What’s Going On – 7/2

By Victoria Horsford

NYC AFTER 6/22
Again, NY Board of Election incompetence reared its ugly head.
After releasing its 6/29 NYC mayoral voting results which indicated an Eric Adams narrow lead over Kathryn Garcia with a Maya Wiley elimination, the DOE had to contradict itself and admit a computer glitch, which added a few 100,000 sample ranked-choice test ballots, which should have been deleted weeks earlier.
The DOE 6/30 correction indicated a tight Adams lead over Garcia who was slightly ahead of Wiley.
We actually have to wait until July 12 to find out who will be the 110th NYC Mayor. Ranked choice voting could alter the three candidates numbers dramatically.

Jumaane Williams

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams will retain his title. He garnered 70% of the vote in a three way race. Curtist Sliwa won the Republican mayoral contest with 70% in a two man race. It does not look like Senators Brian Benjamin or Kevin Parker will follow in William Thompson’s steps as next Comptroller.
The Manhattan District Attorney race, not a ranked choice option, is close. African American contender Alvin Bragg enjoys a 5% lead over Tali Farhadian Weinstein. Election update is due on 6/29, after press time. Final results are due by July 12. It is alleged that the Democratic Primary winners are assured November victories. Alas, we have to repeat this Primary ritual in two years after redistricting is finalized.
UPSTATE, NY: Upstate Black Democratic mayors were defeated in two Primaries last week. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, plagued by scandals and the recent arrest of her estranged husband for drug sales, lost to African-American City Council member Malik Evans.
In Buffalo, Black socialist India Walton defeated four-term Black Mayor Byron Brown. Buffalo Democrats and Republicans are stunned by the outcome. Brown plans a write-in campaign for November election. Both Warren and Walton were supported by the Working Families Party.
NY Governor Andrews Cuomo launched a fourth- term fundraiser Wednesday. Price of admission: $10,000 or $15K per couple.

Ketanji Brown Jackson

SUMMER IN AMERICA
The US Senate confirmed Biden’s nomination for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Federal Appeals Court in Washington DC. She is the tenth Black woman and the 10th former public defender to sit on a circuit court. Ketanji Brown Jackson, according to beltway chatter, is on Biden’s short list for US Supreme Court consideration.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland and Civil Rights Division head Kristen Clarke initiates lawsuit against Georgia and its new voting laws, observing that state’s new voting restrictions infringe on the rights of Black voters. The Justice Department will be busy doing battle with Florida which has enacted voting restricting laws while Arizona and Texas are poised to follow. Next year is midterm year.
2022 and beyond RACES: At least three Black men will be Democratic Maryland Gubernatorial hopefuls in 2022. They are Wes Moore, Robin Hood Foundation CEO, Rhodes Scholar; Tom Perez, former DNC Chair and Labor Secretary under President Obama; and John King, former Education Secretary under Obama.

Bishop TD Jakes

BLACK ENTERPRISE
Faith leader, entrepreneur/philanthropist Bishop TD Jakes and TV/Film mogul Tyler Perry partner to buy 132 acres, the decommissioned Fort McPherson Army base, to develop the property into a sustainable mixed-use community with affordable housing, a good investment in Atlanta’s future.
The $4 billion debt relief payments, targeted to Black farmers, who have been were denied access to loans, who were foreclosed on loans or lost land by foreclosure by taxes, was a part of Biden’s 2021 $1.9 trillion stimulus program was blocked tentatively by a Wisconsin judge and then nationally by a Bush nominated Florida judge. Both cases were initiated by white farmers who were plaintiffs. The judges reasoned that subject monies for Black farmers discriminated against white farmers and is unconstitutional. Judges hold Department of Agriculture for transparency.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
ETHIOPIA: After eight months of a civil conflict within its borders, the Ethiopian government declared an immediate, unilateral ceasefire in its Tigray region, on June 28. The ceasefire was in response to recent Tigray rebel actions like taking control of Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region, which was devastated by the Ethiopian military and its Eritrea ally. The war has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, ethnic cleansing with close to 900,000 facing famine. The Tigrayans dominated Ethiopian politics with a firm hand, for almost 30 years until 2018.
The US silence as the Ethiopian horrors towards the Tigrayans was deafening, especially after learning that country is the biggest recipient of US foreign aid in sub Saharan Africa. Money talks and impacts policy. National elections were held last week and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in 2018, is expected to win. He ended a war with Eritrea and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. In 2020, he launched the civil war, in the Tigray region, a tragedy which promises to destabilize the heart of Africa. Will the Tigray rebels observe the ceasefire?

ARTS/CULTURE
BOOK: Professor Kevin McGruder’s new book, “Philip Payton, Father Of Harlem,” is the biography of a pioneering real estate developer/ entrepreneur who fought white resistance and residential segregation to make Harlem THE new destination for newly arrived Blacks from the South, at the turn of the 20th Century. By 1920, the Payton goal was realized. Harlem was a thriving Black community, home of the Harlem Renaissance. McGruder has published related papers and books on the subject like “Race And Real Estate: Conflict And Cooperation in Harlem, 1890-1920.” The Harlem Business Alliance, Esra Realty and the Greater Harlem Real Estate Board will co-host a BOOK TALK with Professor McGruder, talking about Philip Payton, on July 13 at 6:30 pm
THEATER: Black playwrights are in vogue. Seven plays by Black playwrights are Broadway bound 2021. They are “Chicken and Biscuits” by Douglas Lyons, starring Norm Lewis; “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” by Keenan Scott II; “Trouble In Mind” by Alice Childress; “Pass Over” by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu; “Lackawanna Blues” by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau; and “Clyde’s” by Lynn Nottage.


The Class of 2021: Congratulations to Harlemite Saniyya Brannon, 13, a Mahalia Jackson School for Literary and The Arts coed, who graduated last week with a 3.5 GPA and with honors in Math and Language Arts and who made the coveted Principal’s Honor Roll. She attends Gramercy Arts High School in the fall.

BLACK AMERICA/JULY 4
TRI STATE (CT/NJ/NY) BLACK RESTAURANT WEEK from June 25 to July 5. Sponsored by Pepsi Dig and Stella Artist, BRW celebrates African American, African and Caribbean culinary traditions. More than 100 restaurants are participating, including 50 in Brooklyn. Visit blackrestaurantweek.com
BROOKLYN: The International African Arts Festival, Brooklyn’s largest African marketplace of culture and business, celebrates its 50th Anniversary, for three days, July 2-4, from 10 a to 9 pm, at the Commodore Perry Park, on Nassau and Navy Streets. The Forces of Nature Dance Company and Charisa The Violin Diva are among the artists who will perform. Visit Iaafestival.org

ESSENCE FESTIVAL OF CULTURE 2021 is a two-weekend virtual experience with concerts, curated events, panel, workshops and more. Weekend 1 June 25-27. Weekend 2, July 2-4. For full calendar of events, visit Essence.com/Festival/2021

A Harlem-based brand/media curator, Victoria is reachable at victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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