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The Villages

Quilts Weave Together Rockland’s Black History (and other local stories)

This week in the Villages, we look at local Black artists who weave together family and cultural histories into powerful quilts. Plus, other Nyack and Rockland-centric stories, links, notes, and updates.

Doreen Mollette-Sullivan, an artist and spokesperson for Rockland County N.Y. Quilters/Needle Artist Sewing Club, in front of her quilt, “Snow Ball.” (Photo by Andrea Swenson)

Weaving Together Black History

On the day after Valentine’s Day, a group of African American artists used fabric to share their love, history and culture during a Black History Month event at Rockland Community College.

The event, which took place in the RCC library and was spearheaded by Rockland County N.Y. Quilters/Needle Artist Sewing Club, featured the quilting work of several artists and will be on display through March 8.

Codes and directions embedded in quilts like “Flying Geese” helped enslaved people escape from captivity and find their freedom. (Photo by Andrea Swenson)

A press release published on the RCC website said, “In the African American community/culture, quilts were not only used to keep warm, they were used to send messages using codes and symbols, tell stories, and guide passengers to FREEDOM ON THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, and they also tell OUR STORY & OUR HISTORY.”

Left: “Pinwheels” by Joan Raynor / Right: ” Bleeding Heart by Joan Raynor

Doreen Mollette-Sullivan, an artist and spokesperson for the quilting and sewing club, made her first family history quilt in 1998 using family-donated artifacts, including “tee shirts with pictures of that family, a cut up wedding dress, baby’s first receiving blanket, fabric painted and embroidered with names.”

“Praise Dancers” by Donna Chambers. (Photo by Andrea Swenson)

The quilt is now a presence at every family reunion, Mollette-Sullivan says, and now needs an update to include the latest generations. She says the experience of developing a quilt is a transcendent communal process.

“When making a Quilt or Fiber Art Project,” Mollette-Sullivan says, “that person experiences being guided by colors, patterns, fabrics, and a story, that they create, develop, then finally complete and share.”

“Bleeding Heart” by Joan Raynor. (Photo by Andrea Swenson)

See all of our photographer and image-weaver Andrea Swenson’s photos from the quilting event below.

See more of Andrea’s recent Photo Shoots here and find even more of her outstanding work on Instagram.

In other news:

  • Lohud has a list of Black History month events in the Lower Hudson Valley.
  • Here are a few more Black History month events happening at Rockland Community College.
  • A car dealership in Nyack is transforming into cannabis dispensary and delivery service, according to lohud. See video below:
  • A few local sports updates: Nyack High School’s boys basketball team lost in the quarterfinals on Wednesday to end their run in the sectionals, but the dudes from Suffern and Pearl River both moved on to the semis. Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, Pearl River’s number one seeded girls hoops squad eliminated the eighth-seeded Nyack. Find all the girl’s basketball tournament updates here. Find boys tournament updates here.
  • Go Sam!

ICYM NNV’s weekly features: See Andrea Swenson’s newest Photo Shoots; Bill Batson’s latest “Nyack Sketch Log”; Mike Hays’ most recent “Nyack People & Places”; and past editions of “The Villages.”

Weather prediction (through February 27)

Some rain possible Friday night, then mostly clear skies and temps in the 30s through Sunday. By Wednesday, we could see a dramatic temperature rise into the 60s(?)(!). [Click here for the National Weather Service‘s latest 7-day forecast for the Nyack area. Click here for the latest Air Quality Index report for Nyack.]

8+ Months Later: Still looking for answers in the death of Sean Harris

We continue to look into the case of Sean Harris, who died under suspicious circumstances after an hours-long standoff with police on May 30, 2023.

[Update: On October 30, 2023, a spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office said they were still investigating Harris’s case. There has been no update from the AG’s office as of Jan. 4, 2024]

Watch the video from Truth 2 Power below to learn more about what activists are saying, and why family, friends and police reform advocates are demanding answers.

Here’s our breakdown of what happened.

Here’s Lohud reporter Nancy Cutler’s in-depth piece on Harris and his mother’s suspicions about her son’s death here.

Village updates


  • Here’s the list of all upcoming meetings posted for the Village of Nyack.
  • If you could use help paying your water bills, click here.
  • Drop off humanitarian aid for victims of the war in Ukraine (including first aid, painkillers, blankets, baby food, diapers, non-perishable food, antibiotics and more, at Village Hall, 9 N. Broadway (or at the Orangetown town hall, 26 W. Orangeburg Rd.).

Upper Nyack

South Nyack

  • Thanks to reader request, we have re-added South Nyack, which dissolved as an official village earlier this year. Please send us info about what’s going on in South Nyack at



  • The Technical Advisory Committee, which “evaluates the technical adequacy of land development applications and decides their readiness for Planning Board review,” meets most Wednesdays, including this Wednesday, from 10 am to noon, in the town hall’s Historic Map Room.
  • For a calendar list of all Clarkstown meetings and events, click here.

Other Local Updates

South Nyack advocates have filed a petition with the town of Orangetown seeking to show support for a new Elizabeth Place Playground — the grassy play area and dog park just south of 87 and right off the Esposito trail. After South Nyack dissolved in March, the town found the playground equipment at Elizabeth Place was unsafe and not compliant with ADA regulations and removed it. A new ADA compliant park has been proposed and advocates want to see the proposal approved and implemented. Click here to read and/or sign the petition.

Nyack Schools

Check out our latest Nyack Schools Report, a somewhat regular feature we will post whenever possible. (Editor’s note: if you’re interested in writing about schools for Nyack News and Views, lease send us an email at

Find out what else is going on in Nyack-area schools at Home Page – Nyack Public Schools (


A rare polio case was recently discovered in Rockland County. Here’s some info on how to protect yourself:

  • New Yorkers can pre-register for a free polio vaccination appointment here or call 845-238-1956 to schedule. Walk-ins will also be accepted.
  • Vaccines are also available through local healthcare providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers.
  • For more information on polio including symptoms and spread, visit NYSDOH’s page here.
  • New Yorkers can learn more about the polio vaccine available in the U.S. at CDC’s page here.
  • The Reviving Rockland Restaurants Grant Program will reimburse businesses between $5,000 and $25,000 for past expenses or fund future expenses for eligible outdoor dining COVID-19 mitigation equipment. Eligible entities include restaurants, food stands, food trucks, bars, saloons, lounges, taverns, bakeries, delis, cafes, breweries, wineries, and other similar places of business. For more information and to download an application visit
  • Fill out this survey to help the county provide better digital services.

Musical Outro

Breath in like a lion! Sing it with me: GERONIMO!!!

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Note to readers: We want to hear from you and welcome your input! What do you think we should be covering in your Rockland County village? Let us know at Send us story ideas, issues to investigate, letters, reviews, photos, videos, feedback and news tips. And read about our vision for delivering high-quality, hyper-local journalism and how you can help us fulfill our mission going forward.

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