Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Footprints | Solomon Goodrich - A prominent Jamaican community organiser in Brooklyn

Published:Tuesday | December 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Solomon Goodrich

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK:

Former executive director and president of the Southern Queens Park Association (SQPA), Solomon Goodrich died December 9 in Brooklyn at the age of 85.

Born in Trelawny, Jamaica, Solomon, who was known by his friends as 'Sol', was a Garveyite who stood by Garvey's saying, "Up, you mighty race ... !" While always being proud of his African heritage and culture, he started his community organisation and development back in the '60s.

Through his organisation, he helped develop poor rural communities and provided employment in his homeland for the less fortunate.

In the mid-'70s, Sol brought his passion to New York, where he settled in Brooklyn. In addition to being a community organiser, he was also a community activist, fighting against racial inequality for black people.

With a list of social achievements, he converted 54 acres of land from an old naval hospital in St Albans, Queens into a family-friendly community park. With his warm personality, he brought life to one of the poorer sections of Jamaica-section of Queens, granting more opportunities to residents of the community through employment and recreation.

Under Sol's leadership, the park was designed to be shared with both the old and the young. It especially gave kids a place to come to after school in such a rough neighbourhood.

His leadership extended into the entertainment arena. By making the Black Spectrum Theatre a part of SQPA facility, Sol, for the past 30 years, has utilised the outdoor space during the summer months to unite Caribbean and African-American culture with some of the biggest reggae, soca and R&B shows in the city.

Jamaica and the larger diaspora community have lost a champion for racial equality. Sol will be missed by all who knew him.