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What’s Going On: 4/8

We are happy that the Joe Biden Administration is proof positive of American excellence and able to get things done by designated dates. It is good to note that Americans are interested in the COVID19 vaccines and are in eager pursuit of the inoculation. Maybe herd immunity is near. This nation is one of so many moving parts and myriad dysfunctions. Team Biden appear to be up to the task and efficient, woefully absent for four years. What is hard to stomach is the return to gun violence and mass killings. Congress must prioritize gun reform.

HARLEM: NY Assembly member Inez Dickens reports that the Covid 19 vaccine – the Johnson and Johnson one-dose – is available in Central Harlem without appointment until May 3, from Thursday through Sunday, 7 am to 7 pm. Anyone, who is 30 years plus is eligible. The vaccine site is the Central Harlem Senior Citizen Center, St Nicholas Houses, located at 210 West 131 Street. For more info, call Assembly member Dickens’ office at 212 866.5809.

COVID TESTS: A pop-up free COVID19 nasal test site, without an appointment, is available courtesy of RAPID NYC at Lenox/Malcolm X Boulevard at 124 Street in front of TD Bank. Options include the 1) Rapid test with results in 15 minutes or 2) PCR test with a 3-day turnaround. without appointment. Brooklyn-based RAPID NYC has 13 pop up sites in all boroughs save Staten Island and 5 physical sites in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Call 888.RAPID 08. House calls are also available. Call 888.727.4308 Visit for both RAPID services.

Last week, Pfizer says that its vaccine is good for at least 6 months. Despite the uneven vaccine rollout in the United States, we can boast more inoculations that most Western nations. Surges are reported all over the US. Have we rushed to reopen businesses too soon.

Alvin Bragg

NYC PRIMARIES: The political cognoscenti know about most of the African Americans running for high offices in the NYC 2021 Primaries. We know Eric Adams, Ray McGuire and Maya Wiley, the Mayoral hopefuls. We know Brian Benjamin and Kevin Parker, Comptroller hopefuls. Few know of Harlem born and bred Alvin Bragg, the only African American attorney running for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. His work credits include the US Justice Department and the NYS Attorney General’s office and his focus has always been on civil rights. He has 7 challengers and is outperforming all but one in fundraising and petition signatures.



Keith Taylor, candidate for NYC Council, 9th District in Central Harlem and East Harlem got into the race late, hit the ground running and got 2850 signatures for the Democratic Designating Petition, more than any of his 14 competitors. Now to repeat that lead on Primary Day June 22. A man for all seasons, who has worked in knows NYC bureaucracies like no other. At NYPD, he interfaced with the Department of Education. He was NYC Corrections Assistant Commish.
As a social worker he worked with the foster care system. Today, he is a Professor at CUNY’S John Jay College. A member of Manhattan Community Board 10, Taylor was deployed for a year, as a NY Guard soldier working on the NYS response to the coronavirus pandemic.

LAND USE: Harlem’s All Souls Church on Madison Avenue on 129 Street has been sold to a developer for $11 million. Located in landmark territory in East Harlem, the building façade cannot be altered.

HARLEM FOOD: Charles Pan Fried Chicken, formerly located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard on 132 Street is closed. But African American owner Charles Gabriel is not out of business. The 3-decades old fried chicken and food destination re-opens this summer at 340 West 145 Street on the corner of Edgecombe Avenue. Expansion plans are in place for a West 72 Street Upper West Side satellite and a Brooklyn venue……. Best Super Market on Frederick Douglass at 118 Street closed two months ago.

Howard French

BOOK NOTES: Howard French is at it again with a new book “BORN IN BLACKNESS: Africa, Africans And the Making of the Modern World, 1471-1945” which will be published this fall. The Washington, DC native worked as a NY Times journalist and bureau chief in African and China for 23 years. He taught English Literature at the University of Abidjan during his Africa stint. Today, he is with the faculty of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. His non-fiction books include “A Continent For The Taking; The Tragedy and Hope of Africa;” “China’s Second Continent: How A Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire In Africa;” and Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push For Global Power.”

FILM: And the 2021 SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards went to Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis for best male actor and best female actor in a lead role in the motion picture, respectively, in MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM; to Daniel Kaluuya, as best supporting actor for his role as Chairman Fred Hampton in the film JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH; and to Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn as best supporting actress in MINANI. This a first in SAG history when top honorees were/are people of color!

FOUNDATION: Melanie Edwards, granddaughter of Rosamond Johnson, daughter of Mildred Johnson, education pioneer and founder of Harlem’s The Modern School, launched a new foundation named for Rosamond who with his brother James Weldon Johnson co-wrote “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the celebrated Black national anthem. The brothers Johnson were prolific music theater producers.

Melanie Edwards

TELEVISION: CBS-TV will adapt Jamal Joseph’s memoir PANTHER BABY as a TV series with Gina Prince-Bythewood directing and Timberman/Beverly and Reggie Rock Bythewood producing Joseph was incarcerated in his teens for Black Panther Party- related activities. Today, Joseph is a Columbia University School of the Arts in the Film Department Professor and is co-founder of IMPACT Repertory Theatre and head the New Heritage Theatre’s Film Division.

GOVERNMENT: Peggy Shepard, Co-founder/Executive Director of the Harlem based nonprofit WE ACT for Environmental Justice, was named to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. WE ACT was New York’s first organization to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

The One Hundred Black Men/NY organization hosts a Fireside Chat Zoom Meeting on VIOLENCE PREVENTION on Thursday April 8, from 6 –7:30 pm, moderated by Dr. Jocelynne Rainey with panelists Iesha Sekou, Street Corner Resources, Omar Jackson, SAVE Cure, Stand Against Violence East Harlem and Brother Ruby Coombs, Obama Foundation, My Brother’s Keeper. Visit – Meeting ID 6045665126 – Passcode OHBM1963 – Eventbrite Registration

A Harlem based brand/media professional, Victoria is reachable at

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