What’s Going On: AMERICA, AMERICA

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By Victoria Horsford

THE NATION: As the world turns, that piece of real estate identified as the USA seems to be on an accelerated descent into Dante’s Inferno. Heads reel from unfolding American news stories and those about race and the criminal justice system. On 12/5, a mistrial was declared when a SC jury (11 whites and 1 Black) failed to arrive at a unanimous decision re: white policeman Michael Slager, who shot and killed Walter Scott, a Black motorist, in the back last year. The murder was videotaped. On December 1st, a road-raging white man, Ronald Gasser, killed Joe McKnight, a former NFL player, in Louisiana.   Why is Gasser free and uncharged on 12/5? In SC, white supremacist Dylann Roof, who killed nine Black people in a Charleston church last year, and who faces 33 federal charges, wants to represent himself in the death penalty trial, which begins Wednesday. He reversed his request and wants those lawyers back– “at least for the guilt phase part of the trial”–and he will represent himself for the sentencing phase of the trial. These cases should spill into the Trump Presidency era! Already, political pundits predict that Trump’s Department of Justice, sans Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, could kill police reform.

President-elect Donald Trump has been sorta/kinda busy with outreach to Black America in assembling his cabinet. He called Rev. Al Sharpton last week, probably a courtesy call. He met with billionaire Bob Johnson, BET Networks founder who has businesses in real estate and entertainment. Johnson would not disclose if a cabinet spot had been offered. The really good ones, like Defense and Treasury, have already been assigned.

Dr. Ben Carson
Dr. Ben Carson

It is official. Dr. Ben Carson, MD, is Trump’s nominee for HUD, Housing and Urban Development, a post normally reserved for African-Americans by both Democratic and Republican administrations. Why is Carson destined for HUD instead of the Health and Human Services bureaucracy? Carson has little-to-no experience in housing nor urban development.   He justifies the HUD nomination saying, “I feel that I can make a significant contribution, particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone”. He continued: “I grew up in the inner city and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area.”

THE DEMOCRATS: The Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee requires immediate and dramatic overhaul. The 2010 elections indicated that new leadership was inevitable. It was followed by the elections of 2012, 2014 and the 2016 debacle. The next DNC chair needs to be a Congress outsider, someone who can devote full-time to 2018 and 2020 victories.

NYC: Next year is the NYC mayoral election year. Politicos and business people, from both sides of the aisle, covetously eyes the second-hardest job in America. One bit of good news for Mayor de Blasio is that his good friend, Patrick Gaspard, will be back in town soon.   A member   of de Blasio’s “agents of the city” inner circle, Gaspard is US Ambassador to South Africa and a former political adviser to President Obama.   Gaspard has accepted a newly created position with the Open Society Foundation, founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

HARLEM: Hold the date, December 16th, 6-9 pm for Assemblywoman-elect Inez Dickens and the MLK Democratic Club’s Annual Holiday Kwanzaa Party at the Kennedy Center on West 135th Street. Party attendees should bring a wrapped book, toy or new article of apparel for distribution to community children.

Patrick Gaspard
Patrick Gaspard

BROOKLYN: Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte, District Leader Josue Pierre and the Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club will co-host their 6th Annual Toy Drive and Holiday Party on December 17th at 7 pm at 204 Parkside Avenue. An unwrapped toy is the price of admission. Toys can be delivered to the District Office at 1414 Cortelyou Road until December 19th, Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. For more info, call 718. 940. 0428.

DECEMBER IN NY

The Apollo Theater presents the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s “The First Noel, A Musical”, from December 10-18 at the Apollo. “The First Noel” is a memory musical that flashes back to Harlem in 1985 when Noel comes back to NY to sell her family’s home but bittersweet memories keep getting in her way. It is a story of love and belonging. The Lelund Durond Thompson and Jason Michael Webb score is a joyous celebration of gospel, pop, jazz and deftly reimagined holiday standards. “The First Noel” returns to the Apollo after SRO performances during the 2015 holiday season. Brian D. Coats, Tina Fabrique and Ashley Ware Jenkins are members of the megatalented ensemble cast.

The US-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with NY Carib News, will host a book-launch party for DEMOCRACY or DEMON-CRAZY? A nonfiction work by Rev. Dr. Quainoo, which “examines democracy as a widely embraced government system and questions its validity”. The book party will be held on December 17, 6-8 pm at the Marriott –Residence Inn Times Square, located at 1033 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan.

AFRICA 2 AFRICA and the Catalyst Network Foundation will co-host a long-overdue mixer and panel discussion, DISTANT RELATIVES-RESTORING BLACK RELATIONS, a look at Black immigrants and African-Americans with a “focus on low levels of inclusion among generational Black families and Black immigrant families”, on December 13 at 7 pm at the Katra Lounge, located at 217 Bowery, Manhattan. Panelists are Diane Weathers, former Essence executive; Professor James Small; Attorney/envoy Robert Van Lierop; and Fasil Amdetsion, international legal and foreign policy adviser.  Bert Gervais will be panel moderator. [RSVP distant relatives, eventbrite.com]

Kechie’s Project will host its 3rd Annual Girls and Guys Night Out Fundraiser on Monday, December 19 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the U.N., which is located at 828 Second Avenue in Manhattan. Admission is $75. Kechie’s Project is a nonprofit organization that helps educate and empower girls in the USA and Nigeria.

 

 

 

A Harlem-based entrepreneur, Victoria Horsford can be reached at Victoria.horsford@gmail.com.

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