Event Highlight: The Miss Côte d’Ivoire USA leadership pageant will take place after the Go Africa Harlem 2016 street Festival on 7/16/2016

Notice of special event: The Miss Côte d’Ivoire USA leadership pageant will take place on 7/16/2016 Location: 212 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027 Time: 7PM – 12PM

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register athttp://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001.

About Miss Côte D’Ivoire Amérique Organization, Inc. 21bbf3f67fc3717921ffc1802152fecf
Presents: 3rd Edition of Côte D’Ivoire Amérique Leadership Pageant 2016

Date: Saturday, July 16th 2016
Location: 212 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027
Time: 7PM – 12PM

TICKETS:
Advance: $25 @door: $35
Performance from Surprise Artist from Cote D’Ivoire

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-edition-of-miss-cote-divoire-amerique-leadership-pageant-tickets-25461474957

Our history bd8cbdc149582b8d4cf0fdc35e5905b8

We are the official Miss Cote D’Ivoire USA & Canada Leadership Pageant since 2009, we strive to educate young Ivorian women through Entertainment.

Our community has inspired others and hope to continue for the next generation.

http://www.misscotedivoireamerique.com/

Be Featured in this event. Mark your presence and get
recognition and visibility!
misscotedivoireamerica@gmail.com
www.misscotedivoireamerique.com
Tel: 917.420.2316 || 646.247.3518 c5ce91f168a6fd8d6e7f678ebc64b494

The Vision 

The Miss Côte d’Ivoire USA leadership pageant is a cultural showcase of the Ivorian heritage in the United States and Canada. The Pageant provides a platform for young Ivorian women in the diaspora to pursue their educational dreams, showcase their talent & culture, while rediscovering and taking pride in their Ivorian heritage. More importantly, participants are offered leadership opportunities to speak up for Côte d’Ivoire, by raising awareness on pertinent issues concerning the country and how Americans and friends of Côte d’Ivoire can help make a difference in Côte d’Ivoire. We encourage you to take advantage of this thrilling opportunity and become a great example of what it means to be an Ivorian woman in the diaspora. Good Luck! ad9fa0e3e739b6351dce926df9bce5c5

The Goal

The goal of the event is to showcase the Ivorian heritage in the United States and Canada. In addition, the event seeks to provide a platform for young Ivorian women in the diaspora to pursue their educational dreams, showcase their talent & culture, while rediscovering and taking pride in their Ivorian heritage. Likewise, this would be a great opportunity for Africans and friends of Africa, to network together and exchange cultures and ideas. These young girls will tackle and raise awareness on pertinent issues concerning the country and how Americans and friends of Cote D’Ivoire can help challenge these issues abroad and in Cote D’Ivoire. With that in mind we believe, M.C.I.A.L.P is more than just a beauty pageant, because not only will it challenge the intellectual beauty of these young girls, but also tackles their comportments.37e7428269b527bdded1cb9c170f36fb

Merci beaucoup!

Artist Profile: Eburnee Entertainment & DJ Birane Thiam will be mixing sounds on the artists stage during the Go Africa Harlem 2016 street Festival on 7/16/2016

Eburnee Entertainment & DJ Birane Thiam will be on the Artist Stage with Sekouba Diakite on 7/16/2016.

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register athttp://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001.

About: Eburnee Entertainment: 3dfcc0_596c137aadf9f2af272adae730cc90c0

What is Eburnee Entertainment? We are a group of promoters.

With over 10 years of experience working in the entertainment industry, we are experts when it comes to music and the fashion industry worldwide. Our clients’ entertainment needs are our top priority.

Established in 2000, the company is owned by Africans and run by Africans.

We specialize in public relations, promotion, advertising and video production.

Our main headquarters are located in New York City.

We also have members of our team working in both Paris and Abidjan.3dfcc0_98a0d2537d7c45b142f821d2964df0c6

Our mission is to promote African culture in the United States and abroad.

We target diverse group of people with different backgrounds which helps us bring awareness about African culture.

We cater to African communities around the world that have an interest in today’s music and fashion trends.

