#JumaaneWilliams Wins Race for #NYC #PublicAdvocate !!!

Jumaane Williams after his victory in NYC on February 26th. Photo via the New York Times.

On February 26th, The Big Apple elected a new Public Advocate into office. The young Brooklyn native who goes by the name of Jumaane Williams is also a self-proclaimed “Hip-Hop Head” and as far as we’re concerned, Mr. Williams has already started off his term on two good notes!

Congrats to Jumaane Williams on winning the election and all the best to him on his new position in office! Brooklyn wins again! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ 😎

Read the original article about Mr. Williams’ big win published in the New York Times on February 27th, 2019 here.

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#TheLastPoets 50th Anniversary Celebration Live This Weekend In #Philly!

This weekend, my Daddy and them will be live in #Philly! #TheLastPoets will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary w/ special guest #Poets #SoniaSanchez and #UrsulaRucker. It’s still #BlackHistoryMonth on Earth🌍 y’all! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode™ ❤️🖤💚

Guess what?! Despite all that’s going on and has went on this month of February, it’s still Black History Month on the planet Earth 🌍! And in honor of their 50th Anniversary, my father’s group, the legendary Last Poets will be live in Philly this weekend with fellow poets Sonia Sanchez and Ursula Rucker to celebrate!

So, if you’re in the Philadelphia area this weekend, you may just want to stop by and watch a few spoken word legends perform. Please don’t say we never informed you on anything! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode❤️🖤💚

#BrooklynGirlCode #NationalNews🇺🇸: #Amendment4 Giving Convicted Felons The Right to Vote Has Been Passed!

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade. Photo courtesy of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Instagram page @FLRightsRestore

This past Election Day 2018, History was made in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will restore the voting rights of convicted felons was passed. Although this amendment had no major impact on this past Tuesday’s election, this will be huge for the state of Florida and the U.S. for future elections including the upcoming Presidential Election in 2020.

In the United States, more than six million convicted felons have lost their voting rights due to their criminal records. Of this six million, over 1.5 million reside right in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will go into effect on January 8, 2019 was a long hard fight fought mostly by a 51 year old man by the name of Desmond Meade who is the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

Meade who was born in St. Croix and relocated to Miami, Florida at the young age of five with his family experienced a bit of trouble during his childhood. This trouble would eventually lead him to being convicted of felony cocaine possession amongst other things. After serving his time and being released in 2004, Meade chose to do better in life and decided to go back to school and successfully obtained his law degree from Florida International University. However, because of his past felonies, Meade was not allowed to sit for the bar exam. This is when Meade began his hard fight to get the voting rights of convicted felons restored.

Desmond Meade photographed by Natalie Keyssar for The New York Times Magazine

In 2011 Meade became the head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. In a quote given to the NY Times for a feature story published on September 26th, 2018 by Emily Bazelon titled Will Florida Ex-Felons finally Regain The Right To Vote?, Meade stated:

This amazing work that we’re doing, it’s shiny and bright now, and there’s a lot of people that want to attach to it. But there was a time when it wasn’t that shiny. There was a time when I was knocking on doors and nobody wanted to answer.” 

Well this last Tuesday, November 6th, all of Meade’s hard work paid off when Amendment 4 was passed! Thank goodness Meade made a decision several years ago after being released from prison to do something more positive with his life. Now millions of reformed criminals will have the right to vote because of Meade’s decision! Thank you Desmond Meade for your courage and bravery and congratulations on this huge victory! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode 🖤

Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

#HappyMemorialDay 🇺🇸 from #BrooklynGirlCode! 🖤

Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Another Memorial Day is upon us! And with all the events going on in the world, it’s hard to take a moment to relax and reflect on what Memorial Day really means to us as American citizens. For some, it’s (paid) time off of work and a well deserved break. For others, it’s all about the family gatherings and cookouts and celebrating another season of summer. All of these traditions are well accepted. However, many might not know that the origin of Memorial Day actually started in Charleston, S.C. (a place where most of my family is from) in the 1800’s and the holiday began to commemorate 200+ Union soldiers that died due to the result of poor conditions at the Confederate Prison Camps in Charleston during the Civil War. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture posted a great photo on Instagram of a group of African-American soldiers from the war to educate readers on the origin of Memorial Day. NMAAHC stated in their caption:

