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Chicagoans showed up in their numbers to celebrate the 48th Anniversary of the Independence of Ghana. The event was the 48th Independence Anniversary Dinner Dance. They were from all parts of the metropolitan area as this year the Ghana National Council executives decided to hold the annual dinner outside the city at the Carriage Greens Country Club in Darien Illinois.
The Special Invited Guests at the Dinner/Dance were The Honorable Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, Mr. Charles Bowen, retired Special Assistant to the Major of Chicago, Mr. Leonard Murray, a Chicago Attorney, Mr. Adam Inberg, also a Chicago Attorney, Mr. Robert Parkham, the deputy Mayor of Hanover Park in Illinois, Mrs. Linda Parkham, Mr. and Mrs Samuel Owusu,Mr Akwasi Yeboah of radio 88.5 FM, and Mr. and Mrs Adolph Armah, former superstar of Accra Hearts of Oak and Ghana's Black Stars.
In his welcome address, the President of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago, Mr. Reuben Hadzide, called on Ghanaians to unite and fight together for the betterment of the Ghanaian Community at large. He stated that Ghanaians and for that matter Africans have ever been a restless, questing and hopeful people. They must bring to their task today the vision and will of those who fought to liberate the country and relate the circumstances they conquered to theirs. He challenged the celebrants that It is the Community's turn to overcome its challenges and set the pace for the African in the Diaspora …to build the community as has never been done before.
The President outlined the strategy of the newly elected Executive Council of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago:
Amendment of the council's constitution. Restructure our financial set-up to make it more transparent and institute better checks and balances into our financial transactions.
Ghana House Committee-This committee will work closely with the executives to identify and acquire a community center, hopefully within a year from now! In conclusion the president said" From this joyful celebration, we hear a call to service in the valley and on the mountain. We have heard the trumpets. We have changed the guard. And now, each in our own, and with God's help, must answer the call!"
In his speech, Mr. Charles Bowen told Ghanaians of the spiritual awakening he received after visiting Africa. He named some of the popular historic places in Africa that he had visited including the Kwame Nkrumah tomb. He observed that there is no immigrant community in Chicago that is more Americanized than the Ghanaian Community.
Mr. Bowen appealed to all Africans to be united outside the Continent. He informed Ghanaians present that it is ok to be nationalistic but they have to find a way to be united with the rest of the Africans in the Chicago area and the United States for that matter. He promised he would still be serving the community although he is retired and that members can call on him anytime even when he is away from the City Office.
In his address, Mr. Leonard Murray related his travels to Africa and how he was especially impressed with Ghana when he accompanied a friend on the death of his brother. He had previously traveled to Senegal in 1989 and 1990. He appealed to Ghanaians to participate in the economic system of the US and he informed them that one way they could participate is through Government to Government dialogue. He noted that the Ghanaian Community has a lot of highly skilled professionals and he appealed to all of them to help in building the Ghanaian Community.
Mrs. Linda Parkham, the wife of the Deputy Mayor of Hanover Park and the Chairperson of the Sister Cities Organization informed the Ghanaians that she is leaving for Ghana to help undertake the possibility of establishing Anti-Natal Clinics which will cater especially to the expecting mothers with HIV.
Although the duration of the celebration was not as long as planned ,Ghanaians had a lot to eat and celebrate about.