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What’s Going On – 5/13

May 2021 opens with May Day, an observation of the historic struggles and achievements of workers and the labor movement. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Other May tenants include Mother’s Day, National Teachers Day, and National Nurses Day. Without fail, it is the month when zodiac sign Taurus makes its exit and is immediately followed by Gemini. On 5/28, another retrograde Mercury stalks us through 6/22.

As America transitions to something approximating normalcy in the post COVID19 vaccination era, we seem to be repeating pre pandemic unpredictable behaviors, especially among the electeds.

Keisha Lance Bottoms

FOR THE RECORD: Atlanta, Georgia Mayor African American Keisha Lance Bottoms, Democratic Party rising star, said that she is no longer interested in a second term. While newly-installed Boston Mayor, Democrat African American Kim Janey, will join the crowded mayor’s race this year. As head of the City Council, Janey was next in line of succession when her predecessor Mayor Marty Walsh left to become President Biden’s Secretary of Labor. Detroit police chief, Black American Republican James Craig, 64, retires effective June 1. Will he run for Michigan Governor next year? Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s lips are sealed about re-election plans. However, she has a nice war chest. A Nigeria-born businessman, Republican Austin Cheng plans to challenge Whitmer and he vows to cancel Black History Month if he is elected.
Republican governors are revising voting rights laws in Georgia, Florida, Texas, Iowa and Arizona designed to suppress the votes of Blacks and other people of color. Governors argue that the 2020 election was fraudulent, which it was not. The Democrats in the House have drafted the For The People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill, which would circumvent much of the revision initiated by the GOP Governors and restore much of the muscle removed by the US Supreme Court in 2013, from the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Senate hearings on the bill begin this week. The GOP House is awash in internal battles, working to oust caucus members unfaithful to POTUS 45.
This is the year of REDISTRICTING, that procedure that draws boundaries for electoral and political districts in the United States, a ritual done every 10 years, following the US Census numbers. Redistricting affects political power.

Brian Benjamin

Is NYC ready for a full-time re-opening? It has an abundance of public safety problems on the Streets in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem and Times Square, the city’s tourism Mecca. Too much gun shooting and homicides and too many problems in its subway system, not to mention the widespread anti-Asian assaults. NYPD crime stats are alarming with comparable 2020 stats. Reading the crime stories in the NYC tabloids, a picture emerges of a city with a large population of residents who need mental health counseling. Primary contestants who are hawkish on law and order are going to be favored by most voters. Forget “Defund the Police” chatter. It’s not going to happen now.
And endorsements, how much are they worth? Mayoral hopeful Eric Adams got the editorial nod from the NY Post. Mayoral hopeful Kathryn Garcia got the NY Times endorsement. NYS Senator John Liu, former NYC Comptroller endorsed NYS Senator Brian Benjamin’s candidacy for his old job.
The Primary winners will be candidates who were most effective 1) branding themselves aka name recognition and 2) with an explanation of RANKED CHOICE VOTING, to their constituents.

The following is an introduction to some of the 330 contenders for the NYC Council.
MANHATTAN: District 9, Some Central Harlem candidates: William Allen,; Cordell Cleare,; Billy Council,; Athena Moore,; Dr. Keith Taylor,; Joshua Clennon; and Ruth McDaniels,

BROOKLYN: District 35 candidates:
Michael Hollingsworth, tenant’s rights organizer; Crystal Hudson, community activist; Curtis Harris, Green Earth Poets Café; Renee Collymore, small business owner and teacher; Regina Kinsey,; Diedre Levy, Jewish Filipina special ed teacher; Hector Robertson, Sharon Wedderburn, Community Board member; and Maayan Zik, Black Orthodox Jew community activist.

George Jackson

EDUCATION: Just learned about the George Jackson Academy, a Manhattan school, located at 104 St Marks Place, founded in 2003, originally serving boys from elementary to middle school from underserved communities, which today is a middle school with a student/teacher ratio of 10 to 1. School is named after the late Harlem-born George Jackson, himself a product of private schools like Monsignor Kelly School and Fordham Prep, which recruited poor but talented boys, a Harvard University graduate, who relocated to LA where he became Motown Records CEO before launching a career as film/tv producer/co producer of film classics like “New Jack City,” “Jason’s Lyrics,” and “Krush Groove” Visit

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: The following NYC schools made the top 50 of 18,000 public schools in the US News & World Report 2021 Best US High Schools. Townshend Harris, Flushing (12), Brooklyn Tech (22) HS of Math Science & Engineering at CCNY (28 Queens HS for the Sciences, York College (30) Bronx HS of Science (35) Staten Island Technical HS (37) Stuyvesant HS (44) and HS of American Studies, Lehman College, Bronx (49)

Norma Jean Darden’s, Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread Too at 366 West 110 Street, Harlem made Michelin’s List of the Nation’s best affordable eateries. Spoonbread referenced as a soul food classic with menu items like meat loaf, Louisiana catfish and baked turkey wings.
Yamiche Alcindor was named moderator of WASHINGTON WEEK, the Peabody Award winning weekly PBS-TV new analysis, which airs on Fridays at 8 pm. Alcindor was White House correspondent for PBS News Hour and guest MSNBC politics consultant.


Harlem-based living legend Jeanne Parnell, the grand dame of talk at City College’s WHCR-FM morning radio shows celebrates her 85th birthday anniversary on May 20. Quarantined and cabin-fevered, her friends are pressuring her to throw a party. A veteran NYC public school educator and arts administrator, the Brooklyn-born Parnell is a product of the HS of Performing Arts, the “Fame” school, and Howard University. She cut her teeth in journalism doing stints at WWRL-AM, Inner City Broadcasting Radio before arriving at WHCR where she hosts her City Lights show for more than 20 years.

A Harlem-based branding/media consultant, Victoria can be contacted at

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