2014-02-14 / Columnists

Who’s Who

Denean Ferguson, 101st Precinct Community Council
By Dan Guarino

Denean Ferguson

Denean Ferguson

Tell us about yourself.

I was born in Manhattan. I was adopted by parents living in Long Island, in West Hempstead. So I was raised in the suburbs in Long Island.

I went to public school up to 6th grade (and) went to Holy Trinity High School. I lost my mother in my freshman year.

My last year of college, I became a born again Christian.

December of ’87 was when I first set foot in Rockaway. I went to see an apartment in Plainview and the young man who showed it to me invited me to go to church in Far Rockaway. It was crazy, but I decided to go.

So I was going back and forth to church in Far Rockaway. Fast forward and I was serving the ministry traveling with the fellowship. I’ve traveled a lot with the church.

In 1996 a young man named Charles Ferguson proposed to me. He also was involved in the church. In April of ’96, I married that young man. We have a 15 year old daughter and an 11 year old. Vanessa and Carolynn.

We bought our house here (in Rockaway) four years ago.

My title is Vice President of the 101st Precinct Community Council. I’ve been that since April, 2009.

I am a strong communicator. I’m a very high energy person.

I am the type of person where I am not hung up on personalities. My attitude is we don’t have to like each other to get things done.

Were you involved with community or civic affairs before the Precinct Council?

Prior to the council I was site coordinator for a Department of Justice initiative called Weed And Seed. The idea was to weed out crime and seed in programs. This was for areas with high crime, especially among youth.

Because of my involvement I attended a lot of meetings, worked with a lot of programs through that.

What other activities are you involved in?

The Rockaway Children’s Network. The focus is on the youth. The Far Rockaway-Arverne Coalition.

Pretty much everything I do is from that double hat of the Precinct Council and the Church of God.

I am coordinator for the Board of Elections. I also helped set up at Arverne View (formerly Ocean View) with their new tenant association elections.

My newest branch is chairperson for the advisory committee for QIRT, Queens High School For Information, Research and Technology. I am also sitting on the governor’s NY Rising Rockaway East Planning Committee.

How long do you intend to stay on the Precinct Council?

To be honest with you, not very long. This is my general attitude. I just feel like that rah-rah and trying to get people involved and excited is young people’s work. Not that I am old. I’m full of energy.

What I’ve seen is a lot of people… doing stuff for a long time. We should be grooming people and letting them step up. You should be grooming young people, especially males. You need new people to be crafty and creative and think of new ways to engage people.

My daughters are getting older. That energy, that time- I’ll need that to go to raising them.

I could be running around trying to save the world, but losing my own. I’m not saying today or tomorrow. But it’s been a good run.

What is the most important issue facing Rockaway?

Now? I think there still remains of the storm. The reconstruction issues. Between that and employment issues. Certainly jobs.

But you also need to be qualified to even get a job. So being prepared to do that (is important). I’ve seen so many people that say they want a job, but they’re not ready to do it, to take that job.

Everybody runs on the same platform, ‘I will bring jobs.’ How come we have passed through one of the most productive construction booms, for instance, and we have people who aren’t getting those jobs.

To me the most difficult aspect is to get people ‘work ready.’

What’s the best thing about living in Rockaway?

Oh man, you’re on the beach. It’s beautiful. You got sand, you’ve got sun. You’ve got so many things going on.

(For instance) you’ve got that great skateboard park. You’ve got people coming from all over the city to be part of that.

It’s a beautiful place to live.

Wherever you live is a state of mind.

And those that are in leadership are not saying ‘It’s us against you’ (any more). We’re at a crossroad right now; people are working together. We are one peninsula.

Biggest complaint?

Really I don’t have any complaint. If I had a complaint it would about our elected officials working for us. But even that’s turning. I see people like Donovan Richards, our new City Councilman, really working, really reaching out. I’m not going to say they weren’t reaching out before, but there’s more of that now.

Phil Goldfeder. I don’t know of anybody who’s more tenacious. He’s one that will work for everybody, and that’s the attitude we need to have. We need people who are working for the good of the people. You have constituents. You’re elected to serve them, all of them.

Some people have done things that are shall we say ‘spiteful’ before.

You have a younger group, like Eric Ulrich, coming in, so I think the mindset has changed.

What advice or suggestions do you have for people who are not currently part of an organization, but are interested in helping Rockaway?

They should get involved in whatever way that they think they’d like to get involved. And not everybody can get involved in everything. There may be 80% of people who may be okay with things as they are, who may not have a problem. But that 20% who get involved are important.

You go to the library? Volunteer there. At the precinct council, we do a lot of different things, events we have, (so) there are all kinds of things to do. There are different things to be involved with, different things that different groups need.

There are so many groups doing things. These are people getting things going.

Read the Wave. Whether you agree with it or not. It will tell you about what’s going on right here. Unless it’s a murder, you’re not going to read about it in the Daily News.

There’s a lot going on.

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