Sylvia Altagracia Correa, a gracious Spirit and treasured soul on earth, died on Sunday, May 15, 2022, at the age of 76.
Sylvia was born to Sabino and Alba Correa on June 20, 1945. She was the only girl, and sibling to her two older brothers Diego and Venicio, the latter who died at 6-years-old. In the early 1950’s, the Correa’s immigrated to the United States and settled in Coolidge, Arizona. In the early 1960’s Sylvia moved from Arizona to the Bronx, NYC to join her brother and sister-in-law. Shortly after arriving in NYC, she met and married Edward Toomer; and they had one child together, Sharon Denise Toomer.
There are many words that capture the essence of who Sylvia was. She was wit-smart, an intelligent being, enterprising, adventurous, unpretentious, extraordinarily generous; and doting to family, friends and even strangers.
At heart, Sylvia was an activist and social justice warrior. She was politically astute, socially conscious; and chose an approach toward justice that was not loud, yet it was effective.
Sylvia was also modest; and, not one to boast of her lasting legacy, influence or contributions. Her professional life is long and impacting, and a demonstration of what inspired her. There are many of her accomplishments and contributions to name, and these stand out:
In 1979, Sylvia and her business partner co-founded and co-led the National Center for Economic and Community Development, based in Washington, D.C. Their signature contract was the design, launch and facilitation of the inaugural classes of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry’s Youth Leadership Institute. To this day, thousands of Washington, D.C. youth benefit from that lasting program.
In 1995, Hispanic Business Magazine named Sylvia, who was then-president of the Georgia Hispanic Alliance, on their list of “100 Influentials,” for spearheading a campaign challenging the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games for underutilizing Latino-owned companies as vendors. The magazine published, “Sylvia Correa’s efforts led Georgia’s attorney general to declare the ACOC subject to open record laws, and accountability for publicizing contract openings.”
And, in 1999, Sylvia relocated to her ancestral homeland, the Dominican Republic, to serve on a governing body that monitors the country’s elections.
If Sylvia did boast about anything, it was the joy and pride she felt for her family; particularly her daughter, Denise, and her nieces, her bonus son Herbert, and extended family members. Notwithstanding the pull of bias, she was genuinely impressed and proud of the personal lives they charted, and their vocational achievements.
Sylvia had a profound connection to the land, the ocean and to children. Beginning early in her life and lasting to her death, she gained an appreciation for diversity in people, places and things. Her life and adventurous spirit was guided by all of those things.
Sylvia is survived by her proud and loving daughter Sharon Denise Toomer; sister-in-law Mireya Correa; nieces Sandra, Ivette, Sylvia [her namesake] and Diana; Correa family grandnieces and nephews; bonus son, Herbert Smith; first cousin Miguel Tapia and his daughters, Rosanna and Patricia; Viloria and Correa family in the U.S., and abroad; Garcia’s of Maryland; Garcia’s of Georgia; many friends and extended family members; and her joyful grand puppy, Luna Lunera Toomer.
Sylvia’s absence on this earth and in our lives leaves a profound void. Indeed our hearts ache, we mourn and grieve her, but she was such a remarkable woman that her legacy and beautiful memories of her will endure.
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