Former NY Governor Patterson promotes healthcare law at NABJ event held at AP

Former NY Govenor David Patterson addresses NABJ event.

Former New York Governor David Patterson addresses NABJ event.

By Carmen Glover

Former New York State Governor David Patterson drew cheers when he addressed attendees on the first day of a two-day event hosted by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) at the Associated Press on Friday, September 27. The former governor made a surprise appearance at the Media Institute for Media Professionals and Entrepreneurs event but he did not attend the Region I Conference, which was held on Saturday.

(Left to right) James McGriff, CEO of Peniel Solutions, Pamela Gentry, Director of Strategic Campaign Management Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Mark Thompson, Host of the Mark Thompson Show discuss the media's role in explaining the health care law.

(Left to right) James McGriff, CEO of Peniel Solutions, Pamela Gentry, director of Strategic Campaign Management Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Mark Thompson, host of the Mark Thompson Show discuss the media’s role in explaining the health care law.

Joining the conversation about the Affordable Health Care Act, also called Obamacare, Patterson reminded the attendees that comprehensive healthcare efforts began with former New York State Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before drawing parallels to traces of racism in the healthcare battle. “Racism should never be coalesced with any intelligence,” he said. “The president got re-elected and this is the most wide-sweeping plan for healthcare. They should go right ahead and shut the government down on Tuesday because that’s what they did under former President Clinton and they then lost consecutive presidential elections.”

NABJ Founder Paul Brock speaks at the event.

NABJ Founder Paul Brock speaks at the event and the attendees show their appreciation.

White House Director of African American Media Kevin Lewis moderated a panel about the healthcare law on Friday. The panelists included Dr Kemi Alli, chief medical officer of the Henry J. Austin Health Center, Director of External Affairs in the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Anton J. Gunn and Janaye Ingram, national executive director of the National Action Network (NAN). During Saturday’s event, Mark Thompson, host of his self-named show, moderated a similar panel. The Saturday panel featured Director of the Strategic Campaign Management Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Pamela Gentry, Gordon Johnson, president/CEO of Neighbor to Family and James McGriff, CEO of Peniel Solutions.

NABJ Region 1 Director Sherlon Christian address the gathering.

NABJ Region I Director Sherlon Christie addresses the gathering.

Friday’s event was devoted to the Media Institute for Media Professionals and Entrepreneurs. NABJ’s Associate Representative Dawn Roberts kept the sessions running smoothly. The first seminar on Friday was led by Sandra Charet, president of Charet and Associates, who shared tips about executive recruiting. “Knowing somebody is always the best way to get a job because many jobs are not advertised,” she said. Dawn Kelly, vice president of global communications at Prudential, in moderating the panel entitled “The Power of Partnerships,” encouraged mentoring and relationships. Lou Capozzi, president of PRSA Foundation, was blunt in addressing the dearth of black public relations executives: “For people of color the bar is higher,” he said. Kisha Barton, president of the New York Chapter of the National Black Public Relations Society said partnerships “are a benefit.”

PR maven/mental health advocate Terrie Williams delivers keynote address.

PR maven and mental health advocate Terrie Williams delivers keynote address on Friday.

Anticipation built to a crescendo when public relations maven and mental health advocate Terrie Williams strode to the podium to deliver Friday’s keynote address. Revealing that she suffered a nervous breakdown several years ago, Williams expressed concern that African-Americans are reluctant to seek treatment for mental health issues. She talked about public figures who recently committed suicide and appealed to the attendees to seek therapy to prevent burnout. “Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know what that person’s journey is,” she said while cautioning all to “choose your friends and colleagues wisely because people’s spirits are transferable.” Williams was swarmed by guests at the conclusion of her remarks.

Sally Simms discusses Google Plus products.

Sally Simms discusses Google+ and other web products.

Day two of the event was the Region I Conference, which was organized by Region I Director Sherlon Christie, who made opening remarks, followed by NABJ Executive Director Maurice Foster.  Foster introduced NABJ Vice President of Broadcast Dedrick Russell, who led a day-long session for producers. Diane Parker of the Associated Press then led the audience into a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to NYABJ President/Professional Chapter of the Year winner Michael Feeney.

NYABJ President Michael Feeney speaks at the event.

NYABJ President/NABJ Chapter of the Year winner Michael Feeney speaks at the event.

