APRIL is a spring festival of monthly observances and special days, not the least of which are National Minority Health Month; National Jazz Appreciation Month; religious holidays of the Abrahamic religions, Ramadan from April 2 to May 1; Passover from April 15 to 23; Easter on April 17; and Earth Day April 22.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
NYS missed its April 1 budget deadline redolent of the pre-Cuomo days and extended it to April 8. Key budget players, NYS Governor Kathy Hochul, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins are working towards a resolution. Budget is $212 billion. Problems still dogging Albany are the governor’s $1 billion football stadium for her native Buffalo and a cash bail tweak defining “dangerousness.” NY GOP Congressmen want to overturn 2019 no bail law.
The NYS Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislators will host its 51st Annual Legislative Conference on April 8-10 at the Hilton Albany Hotel. The NYSABPRHAL is the Oscars for local electeds. Weekend fare includes power breakfast/lunch events, workshops, and networking. This week’s NYSABPRHAL Conference is a high priority for all NYS stakeholders, electeds and non-electeds, during this important midterm year. Visit NYSABPRLINC.ORG
HARLEM: Harlem Congressional Rep. Adriano Espaillat, concerned about the multi-layers of dysfunction in his congressional district, announced a 10 point plan to contain it, which must be supported by NYC/NYS agencies. Especially concerning are crime along East and West 125 Street, Harlem’s main commercial corridor, where daylight shootings and shoplifting are commonplace. The NYPD gun crime task force has been deployed to northern Manhattan streets within the 23,25, 28, and 32 precincts, all within Espaillat’s congressional jurisdiction. He wants more. The special NYPD units have been deployed to 30 precincts, including Eastern Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. Will other NYC Congress members follow the Espaillat lead for more aggressive policing?
COVID UPDATES: There is a new COVID19 variant BA2 and it’s responsible for an uptick in COVID virus positivity rates locally and nationally. Suspect that would explain the FDA and CDC approval of the emergency application of booster vaccination shots 1 & 2. Three of the top five NYC zip codes, with the newest positive Covid tests are on Manhattan’s Upper West Side: 10023, 10024, and 10025. Will positive numbers surge after April 30 when everyone’s back from spring break and family gatherings? For many, the first in two years. Booster shots are available at home for anyone vaccination -age-eligible. Call 646-517-3205 to make an appointment.
The US Senate hearings to vet Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the US Supreme Court was a disrespectful exercise in American racism, a barometer of how much the society has regressed. Remember the inquiring clowns, Senators Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, and their next election. Support their ouster and their opponents. Their obstructionism notwithstanding, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has won the support of GOP Senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Lisa Murkowski who will vote with the Democratic caucus this week to confirm her nomination!
On March 29, President Joe Biden signed into law the Emmett Till Anti Lynching Act. It makes lynching a federal crime, a law in the making for more than 100 years. It is a terrorist act. Emmett Till was a 14-year-old Black teenager lynched in Mississippi in 1955. We await the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights bill and the George Floyd bill. The US Senate still has lots of work to do. It must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights bill which provides full protection of the Voting Rights Law of 1965 and the George Floyd Justice In Policing bill.
President Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki leaves her job on April 30 and heads to MSNBC for a new job. Is Deputy Press Secretary African American Karine Jean-Pierre next in line of succession? She traveled with POTUS to Europe last month for the NATO/EU Summit on the war in Ukraine.
The Democrats are spending $102 million for ad spots nationally to retain control of the House of Representatives this year. Political pundits claim that 2022 elections will be won in about 2-3 dozen swing districts.
Last week, in Africa, the Tunisian President dissolved Parliament who opposed his autocratic tendencies. Tunisia was the nation where the Arab Spring began in 2010. In Asia, April 2, Pakistan’s Prime Minister dissolved Parliament to thwart its efforts to remove him.
The Russian-Ukrainian War will have serious consequences and provoke a global food crisis. Ukraine is the fifth largest exporter of wheat. Considered the breadbasket of Europe, 71% of Ukraine’s land is agricultural. It’s a major supplier to African and Asian nations. The media keeps saying that war could continue for months.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Congrats to all 64th Annual Grammy Awardees for excellence in the music world. Jon Batiste, 35, the New Orleans-born multi-talented pianist/composer won five Grammys, including one for “ We Are,” Best Album of the Year. Other Grammy Awardees include Kanye West, who won three prizes; H.E.R., Best Traditional R&B; CeCe Winans, Best Gospel Song; DOJA CAT; Silk Sonic, Song of the Year; Jazmine Sullivan, Best R&B Album; and Esperance Spaulding, Best Jazz Vocalist.
THEATER: A Broadway revival of Ntozake Shange’s seminal 1976 theater piece, choreopoem, FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO HAVE CONSIDERED SUICIDE/WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF opened in previews on April 1 and is directed/choreographed by African American Camille Brown, who choreographed the play’s 2019 revival at the NY Public Theater. The FOR COLORED GIRLS characters are named by seven colors, each a shade of the rainbow. The show opens on April 20 for 20 weeks.
A Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Pulitzer-winning drama THE PIANO LESSON, starring Samuel Jackson, Danielle Brooks, and John David Washington, opens on September 19 with LaTanya Richardson Jackson directing.
The show runs for 16 weeks.
Al Sharpton’s National Action Network hosts its Annual Convention 2022 on April 6-9, at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel, located at 811 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, NYC. Convention boasts a marquis list of speakers and conferees.
A Harlem based management consultant, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org