Our clients include international artists, groups and individuals requesting our services in: video shoots, promotion and event management.

We hope that you will keep visiting our website for event updates. 3dfcc0_5b3cf9f175bb3e63713f363940cab866

Join us and experience firsthand what Eburnee Entertainment is all about!

http://www.eburnee.com/

https://www.facebook.com/birane.thiam.526?fref=nf

https://twitter.com/@biranethiam

Instagram: @bblamour

Artist Profile: Chigbo will be performing live on the Artist Stage at the Go Africa Harlem 2016 Street Festival on 7/16/2016

We welcome Chigbo who will be performing live on the artist stage on 7/16/2016.

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register athttp://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001.

About Chigbo: 10708683_806939072660654_3040238351983849307_o

Chigbo is a Nigerian born singer/songwriter based in New York. chigbo (silent “g”) is a word from the Igbo language meaning “God resolves” or “God brings peace”. She has performed in the US, Nigeria, Ireland and the UK.

On ACRTV, she is the host of chigbo Sound an African music video countdown and Lovely Traditions, a talk show which explores the meaning and practice of love in different cultures.

on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/chigbo-342393829115183/

chigbo.com 11779938_965029996851560_1953782302825280000_o

Artist Profile: Sekouba Bolomba Senior Artistic Director (Africa) will be leading the artist Stage at the Go Africa Harlem 2016 Street Festival on 7/16/2016

We again welcome Mr.  Sekouba Bolomba, Senior Artistic Director (Africa), Go Africa Network Inc, as the lead performer and artist for the upcoming street festival on 7/16/2016.

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register athttp://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001.

10363509_10205555890319895_2508053101949427469_n

Mr. Sekouba Bolomba is an Ivorian reggae musician. In the tradition of jamaican roots reggae from the 70s, Sekouba combines an eclectic mix of traditional West African rhythms known as Bolomba, using djembe drums and balafons. His potent lyrics, heavy ideas, and delicate voice are laced in his music in four different languages: English, French, Malinke and Bambara. He humbly has graced stages around the globe with generous performances, including Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, the United States of America and Canada.

After being enriched into the roots of the Bolomba style, the young Sekouba came alive with the West African sounds of the Mandinka. Sekouba’s desire to sing came naturally but it was never a reality without the musical influence of his brother, Ismael Isaac. Sekouba’s other musical influences include, Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, and Bob Marley. 243695_4250615666917_1978768217_o

Sekouba’s uplifting and heartening lyrics enliven audiences with spiritual liberation and African consciousness. His debut album “I’m So Glad” was self-produced in New York City and arranged by Oscar Ankou. Sekouba’s sophomore album in 2010 “Sejo” was co-produced by Sidney Mills, Grammy award-winning reggae artist and keyboard player for the legendary reggae band Steel Pulse. The album includes outstanding liberal tracks like “Mandela” featuring Bob Marley’s guitarist Junior Marvin from The Wailers. “Mandela” is a sharp and arousing tribute to former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, and has been well-received by international fans.

Sekouba and his band Bolumba Stylee have decorated the nation with groovy, soulful performances at venues and festivals such as Festival Nuits d’Afrique in Montreal, Canada; Abi Festival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Fête de la Musique in Mali; SummerStage in New York City, alongside Israeli artist Idan Raichel; NJPAC SummerStage; New Haven Music Festival; Brooklyn’s International African Arts Festival; S.O.B.’s; Shrine World Music Venue; and many more. Sekouba’s music is inspired by a conglomerate of modern day music, and the ancestral dialogue passed down to him as a descendant of a long line of griots. In one show, Sekouba’s listeners share in a universal experience. 12227056_10208321335974308_8777459754701423514_n

Sekouba is the youngest brother of Isaac Ismael, the lead singer in Ivory Coast’s best known musical group. He currently lives in New York City and is the Senior Artistic Director for the Go Africa Network 2016 (NYC).

 

Sekouba’s bio is in the May 2016 edition of L3 Magazine, North America.s #1 Urban-Caribbean online publication.

