The event honored four local women working in public service and government. They included Congresswoman Grace Meng, Principal Monique Paniagua, Bonelle Pastry Shop owner Rahita Raval and civic leader Sylvia Hack.
“I really wanted to honor the women who work hard in our community and across the borough,” Koslowitz said.
Meng, originally from Elmhurst and raised in Bayside, is the first Asian-American member of Congress for the state. She is currently serving her second term in the House of Representatives.
Raval opened Bonelle Pastry Shop in 1992 after earning a master’s degree from Pace University in 1987 and a brief career with Philip Morris International. She was born in Kenya and raised in India, but her shop is well known in the community for the European desserts.
Besides the sweets, she is also known for her friendly spirit and considers all of her Forest Hills customers “close friends because of all the personal interactions.”
For the past three years, Paniagua has been principal of P.S. 101 in Forest Hills Gardens. Prior to that, she was assistant principal to more than 650 students at P.S. 89 in Elmhurst.
In addition to a strong emphasis on academics, Paniagua has also introduced several curriculum initiatives focusing on the social and emotional development of children.
Hack, who was also honored in 2012, has been involved in Queens civic life since 1970. She is one of the founding members of the Kew Gardens Improvement Association and has continued to serve in multiple positions at Community Board 9 over the years, including chair of the board.
Hack is also involved in education, working for the Institute of International Education and as one of the founding members of the Metropolitan College of New York.
“The community is only as strong as those who participate, get out and vote, and take part in activities,” Hack told the crowd.
Past, honorees have included State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Captain Judith Harrison and Gail Gordon, the first vice chair of Community Board 6.
Koslowitz also handed out city Council Citations to schoolchildren who participated in a poster contest centered around the theme of women in government and politics.
“It’s inspiring for the kids and it’s a chance for them to get to know their elected officials,” Koslowitz said.