BRONX BOROUGH PRESIDENT EXTOLS AFRICAN ADVISORY COUNCIL.

by Kofi Ayim

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has praised the African Advisory Council he set up about eight years ago. The affable politician, who has been the Borough President for nine years, said he conceived the idea of giving Africans a mouthpiece after the killing of Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, by four New York City police officers on February 5, 1999.

In an interview with Amandla October 12, 2018, Mr. Diaz pointed out that he was in his second term as an Assembly member of the Bronx when the 22-year-old African entrepreneur was gunned down by the police some few blocks from his Soundview section office in the Bronx.

“That was the beginning of my official relationship with the
African community in the Bronx,” he said. He emphasized that it was imperative to harness the multi-ethnicity of Africans under one umbrella for the mutual and lateral benefit of the larger Bronx community. “There was a growing trend of violence against Africans and therefore there was the need to establish a dialogue with them through a common front,” he propounded. He opined that the
supportive role of the African Advisory Council to the borough’s political establishment has helped to thaw tensions and reduced attacks (on Africans). “Violence against Africans has diminished and there has been increased enrollment of Africans at the Bronx Community College, whose current president is an African,” he added with a tinge of smile.

Ruben Diaz believes the African Advisory Council has
indubitably helped the entrepreneurship acumen of Africans and is gradually helping to facilitate assimilation of their community into the larger community.

Through the works of the African Advisory Council – the only such entity in the entire City of New York – local and city elected officials have better knowledge and understanding of Africans. “There is better
coordination and collaboration between elected officials and the AAC.” He said hitherto, privately owned and operated vehicle services of Africans were discriminated against. “They were victims of
biases, harassments, and were helpless because they had no representation.” But all that is changed because for-hire vehicles are being protected against unfair business practices by a Committee of the NYC Council headed by his father, the Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. (District 18).

Mr. Ruben Diaz Jr. pointed out that Africans are making inroads on the Borough Community Boards. Currently, out of the twelve
Community Boards in the Bronx, eleven Africans sit on eight different boards. “More and more West Africans are running for public offices.” He said it is of paramount importance that no AAC member use or abuse his/her position for personal agenda or influence.

According to the last census, Bronx has about 61,000 sub-Saharan Africans, but critics of the census believe the number is over 100,000. The African population in the Bronx accounts for about 4.4% of the
almost 1.4 million people in the Bronx. About 40% of Bronx residents were born outside the U.S. There are at least 16 different African languages spoken in the Bronx. Ruben Diaz called on Africans in the
Bronx to be involved in the meetings, programs, and events of the African Advisory Council.

You may contact the AAC by e mail at bronxaac@gmail.com or Tracy McDermott, at TMCDERMOTT@bronxbp.nyc.govgh

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Posted by on Nov 13 2018. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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