Sekouba’s next album ”Imagine” will be released in early 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/sekouba.bolomba/about 12246862_10208383185520508_6613457889384664177_n

We would like to welcome the Organization for the Advancement of Nigeria to the Go Africa Harlem 2016 Street Festival on 7/16/2016

We are pleased to welcome the Organization for the Advancement of Nigeria to the street festival. OAN would be in attendance to drive awareness of Nigeria and their  upcoming 56th Nigerian Independence Day Parade on 10/1/2016.  visit www.Oanweb.org for more information.

Visit www.GoAfricaHarlem.org for more information.  the Go Africa Harlem Street Festival will take place on 7/16/2016 from 10am – 7pm on 116th Street btw. 7th & 8th Aves. please register at http://goafricaharlem.org/events/general-attendee-sign-up-for-go-africa-harlem-2016-street-festival-on-july-16th-2016/  or email Info@GoAfricaHarlem.org or phone 646-502-9778 Ext. 8001

2016 Parade

OAN’s goals are:

  • To promote, and advance the Cultural, Civic, Social, and Economic Welfare of Nigerians in United States of America.
  • Enhance the image of Nigerians in the U.S.A. Inculcate in our youth knowledge of Nigerian history, culture, customs, traditions, values and religion.
  • Encourage the economic growth, human rights and political empowerment of Nigerians in the United States of American and Nigeria.
 Our Accomplishments pic-2-about
 By highlighting the positive contributions of the vast majority of Nigerians to the American society, OAN successfully convinced the American government and media, to be balanced in their approach of dealing with the Nigerian community. OAN’s first major accomplishment occurred in 1990, when it successfully stopped major banks from denying Nigerians, banking services because of their blanket stereotyping of Nigerian customers as potential fraudsters. Since its formation, OAN has consistently engaged in a vast array of work that impacts every aspect of our community, both in the United States and in Nigeria.
 The O.A.N is the most accomplished non-ethnic based Nigerian organization in the US, and in existence for over 20 years
 The Organization successfully lobbied the New York City Council to recognize Nigeria Independence Day at the City Council Chamber. It has also been chosen by Nigerians in Europe and Canada, as the most trusted conduit through which Nigerians in the Diaspora can channel donations to International relief efforts when needed.pic-1about

The O.A.N. formed the first Nigerian Council of Religious Leaders to foster unity and cooperation among religious organizations and initiated the formation of the Nigerian Lawyers Association in New York. And has sponsored free immigration and tax seminars and workshops for Nigerians and non Nigerians.

1991

Started the annual Nigerian Independence Day Parade in the United States of America, which has grown to be the biggest and largest celebration of Nigeria Independence Day, outside our homeland.

1992

Received its first PROCLAMATION from New York city Council.

1993

Successfully organized the largest Nigerian Demonstration and Rally in New York and Washington D.C. to protest the annulment of June 12, 1993 election results, the Niger Delta oil related — crisis and the unjust execution of Ken Saro Wiwa.

1996

Created the adult and youth sports program, including Soccer League, in which Nigerian clubs and organizations compete for the Nigerian unity Cup. This was designed to foster unity and interaction among Nigerian youth, through sports

pic-4about
pic-5about
pic-6about
2003

Introduced the popular annual “Naija Youth Summer party” for Nigerian youth to network and foster unity.

2006

Established the Education and Career day for Nigerian Youth to obtain information from experts and professionals in various fields and to encourage exchange of academic information and networking.

2010

Formed the Nigerian Independence Day Committee, Inc. (NIDC), to foster collaboration with other Nigerian organizations for the planning of the annual Nigerian day celebration

2012

The only Nigerian organization that was a member of New York City 2012 Olympic Bid.

(Ghana Web) Future Ghanaian Scientist Invited to White House

Simon Peter Frimpong Photo from Ghana Web

Meet Simon-Peter Frimpong, a 13-year old Ghanaian American from Aurora, Colorado. The 8th-grader is one of about 100 top science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students from across the USA who have been invited to the 2016 White House Science Fair, scheduled for this Wednesday, April 13th.

