I feel it is safe to say that all of us involved in community life appreciate the enormous contributions of Pat Dolan. As someone who knew Pat Dolan, I was very unhappy that a temporary foot injury prevented me from attending memorial services for her.
I was pleased to read the well-deserved testimonials from many of the civic leaders and personal friends that appeared in our local community papers.
Pat Dolan was not a close personal friend. I became acquainted with her as a leader of the Doug-Bay Manor Civic Association, and I certainly want to add my appreciation for her enormous contribution and her lifelong devotion to our community residents’ quality of life. There is, however, an aspect to Pat Dolan that I want to highlight.
As the founder and chair of the Center for the Women of New York, I want to pay tribute to Pat Dolan as a strong feminist, a role that she would not necessarily claim. She was, however, a strong woman leader. Pat was independent, articulate, fearless of government authority figures, and intolerant of hypocrisy and inefficiency.
I am not aware that she was involved in any organization devoted to women's rights. She did come to visit me at our first building at 401 Murray Avenue at Fort Totten. She came without an appointment and announced in a "no nonsense" tone of voice, "Í came to see what is going on here!" I welcomed her and gave her a tour of the building, introduced her to our volunteers and staff and described our programs and activities. She seemed satisfied with what she saw and left.
I did not work with her directly until years later, when she was head of the Queens United Civic Association. I took the initiative to ask her to join with the Center for the Women of New York to curb sex trafficking in Queens. Because of our large immigrant population, and the presence of international airports, Queens was becoming one of the major areas for smuggling and kidnapping of young women from around the world and nation.
At first, Pat did not see the connection between her concentration on issues on zoning and illegal apartments and the issue of sex trafficking. I explained that neighborhoods that catered to these activities were allowing acts that were not only illegal but were ugly blights in the community and a real danger to the health and safety of the residents and especially women and young girls.
She was involved in a very busy agenda for the fall and winter, but promised to add it to the items for consideration and discussion.
I really believe that given the time to study the issue, Pat Dolan would have provided the leadership for civic associations and community boards to help stop the sex slavery scourge that is taking place under our very noses.
Queens is fortunate in having many of its citizens take an active interest in the health, freedom and safety of its residents. We honor Pat's memory and hope that her legacy will inspire others to step up and try to carry on her values and example.
Ann J. Jawin
Chair, Center for the Women of New York