‘Little Liberia Way’ is more than just a street name to community in Clifton
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Borough residents of Liberian descent have been making an impact on Clifton’s Park Hill neighborhood for years.
On Saturday, the corner of Sobel Court and Park Hill Avenue was renamed “Little Liberia Way” in honor of their contributions to the community and the borough.
Many Liberians were in attendance and were sure to bring their pride and passion with them.
Deacon Telle Brown, president of the Little Liberia Advocacy group, expressed his excitement and pride in having the street renamed.
“The experience has been a good one for the most part,” he said. “There have been challenges of course. It has been good. This community, this country, has made me the man I am now. For this country to recognize us in this way, by giving us a street corner or naming a street corner in our name, it is indeed a big thing and we are excited about it.”
Another Clifton resident, Salomie Brisbane, spoke about how Staten Island has truly become home to her.
“I’m so thankful and grateful to see this day happening, to be acknowledged as a community,” she said. “Coming from Africa, coming to the United States, and seeing your people gather around, is a great way to unite. It’s like you never left home. You feel welcome and you feel like you’re home. I’m just so grateful.”
A Clifton resident who requested to be identified by his nickname, “General Gooose,” stated, “I think it’s amazing that the Liberian and African community is finally being recognized on Staten Island.”
He continued: “We contributed to this community for decades now. We had a lot of experiences here where we weren’t accepted because we are kinda different. But over the past couple of years, 10 years, we’ve been more accepted and growing in the community. We have healthcare workers, lawyers, and all types of people from all different walks of life contributing to this community.”
Among those in attendance at the ceremony was Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore) and her predecessor, Debi Rose.
During the First Liberian Civil War, which lasted from 1989 to 1997, Liberians began to flee the country and many settled on Staten Island in the Clifton area.
The passion in the Liberian community on the borough is quite apparent.
The Staten Island Liberian Community Association (SILCA) works to aid struggling Liberians to settle into their community, whether it be socially, financially, emotionally or medically.
Staten Island is believed to have the largest Liberian population of any city outside of Africa.