The fair, which is President Obama’s sixth and last, is a hands-on showcase of student innovation – robots, prototypes, tools to help us fight cancer and climate change – all researched, designed and built by the next generation of America’s scientists.

Simon-Peter and two of his schoolmates from Horizon Middle School, Maya Max-Villard, 13, and Grayson Fast, 14, were inspired by a veteran at nearby Buckley Air Force Base who needed a more comfortable and functional prosthetic limb. The three young scientists designed and built a new artificial leg using computer design, and 3-D printing of prototypes, as well as interviews with the veteran and others for feedback. The team built a prosthetic leg that will allow the amputee to hike, manage uneven terrain, and even skateboard!

The part designed by Simon-Peter is what makes the prosthesis unique. As their STEM teacher, Ms. Mel Possehl put it, “…with the design [Simon Frimpong] made, the bottom comes off. So you have a walking part, then you have a part that hooks onto a longboard or a snowboard, then you have a part that hooks onto skis, and then a part that can do multiple things. It’s a multiple-use prototype.” The project was so innovative that it was selected as a finalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national competition, and then to participate in the 2016 White House Science Fair.

Simon-Peter is the son of Mr. Tony Frimpong, and Mrs. Yaa Frimpong (popularly known as Obaa Yaa), who is the secretary of NPP Colorado Chapter, and 2nd Vice Chairperson of NPP-USA Branch.
[Partly culled from the White House blog https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/04/08/science-fair-2016-meet-next-generation-americas-innovators]

The article was published on Ghana Web.

(The Root) NY Valedictorian Is Celebrating Her Acceptance to All 8 Ivy League Schools

Posted: April 5 2016 9:26 AM

screen_shot_20160405_at_9.22.16_am

Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna

VIDEO SCREENSHOT

Augusta Uwamanzu-Nna, a high school student from Long Island, N.Y., has a big decision to make soon. The Elmont High School valedictorian has been accepted at all eight Ivy League schools!

Schools in the Ivy League are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

She also gained admission to Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Augusta is the daughter of Nigerian immigrants, and she said her parents instilled in her the value of education.

“Though I was born here in America, I visited Nigeria many times,” she told WABC. “And I’ve seen that my cousins don’t have the same opportunities that I have. So definitely, whatever I do, I want to make sure that it has an impact on Nigeria.”

She also says that her own tenacity and persistence helped shape her into becoming a great student. But as with a lot of students, she did face hardships with some classes.

“I’ve struggled with numerous classes in the past,” Augusta told the station. “But I guess what allowed me to be successful, ultimately, in those classes, at the end, is my persistence and my tenacity.”

Augusta hasn’t decided which college to attend, but with a GPA of 101.6 and a recent invitation to the White House Science Fair, there’s no doubt that she’ll continue her academic excellence.

Read more at WRIC.

(National Interest) Senegal: The Linchpin of Security in West Africa

Seth J. Frantzman

Image: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Marine Corps.

Senegalese military personnel are voting in a national referendum on March 13. The rest of Senegal votes in the same referendum on March 20. The military is voting early so that it can be alert during what is hoped will be a peaceful vote. Dakar, the capital of this country of fourteen million, is decked out in posters shouting “Oui”: vote “yes” for strengthening democracy and the rule of law. The referendum concerns reducing the term limit of the presidency and other initiatives. It is a reminder that this is a sub-Saharan African country that is a historically stable democracy, in a region that has seen coups, dictatorship and most recently, Islamist extremism.

A week in this West African state gives an idea of the security challenges it is facing. Dakar port, which is the second largest after Ivory Coast’s Abidjan, is an entree to West Africa and a gateway to Mali, where France intervened to prevent a takeover of the country by Islamist rebels and their allies in 2013. The security here is noticeable, with private security running checks on passengers, and a local police and gendarme detachment. The Senegalese navy is based here and the coast guard does regular patrols from the harbor.