“Today is the day that our nation takes pause to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our military heroes that gave their lives to secure our freedoms. The earliest commemoration of what would later become Memorial Day, was organized in a former Confederate Prison Camp in Charleston, S.C. on May 1, 1865. The celebration was established by over 1,000 newly freed African Americans, in addition to U.S. Colored Troops regiments and a small group of white Charlestonians. This group came together to honor the 257 Union soldiers that died as a result of the poor conditions of the Confederate Prison Camp during the war. They removed the soldiers from a mass grave that the Confederates made and created proper burial grounds for Union soldiers. Together they sang hymns, set flowers, and gave readings in honor of the soldiers’ sacrifice. #MemorialDay #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory”

Author Sewell Chan also wrote a great piece for the New York Times titled The Unofficial History of Memorial Day. In the article, Chan gets more in depth about the holiday. A great article to check out when you get a free moment from stuffing your face with cheeseburgers. Salute to all of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting to keep us free so that we can all have the opportunity to celebrate these holidays in peace! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤

The Unofficial History of Memorial Day via The New York Times

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Cover art for The Last Poets' Self-titled 1970 debut album

Remembering #TheLastPoets for #NationalPoetryMonth

April marks National Poetry Month across the globe. So, it’s only right for #BrooklynGirlCode to take a little time out to remember one of the seminal groups responsible for the evolution of modern day poetry and what would later become Hip-Hop music. The Last Poets formed in Harlem, New York in 1969. But, little did they know that after forming, they would have a mega influence on many generations of music to follow and many of today’s biggest Hip-Hop stars including Common, Kanye West, Mos Def and others.

Salute to The Last Poets for all their contributions to music and American culture as a whole! Below is a recent Instagram post from The National Museum of African-American History and Culture paying homage to the legendary Last Poets.  ❤

View this post on Instagram

Long before records were spun at park jams and parties across New York City, spoken-word artists paired the natural rhythm of their works with music. From the Harlem Renaissance through the 1960s, artists relied on the spoken-word for powerful political and social commentary. Initially formed in 1968, over the years members of The Last Poets have included Gylan Kain, David Nelson, Abiodun Oyowele, Felipe Luciano, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, Sulaiman El-Hadi, and Nijala Obabi. The Last Poets is the debut spoken word album by The Last Poets, released in 1970. The Last Poets are considered one of the godfathers of Hip-Hop. Their politically charged Black nationalist poems, infused with drums and jazz, continue to inspire generations of poets and lyricists. This collective of The Last Poets was founded by Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, and percussionist Nilaja. #NationalPoetryMonth 📸: Gift of Umar Bin Hassan, © 1970 Douglas Records, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A post shared by NMAAHC (@nmaahc) on

#GodBless. #IndependenceDay2017

Happy Independence Day to all the educated and informed Americans who are well aware of all of our beautiful accomplishments and victories right here in this country as well as the importance of OUR struggle here. #GodBless. and Happy Fourth of July!!! #IndependenceDay2017

 

Photo: Jim Wallace for the Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
President Obama on the White House lawn watching Olympian Fencer Tim Morehouse and U.S. National Team Fencer Daria Schneider fence. Photo courtesy of AP

#TheAudacityOfHope: Obama’s Best White House Photos

The votes are all in and it’s official! Our beloved President Barack Obama is on his way out of the White House and Donald Trump is on his way in! *Takes 5 minute break to digest what I just typed.* Still, with that being said, nothing can take away from the two great terms that President Barack Obama gave us as the 44th President of the United States of America. He was a President of many firsts. Including the first to visit the island of Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge in 1928. President Obama also became the first president to visit a federal prison in 2015, the first time for any sitting president in the history of the United States. So, in honor of Obama exiting, I’ve compiled a list of some of his best photos taken by Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza over the last eight years via his awesome and eloquent Instagram account. So, no tears today, please! Because life will most definitely go on! Just sit back and check out the awesome photos below and remember all the good times that we had while Obama was here!

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Only right that President Obama and former President Abraham Lincoln meet face-to-face.
President Obama on the White House lawn watching Olympian Fencer Tim Morehouse and U.S. National Team Fencer Daria Schneider fence. Photo courtesy of AP
President Obama on The White House lawn watching Olympian Fencer Tim Morehouse and U.S. National Team Fencer Daria Schneider fence. Photo courtesy of Associated Press.

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President Obama became the first sitting president in the history of the United States to visit inmates at a federal prison in 2015. Photo via okwassap.com.

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Because we all need a beer break sometimes, right?
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And a coconut water break, too!

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2016 Olympic Fencer and my friend, Ibtihaj Muhammad with President Barack Obama at the White House.
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Syrian Refugee Olympian, Yusra Mardini poses with Barack Obama photo via NBC Sports.

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