It’s no secret that we’re living through a storm. The progress we’ve made toward correcting injustices in our society is looking more fragile than we hoped, and we are being challenged as racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia once again rear their ugly heads. But a new wave of activists is rising to meet those challenges and fight injustice on a variety of fronts, and they are lighting a path forward for all of us.
For our Black History Month celebration this year, my office honored five inspiring young black leaders who, each in their own way, are on the vanguard of this new wave of activism, and invited them to share their stories at a reception on the soundstage at Harlem’s world famous Apollo Theater.
The honorees included:
- Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York and a leader in the new civil rights movement, organizing to end police violence and mass incarceration.
- Kemah George, Community Engagement Manager with the New York Immigration Coalition, who is on the forefront of work to educate immigrants on their rights and advocate for immigrants in our city and state.
- Nkechi Ogbodo, founder of Kechie’s Project and a leader of the “Bring Our Daughters Back” campaign, who advocates and organizes for women’s education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship both in the United States and in Africa, and serves on my office’s African Immigrant Task Force.
- Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of Campaign Zero and a planning team member with OurStates, who uses data science and cutting-edge digital tools to help communities end police violence and other forms of systemic racism.
- Leslie LaRue, TransJustice Fellow at the Audre Lorde Project, who helps organize and advocate for Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people of color in New York City.
The event also opened with performances by the Addicts Rehabilitation Center Gospel Choir, a storied and inspirational group integral to one of New York’s largest drug rehabilitation and recovery programs. Photo album .