Soldiers have been deployed in districts where there is nightlife in Dakar. Hotels in the capital have also upped security after the attacks on November 20 in Bamako which killed twenty, on Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso on January 15 which killed 30, and in Ivory Coast on March 13. Much of this security seems symbolic rather than necessarily reflecting deep experience or expertise. But there is no doubt that Senegal is taking it seriously and most of those we spoke with felt there was a terror threat and that leaders were cognizant of it.

Senegal’s capital may be 1,200 miles from Ouagadougou, but it feels much closer. If terrorists could slip into that country and attack a hotel, couldn’t they do it here, which is equidistant from Mali or Mauritania where the extremists operate. The U.S. Army’s Flintlock exercise which began on February 8 in the village of Theis an hour east of Dakar, is symbolic of the faith Western powers and regional powers put in Senegal’s influence and its desire to be vigilant against extremism. U.S. Army Brigadier General Donald C. Bolduc said of the thirty-nation exercise that “it is more than a military exercise, we are training together to increase our interoperability and collaboration to counter today’s threats.” Senegal led this year’s exercise.

Aminata Touré, a former prime minister and currently adviser to the president says that one of the great long term threats to security can be youth unemployment. “There is a relationship between instability and youth unemployment. That is the first threat to security and social stability. Of course, we are concerned by security issues, we are surrounded by countries with troubles.” Many Senegalese emphasize that the country was able to prevent Ebola from crossing the border after the outbreak in West Africa in 2014, which points to an ability to close a porous border if necessary.

According to local security analysts the Senegalese army is of a high quality compared to its neighbors. It does not play a role in politics, an issue that has harmed armies in other countries in this region because of suspicion between the presidential guard units and other units. Senegal’s army also has experience fighting in Mali and most recently in Yemen, where it sent 2,100 troops to join the Saudi-led coalition in May of 2015. SO far, more than a dozen Senegalese have joined ISIS and related groups. In December, for example, one medical student at Senegal’s largest university posted on Facebook that he had gone to join ISIS. Four local imams were arrested in November for supporting extremism. A Pew Research Center poll released the same month showed that while 60 percent found ISIS unfavorable there were 10 percent who found it more palatable.

Many local experts say that the tradition of large Sufi brotherhoods in Senegal means extremists have difficulty taking root. Professor Ibrahim Thioub, the rector of the University Cheikh Anta Diop, says that on the fringes of these brotherhoods are figures who are marginalized and punished if they promote extremism. “The brotherhood knows how to discipline these urban youth leaders. But the problem is the Salafists who exist in Senegal since the 1950s. The radicalization in the last years, it is slightly more, but not like in Mali, or Mauritania, because there is something else. The brotherhoods are able to organize and have a strong network.” He argues that even abroad, where Senegalese might be exposed to extremism—in France, for example—these brotherhoods have local chapters and encourage moderation and a very Senegalese version of Islam. Amsatou Sow Sidibé, a former presidential candidate, agrees that the people of Senegal are the strongest asset the country has against the regional developments:

“[Terrorism] is terrible. We must have solidarity both of the people here and of the countries. It’s not good. We haven’t had any acts of terror but we don’t know. It is a possibility. We don’t have eyes to see the future. We must be vigilante, and the public must be educated to be vigilante.”

Part of that vigilance is relying on these local brotherhoods and citizens to inform on any extremists who may be operating. The concept is to rely on human intelligence and the strong social solidarity in Senegal which is different than some of the region’s states whose instability led to the rise of groups like Boko Haram, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and ISIS. In some cases these extremists preyed on tribal, ethnic or religious differences, or perceptions that the government was suppressing local people. Senegal, whose population is 95 percent Muslim, appears to have very strong feelings of social solidarity.

Nevertheless the fact is that Senegal has become a base for many regional embassies, due to the Ebola outbreak in neighboring states and to the country’s relative stability. That means Senegal has a strong foundation of international support but also is a target. Those foreign embassies, foreign nationals, hotels and NGOs can all present a target—like in Bamako and Ouagadougou—where Islamists seek to carry out spectacular attacks to harm the image of a country through mass murder.

So far, Senegal’s decision to send troops abroad has given its army experience, and its hosting of regional security exercises such as Flintlock are a welcome development. The key would be if the country could project its stability to neighboring states, and anchor the West African security system against the threats of extremists.

