New Yorkers Attended Weprin Inauguration

by Catherine Tsounis

“I am not going to change the world. But, I can change little things that will affect us every day,” said Mark S. Weprin, at his inauguration as the New York City Council member of the 23rd District. Over eight hundred persons filled the Queensborough Community College Performing Arts Center on Sunday, January 31st from 2-4 p.m. An elegant dessert reception was organized by Director Arthur Flug and his staff at the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center.

A program of culture, entertainment and politics made the Mark S. Weprin Inauguration unique. The event included: Welcome, Dirk McCall; Presentation of Colors, P.S. 203 Color Guard; Star Spangled Banner, Cantor Sol Zim; Invocation, Rev. Msgr. Raymond F. Chappetto; Master of Ceremonies, Assembly Member Keith L.T. Wright; Greetings, Queensborough C.C. President Eduardo Marti; Dance Performance, Noopura Dance Group; Remarks, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, N.Y.S. Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Musical Performance, “Everything I Know” Veronika Jackson; Remarks, N.Y.C. Comptroller John C. Liu, N.Y.C. Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; Swearing in, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, Eastern District; Address Council Member Mark Weprin; Dance Performance, Cardozo H.S. Performing Dance Group, Visit by Mr. Met (mascot of the Mets baseball team) and Reception, Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center.

City Council Member Mark Weprin sworn into office by the
Hon. Nicholas Garaufis as his wife Jennifer and sons look on.

The Weprin family attended with his wife Jennifer, three children, Mother Sylvia, brothers Barry and David, who is running for the special election of assemblyman on February 9th. Prominent politicians, civic and religious leaders, community activists and the general public from New York City and State attended. Energetic members of his office greeted and escorted all persons to their seats with a smile. A PowerPoint presentation of the highlight of Mark Weprin’s life gave the audience an insight into his character.

“The Councilman’s Mother, Sylvia, was born in Cuba, the island I am from,” said QCC President Eduardo Marti. N.Y.S. Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said “as an assemblyman for sixteen years, he was a forceful advocate for public education, concerns for seniors and small business. He made a difference in the lives of Queens’s residents. Mark stands up for political risk. That is how he feels about the people of Queens.”

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said “Mark Weprin has amazing integrity; honor and caring that are the top qualities of elected officials. We have elected one of our very
best, in our democracy created by our founding fathers for the first time since Greek times.” City Council speaker Christine Quinn added, that she “looks forward to four years of commitment to the City Council with Mark Weprin.”

Assembly member candidate David Weprin (left to
right) with
Director Arthur Flug of the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center.
My Dad, Saul Weprin (former speaker of the N.Y.S. Assembly), was a WWII veteran who was humble, a supporter of unions and immigrants. My Mother, Sylvia, was born in Havana, Cuba and immigrated to the U.S. when she was eight years old. She spoke only Spanish. Immigrants are courageous and frightened when they come here. A teacher inspired her in the public school and led to her decision to become an educator.” The Honorable George M. Heymann, who was in the audience, is another educator who inspired students at Queens College in the Paralegal Studies.

This writer, who is a third generation New Yorker and Greek-American, worked with the late Saul Weprin’s office, Mark and David Weprin since 1990, to improve the quality of life in Bayside and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Flushing. Why is Mark Weprin’s election as City Council Member important to the Greek-American community of North Eastern Queens? As a former Assemblyman for sixteen years and presently City Council Member of the 23rd district, he represents the largest Greek community outside of Athens, Greece, concentrated at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. He personally safeguarded the civil rights of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church to hold festivals in the 1990’s, under the ministries of Very Rev . George Passias and Very Rev. Paul Palesty. He worked behind the scenes to keep the Flushing East Public Library open in the fiscal crisis of the mid 1990’s. In our community, surrounding three school complexes of P.S. 203, Cardozo H.S. and QCC, he personally supported an increase in police protection to halt crime in the area.

Mr. Met with City Council Member Mark Weprin
and prominent guests.

David Weprin, who is running for the Assembly seat that represents St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on February 9th, aided her Youth Programs with grants, as well as other interests of the community. Humble, always willing to listen to everyone’s concerns, City Council Member Mark Weprin and NYS Assembly candidate David Weprin will give the average New Yorker hope in this time of economic upheaval.

(Posting date 07 February 2010)

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