NEW YORK, NEW YORK August 24. New Yorkers turned a new corner in its political culture and temperature. Lieutenant Kathy Hochul was sworn in as the 57th Governor of NYS, making history as the first woman to ascend to the post. It marked the end of the Cuomo Era. Congratulations, Governor Hochul, we look forward to a kinder gentler statewide atmosphere, in the great Empire State. State Senator Brian Benjamin from Harlem was named Lieutenant Governor by NYS Governor Kathy Hochul.
There is not much time for pleasantries with the State’s laundry list of problems, in search of imminent solutions. New Yorkers have a short time window before the August 31 eviction moratorium, which will affect hundreds of thousands of residents. NYS must develop a game plan, which would free some of the $2.2 billion in Fed funds intended to pay off many rent arrears affected by COVID. A 8/25 NY Times article says the US Treasury reports that 89% of federal funds to most states to help renters with pandemic-related arrears has not been distributed. Governor Hochul says the moratorium is a top priority.
Albany must develop health containment policies like Covid vaccine mandates to minimize the spread of the Delta virus or any others which could begin circulation. Albany should be planning vaccine booster rollouts for the anticipated late September shipments for people who have been vaccinated for more than six months. Governor Hochul says that the pandemic is also a top priority.
Concurrent with the foregoing, Governor Hochul must name her Downstate Lieutenant Governor, assemble her cabinet, and expel advisers who were a part of her predecessor’s posse. Former Governor Paterson, himself a former Lieutenant Governor warned her about keeping her predecessor’s loyalists, it was one of his oversights. That tough, but affable Buffalo woman, former lawyer, congressmember has the right stuff to manage the office. Already the lobbyists, the real estate barons must be dispatching their minions to endear themselves to NY’s new occupant at the NYS governor’s mansion.
The Census report revealed that the NYC population increased by more than 630,000 from 2010 to 2020. It is hard to digest all the Census data about NYC, like the shrinking Black population in Harlem and Brooklyn. Wonder if there is any evidence of an undercount of city’s people of color. Last year was so atypical and horrendous with COVID 19 hovering. Was there time for completion of Census forms? Census data begs lots more questions than it answers.
SUMMER IN AMERICA/THE WORLD
What began two weeks ago as an American mission to extricate American nationals and their Afghanis allies from Afghanistan, a new failed Taliban-run state, before US troops pulled out by August 31, is developing into a more sinister mission. President Biden wants to extend the exodus day but Taliban leaders say NO. Next month is 20th Anniversary of the American-based September 11 tragedy. Americans must be removed before 911 to avoid any harmful encounters in Afghanistan. The US White House is an entity with many challenging moving parts.
US Vice President Kamala Harris is on official business on the other side of the planet in Asia, where Singapore, Viet Nam and China are her ports of call. Her task is to strengthen relationships and economic ties with nations in the Indo-Pacific nations and to push back on China’s influence in that region.
ARTS AND CULTURE
FINE ART: The St. Joseph College of New York’s new show FACES is a group exhibition showcasing the works of artists Stephen Basso, Ramona Candy, Brooks Frederick, Jimmy James Greene, Corey Lightfoot, Karl MacIntosh, Kathleen Migliore-Newton, Elise Tak and Jorge (JAVA) Valdes which runs from September 15 to October 20, at the Alumni Room Gallery, Tuohy Hall, 245 Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn. Call 718.940.535 for daily viewing schedule.
THEATER: Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre, NFT, is one of the recipients of the prestigious 2020 Tony Honors For Excellence in the Theater. Established in 1990, the special Tony citation identifies those institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theater but do not qualify in any of the traditional Tony Awards categories. The New Federal Theatre, founded in 1970, producer of more than 450 mainstage plays in Off Broadway and Broadway settings, works by Black playwrights, inhabited by Black characters, certainly meet the Tony Honors criteria. Many of the NFT plays have toured nationally and internationally. King’s NFT rose to prominence with productions like J.E. Franklin’s “BLACK GIRL,” Ntozake Shange’s “FOR COLORED GIRLS WHO CONSIDERED SUICIDE WHEN THE RAINBOW IS ENUF” and Ed Bullins’ “THE TAKING OF MISS JANIE.” For 50 years, the NFT has been the clearing house and finishing school for actors, directors, and playwrights. NFT is synonymous with American theater excellence. Look at its distinguished alum, which spans three generations, with people li Morgan Freeman, Debbie Allen, Denzel Washington, Samuel Jackson, S. Epatha Merkinson, Melba Moore, Lynn Whitfield, Ruby Dee, Anna Maria Horsford, Laurence Fishburne and Chadwick Boseman. The 74th Annual Tony Awards celebration will air on CBS-TV, Sunday, September 26 at 7 pm.
PROCESSIONS: The 52nd African American Day Parade will be broadcast virtually on Sunday September 19 at 12 pm on Pix11.com. The 2021 AADP honorees are President of HBCU Dr. Tony Allen, Delaware State University, the Grand Marshal; Network Director of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program, Dr. Cama Davis, Marshall; and Janifer Wilson, founder of the Sister Uptown Bookstore, Theresa Community Service Award recipient. The AADP, a veritable source of Black pride and unity is one of America’s largest Black parades. It draws marchers and followers from most the nation’s big Black cities. PS: Dr Tony Allen acquired Wesley College, a Delaware-based, non HBCU school with a large Black student body, reported in WGO earlier this year.
RIP: Micki Grant, 90, passed away last week. The first woman to write and star in a Broadway musical, Grant was a composer, lyricist, and actress, best remembered for her award-winning musical, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” which was conceived and directed by theater icon Vinnette Carroll.
A Harlem based media consultant, Victoria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org