Seth J. Frantzman is a Jerusalem-based journalist who holds a PhD from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The article was published in the National Interest Online.

(Vox) 3 young Muslim Americans killed in mysterious ‘execution-style’ murders

A broadcast from the local Fort Wayne ABC affiliate, ABC21, announcing the murders ABC21

Early on Wednesday evening, as the sun began to set and the air cooled to just below freezing, police arrived at a unremarkable white home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, a few blocks from the campus of Indiana Tech. We do not yet know who called them or what they expected. Inside, they found the bodies of three young men, shot multiple times in what police, on Friday, called “execution style” murders.

The young men were members of a predominantly Muslim diaspora community whose roots are in Africa’s eastern Sahel region. They were Muhannad Tairab, age 17, Adam Mekki, age 20, and Mohamedtaha Omar, age 23. Police have identified no motive in the killing, which appears to be something of a mystery.

The modest white building had apparently become something of a “party house” used by local youths, but police said there was no known connection to gangs or any other violent organization.

Were they killed for their religion? A police spokesperson cautioned against jumping to conclusions, stating that, as of yet, they had “no reason to believe this was any type of hate crime, or focused because of their religion or their nationality whatsoever.”

Indeed it may turn out that there was some unseen force at play here: gang violence, a robbery gone awry, some personal dispute. Nonetheless, it seems impossible, at this point, to completely rule out the possibility that this could be exactly what Muslim American rights group already fear it may be: an expression of America’s increasingly violent Islamophobia problem.

In recent months, there has been an alarming trend of violence and violent threats against America’s community of roughly two to three million Muslim citizens.

There were the murders, almost exactly one year ago, of three Chapel Hill students, by a local man who’d expressed a paranoid hatred of religion. Later that spring, the FBI arrested the leader of a far-right militia that was planning to massacre a predominantly Muslim neighborhood in upstate New York. Another militia, in Texas, has sent its assault rifle-wielding members to stalk a local mosque and its adherents, later publishing the home addresses of “Muslims and Muslim sympathizers.”

More isolated acts of violence — what we might call “lone wolf” attacks had the religions of the shooter and victim been reversed — have been so frequent they are difficult to track.

On Thanksgiving, a Pittsburgh man accosted his Moroccan cab driver with questions about ISIS, then shot him. Two weeks later, a Michigan man called an Indian store clerk a “terrorist” before shooting him in the face. On Christmas eve in Texas, a local man charged into a Muslim-owned tire shop and shouted “Muslim!” as he opened fire, killing one and critically wounding another.

Less than a week ago, a Missouri man charged at a Muslim American family with a handgun, telling them, “This state allows you to carry a gun and shoot you. … You, your wife, and your kids have to die.” The family was able to flee.

This has not come out of nowhere. Islamophobia has entered mainstream American discourse in the past year, receiving substantial airtime on cable news networks. CNN anchors have called Muslims “unusually violent” and “unusually barbaric”; Fox News has called Islam a “destructive force” and suggested that Muslim American communities are running secret terrorist “training camps.” Presidential candidates from Donald Trump to Marco Rubio continue to dabble in overt Islamophobia.

It is important to caution against assuming that whatever happened this week in Fort Wayne, whatever chain of events led to the mysterious “execution-style” murders of three young men, must necessarily be part of the rising wave of Islamophobic violence in America. Police are presumably cautioning against that conclusion for a reason, and it may well turn out that their deaths are entirely unrelated.

Still, it is difficult to ignore that three apparently Muslim young men have been murdered, for no immediately obvious reason, just as indiscriminate violence against Muslim Americans is growing out of control.

It is thus concerning that these murders have received so little attention, if only for the possibility, however remote, that they could be part of this trend of religious violence against American citizens.

As a thought experiment, scroll back up to the top of this page and read back through, but this time imagine that the Muslim victims of violence, in every instance, were instead Christian. Imagine that the perpetrators had all been Muslim, and had targeted their victims explicitly because of their Christian faith.