What then followed was a day packed with seminars and networking opportunities. Christopher Nelson, assignment editor of NBC News, moderated a panel on becoming an expert for broadcast shows. The panelists were Midwin Charles, attorney and legal commentator, Brandi Kellam, booking producer of MSNBC, Natalie McNeal, editor of TheFrugalista.com and Joi-Marie McKenzie, producer, ABC News/editor-in-chief of the TheFabEmpire.com. “Be consistent because consistency breeds credibility,’ Charles advised those aspiring to be viewed as experts. Sally Simms shared tips about using Google’s latest products, while Vince Hill, business/finance editor of CBS Radio Philadelphia/KYW Newsradio moderated a panel on covering business news which featured Lisa Dupree and Sharon Epperson of CNBC and  Philana Patterson, news editor of the Associated Press. Patterson echoed Charet from Friday’s session, when sharing tips. “Network by getting to know people on a personal basis,” she said. “People hire people they know and like. Get to know people.” She also emphasized the importance of being diligent researchers in order to get scoops and break news.

White House Director of African-American media Kevin Lewis moderates panel on the Affordable Care Act.

White House Director of African-American Media Kevin Lewis moderates panel on the Affordable Care Act.

There was a great deal of interest in the panels entitled “Crossing the Line From Journalism to PR,” “How to Start and Maintain a Successful Business” and “Tools to help you tap into your inner Journogeek.” Similarly, panels describing how to become managers and making a living in non-traditional media venues were well attended.

(left to right) John Childress, President of Childress Business Consulting and D. Bernard Webster, President of Vanguard Consulting Group, discuss how to start and maintain a successful business.

(left to right) John Childress, president of Childress Business Consulting and D. Bernard Webster, president of Vanguarde Consulting Group, discuss how to start and maintain a successful business.

John Childress, president of Childress Business Consulting and D. Bernard Webster, president of Vanguarde Consulting Group, drew charts, recommended books and provided enormous insight as they discussed strategies for starting and maintaining a successful business. “Over 60 percent of the jobs lost in the recession are not coming back,” Childress said, while Webster explained that unless you are earning from your business venture “It’s a hobby, not a business.” Benet Wilson, social media/newsletter editor of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, joined Kiratiana Freelon, co-chair of NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force, in an interactive session where they reviewed various social media tools that can enhance the journalistic experience.

Kiratiana Freeelon, Co-Chair of NABJ's Digital Journalism Task Force shares digital tips.

Kiratiana Freeelon, co-chair of NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force shares digital tips.

The two-day event was informative and timely. Attendees included founders Paul Brock and Allison Davis, whose contributions to NABJ were acknowledged with sustained applause. –OnPointPress.net

Change underway on NYC’s political landscape

By Carmen Glover

Former Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio on Primary Day.

Former Controller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill deBlasio on Primary Day. The battle of the two Bills continues and a runoff might take place.

The results of New York City’s Primary Election is a mixed bag but sends a clear message: voters are ready for candidates whose message resonates with regular citizens; candidates who articulate a passion to fight for the rights, livelihood and well-being of people who are often perceived as being voiceless. After 23 years as Brooklyn’s district attorney, Charles Hynes was trounced in compelling fashion by African-American attorney Kenneth Thompson, a former federal prosecutor who represented Haitian immigrant Abner Louima years ago in his police brutality lawsuit against the city.  Lashing out against Hynes for corruption and endorsement of stop and frisk policies, Thompson waged an intelligent and consistent campaign that resulted in him securing 55% of the votes to Hynes’ 45%. Meanwhile, running unopposed, former state senator and police captain Eric Adams cruised to victory as the next borough president in Brooklyn.

State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilwoman Leticia James

Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron and  Brooklyn City Councilwoman Letitia James seem destined for a runoff race.

Vito Lopez, who previously ran the Brooklyn Democratic machine with an iron fist, failed in his bid to become a city council member after being forced to resign in disgrace from the state assembly for a range of issues, mainly for crass, lewd, inappropriate incidents of sexual misconduct towards staffers. Demonstrating what can be described as political savvy, voters resoundingly said “No Thanks” to both Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, career politicians who have consistently shown an inability to contain their sexual proclivities and put their constituents’ needs above their personal desires. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer successfully triumphed over Spitzer in the race for controller, obtaining 52% of the votes, versus Spitzer’s 48%.

State Senator Eric Adams

State Senator Eric Adams ran unopposed to become Brooklyn’s next borough president.

The status quo remained intact in the Bronx, with Ruben Diaz Jr. holding on to his seat as borough president. However, many residents expressed pride that an African-American candidate ran against Diaz in a bid to add diversity to the borough which typically features predominantly Hispanic and Jewish politicians, with a smattering of African-American faces.

