THE LEGACY OF A LADY: ESSIE MCCRAY SILVA
No one could make an entrance or an impression like Essie. Her latest fashion statement “matching from head to toe” could be seen at Mt. Zion Church or on her TV show “Black Involvement”. She could be heard at an Urban League or Miami Dade Chamber Executive Board Meeting letting you know ”just how it is” working with all people.
Working with different people was her talent. She lived the dream of a society in which all cultures were appreciated and respected. As reported in the Congressional Record, Congressman Bill Lehman said of Essie Silva: “ Her awareness and sensitivity to the challenges facing this community and her ability to build coalitions to address them, is a legacy none of us will ever forget.” This was apparent when she was recognized by United Way of Dade County in 1991 by United Way of Dade County in 1991 with the creation of the Essie Silva Community Builder Award. The Essie Silva Award recognizes an individual who has been able to make a difference in addressing particular community problems affecting different cultures or ethnic groups.
Her first love however was children and exposing them to other cultures and dreams of a future. Essie Silva’s commitment to her race and her feeling of pride, showed ownership of a people’s problem and responsibility to help solve that problem. Her encouragement of creative ideas and the entrepreneurial spirit could be seen in her days with Dade County parks and recreation, the Community Relations Board and Sunstreet Festival.
This is the concept that the Essie Silva Memorial Fund wants to continue with the youth of previously in Miami now in Jacksonville.. If we are to instill in our children a sense of responsibility, then we have to give them a sense of ownership. We want to teach them the concept of business ownership beyond selling drugs and buying cars. Being an owner, more than a consumer.
The Essie Silva Memorial Fund provides seed money for business ideas developed by youth. This way you buy into a student’s dream. Since the death of Essie Silva two $500 grants and 3 $1,000 have been awarded. With the talent and resources in Miami, we can do much more in Jacksonville, her home.
The legacy of Essie Silva is visible in many extraordinary ways; a street naming (Essie Silva Way), the post office naming in Carol City, a four-year scholarship at Miami Dade Community College and other honors in her name. The Essie Silva Memorial Fund at Dade Community Foundation is one way that we can all be a part of in the future of a precious investment: our youth.
Essie Silva Memorial Fund
Elliott Lucus, Assoc. Director