[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] The 11th Annual Legislative Breakfast hosted by Shema Kolainu- Hear Our Voices, school and center for children with autism servicing all boroughs of New York, was held Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at the Renaissance Ballroom in Brooklyn, New York. This year, the breakfast honored members of the City Council as well as State Legislature, for their outstanding work in the autism community. The Friedlander Group coordinated the breakfast, with Masters of Ceremony Menachem Lubinsky and Kalman Yeger.
Autism, as many are aware, is on the rise and awareness, advocacy, and support is crucial. The honorees of the breakfast have gone above and beyond to assist in this mission. Among the attendees were community leaders, philanthropists, and elected officials.
This year’s honorees included: Preston Niblack, City Council Finance Director- City Legislative Leadership Award, Diana Williams, News Anchor WABC-TV’s Eyewitness News at 5:00, Brad Gerstman, Esq.- Autism Awareness Appreciation Award, Chief Thomas M. Chan, New York City Police Department, Chief of Community Affairs- Community Appreciation Award, Patti S. Lubin, Senior Advisor and Senior Counsel- Office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand- National Autism Advocacy Award, Carolyn Gehl Fefferman, Esq., Senior Advisor- Office of Senator Robert Menendez- National Autism Advocacy Award, and Pesha Elias Bikur Cholim D’Bobov- Hakaras Hatov Award.
Notable presenters included: Charles E. Meara, Chief of Staff to New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn presented to Preston Niblack; Assemblyman David Weprin presented to Patti Lubin; and New York State Senator Daniel Squadron presented to Carolyn Gehl Fefferman. David Lobl special assistant to Governor Cuomo delivered greetings on behalf of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Brad Gerstman gave an emotional speech about his involvement with the autism community and described his visit to Shema Kolainu.
Dr. Joshua Weinstein, President and Founder of Shema Kolainu- Hear Our Voices also expressed his deep appreciation to New York State Senator Simcha Felder and NYC City Council Members David Greenfield, Brad Lander, Melisa Mark-Viverito, and Mark Weprin, Inez Dickens for their support of the Autism Initiative.
Dr. Joshua Weinstein founded Shema Kolainu- Hear Our Voices, with only three children. Now, hundreds of children are serviced either at the center based school in Brooklyn or home based programs throughout New York. The 11th Annual Legislative Breakfast welcomed a diverse group of attendees, which is appropriate, as autism knows no cultural bounds. The support and advocacy for this population is important, and Shema Kolainu- Hear