What’s Going On : 3/25

SPRINGTIME IN AMERICA
Two massacres,18 deaths in less than one week in America, is unacceptable.
A white man, Robert Aaron Long, killed eight people in Atlanta, Georgia last week, six of whom were Asian American. The gunman in Boulder, Colorado who killed 10 people, including a law enforcement officer on 3/22 has been identified as Ahmed Al Aliwi Alissa.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Atlanta last week to show support for Asian Americans there. Is America returning to the old normal of mass shootings and death orgies. The coronavirus did interrupt America’s gun massacres, a national epidemic, for which there seems to be no cure.
The 117th Congress has a big agenda and so little time: A year from now, Congress members will prepare for re-election. Biden’s Administration is readying $3 trillion in new spending for infrastructure, education, work force development and climate change to bolster the economy, which is Congress bound this week. It sounds like equal parts New Deal and Great Society. Gun reform is a national imperative as is an immediate cessation of violence against Asian Americans which surged 150% in 2020. We know who instigated it.
Wanted to discuss the national voting rights bill, HR1 which already cleared Congress and is subject to Senate scrutiny and obstruction. Well, next week.
WGO apologizes for misinformation: current HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge is not the first Black woman to helm the Housing and Urban Development bureaucracy. Patricia Roberts Harris, lawyer, government official and diplomat, was first African American woman confirmed as HUD secretary. She served under President Jimmy Carter.

Andrew Cuomo

NEW YORK POLITICS
NY: Governor Andrew Cuomo’s twin scandals – sexual harassment and nursing homes COVID-19 death undercounts – continue to suck up all of the media world’s oxygen. African American NYS Attorney General Letitia James is conducting an investigation with subpoena powers, into the harassment charges. African American NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie will soon launch impeachment proceedings against the Governor re: harassment charges. Last week, Andrew Cuomo visited Harlem’s Neboh Baptist Church where he got a hero’s welcome by local grandees, former Congressman Charlie Rangel, Hazel Dukes, NAACP, and NYS Assembly member Inez Dickens, before getting his COVID vaccination. He referenced the $230 million National Urban League building on West 125 Street for which NYS is a partner. On 3/22, Cuomo visited Mt. Vernon’s Grace Baptist Church where The Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson welcomed him and applauded his COVID19 efforts.

The NYC Mayoral race runs a close second to media’s Cuomo scandals fixation. There are at least 28 diverse contenders for the coveted mayoral post, conjectured to be the second hardest job in America. Other important local races on the June 22 Primary ballot include the Comptroller, Public Advocate, the NYC Council (with more than 300 candidates vying for 35 of the 51- seat legislative body). Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance will not run for re-election to the delight of about eight lawyers who have been in vigorous campaign mode for months.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
On March 10, Goldman Sachs Group in partnership with Black women-led organizations and other partners announced its new investment initiative “One Million Black Women” and will commit $10 billion in direct investment capital and $100 million in philanthropic support to address the dual disproportionate gender and racial biases that Black women have faced for generations, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Visit goldmansachs.com.
The 17th Annual Columbia University Africa Economic Forum convenes March 22-26, in a virtual setting. The Forum theme is “Africa On The Move: Charting A Path Forward In the Wake of a Global Crisis.” Keynoters are Dr. Albert Zeufack, World Bank; Nuna Ntshingila, Facebook Africa; and Kuseni Dlamini, Massmart Holdings. For schedule and to register, visit www.columbia-aef.com.

Goodwill Zwelithini

OUT OF AFRICA
TANZANIA: RIP: President John Magufuli, 61, died from heart complications, early this month according to the nation’s Vice President Samai Sulul Hassan. The late President was one of the Continent’s leading Covid-19 sceptics. Many believe that it caused his transition. No date has been given for Hassan to be sworn in as President, completing the remainder of Magufuli’s second 5-year term, which ends in 2025. She will be Tanzania’s first woman president.
SOUTH AFRICA: King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, 72, died of complications related to Covid-19 on March 12. He was the leader of South Africa’s largest ethnic group, the Zulu nation, which boasts some 11 million people. Zwelithini also was the exemplar of Zulu culture and always invoked tradition alongside who played an outsize role, albeit ceremonial one, in post-Apartheid South Africa.

