Black Westchester Continues To Celebrate Black Women Of Westchester


Last year we released the book, “Black Westchester Celebrates Black Women of Westchester,” celebrating the achievements of African American Women in Westchester County. Since the release of the book the history-making, ceiling-shattering achievement kept coming. So, for Women’s History Month, we wanted to celebrate two women who have made history since the book came out as we continue to give these women of distinction their flowers and document their achievements for the second edition of our book.

Yadira Ramos-Herbert

Democrat Yadira Ramos-Herbert made history as the first Afro-Latina woman and first female to serve as mayor in the city of New Rochelle. After nearly two decades, the city welcomed a new leader in January. Yadira Ramos-Herbert succeeded Democrat Noam Bramson, who has served as mayor since 2006, opted not to seek reelection after 17 years in office.

“I’m thrilled for Yadira, but more importantly, I’m thrilled for New Rochelle,” Mayor Bramson shares with News 12’s Tara Rosenblum. “She is exactly the right person for where we are in this story of our growth and our evolution. A person of intelligence, integrity, and sterling character, a history maker, as you pointed out, I could not be more proud that Yadira Ramos-Herbert will be my mayor.”

Yadira Ramos-Herbert, a former dean at Columbia University who has served on the City Council since 2020, assumed office in New York’s seventh-largest city when she was sworn in on January 1st. Though initially in a close race with her Republican opponent, Louis Tran-Gucci, she ultimately secured a decisive victory in the final tallies. She became the first Latina elected mayor of the 10 city in New York state.

Ramos-Herbert’s win is significant as she becomes both the first person of color and the first woman to lead the city of 80,000 people. She emphasized the importance of open communication amidst a construction boom that has shaped the city over the past decade.

Yadira, who just finished her first term as a member of the New Rochelle City Council, proudly representing District 3, touted the fresh perspective she would bring to city leadership as a bilingual, Afro-Latina in a city in which more than half of the residents are Black or Latino.

“It’s a win for New Rochelle, positivity, diversity every way you can think about it, coming together, working together to move the city to its next chapter,” Yadira, wearing a t-shirt that read, ‘The First But Not The Last,’ shared with those in attendance for her victory party at the Little Mexican Cafe on Main Street on election night, Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

Namasha Schelling Makes History As Pound Ridge’s First Black Town Board Member

On Wednesday, October 25th, Black Westchester broke the story of Namasha H. Schelling being targeted with hate rhetoric and signs that are popping up all across Pound Ridge in her attempt to make history as the first African-American to serve on the Pound Ridge Town Board. She may possibly be the first Black elected official in the town of Pound Ridge, period (Black Westchester is still confirming that part).

Despite the racial attacks, the Co-Chair of the Human Rights Advisory Committee of Pound Ridge vowed not to allow hate and the short-mindedness of a few to derail her campaign. On Tuesday, November 7th, not even the hateful rhetoric and ugly anonymous attacks could prevent the destiny of history from being made. Namasha won her historic victory with 24% of the vote—876 votes overall—to secure one of the two seats available, making history as the first Black Pound Ridge Town Board Member.

Namasha, who is a member of the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus—Greater Bedford Chapter, joined us for a special edition of the People Before Politics Radio Show to discuss her candidacy and the coordinated hate-filled attacks she is receiving from those who do not know. We discuss race and politics, systemic racism in Westchester County, why she is running to serve on the Town Board, the fear of the browning of America, and much more. You can watch the powerful discussion in the video below.

Namasha Schelling is a five-year resident of Pound Ridge, where she lives with her husband, Tristan, an entrepreneur, and her four-year-old daughter. She is the co-chair of the Human Rights Advisory Committee of Pound Ridge, which was officially launched in 2022. She is a member of the Pound Ridge Housing Board and has participated in the process of updating the town’s Comprehensive Plan since 2021. She was also a member of the Criminal Justice Reform Committee, which was mandated for each police department in the state in 2020. 

Namasha has fifteen years of professional experience in nonprofit communications, operations, and fundraising. She graduated from Harvard Extension with a Master of Liberal Arts in Environmental Management.

Also since the release of the book, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard who is featured in the book for becoming the First Black Woman elected mayor of the city of Mount Vernon in 2019, made history once again in November 2023 when she became the first Mount Vernon Mayor to win re-election in two decades and the first female to do so, both also featured in the book. Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie also made history as the first female Mayor to win re-elections in Westchester. Tuckahoe Mayor Omayra Andino Wins In First Village Election Held In November.

Yadira, SPH & Vivian [Black Westchester]
New Rochelle Mayor Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, and Peekskill Mayor Vivian McKenzie receive their flowers. [Black Westchester]

For the first time ever, women of color now serve as mayors in three of Westchester County’s five cities, Yadira Ramos-Herbert in New Rochelle, Shawyn Patterson-Howard in Mount Vernon, and Vivian McKenzie in Peekskill. The three historymakers each made the 2023 City & State Magazine Westchester Power 100 List.

MaryAnn Carr, who made history as the first African-American Black Female Town Supervisor in Bedford is attempting to make history again as the first Black Woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, serving the 17th Congressional District.

We proudly celebrate Yadira Ramos-Herbert, Shawyn Patterson-Howard, Vivian McKenzie, Omayra Andino, MaryAnn Carr, and Namasha Schelling, true Black Westchester Legends. We honor all the women in Westchester for their achievements!

Black Women of Westchester [Black Westchester]

The book, Black Westchester Celebrates Black Women Of Westchester, is available on Amazon, or email to purchase your autographed copy directly from us.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, also check out, Bronx Triangle, Inc. Celebrates Phenomenal Women For Women’s History Month, A Conversation With Sarah Bracey White, Governor Hochul Nominates Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden to Serve as Commissioner of the Office of Children and Family Services, Opening Night Of Women’s History Month At Mount Vernon City Hall, People Before Politics Radio Episode 362 – Celebrating Black Women of Westchester, Black Women Deserve Good Healthcare Too By Precious Ferrell, The Continued Disrespect of Black Women Is a Health Crisis By Kisha Skipper, 12 Supplements All Women Should Consider Taking for Good Health by Damon K. Jones, and Senate Major Leader Stewart-Cousins Observes Black History Month, Women’s History Month With Film Screening.

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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