Newark Celebrates 4th African Diaspora Festival

By Kwabena Opong


The fourth African Diaspora Festival was held on Sunday, September 9 at Lincoln Park in Newark, NJ. with African cultural and dances from the African and African American communities in the city.

The event which was held in honor of Mr. Balozi Harvey, former Executive Director, Essex County Economic Development Corporation, was addressed by Hon. Donald Payne, Jr., President of the Newark Municipal Council. He spoke about his decision to run for Congress to succeed his father as a hard one he had to take. He promised to continue with his father’s legacy of unity of Africans and Africans in the Diaspora, repeating his father’s usual quote, “The blood that binds us is thicker than the water that divides us.” He added that Diasporians need to come together.

Mr. Payne, Jr. recounted his father’s career alongside his own. Among several observations he said his father was sworn in at the Congress at age 54 and he would also be sworn in at the Congress at the same age. He said his grandfather died on March 6 at age 77. Donald Payne, Sr. died on March 6, 2012.

The Council President was presented with a prize by the Newark African Commission for his contribution to the Diaspora. He remarked that after four years, the festival should attract more people than before and hoped further events would be better patronized by the community.

Introducing Balozi Harvey, Dosso Kassimou, Chairman of Newark African Commission said he was amazed when he traveled to the Ivory Coast with the former Executive Director who was a chief at a village in the country. Mr. Harvey is well-traveled on the continent and had picked up an honorary chieftaincy title along the way. Newark’s Fire Chief Fateen Ziyad presented a proclamation to Balozi Harvey on behalf of Mayor Cory Booker.

Dr. Zachary Yamba, President Emeritus of Essex County College in his presentation advised the youth to emulate the good examples of the leaders who sacrificed for them. He described Balozi Harvey as someone he had known for a long time. He has been a trail blazer and an inspiration to many people in Newark and deserves to be honored. Balozi is one such leader who has been in the forefront of the struggle for equality. He is also an Africanist who has toured widely in Africa.

Attendance this year was probably affected by the postponement from the previous Saturday, September 8 because of a storm.


Posted by on Sep 14 2012. Filed under top stories. 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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