07-31-2021  6:28 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
by BOTWC Staff
Published: 22 June 2021

Journalist Gwen Ifill is having a park renamed after her along with 16 other influential Black Americans, PBS reports.

The city recently announced the renaming of more than a dozen parks and recreation centers to honor the legacy of influential Black Americans. The initiative is an ongoing effort by the Parks and Recreation Department to honor prominent Black people. Honorees include Lena Horne, Malcolm X, and Kwame Ture. Now, the late, great, pioneering journalist Gwen Ifill is also being honored with a park of her own.

Railroad Park in Queens will officially be known as Gwen Ifill Park. The natural park is 16-acres and home to several migratory birds. It was initially named for the Long Island Railroad tracks that surround one side of its boundary. Now the city has allotted $21 million in funding to develop the area. 

Ifill made history as one of the first Black women to anchor a major news program, PBS NewsHour. She was known for her sharp political commentary and on-air correspondence, covering eight presidential campaigns and moderating two vice presidential debates. In 2016, Ifill passed away due to complications from cancer. Since then, she has received several posthumous honors, including her alma mater, Simmons College, renaming their College of Media, Arts, and Humanities after Ifill and being awarded a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp. 

Representing the people

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said they have renamed 28 parks in the past year to "inspire pride, encourage meaningful discourse and represent the people." Many of the new renamings are in honor of those whose work has contributed significantly to the city, including a Hell's Kitchen Park renamed in honor of "A Raisin in the Sun" author Lorraine Hansberry, a Bronx amphitheater named for poet Gil Scott-Heron, a Brooklyn playground named for Sarah J.S. Tompkins Garnet, the first Black woman to be principal in NYC public schools, and a Staten Island park renamed for writer and activist Audre Lorde.

Ifill's brother, Bert Ifill, released a statement on behalf of the family thanking the city for its acknowledgment and contribution to preserving her legacy. "The Ifill family is truly grateful that the NYC Parks Department is recognizing our sister, cousin, aunt Gwen by renaming and refurbishing Railroad Park in her honor. In doing so, you celebrate the life and legacy of one of Queens' most accomplished daughters. In a green space dedicated to recreation and safety, generations of families and their children can be refreshed, much in the way Gwen provided a haven for truth seekers and those who were perplexed and looking for answers. In this way, her spirit, as well as her example, lives on!"

Gwen Ifill will live forever! Because of her, we can!

This article was originally posted on BOTWC

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