LeFrak City with only a few dollars to their name and with big dreams. I am grateful that they took this first step that made it possible for me to become a judge.”
The swearing-in ceremony concluded with a final Pledge of Allegiance and the distribution of official documents.
“I am sure you will always hold close to your hearts your native lands and its people and its customs, as you should,” said Bushar. “You today have all made the decision on this day to embrace the United States of America as your country. The United States is richer for all the traditions and history you bring from your native lands.”

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