Former Federal Prosecutor Kenneth Thompson beats Charles Hynes decisively in race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

Former Federal Prosecutor Kenneth Thompson beats Charles Hynes decisively in race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

The battle of the Bills continues in the race for mayor, with former Controller William “Bill” Thompson, declining to concede defeat to Public Advocate Bill deBlasio, despite deBlasio garnering 40% of the votes, to Thompson’s 26%. If a candidate gets fewer than 40% of the votes, a runoff is needed. Thompson said he prefers to wait “until all the votes are tallied,” to determine if a runoff election is necessary. Likewise, Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James and State Senator Daniel Squadron have no resolution in their bid to become the new public advocate, because their contest has been deemed “too close to call.” Regardless of the final outcome of these races, voters have made their preferences known, rejecting City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for being too closely aligned to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his policies, while also denying Spitzer and Weiner the opportunity to rehabilitate their tarnished images on New Yorkers’ time and dime. OnPointPress.net. 

Respected, beloved, Jamaican diplomat prepares to return home

Jamaica's High Commissioner Aloun-Ndombet-Assamba embraces Minister-Counsellor Lincoln Downer.

Jamaica’s High Commissioner Aloun-Ndombet-Assamba embraces Minister-Counsellor Lincoln Downer.

 

By Carmen Glover

There is an adage that underpins most successful careers: If you do what you love, you will always succeed. For Lincoln Downer, a Jamaican diplomat with a vast repertoire of foreign relations experience, that adage holds true. Downer has dedicated his life to serving the Jamaican community as a diplomat, accepting assignments across the globe and adroitly making spectacular contributions while simultaneously strengthening his legacy and sterling reputation. As his latest assignment in England comes to a close, Downer is focused on returning to his native Jamaica, eager to explore the new adventures that await him in Jamaica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Downer shares a joke about being "The High Commissioner's Consort" with the audience.

Mr Downer shares a joke about being “The High Commissioner’s Consort” with the audience.

“I started my diplomatic career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs years ago,” Downer stated in a recent telephone interview from England. He served as a protocol officer for three years in that ministry, processing documents for senior government officials as they prepared for meetings overseas. In that capacity, he also translated documents that were necessary to enhance the preparation process for those officials. “I have always enjoyed using my skills to make a meaningful impact and effect change, no matter what the assignment,” he said.

Mr Downer stands with Ms Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Mr Downer stands with Ms Beverly Lindsay who chairs the Association of Jamaican Nationals in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

 

Mr Downer stands with Mrs P. Patterson of the Northern Region, and shows off gift to the audience.

Mr Downer stands with Mrs. Pancy. Patterson of the Northern Region, and shows off gift to the audience.

Those who have worked with him agree. “Lincoln Downer may be referred to as the ultimate protocol expert,” said Deputy Director of Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) Mr. Ephieum Allen. “His contribution to matters relating to Jamaica’s immigration, citizenship and passport has been integral to the vision of the government of Jamaica.”

The audience listens as Mr Downer delivers his farewell speech.

The audience listens as Mr Downer delivers his farewell speech.

For the past five years, Downer has worked at the Jamaican High Commission in London, England, in the role of Minister Counsellor for Diaspora and Consular Affairs. “My primary functions for the past five years have been to engage the Jamaican community, provide resources and services, build on relationships and manage the operations of the consular portion of the High Commission,” he said, reflecting on his achievements in the position. “I think I would say my proudest achievements in this post  are completely revamping the consular operations by implementing procedures that resulted in greater transparency and accountability as well as improving the relationships and access for the local Jamaican community so that the consular operations are not as mysterious.”

Mr Downer poses with Ms Lindsay and other well-wishers at the Birmingham event.

Mr Downer poses with Ms Lindsay and other well-wishers at the Birmingham event.

Intrinsic to Downer’s success in the tapestry of his diplomatic career has been a humble, authentic personality that has allowed him to win and maintain the trust and admiration of the constituents that he serves as well as his peers and superiors. His affable nature, caring interactions and willingness to lend a helping hand, offer a word of prayer or simply share a word of encouragement has won him acclaim, love, support and respect. None of which he takes for granted.

 

Diaspora Advisory Board Member Celia Markey, chair of Jamaicans Inspired Nathaniel presents gift

Diaspora Advisory Board Member Celia Markey and  Nathaniel Peat, chair of Jamaicans Inspired. present gift to Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer.


