Volume 23, Number 3 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 28 - June 3, 2010
Courtesy of Sen. Squadon’s office
Catherine McVay Hughes and NY State Sen. Daniel Squadron in Albany on Tuesday night.
Squadron honors Hughes for community work
BY John Bayles
Catherine McVay Hughes is vice chair of Community Board 1; however she was absent from Tuesday’s full board meeting, and for good reason. She was in Albany, being honored at the recommendation of State Senator Daniel Squadron for her role as a community leader in Lower Manhattan, the senator’s district.
“The idea is really to focus on someone whose community activism has made a significant contribution - politics aside,” said Squadron.
The senate’s annual Women of Distinction program, created as part of the senate’s celebration of Women’s History Month, gives each senator the chance to select a woman who has made important contributions to her community.
“It was very exciting to have been acknowledged in such a public way,” said Hughes.
She then humbly added, “But nothing is done alone. It’s always a group effort.”
She continued and said that she indeed felt as if she was accepting the honor on behalf of many people and not just herself.
Squadron pointed to numerous reasons why he selected Hughes, including her role as an advocate for all of Lower Manhattan. But he focused on her leadership in rebuilding after 9/11.
“She has contributed in a lot of ways – but none more significant than ensuring the focus remains on the quality of life for [Lower Manhattan] residents, the actual physical rebuilding and what gets rebuilt, and her extraordinary contributions on health issues,” said Squadron. “She has really, since 9/11, brought unique skills to the discussion of how we rebuild and she is the perfect example of how community issues can become statewide and national issues when it comes to Lower Manhattan.”
Squadron said Hughes has been an incredible advocate for her won community while understanding the broader consequences of the issues.
Hughes’ sense of community service can be traced by to her parents, she said. Her father worked at a non-profit and her mother was a teacher. And later while attending Princeton University she picked on the institution’s dedication to information services.
“It’s really about creating systemic, positive change,” said Hughes. “What happens downtown has a ripple effect throughout the state the country and the world. For example, the retrofitting of heavy machinery, measuring the air quality and managing toxic flow – if we continue to create systemic change and leverage our resources, then people around the world can take the best of what we’ve done in Lower Manhattan after 9/11 and use it [in their own communities].”
Hughes said the award ceremony in Albany was only going to make her work harder and spur her on to continue working to improve the quality of life for all Lower Manhattan residents.
“I’ve already spent countless hours on this and I will continue to work even harder,” she said. “Because we love Downtown and we want to make Downtown the best we can as a place to live, to work, and to go to school - for all people of all ages.”