The last two weeks of HARLEM WEEK 2015 were amazing and historic.
On Tuesday, August 11th at Columbia University, the 2nd Annual Basil Paterson Business Awards Luncheon was held. The luncheon was emceed by NY1 senior Anchor Cheryl Wills to a full house of four hundred attendees. Michele Roberts, Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association; Wendy Lewis, Senior Vice President, Major League Baseball; and Paula Madison, Chairman & CEO, Madison Media Management LLC received the Chamber’s 2015 Outstanding Achievement Awards. A special International award was presented to Hon. Serge Letchimy, President, Regional Council of Martinique by Hon. H. Carl McCall, Chairman, SUNY on behalf of the Chamber. Hon. David Paterson, former New York State governor, gave remarks on behalf of his late father, Basil Paterson. NY CARIB News Front Page Award was presented by publisher, Karl Rodney.
The luncheon was preceded by two conferences, one on health, focused on Obamacare and a Healthier Harlem; the second on business focused on MWBE and energy efficiency. Following the luncheon there was a packed house for a Harlem technology conference co-sponsored by Silicon Harlem and The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and chaired by Clayton Banks, Co-Founder, Silicon Harlem.
Saturday, August 15th paid tribute to “Our Lives Matter” taking into account that the lives of everyone, no matter race, color, creed or gender, should matter to all. It was important to recognize the multiple contributions of National Action Network because whether it’s in Ferguson, Staten Island, Charleston, Bed-Stuy, Cleveland, etc., whenever there is an incident that’s deemed to be blatantly racist and/or without reason, the voice of National Action Network, led by its president, Rev. Al Sharpton, saying “no justice, no peace” is heard. This tribute drew performances from Nona Hendryx, the Last Poets, Impact Repertory Theatre and Alvin Ailey Dancers.
There was great symbolism in the closing prayers of prominent clergy members – Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddist – all saying “Our Lives Matter” and giving recognition to Rev. Sharpton. Some of those who came out to join Rev. Dennis Dillon, Publisher, NY Christian Times in paying tribute to National Action Network included Rev. Michael Walrond, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, Hazel Dukes, NAACP, Arva Rice, New York Urban League, NYC Comptroller, Scott Stringer, District Attorney, Cy Vance, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., Councilmember Inez Dickens, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons, author, Herb Boyd, union presidents and senior representatives.
The afternoon program, organized by Assemblyman Keith Wright, was emceed by distinguished radio personality Imhotep Gary Byrd. Later in the afternoon there was a surprise presentation given by the internationally renowned artist, Alicia Keys, who came out to let the audience know that our lives matter and that she would lead an effort to support music education for the children of Harlem. Ms. Keys’ remarks were particularly well received by the audience.
Sunday, August 16th, HARLEM DAY, we paid tribute to the 90th Anniversary of the birth of Malcolm X. This tribute brought together Malcolm’s daughters in unity for the first time in years. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold. The thousands assembled sang Happy Birthday to Malcolm led by Ray Chew and the HMF All Star Band. It was truly a moving tribute to brother Malcolm.
HARLEM WEEK 2015 was, without question, the best ever.