“From the outside looking in, it’s not easy to understand some of the opportunities I have been fortunate to experience,” he said, reminiscing on his assignment immediately before he assumed his current post. “When I worked at the Jamaican Consulate in New York as a vice consul from 1998-2001, it never crossed my mind that I would return there as acting consul general from 2007-2008 before coming to England,” he stated, adding, “that is why it is so important to get along with people from all walks of life because you never know where you will end up.”

Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer with members of Jamaica National Council,  Huddersfield, England.

Minister Counsellor Mr Lincoln Downer with members of Jamaica National Council, Huddersfield, England.

Downer earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, in 1995 and a certificate of translation in Spanish and English in 1997. But for Downer, who prides himself on learning as much as possible to effectively serve in his various posts, education is an ongoing process. Inspired to keep his skills sharp and evolving, he earned a diploma from the International Organization on Migration in Argentina in 2005 on inter-American migration, followed in 2007 with certification in the performance management training system.

Members of the Jamaican Community, London, Reading, England.

Members of the Jamaican Community, London and Reading, England.

“I look forward to returning to Jamaica to see what lies in store for me,” said Downer, whose time in England ends this weekend.

Jamaican author Deanne Heron presents Minister Counsellor with a copy of her book, Pardner Money Stories.

Jamaican author Deanne Heron presents Minister Counsellor with a copy of her book, Pardner Money Stories.

The real measure of achievement for professionals who are committed to their craft is the regard with which they are viewed in the community that they serve. For Downer, who has been enjoying a month-long farewell tour replete with receptions, gifts, hugs and embraces, the measure of his impact is felt profoundly among an audience who view him with mixed emotions: torn that he is moving on, while being comforted by the knowledge that wherever he goes next, his steps are ordered and he will be in the right place at the right time.—OnPointPress.net

De Blasio tells Weiner to leave NYC’s mayoral race

 
Democratic mayoral candidates participate in first debate for the city's top job.

Democratic mayoral candidates participate in first debate for the city’s top job.

By Carmen Glover

New York: All five Democratic mayoral candidates in New York City participated in the first debate in the election cycle during a session which aired on WABC Channel 7 at 7:00 pm last night. Bill Ritter did his best to keep the debate flowing smoothly despite the attempts by a wayward Anthony Weiner to dominate the show by repeating his view that his “independence” makes him the best choice for the electorate. Weiner touted his independence in response to most of the questions posed, including the sexting scandal that has overshadowed his mayoral bid. While some of the candidates refused to share their views about Weiner’s presence in the race, Pubic Advocate Bill de Blasio had no such qualms.

“Anthony Weiner should step aside for the good of the city,” he said firmly. City Controller John Liu shook off a tentative, unsteady start to make a few noteworthy points about his campaign’s platform but it seemed as if Public Advocate Bill de Blasio was the most polished and credible candidate in the race. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave the same stock answer for almost every question, while former City Controller William Thompson seemed knowledgeable and passionate.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner are combative during the debate.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Anthony Weiner are combative during the debate.

The debate covered the usual topics: Immigration, the economy, the educational system, stop and frisk, a topic for which they were all prepared. “Too many people are being stopped who did nothing wrong,” said Weiner, while Liu called for “community policing.” Thompson did not mince words on the issue. “We have to make sure our city is safe but we don’t have to sacrifice our constitutional rights to get it done,” he said. De Blasio suggested having “an independent inspector general and a new police commissioner.” All of the male candidates said that if elected, they would find a new police commissioner but Quinn was staunch in her support of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, praising his achievements.  Williams praised Kelly modestly before delivering one of the harshest assessments on the commissioner’s role in the stop and frisk debacle plaguing the city. “Ray Kelly has done good things for the city of New York,” Williams said, “but he’s also become the face of an abusive stop and frisk policy that targets Blacks and Latinos in the city of New York.’

All of the candidates decried the abysmal statewide test scores of public school students who took tests in the spring in preparation for the Common Core standards. According to results released recently, a mere third of the students passed the tests.  Although Quinn said schools should be “closed when necessary,” the men all advocated giving schools additional resources to excel as a better alternative. “Give schools additional support,” Thompson said. “I support a moratorium on closing schools” de Blasio stated. It was on the issue of jobs that all five candidates seemed to be most animated. “Let big companies pay their fair share and give small businesses a tax break to spur economic development,” Liu suggested. Agreeing, de Blasio said “Take sustainability away from big companies and provide it to CUNY for job training.” Williams agreed with job training while Quinn boated about her “record or results.”  The debate was co-sponsored by the Daily News, WABC/Channel 7, the League of Women Voters and Noticias 41 Univision.  –OnPointPress.net