SPRING IN AMERICA
NYC continues to dominate the national news cycle, willy-nilly. Gun violence is as ubiquitous here as it is in other American cities, despite additional NYPD personnel. Last week’s subway shooting in Brooklyn only complicated NY post-COVID dysfunction. By firing shots into a crowded train, injuring ten strap hangers and dropping smoke bombs, alleged terrorist African American Frank James, does not sound like a mentally stable man. The subject of an FBI, Homeland Security and NYPD manhunt, he is an individual who needs immediate psychiatric attention, by his own admission. He was active on social media, which was incriminating. Arrested without bail which his lawyer did not argue, she did request a psychiatric evaluation for him during detention.
A week later, the public knows little about his life journal, which probably included time in the US military, deployed to an overseas war zone. NYC is filled with Frank James types, who are also homeless.
NYC Housing courts are filled with landlords who want to get eviction nods from the judges, for tenants with large arrears. These tenants are unemployed, and unable to hire lawyers or get public defenders for evictions, which will add a new layer to NYC’s homeless culture. Some ERAP (Emergency Rental Assistance Program) monies are available but not enough to pay all rent arrears. NYC has gun violence, too many mentally challenged people roaming the streets and a homeless population that grows exponentially. The April 12 shootings on the train will put a pause on the City’s return to normalcy, back-to-office brick-and-mortar jobs and tourism.
It was interesting to watch Mayor Eric Adams conduct NYC Business while in quarantine after a COVID positive test. Every day, a press conference opened with a preface by Adams. Last week like all previous weeks this year, there are few extemporaneous exchanges between city commissioners and the media. According to Politico, Mayor Adams does not like his commissioners to call press conferences without his approval. Failure to deal with his order can result in a lieutenant “being fired.” It sounds like DeBlasio micromanagement!
ALBANY: Who is the next NYS Lieutenant Governor designate now that Brian Benjamin is out of the picture, not on the Primary ballot. A convenient choice would be Kathryn Garcia, who ran in the 2021 NYC Democratic mayoral race, and who is part of Gov. Hochul’s inner circle? Will it be Ana Maria Archila, supported by the Working Family Party or Diana Reyna, former NYC Councilwoman who is running as LG with Congressman Tom Suozzi? Latinos would like to see one of their names on an NYS ballot.
COVID 19: A federal judge in Florida strikes down the Center for Disease Control CDC, masks mandate for airports, planes trains, and other transportation outlets. Too many mixed signals for a nation that is still COVID vulnerable, but treatable at home.
Black Enterprise presents the next Economic Equity & Racial Justice Town Hall Series: How Black People Can Live Longer and Better, on April 28, 7-8:30 pm EST. Panelists are Kirk Charles, Fit Beyond 40; Dr. Ian Smith, MD/Author; Shanell McGoy, Ph.D., MPH, Gilead Sciences, and Jacqueline Dow, Public Health Expert, J Dow Fitness. Visit blackenterprise.com/townhall to attend.
FINE ART: Camille Ann Brewer was appointed the new director of the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, in California. Brewer will have oversight of the Museum, vision, strategies, and directions and will guide overall operations like exhibitions, programming, and collections. Veteran artrepeneur, Brewer was Executive Director of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at the University of Chicago and served as curator of contemporary art at the George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum at GWU in Washington, DC.
Hi-ARTS and Black Women Photographers partner to showcase works by seven acclaimed and emerging artists, including Iliana Carter, Andrea Castillo, Poochie Collins, Maria Hackett, Myesha Evon Gardner, Ashli Owens, and Edolia Shroud, for a show running through April 29 at Hi-ARTS space PS109, located at 215 East 99 Street. Visit hi-artsnyc.org.
EDUCATION: Howard University President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, 50 retires in 2024. A triple alumnus of Howard, an HBCU, President Frederick leaves after a 9-year tenure, with a $1 billion endowment. An MD, Dr. Frederick recommended that his successor should be a woman. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger and NYU President Andrew Hamilton recently announced their retirement.
JOURNALISM: NY Times executive editor, African American Dean Bauquet, 65, one of the most powerful and coveted titles in American journalism, retires after an 8-year term in June. His successor is currently managing editor Joe Kahn,
Sending birthday wishes to Taurus the bull natives: retired social worker Davies Burton; editors Wanda Ballard Winfield; Patricia Pates Eaton, Harlem-based diva; Willie Egyir; Toni Faye; Bernice Elizabeth Green, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Our Time Press, Brooklyn based newspaper; 2018 Congressional Candidate Richard Habersham, Solutions Now President and cofounder; flutist Bobbi Humphrey; Janet Jackson; Dwayne Johnson; Ed Lewis, “Man From Essence” co-founder/publisher; LIZZO; Harriet Mandeville, spiritualist/author; Roy Miller, Jamerica Travel; Harvard Professor, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, former Schomburg Center CEO; Brenda Neal, investment banker; Roy Paul, Executive Director, Financial Literacy Nonprofit, Cents Ability; Jeanne Parnell, WHCR-FM “City Lights” host; Miatta Smith, NY Beacon Publisher; Sandy Tate, Lifestyle Consultant; Margaret Porter Troupe, Harlem Arts Salon curator; Dr. George Williams, DDS; Donald Sutton, founder of Global Artists Management of NY and Trustee, Ntozake Shange’s Literary Trust; Stevie Wonder, Gabourey Sidibe, Damon Dash, Dwayne Johnson. And a birthday salute, Notorious B.I.G. (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997).
Congrats to New Yorker Ny Whitaker, named Director of Scheduling and Advancement in the office of the US Department of Agriculture under Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Central Harlem politico launched a consulting firm, was adjunct NYU professor who earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in psychology at the John Jay College, CUNY,
APRIL 22 is EARTH DAY.
The HCCI Harlem Commonwealth Congregation for Community Improvement will host the 19th Annual “Let Us Break Bread Together Awards Dinner Gala, which will be held on May 5, beginning with a 6 pm reception, at the Marina Del Rey, Throgs Neck, NY. The black-tie Gala honorees are NYC Black A-Listers such as Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III; Actor Malik Toba; Willie Walker, Civic Leader/Philanthropist; Olumide (Miday) Wilkey, UBS Financial Services; Melba Wilson, Restauranteur; and Union Baptist Church, a founding HCCI member.
For reservations, visit hcci.org/gala2022.
The Municipal Arts Society to host Jane’s Walk Tour, a free 3-day festival, from May 6 – 8, the first since COVID arrived, in NYC. Walking and virtual tour visits city’s iconic neighborhoods, including Harlem’s Mt. Morris Park Historic District, Central Harlem Historic District; Strivers Row; and the Dorrance Brooks Historic District which got landmark status last June. Jane’s Walk Tour is named after the late urban activist Jane Jacobs, who championed input from local residents over a car-centric city planning. Jacobs’ book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” is required reading for students of city planners everywhere. Visit mas.org/janeswalk.
A Harlem based consultant, Victoria Horsford can be reached at email@example.com