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What’s Going On – 5/19

Joe Biden

SPRINGTIME IN AMERICA 2022
NEW YORK: President Joe Biden called the weekend massacre in Buffalo, which claimed the lives of 10 Black people in a supermarket, “racist terrorism,” a contagion with which African Americans have grown familiar, weary and frustrated. White supremacists bombed a Black church in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, killing four Black girls. A young, white supremacist entered a Black church in Charleston, SC, in 2015 killing 9 Black people attending a weekday prayer service. Again, Black people are in mourning.

The Buffalo carnage by a white 18-year-old Payton Gendron, was premeditated and was streamed from the supermarket as the disaster unfolded. An avowed racist, he knew where to find Buffalo’s Black population, the second-largest in NYS. His H.S ordered a psychiatric evaluation for him a few years ago because of his inflammatory comments about violence. Mentally unstable, racist, and armed with a gun, Gendron is like thousands of kindred spirits navigating American streets every day.

President Biden and Congress must cure the white domestic terrorism contagion ASAP.

Hakeem Jeffries

VOTING RIGHTS: The new NYS congressional maps were released on May 16 and all roads lead to chaos for Democrats, most of whom are troubled by new district configurations. Representatives Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney will have to challenge each other. Districts in place to favor certain groups like Black, Latinx, and Jewish voters are dissolved. In Brooklyn, the districts for Black Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke are dissolved in favor of new ones. They will challenge each other for the new district in the August 23 primary. Jeffries said: “The new map would make Jim Crow blush.” Further north, the districts for Black Congress members Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones were dissolved. They, too, must challenge each other. May 20 is the deadline to appeal the new maps.

Charles Booker

THE NATION
ELECTION SEASON: Five states held Primaries on May 17. In PA, ultra-conservative Black American Kathy Barnette did not defeat Dr. Oz in a US Senate bid. In NC, Democrat Judge Cheri Beasley won the race for US Senate. She is the first African American woman to serve as the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. In Kentucky, African American Democrat Charles Booker wins the US Senate bid and runs against GOP incumbent Rand Paul.

HEALTH WATCH
The US Coronavirus death toll approached 1 million this week and the nation is in mourning and is pandemic weary. COVID19 mask protocols vary from state to state. The Public is confused until a new variant surfaces. Testing, vaccinations, and medication availabilities sort of ensures that Americans will not revisit the horrors of 2 ½ years ago.

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NYC raised the COVID19 alert to high on May 17. That means that masks should be worn in all public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings.

ARTS AND CULTURE
HISTORY: Brazil abolished slavery on May 14, 1881. On May 17, 1954, the US Supreme Court acknowledged that the doctrine of “separate but equal” is unconstitutional, with regard to the Brown v Board of Education case.

AFRICA DAY 2022 will be observed globally on May 25, by Diasporans with African Everywhere celebrations. New York’s Africa Center joins the festivities on May 17 with the “Culinary Lyricism” event and on May 24 with the Newark Museum of Art, a virtual conversation “Time and Place Are No Longer Singular.” Visit theafricacenter.org.

Jelani Cobb

EDUCATION: Jelani Cobb was appointed Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism by Lee Bollinger Columbia University President. Cobb is a writer, journalist, historian, and educator, who earned his BA at Howard University and his Ph.D. in History at Rutgers University. A prolific author, he has written five books, including “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress” and “The Devil and Dave Chappelle.” A Columbia School of Journalism Professor since 2016, his ubiquitous byline appears in Washington Post, New Yorker Magazine, Essence, and theroot.com

BOOKS: Look out for two new books–one by NY1 anchor Cheryl Wills “Isn’t Her Grace Amazing: The Women Who Changed Gospel Music” and Photographer Tony Barboza’s title “Eye Dreaming” with an introduction by Hilton Als.

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Check out Black children’s book titles to be published this year. The following is an abbreviated list of books from Regina Brooks’ Serendipity Literary roster: “Shirley Chisolm Dared” by Alicia D. Williams and April Harrison, “H Is For Harlem” by Dinah Johnson and April Harrison, “The Queen of Kindergarten” by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton and “Just Like Jesse Owens” by Gordon C. Jones, Ambassador Andrew Young and Paula Young-Shelton. Brooks is an author, publisher, and literary agent. She will attend the Publishers Weekly US Book Show on May 25 and moderate the “Black Women, Black Voices: Debut Memoirists on Careers and Publishing” panel. Visit Serendipitylit.com

MUSIC: Vy Higginsen’s Mama Foundation presents its 2022 Spring Concert, featuring a rich menu of joyful noises by in-house performers like Gospel for Teens, Sing Harlem, and Alive 55+ and Kickin’ at the Salem United Methodist Church in Harlem on Saturday, June 4 at 3 pm. Visit mamafoundation.org

Ruby Ryles-Martin

NEWSMAKERS
RIP: Media executive Ruby Ryles-Martin, 74, transitioned on May 7.
The youngest of 10 children born to French and Mary Lee Ryles in Eufaula, Alabama. She relocated to NY where she earned a BA at the State University of NY, Albany and an MA at Syracuse University. A spokesperson for NYS and NYC Corrections Departments, she founded her own public relations firm. She is a former Deputy Press Secretary for Mayor David Dinkins. She was Communications Director at Kingsborough Community College.

RIP: Entrepreneur and gallerist Sherman Edmiston, 86, passed in early May. Owner of Essie Green Galleries in Harlem and one of the most respected dealers of Black Masterworks in the United States. He curated exhibits of works by African American fine arts masters like Bearden, Tanner, Bannister, Stringfellow, Norman Lewis, and by emerging artists. The Essie Green Gallery is the epicenter of Uptown Black fine arts scene.

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

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