By Carol Tannenhauser
“Helen Rosenthal is a fighter,” said Lauren Keville, principal of PS 191, a brand-new school at 300 West 61st Street, where Council Member Rosenthal’s second inauguration was held last Sunday afternoon. After a hard-fought primary, and an easier general election victory, it was an upbeat celebration of what newly elected Council Speaker Corey Johnson called Rosenthal’s “resolve, strength, and perseverance.”
“People came at her hard,” Johnson said. “Helen kept smiling and talking about the issues and the achievements she was able to bring for this district. She won overwhelmingly, because people saw what Helen Rosenthal could get done over the course of four years.”
What will the next four years bring?
“Our [first-term] accomplishments ranged in a variety of areas,” Rosenthal said, “but they all come back to a common theme: hearing the voices of those who have gone unheard. It’s true of our work on behalf of people with disabilities…it’s true of our work on behalf of tenants living under the weight of unscrupulous landlords…and it is true of our most noteworthy accomplishment: supporting the efforts of public-school parent leaders to integrate public schools on the Upper West Side.
“Our task in our second term is to extend the accomplishments of our first term to women,” said Rosenthal, who is co-chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus, “to not just hear the voices that have gone unheard, but to do something about it…With the #MeToo movement, women have grabbed the megaphone and demanded that we confront, head on, the challenges that women — especially women of color — face every day. We’re going to get into the weeds and identify concrete ways to interrupt power dynamics to prevent this sort of abuse in the first place.”
Other speakers included former NYC Council Member Ronnie Eldridge, Public Advocate Letitia James, and State Senator Liz Krueger. Musical entertainment was provided by the Riverside School Singers of PS 191, part of the Reaching for the Arts program, funded by Rosenthal’s office. Civil Court Judge Leslie Stroth administered the oath of office as the Council Member stood with her husband, Carmen Marino.