The talk was moderated by Millman and featured State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon and State Senator Roxanne Persaud. The symposium was part of the month-long celebration of Women's History Month at the College.
About the Panelists
St. Francis College Scholar in Residence Joan L. Millman represented the 52nd Assembly District in the New York State Assembly from 1997 until her retirement in 2014. A life-long educator, Millman spent over three decades working on behalf of New York City's children prior to entering the Assembly where she was a leading advocate on senior and educational issues and for consumer rights. As an Assemblywoman, Millman built a reputation for integrity, independence, and compassion. She served as Chair of the Assembly's Standing Committee on Aging as well as the Assembly Committee on Election Law where she worked to increase access to voting, limit the influence of special interests in elections, and level the playing field between political candidates. Assemblywoman Millman was an early advocate for the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park and worked to revitalize the entire Brooklyn waterfront. She has been on the forefront of the struggle to clean up the Gowanus Canal and adjacent properties, led the fight to keep Engine Company 205 open, and has also been a leader in the fight to save Long Island College Hospital; in both the firehouse and LICH campaigns, Millman was arrested protesting the proposed closures.
Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon grew up in a working class neighborhood in Yonkers and was the first in her family to attend college. Jo Anne graduated Iona College with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences, Gallaudet University with a Master's Degree in Education of the Deaf, and Fordham University School of Law, where she earned her law degree at night while working full-time. After stints as a judicial law secretary and teaching in Hofstra University School of Law's clinical program, she established a disability civil rights law firm in Downtown Brooklyn. Jo Anne is a nationally recognized expert in her field whose work has been featured in the New York and National Law Journals. Jo Anne is also an adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham. She has lived in Brooklyn since 1981 and has previously served as President of the Boerum Hill Association and chaired its Traffic & Transportation, Land Use, and Atlantic Yards committees. Jo Anne was a Founder or Co-founder of numerous organizations including the Downtown Brooklyn Coalition, BrooklynSpeaks.net, Council of Brooklyn Neighborhoods, Friends of Douglass/Greene Park; Hoyt-Schermerhorn Task Force, Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD) where she is also general counsel, and the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Task Force. She chaired the Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group and Gowanus Expressway Community Coalition. Jo Anne is a member of the ARISE Coalition, which seeks to improve educational and life outcomes for NYC's children with disabilities. She is also the former President of Everyone Reading, Inc.
State Senator Roxanna Persaud was elected to the State Senate in November 2015 after serving in the State Assembly. Prior to being elected to the State Legislature, Roxanne spent many years as a Higher Education Administrator including as Registrar at St. Francis College. In addition, she is a longtime advocate for the community. She served as President of the 69th Precinct Community Council in Canarsie, a member of Community Board 18 and Commissioner on the New York City Districting Commission. She also is a graduate of the NYPD Citizens Police Academy as well as, the New York City Office of Emergency Management-Community Emergency Response Team. Additionally, she was a member of Community Action Board of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and Chairperson of the Neighborhood Advisory Board - District 18. She also serves on organizations highlighting domestic violence and cancer awareness among others. She has also traveled overseas on several occasions as a volunteer on medical and social outreach programs.
Roxanne was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the United States with her parents and siblings. She is a graduate of Pace University from which she holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Education Administration.
In the Senate, Roxanne's legislative priorities for the District include safer communities, affordable housing, funding for schools and libraries, supportive services for youth and senior and quality healthcare.
Roxanne lives in the Canarsie section of the 19th Senatorial District.