AUTUMN IN AMERICA: 11/3
Are Americans better off today than they were four years ago? No! Four years ago, we had a White House occupant Barack Obama, a democrat, who understood the clout, dignity and symbolic power of the office. Today, we have Donald Trump, an autocrat, dismissive of the rule of law, a bully unable to manage the major crises like the COVID19 pandemic nor the economy it instigated. A COVID19 surge across Europe and the United States accompanied by the Trump Administration’s inability to stimulate the economy is wreaking havoc with the US stock market three days this week. On the campaign trail, Trump trivializes the COVID19 menace.
The total US Covid19 infections to date is 8.5 million. Total US COVID19 deaths is 224,000. Sure that the many unemployed, impoverished Americans were not happy to hear President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows publicly admit last weekend, “We are not going to control the pandemic.” Sure that Team Joe Biden/Kamala Harris have COVID containment solutions based on recommendations by scientists.
VOTING TRENDS: As of 10/26, more than 64 million Americans have cast their ballots – mail or early voting – for the 2020 election, which is projected to be largest in nation’s history. The battleground states – AR, FL, GA, MI, NC. PA, IA, MN, NH, OH and TX – still contain electoral college magic. Their residents include white rural populations and lots of African American voters. Advise relatives and friends in those states that it is imperative to cast a vote for the 2020 presidency. Read stories about Black men in states like Wisconsin who voted in 2016, ignoring the line for the presidency. In Florida, 67,000 former felons are registered to vote.
BTW: Did you see what Jared Kushner, Trump adviser and son in-law said on 10/6 . “African Americans must want to be successful in order for the administration to help them.”
NEW YORK NOTES: On 11/3, cast your ballot on the Working Families Party Line which resembles the Democratic lineup. Founded in 1998, the WFP has to conform to a new NYS law requiring all minority parties to obtain the higher of either 2% of total vote turnout or 130,000 votes, to keep its status on NYS ballots. US Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Rep Alexandria Ocasio Cortez support voting on the WFP.
New York electorate must vote for the current NYS Democratic Senate majority members and help expand its number to insure that it can override any gubernatorial veto. Many Long Island and upstate right-wing Republicans want to wrestle power from Dem Senate.
LISC NYC launched a $1 million fund in small business relief and recovery grants to NYC Minority-Owned Small Businesses, in under-served communities, impacted by COVID-19. The FUND provides direct grants of $10,000 to subject businesses. Qualifications: Businesses must be NYC based, owned by a minority entrepreneur, have less that 20 employees and gross less than $500,000 annually. LISC, (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) is a national nonprofit that “equips underinvested communities with capital, strategies and know how to become places where low to moderate income Americans can thrive.” Visit LISC.ORG/nyc for application and list of community partners in the 5 boroughs.
Robert Smith, Chairman/CEO of Vista Equities Partners, donates $50 million to support STEM Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, through the Student Freedom Initiative. Smith’s gift matches initial June, 2020 funding of $50 million provided by the Fund II Foundation. Smith is the Black philanthropist who absorbed full tuition costs for the Morehouse College Class of 2019.
HipHop mogul Shawn (Jay-Z) Carter adds Cannabis entrepreneur to his CV. Cannabis, aka weed/marijuana, is a billion dollar industry in America. Jay-Z partners with cannabis CALIVA, California’s largest cannabis company as its chief brand strategist. Carter will launch MONOGRAM, the first brand under his Caliva association, which “will redefine what cannabis means to consumers today.” Wonder if Carter knows about forthcoming NY cannabis ops.
NIGERIA: Where is the media when you are hunger for info? Youth driven protests in Nigeria began in early October against the nation’s dreaded SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) police unit. Protesters waved Nigerian flags and often sang the national anthems during demonstrations. Nigerian protesters were akin to the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests across America, following the George Floyd murder by a policeman. On October 20, things turned violent when SARS and security forces fired into crowded killing 10 Nigerian protesters. Things started to fall apart and riots and violence followed. At least 10 states were under curfew. Most Nigerian observers allege that the government could have a hand in the ensuing civilian violence. Almost sounds like the American playbook this summer. Government has dissolved SARS and replaced it. Nigeria is oil rich and Africa’s most populous nation with 206 million people, predicted to be world’s third most populous nation by 2050. The US and the world have been reticent about Nigerian youth protests, deaths and unrest. Visit #EndSARSProtest.
The twin-island nation of of ANTIGUA-BARBUDA, celebrates its Independence anniversary on November 1.
November 2 is BLACK SOLIDARITY DAY, founded in 1969 by Panama-born by historian, professor author, Panama-born Dr. Carlos E. Russell and inspired by the play DAY OF ABSENCE, about what happens in a southern town when all of its Blacks willingly leave. The purpose of Black Solidarity Day, observed on the first Monday in November, is to get African Diasporic people to exercise a 24-hour moratorium on shopping, work and school. Visit Blacksolidarity.org or #Blacksolidarity2020 for NY celebrations in Brooklyn at BedStuy Restoration and Medgar Evers College.
A Harlem-based brand consultant and media adviser, Victoria can be reached at email@example.com