Imagine that, rather than Donald Trump calling for banning Muslims from entering the US, it was Rep. Keith Ellison, who is Muslim, calling for banning Christians. Imagine that Rep. André Carson, who is also Muslim, complained bitterly when President Obama responded to anti-Christian violence by visiting a church, and that Carson further argued America should be willing toclose down churches and anywhere else dangerous Christians might congregate.

Now imagine, amid all this anti-Christian violence and anti-Christian hatred, as Christians were gunned down in the street for their religion and crowds of thousands gathered to cheer anti-Christian rhetoric, that three Christians youths turned up mysteriously executed a few blocks from Indiana Tech. Ask yourself whether it would be treated as major news, if only for the possibility of its connection to that wave of violence, or whether it would be largely ignored, as the murders of Tairab, Mekki, and Omar have been.

The article was published in Vox.

(Go Woman Africa) Sierra Leone: Women refused entry to government buildings for showing their bare arms

Leaving Sierra Leone with my son. Sitting next to me is former parliamentarian newly appointed Minister of State Isata Kabia. Ms. Kabia sponsored the right to abortion bill that was passed in parliament but that got sent back by the President after giving in to pressures from a male dominated assembly of religious leaders. Photo Credit: Go Woman Africa

Leaving Sierra Leone with my son. Sitting next to me is former parliamentarian newly appointed Minister of State Isata Kabia. Ms. Kabia sponsored the right to abortion bill that was passed in parliament but that got sent back by the President after giving in to pressures from a male dominated assembly of religious leaders.
Photo Credit: Go Woman Africa

I went to the Immigration Head Office in Freetown, Sierra Leone on a Monday to submit a passport application for my son. On this day I entered the building sans problem, I went passed the security, greeted them and asked for Mr. Kakay’s office. They directed me to a desk inside the building. I went there and they said he was on the third floor.

I spent something like 2 hours at the Immigration Office and was told to return two days later at about 10am to collect the passport. On Wednesday morning with my son in arms, I got out of the car and proceeded towards the entrance just as I had done two days before. I said Good Morning and was about to continue on when a police officer stopped me. This was the same officer who I had greeted two days earlier. I knew he recognized me because I recognized him.

“Excuse me?” I asked half confused.

“You can not enter you are wearing a singlet,” he said.

“A what?”

“Sleeveless. Read the sign. You can’t wear singlet in this office.”

He points to a sign that was behind him taped on the side of the entrance that I had not noticed when I came on Monday. From where I was standing I could not see the sign.

I took a breath. A very deep breath.

“OK. I understand but that sign is all the way over there and I didn’t know there was a dress code. I’m just here to pick up my son’s passport”.

“That is not my problem, go and come back,” he said.

Another Police Officer, he looked older standing on the top of the platform brought himself into the conversation.

“Where do you live?”

“In a hotel, but I can’t go and come back to change my top”.

“Ah well you cannot enter here like that, that is the rule”.

I take another deep breath. I am holding my baby so I don’t want to be upset. Since giving birth 5 months ago, I have taken to wearing tank tops to make it easier for me to breastfeed as and when he needs it. They can see that I am holding a baby. They can see that it is hot. They can also see that by the fact that I was there at the Immigration Office which serves that I am also Sierra Leonean, like them.

“I understand you are doing your job. I understand that this is your law. Can you please call someone from inside who can then assist me with collecting my son’s passport while we wait outside.”

“No I won’t be able to do that”, the younger of the two officers said.

At this point of the conversation I had been reduced to 60 percent of self because when you have to deal with micro aggressions whether they be race or gender based that is what happens. You are reduced to feeling less of a person. The rationale for these dress codes is that if you are a woman and you have on a sleeveless top or shirt or dress that you must be there to seduce one of the Immigration staff. That any woman who dresses like that must be there looking for a man. Because that is what we women do, we come with our breasts to shove in their faces.

“As a police officer you know your job is not to just enforce the law but to serve and assist citizens like me right?”

“Me noh know that”, he says.

“I don tell you say you noh dey go inside.”

