Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) hosted an event to celebrate Women’s History Month on Friday, Mar. 16, at the Brentwood Public Library in Brentwood. Two women from Long Island were honored during the celebration that paid tribute to women’s contributions to Suffolk County and New York State as a whole.
“This month, we recognize the contributions of women who have tirelessly worked to make our country a better place,” said Assemblyman Ramos. “In New York State, where so much of the women’s rights movement took place, it is especially important to recognize our female leaders. I was honored to recognize two local women today who contributed greatly to our community.”
The two Long Island women honored at the event were Marcia Spector and Dafny Joy Irizarry Ortiz, both for their dedication to helping Suffolk County youths.
Marcia Spector founded the Suffolk Network on Adolescent Pregnancy Inc. (SNAP), in 1979 and has been the Executive Director for over 30 years. The agency works to provide educational, medical and social support to help young people deal with societal pressures around sexuality and help adolescent parents move toward self-sufficiency and responsible behavior.
Mrs. Spector was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1985 as policy chair of his Task Force on Adolescent Pregnancy. She also served on Governor Pataki’s Task Force on Adolescent Pregnancy and Unwed Births, and on New York State’s Teenage Services Act Task Force. She was president of the New York State Council on Adolescent Pregnancy for 15 years, and currently represents New York State on the national Healthy Teen Network Leadership Alliance. Mrs. Spector serves on numerous not-for-profit boards of directors and was inducted into the Long Island Volunteer Center’s Hall of Fame in 2010 for her contributions to the health and welfare of Long Island.
Dafny Joy Irizarry Ortiz has been a teacher in the Central Islip School District for 17 years. Raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, she received her teacher’s certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and her Master’s Degree in Education from CUNY Queens College. She co-founded and serves as president of the Long Island Latino Teachers Association, working to increase high school graduation rates and seek higher education enrollment, retention and completion for all students.
She was recently elected chairperson of the board of trustees for Suffolk County Community College and serves on the board of directors and committees of several well-recognized community organizations that seek to advance educational opportunities for all students, especially the underserved.
“It is very important for our community to recognize these women leaders and the contributions they have made to our youths,” said Assemblyman Ramos. “Their inspirational stories illustrate that just one person can help make a difference in our community.”