ARTS/HISTORY
MUSIC: The Harlem Opera Theatre presents a virtual concert, a Tribute to Women’s History Month featuring the music of African-American women composers Margaret Bonds, Harriet Davidson, Lori Hicks, Betty Jackson King, Undine Smith Moore, Florence Price and Maude Taylor on March 27 at 7 pm. Vocalists Samantha Burke, Paige Madison, Bernard Holcomb, and Dashon Burton will perform under Dr. Gregory Hopkins, event’s artistic director, on piano. Concert celebrates achievements of Vice President Kamala Harris and actress Cicely Tyson. Visit harlemoperatheater.org.

Don Lemon

BOOK: CNN anchor Don Lemon’s new book, THIS IS THE FIRE, a social commentary on racism. Lemon’s book title was borrowed from his hero James Baldwin and his manifesto, THE FIRE NEXT TIME. Don Lemon covers a lot of territory from the imminent death throes of white supremacy to the “urgency of now” to Trump as a clinical symptom of white supremacy and to his prescriptions for change in America, “which was never great, always seeking a more perfect union.”

FINE ART: The NY Society of Women Artists presents a virtual Women’s History Month exhibit WOMEN ON THE EDGE, showcasing works by 36 fine artists, including NY based Haitian American Yolene LeGrand. To view the entire show, visit www.tallerboricua.org.

Dr. Thelma Adair

THE WGO LIST OF WHM EMINENCES
WGO salutes Black women achievers who are nationally and internationally prominent, including US Vice President Kamala Harris; Voting Rights Advocate and FAIR FIGHT founder Stacey Abrams; centenarian Dr. Thelma Adair, retired educator; Elizabeth Alexander, Mellon Foundation CEO; Rosalind Brewer, CEO Walgreen Boots Alliance; Kizzmekia Corbett, PhD, NIH, key member of US team searching for coronavirus vaccine; Marcia Fudge, US Secretary of HUD; Amanda Gorman, poet/writer; Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN; Samai Sulul Hassan, Acting President of Tanzania; Mellody Hobson, CO-CEO Ariel Investments (Board affiliations: Starbucks and JP Morgan Chase); Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Trade Organization Director General; Stacey Plaskett, attorney/ delegate to US Congress from US Virgin Islands; Dr. Adelaide Sanford, educator; and Pulitzer Prize winner Isabelle Wilkerson, author of “The Warmth of Other Suns” and “ Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. ” WGO’s List of US based achievers will be announced imminently.

Shirley E. Barnes

NEWSMAKERS
SPRING arrived on March 20 as did the Zodiac sign Aries. Birthday greetings to Aries natives: Former US Ambassador to Madagascar Shirley Barnes; Sandra Black; tech entrepreneur James Brooks; Mariah Carey; educator Brenda Mary Clark; fine artist John Dowell; Melanie Edwards, The Modern School; community leader Ronald Guy; actress Luise Heath Hamaguchi: Mellody Hobson, financier: Ernest Hopkins health professional; Karen Horsford, Rocky Horsford Jr, and Rocky Horsford III; Star Jones; Ruby Ryles Martin, PR consultant; Patricia McConnell; Leon Merrick, DDS; book publisher Dr. Joseph Okpaku; Rob Owens event curator; Laura Poteat; Marva Richard, Kim Jack Riley; Maxine Sidberry; Maxwell Sidberry; Dedra Tate events curator; entrepreneur Willie Walker; and blogger Gloria Dulan-Wilson.

A Harlem-based brand/media consultant, Victoria can be reached at victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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