At this point people start to gather and they start to ask what, and why. I am still holding my son. Still standing under the sun and now being reduced some more, as I am shamed for wearing a tank top by all the additional eyes there present. I am now 50 percent of self. I explain myself to three different people.

One man an older man comes out and says yes you must respect our country. You go back to where you came from and wear proper clothes. You can not come in here.

“Is this not my country too?”

“Me noh know if na you country.”

I am still holding my son. We are still under the sun being refused entry into a building where I spent many many years playing under the desks. Until I was age 10, when we left Sierra Leone, my mother’s office was on the third floor. This was once the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I had grown up, eating groundnut under the tables, with the children of other Ministry staff. After school we would all walk from our various schools, and collect each other and make it to our parents’ office. It was like a unique form of Daycare, that for the most part is probably being practiced in offices in Freetown. You go wait at your parent’s office and you go home together. In this office  I had been locked countless times in the elevator when there was light off. I had lost one shoes, socks, books, and toys countless times.  It was ironic that of all the buildings in all of Freetown that it would be this same one that my mother had served in for some 30 years that I was being refused entry.

I am asked to step to the side. That I should not block the entrance. People have to go in, I was not people, for this morning I was less than that because I had on a tank top that revealed my arms and chest.

“Go over there!’

They point to the side of the building, a little off to the right. I step away from the front. I stand to the side. It seems like it is going to drizzle. Oh no those aren’t rain drops, they are the tears that start to well up whenever I get reduced below 50 percent of self. It seems my tears never can hold below this point.

I will not cry. You must not cry I tell myself. This is what Sierra Leone does, it tries to make you powerless. It tries to reduce you. You must not be reduced. I must say something to fight back.

“You know this is what is wrong with this country?” I say it loud enough for them to hear me.

“We don’t have any compassion for one another. What if I was your sister, or your wife is this how you would want them to be treated?”

I’m not sure anyone even cares or hears me but I feel better saying that. I know that whatever indignity I am suffering here, I know for a fact that it compares not to the indignities women of lower socio economic status have to suffer in Sierra Leone. I reassure myself that I will get in. This is how they are. I don’t even know who “they” are but I know that this is them.

A man comes out and he says he wants to help me. I have caused enough of a fuss I guess, by refusing to walk away and be dismissed. He asks me what I want and I tell him. Then he goes inside and a woman comes out and hands me a very very sheer scarf. I don’t know how many others like myself, having been reduced have shared arm skin on this scarf. I take it reluctantly barely covering with it and walk passed the police officer. The woman I am going to meet is already coming down the steps, someone had told her I was there. She takes me to the passport section downstairs, formerly the protocol division of Foreign Affairs of which my mother was a director of an all male team. It takes me 5 minutes to sign the form and receive my son’s passport. It took me 30 minutes to enter the building.

As I’m signing the register the man who helped me says, you know you are right. We need a little bit more compassion in Sierra Leone. I don’t smile, I don’t make small talk. I’m still suffering from having been reduced. I hand the scarf back to the owner. I walk out of the building and as I leave I say this to the police office;

“Sometimes we see people on the street they are poor and suffering and no one knows why, maybe they suffer because at some point in their life they showed no “sorri heart” to another human being, maybe one day that will be you. God dey.”

IMG_4412 IMG_4416

I didn’t bother to read the sign the was printed on A4 and stuck on the inside of the building. I don’t know if the dress code is even legal especially when it only applies to women. This is not the only government building in Sierra Leone where women are subjected to this kind of harassment and indignity. At State House, the Office of the President you will be turned away depending on who you are if you are wearing pants, yes even a corporate style pant suit because women wearing trousers clearly are sexually loose and will come there to seduce their employees. The same goes for the Youyi Building, if you attempt to enter it on foot, and if you are a woman who looks like you are not well off someone will attempt to stop you. Every single day women are being harassed in Sierra Leone, suffering micro aggressions put there to reduce them, and make them feel less. It happened to me, it could happen to anyone and after this incident I read a letter from the nation’s corporate affairs boss, another woman who was subjected to the same reductions.