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March 5, 2014

Legislator Denenberg Honors Claudia Swansey

(MINEOLA, NY) – Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) was proud to honor Freeport resident Claudia A. Swansey for her unwavering advocacy for human rights during a presentation recognizing February as African American History Month at the Nassau County Legislature in Mineola on Monday, February 24, 2014.

Growing up in Alabama, Swansey’s aunt and teachers were highly influential in encouraging her to pursue anything that interested her.  She was a Sunday school teacher and served as an usher in her church.  As a student, she marched with her aunt who was driven to the ground by water hoses and tear gas during the Civil Rights Struggle.

As an undergraduate student at Loyola University in Chicago, Claudia mixed academic excellence with school government and community service.  It was there that she became involved with the work of the Order of the Benedictine Nuns.

During this time, Claudia advocated for the homeless and worked with the Nuns to start Deborah’s Place for homeless women.  They also were able to raise funds for the Howard Civic Association in Evanston.  On the International front, Claudia worked as a member of Amnesty International to bring awareness to the human rights issue of apartheid in South Africa.  This organization was especially influential in bringing public awareness to the plight of Nelson Mandela, who became the world's best-known political prisoner.

Subsequently, Claudia worked as the first female bank officer of Great American Federal Savings Bank.  After management training at the Financial Institute of Banking, she managed two branches in the prestigious downtown locations in Chicago, on North Michigan Avenue and on Wacker Drive.  Under her management both institutions were among the highest ranking of more than 12 branches in this organization.

Even while employed, Claudia managed to find time to work on the political fronts, organizing, mobilizing and galvanizing votes for Harold Washington, a Chicago mayor and congressman from Illinois.  Later, she joined a legion of women supporters for Carol Mosley Braun, the first black female elected a United States senator from Illinois.  Shortly afterwards, Claudia co-founded an African American “Think Tank” that worked to focus on local political issues.  Significantly, it raised funds to help send a delegation from Chicago to monitor the presidential election of Nelson Mandela.

Claudia has received numerous awards, including: Freeport/Roosevelt NAACP Leadership Award for 2007 Civil Rights Forum at Adelphi University; 2009  Appreciation, Woodward Children’s Center-Black Women Higher Education, Adelphi University; 75th Anniversary NAACP New York State Conference Former President Award; and President of the Year 2011-2012 District 20 K-2 Lions International Club.