SUMMER IN THE AMERICAS
SOUTH: On Sunday, Colombia elected leftist Gustavo Petro, as president and Afro-Colombian Francia Marquez, 40, his running mate as vice president, a first in the nation’s history. A single mother at 16, Marquez worked as a maid and in the gold mines. As an Afro Colombian, she was totally marginalized from the corridors of the Colombian power elite. Black Colombian lives were defined by disproportionate poverty, land rights appropriation, and racism. A rigorous fighter of civil rights, she began her life as an environmental activist. She earned a law degree. She made the BBC’s List of the 100 Most Influential and Inspiring Women in the World. She entered politics in 2020.
Afro-Colombians are the second largest group of people of African descent in Latin America, representing 6.2% of Colombia’s population. Brazil has the largest group of people of African descent. It’s a new day in Colombia and Francia is a key protagonist who wants to reduce the nation’s inequalities. Kamala Harris is not alone as the only Black woman vice president in the Americas! Heretofore, Colombia was the United States’ key ally in South America.
NORTH: Saw a cartoon recently which read “It’s 10 pm. Does anyone know where American democracy is?” This is the year of American midterms, American confusion, American delusion, and American division. How will the televised January 6 hearings play with the 2022 American electorate? The nation is divided on abortion, voting rights, revision of gun culture laws, Critical Race Theory, white supremacy, the 2020 election, found, lost, and found again!!
Washington, DC two-term Mayor Muriel Bowser won the June 21 primary, vanquishing three Black male challengers. Now she can look forward to a third term. The city has undergone changes since the Trump presidency. Like most American cities, homelessness and surging crime rates.
Mellody Hobson, Ariel Investments Company Co-CEO, joins the Walmart family led by Rob Walton. who won the bidding for the NFL franchise, Denver Broncos for $4.6 billion. A minority investor, Hobson, 53, comes to the table with deep, deep pockets. Her net worth probably qualifies her for billionaire status. She is Chair of the Starbucks Board and a director at JP Morgan Chase Board. Her husband, filmmaker George Lucas, is the architect/creator the “Star Wars” franchise.
Sports legend/philanthropist Los Angeles Laker LeBbron James was admitted to the billionaires club this month. He is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire. This was forecasted in WGO weeks ago.
Jay-Z wanted to bring financial literacy to his old neighborhood at Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects. He planned a Bitcoin Academy with classes exclusive to Marcy residents. His old neighbors were unimpressed; and met his offer with skepticism and annoyance. They say that they are not interested in losing money.
STREET CO-NAMING: Antigua-born Bishop James P. Roberts Sr will be honored with street co-naming on Saturday, June 25, from 12 noon to 3 pm at Malcolm X Blvd/Lenox Avenue at 122 Street. James Roberts came to New York as a young man and settled in Harlem. He operated elevators and attended college, studied theology, and acquired multiple degrees before becoming a bishop. He established a community-based church, St. Thomas Liberal Catholic Church in 1926. He and fellow Antiguans established the Antigua Progressive Society to provide charitable assistance to newly- arrived Antiguans and Blacks from the US south, who migrated to Harlem, during the Depression. Its mission has expanded through the years. It merged with the Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society, later purchasing the building at 12 West 122 Street, its headquarters. It continues to serve the local community and Antigua Barbuda with support for charitable, religious, and educational programs.
MUSIC: JAZZMOBILE 2022: Nat Adderly Jr., July 6 at Grant’s Tomb. Craig Harris, July 8 at Marcus Garvey Park, Antoinette Montagu and Danny Mixon at MacDonough Street, Brooklyn. Visit jazzmobile.org for full summer schedule.
TALK: A Virtual Discussion, “EQUITY And INNOVATION FOR AFRICA’S RECOVERY,” featuring Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Melinda French Gates, Dr. Shivon Byamukama, Dr. Corine Karema, and Memory Kachambwa will be held on Thursday, June 23. Africa.com CEO Teresa Clarke hosts the distaff event. To register, visit africa.com
Attorney Rosemonde Pierre-Louis was appointed new Executive Director of the New York University McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research effective July 1. Current McSilver Institute’s Chief Operating Officer, Pierre Louis is recognized as a driving force for social and economic change. Some of the highlights of her public service life include the Manhattan Deputy Borough Presidency, from 2006 to 2013, a first for a Haitian American; Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence; and Senior Advisor to the Commission on Gender Equality. Before public service, Pierre-Louis spent 17 years in private practice as an attorney with a focus on women’s and immigrants’ rights. She graduated from Tufts University and the Case Western University School of Law.
Congrats to Ryan Brooks, a Central Connecticut State University junior, who is one of 14 college scholars who are recipients of the 2022 Ralph Bunch Summer Institute Class and who will participate in its annual five-week intensive program hosted by Duke University. A former OTP GenZ contributor, and a Dean’s List student for 3 years, Brooks majors in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy. After graduation next year, he will pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science and will launch a nonprofit consulting firm targeted to those in communities of color who are interested in Academia.
A Harlem-based business consultant/griot, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org