Guest post by Daryl-Ann Saunders, photographer, author of  ongoing photo series”Pioneers of Bushwick” which tells the story of Bushwick residents living in the area since 1975 or earlier 

Recently, Avellar G. Hansley (participant of my “Pioneers of Bushwick” photo/text series) called to invite me to the Linden-Bushwick Block Association’s Friend and Family Day. Ms. Hansley has lived in Bushwick since the 1960’s and is Founder/ President of the Association which, every August, invites family and friends to an old-fashioned, potluck, BBQ picnic at The Secret Garden, located at the corner of Linden Street and Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Angelina Story performs at annual celebration

At this year’s August 2nd event, special recognition was given to Ms. Hansley, 88 years of age, for her long-time service to the Bushwick community. Local politicians and community leaders turned out to participate in the festivities and tell stories of Ms. Hansley’s neighborhood dedication to an audience of family, friends, neighbors and well-wishers.

Speakers included Congresswoman Nydia M. Velasquez, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, Assemblywoman Annette Robinson, Community Board 4 District Manager Nadine Whitted, Community Board 4 Committee Chair Barbara Smith, John Worthington from Antonio Reynoso’s office and others.

In addition, it was announced that the garden will be officially renamed in Ms. Hansley’s honor as the “Avellar G. Hansley Secret Garden” and she was presented with numerous awards–a Certificate of Honor from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, a NY State Assembly Citation, a NY State Assembly Certificate of Merit and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition that will provide recognition on file at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Local pastor, Reverend Smith, arranged for music and singing by Angelina Story to entertain the crowd, everyone ate till they burst and had a wonderful time!

Linda Gaddy, Daryl-Ann Saunders (“Pioneers of Bushwick” Photographer), Avellar G. Hansley (“Pioneers of Bushwick” participant)

Avellar G. Hansley, Chezia Calloway (Avellar’s granddaughter), Patricia Jenkins (Avellar’s daughter), Congresswoman Nydia M. Velasquez, Ann Quarterman (Avellar’s daughter), Virginia Giovinco (Avellar’s friend), Martha Coxson (Avellar’s daughter), Elvena Davis (Community Board 4 Committee Chair) and Alphonso Gaddy (Avellar’s brother)