NTAC’s 13th Annual Gala will celebrate in our 14th year on June 8th, 2021 with outstanding honorees.
Man of the Year
Eric Leroy Adams was born in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn on September 1, 1960, the fourth of six children for his mother Dorothy, a house cleaner and cook, and his father Leroy, a butcher. Adams showed an early interest in computers, but was drawn to public service at the early age of 15 after he and his brother were beaten badly by police officers; the violent encounter would later motivate him to pursue a career in law enforcement, a decision reinforced by mentors like Reverend Herbert Daughtry and Jitu Weusi.
Borough President Adams went on to earn an Associate in Arts degree in data processing from the New York City College of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College.
With a 22-year law enforcement career, beginning in 1984, Adams went onto co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group that rose to nationwide prominence speaking out against police brutality, racial profiling, and departmental diversity.
He was elected to the first of four terms in the New York State Senate in 2006, where he represented a diverse range of neighborhoods across brownstone and central Brooklyn. During his tenure in the State Legislature, he chaired both the Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs Committee and the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee. In 2013, Brooklynites elected Adams as the first person of color to serve as their borough president; he is currently serving his second term as Brooklyn’s chief executive.
Lifetime Achievement Awardees
Hon. Annette Robinson
Annette Marie Robinson was born in Harlem and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn where she was active in the church and the community. She studied dance and performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music at age 8. She holds B.S. and master’s degrees from New Hampshire College.
Robinson’s career as a public servant began in 1977 as an elected Community School Board District 16 member in 1977. She went on to work for former N.Y.C. Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin, and U.S. Congressman Major R. Owens before being elected to the City Council representing Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1992. Robinson went on to become NYS Assemblywoman in 2001. Besides being a public officials, Robinson is a pillar of the Bed-Stuy community, who was married for over 50 years to the late William Robinson, is a mother of six, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.
Dr. Mildred Clarke
Dr. Clarke is one of Brooklyn’s first African American woman GYN physicians to own a private practice. During her more than 40 years of practice, Dr. Clarke delivered over 5,000 babies. She is a longtime resident of the Prospect Heights neighborhood. She received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine,
Although she has retired from the BCS Board, Dr. Clarke will continue her literary program mentoring with the women of the BCS Transitional Living Community (TLC), a temporary homeless shelter for women who are recovering from severe traumas and being prepared for permanent housing.
Justice Betty Staton
Judge Betty Staton co-founded the first African-American female law firm in the state of New York. She is a former judge and currently the president of Brooklyn Legal Services.
Staton was 41 years old when she earned a full scholarship into New York University’s Law School. While at NYU, she founded the Black Latino Asian Pacific Alumni Association — the alumni of color organization, which is still in existence. Her first job out of law school was in legal services at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation where eventually she went on to become the deputy director and director of outreach and education.
In 1987, Staton co-founded the first African-American female law firm in the state of New York—Boyd Staton and Cave—on 27 Court Street in downtown Brooklyn. Again, she continued her work in social services, until she was appointed by Mayor David Dinkins to serve as a family court judge in 1991.
Caribbean Man of the Year – St. Kitts and Nevis
Thomas Alva Pemberton
Mr. Pemberton hails from the beautiful and tranquil Caribbean Island of St Kitts and Nevis. He is a graduate of Bronx Community College, Lehman College and the Cruise Line Academy where he obtained the highest certification from the cruise line university.
He is also the President/CEO of TDE Tours Connection Inc., which he founded in 1995, specializing in luxury motor tour packages, charters and cruises to the most popular and unique vacation spots.
Thomas Alva Pemberton (affectionately known as Alva Pemberton) is also the President of the TAP & QA Asthmatic Association, whose fundamental objective is to ameliorate the lives of children suffering with asthma. He also serves as the Diaspora Affairs Officer for St Kitts and Nevis and performs consulate services.
Caribbean Woman of the Year
Maria Roz Olatunji
Ms. Olatunji was born in Ottos, St John’s, and Antigua and migrated to Brooklyn, New York in the late 1960’s. She was educated at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Manhattan Community College and Queens College.
Roz Olatunji’s work career has included 20 years in the Textile Industry, specializing in fabric design and converting and 28 years in global logistics and letters of credit.
Ms Olatunji is an ardent community activist and serves on the Board of Directors of the Antigua & Barbuda Progressive, the oldest national organization in the tristate area, for the past 12 years. She has also actively served the Ifetayo Cultural Academy; the Park Slope Food Coop and St Paul’s Court Tenant’s Association.
She presently resides in Brooklyn, New York and is a committed mother, grandmother and great grandmother.