September 9, 2021 – Members of New York City’s African community, along with elected leaders from across the five boroughs gathered at The Africa Center on September 9, 2021 to celebrate NYC African Heritage Month. The day was also proclaimed ‘The Africa Center Day” during the first celebration held at the institution.
African leaders and organizations who tirelessly contribute to the rich cultural, social and economic vibrancy that NYC is known and loved for were also honored during the ceremony. The event provided public resources such as a mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic, social and legal services referrals as well as musical performances by the Jaliya Kafo Musical Ensemble and Jomion and the Uklos Band. The NYC Commission of Human Rights (CCHR) & the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) partnered with The African Heritage Celebration Committee, NYC Health and Hospitals, NYC Dept. Of Cultural Affairs, Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, DSI International, African Communities Together, & The Africa Center worked together to help make this program possible.
During the ceremony Dr. Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center, said, “We’re excited to be the place where New Yorkers and visitors to the city can come to learn more about African history, engage with African culture, and connect with each other.” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Chair and Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis also offered remarks. Famod Konneh, Director of Community Partnerships, NYC Health + Hospital/Test and Trace Corps, and Fatoumata Waggeh J.D., a self-proclaimed Gambian-American black Muslim Feminist served as emcees for the afternoon program.
The following leaders from across NYC’s African community were honored during the ceremony:
Bronx Director of the Test and Trace Corps
David Coulibaly currently serves as the Bronx Director of the Test and Trace Corps, a public health initiative through NYC Health + Hospitals, the Bronx Borough Outreach Director, and as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Womens’ and Gender Studies at Pace University, Manhattan Campus. Through his work, David empowers the local community with effective tools to combat the threat of COVID-19 and ensure healthcare equity for African communities in NYC and beyond.
Gambian Youth Organization (GYO)
Gambian Youth Organization (GYO) is a NYC-based nonprofit organization that empowers local NYC first-generation African immigrants and youth through cultural and community-based programs. Founded in 2002 by members of the NYC Gambian community, the Gambian Youth Organization aims to inspire young people to build positive change within their own communities.
Dr. Hadiza Osuji, PhD
Executive Director of the African International Collaborative Center (AICC)
Dr. Hadiza Osuji, PhD is the Executive Director of the African International Collaborative Center (AICC), a non-profit organization that provides a range of healthcare services that are culturally relevant for the often-underserved African communities in NYC.
Immigration Reform Activist
Adama Bah is an immigration reform activist, and community leader who hails from Guinea. Adama works to uplift African immigrant communities citywide. She has tirelessly raised awareness and shared her personal life story to shed light on the special challenges that Black Muslims face in the United States post 9/11.
Founder, African Life Center
Ramatu Ahmed is a leader in the Ghanaian community in NYC, and the founder of African Life Center. The African Life Center is a non-profit organization that provides direct health, legal and social services for the African community in the Bronx.
African Communities Together
African Communities Together is an organization made up of African Immigrants that fight for civil rights, a higher quality of life, and more opportunities for African families in NYC. ACT connects those in need to critical services to ensure language access for those who need it, expanded economic opportunity and an equal chance for a better tomorrow.
Founder of Kechie’s Project Inc.
Kechie’s Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to empowering girls to become future leaders. Educating women is key to achieving prosperity in any society. To promote a better community here in United States and a better Africa, Kechie’s Project is dedicated to providing educational opportunities to girls. Empower a girl with knowledge, she will help her family and community.
DSI International Inc.
An NYC organization that educates, equips and empowers people in the community to become financially independent. The Organization was formed to educate, equip and empower individuals with necessary tools to establish reasonable and achievable goals which result in economic self-reliance and financial independence.
Umu Igbo Unite Tri-State
Umu Igbo promotes cultural preservation, appreciation, professional development, among Igbos in the diaspora.
African Servies Committee
Founded in 1981 by Ethiopian refugees to give a helping hand to other newcomers, today African Services is a multiservice human rights agency based in Harlem and dedicated to assisting immigrants, refugees and asylees from across the African Diaspora.
Dr. Oluwatoyosi Dairo
Founder of Amazing Medical Services
Amazing Medical Services was founded in 2009 by Doctor Oluwatoyosi Dairo with the vision of creating a medical practice that provides everyone with affordable quality care with a personalized touch.
New York Math Academy and Coaching
New York Math Academy and Coaching fosters a love of learning and growth in our students and families. NYMACS is a community of learners involving students, instructors, and parents in the educational journey.
Khady Jone Diaby
CEO and founder of MAKO (Mother Aissatou Keita Organization)
Photo Credit: Isseu Diouf Campbell/Africa in Harlem