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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scholarship fund memorializes former city alderman, state senator

By Victor Zapana
Special to the Register

The life of a son of New Haven is soon to be celebrated — through a scholarship.
A fundraiser for the new Sen. Chuck Allen III Scholarship Fund will take place at 6 p.m. June 11 at N Boutique, 114 W. 116 St., New York City, said Todd Roulette, Allen’s partner and principal scholarship organizer.
The fundraiser costs $25 per ticket. It will include a raffle, a disc jockey and a performance by actor Cornelius Jones using excerpts from his show “Flagboy.”
“When you are talking about students of color, a lot of time with the economic realities for them, they need a lot of help,” Roulette said. “This is a good bridge.”
Allen was active in the New Haven political scene for 26 years, serving as a Newhallville alderman, a state senator and a special assistant for Mayor John DeStefano Jr. Later, Allen moved to Harlem with Roulette. He died in February due to kidney cancer. He was 54.
The scholarship was established shortly after Allen’s death. It aims to remember Allen’s public service and parish activism, according to organizers. It will aid high school minority students in the tri-state area who demonstrate financial need and wish to study public or urban studies, law, accounting and management.
Although plans for the scholarship have not been finalized, the group hopes to have details ready soon after the fundraiser, said event co-Chairman Seth Andrew. He added that event organizers hope to raise $10,000.
Andrew, head of school for the Democracy Prep Charter School in Harlem, N.Y., said the aim of the scholarship is to “make sure our kids were great citizens and have passion for civic duty.” Of the event, he said he is hopeful of a good turnout.
When he lived in Harlem, Allen, Andrew’s neighbor, helped to organize and fund a $5.5 million building for the Democracy Prep Charter School.
DeStefano said he is pleased the program has been created.
“It’s a fitting acknowledgement,” he said. “It makes me feel good because it’s something that Chuck would be pleased with.”
Willette Carlton, who is selling tickets to the event and is a member of the scholarship board, attends Harlem’s St. Philip’s Church, where she met Allen and Roulette at services.
Carlton, an adjunct professor at Touro College in Manhattan and a Brooklyn, N.Y., resident, said she was excited to be a part of the event and scholarship fund because it will encourage kids to participate in local politics and civic engagement. Allen’s life also will be featured in the PBS program “In the Life” in the fall.
To contribute to the Sen. Chuck Allen III Scholarship Fund, send cash or a check to St. Philip’s Church Federal Credit Union, Sen. Chuck Allen III Scholarship Fund, 204 W. 134 St., New York, N.Y. 10030.
Victor Zapana is a New Haven Register intern.

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