Ashanti Day Parade - Speech By Ny Asantefuohene
Hon. Borough President His Excellency Adolfo Carrion, Hon. Deputy Borough President His Excellency Earl Brown, Hon. His Excellency Ambassador Nana Apenteng, Distinguished Guests, Nananom, Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like first of all to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Hon. President Adolfo Carrion, Deputy President Earl Brown and the entire staff of the Borough president's Office, particularly, Ms. Tracy McDermott – Community Director, and Erica Stack for the hard work they have put in, in order to make this Ashanti Unity Day cultural festival a reality. I also wish to thank Mr. David Mojica, District Manager of Community Board 4. I appreciate the patriotic efforts of the staffs of Ghana Mission and the traditional chiefs toward this end. Lastly but not the least, my sincere thanks goes to the members of eleven sponsoring organizations, particularly Ashanti Unity Day Committee for working diligently to bring this occasion to fruition.
The untiring efforts of Nana Yaw Amoh, Committee Chairman; Dr. Yaw Antwi, Effiaduase President; Yaw Oteng-Adjei, AFA President; George Bonah, AshTown Club President; Francis Nsiah-Tuffour, Amansie President; Baffour Awuah,Suame President; Adu Boahen, Agogoman President; Kofi Adu Boahen, Mampong Kontokyi Chairman, Edward Mensah, Ejisuman President; Kwabena Frimpong, Juansaman and the President of Tafo Pankrono Association must have a special mention.
Tracy McDermott, the Bronx Community Director is an Ashanti in heart for the wonderful support in getting Ashanti Unity Day into fruition. She single-handedly performed 80 percent of the planning of this event. The outcome of the close collaborative efforts between the committee and the Bronx Borough President staffs is what we are witnessing today, a great cultural festival of the people of Asantes, the kingdom of Gold. We are all alarmed with the unfolding widespread havoc being visited on the Gulf Coast and its contiguous States of Louisiana, Mississippi and the surrounding areas by the Hurricane Katrina. Let's all stand in one minute of silence to show our sympathy for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“Ashanti Unity Day” theme of TOGETHERNESS is an apt and appropriate description of my administration vision of using richly unique Asante culture to create unity in diversity, understanding and appreciation that our strength lies in our unity. We should not loss sight of the role this occasion is affording us: Setting the pace for Ghanaians in this country to recognize the beauty and power inherit in our culture. I'm in great admiration to see the beauty of my people in their rich kente cloths. Today, Ashanti unity Day has created positive images and messages in the minds and hearts of the people of The United States about African and not only Asantes. Ashanti Unity Day is for all mankind and our goal is to transform the celebration to African Unity Day sooner than later. I am hoping, therefore, that an Ashanti Unity Day of togetherness will enlighten our brothers and sisters of all races and ethnicity to discover the rich culture of your next-door neighbor, who happens to be an African.
It is no coincidence that this celebration is taking place in the Bronx, a borough with so much diversity and under the auspices of Hon. Adolfo Carrion, a great leader who continuously makes great decisions and the people of African community calls Mr. Togetherness as he eloquently ends his speeches as Together we can build a better Bronx and a better New York.
I was saddened to learn about some Ghanaians of age under 18 years without health care. Their parents with meager income from hardcore chore were paying for health care services to fellow Ghanaian Doctors. Whilst the HealthStat program provides free healthcare for all kids less than 18 years old irrespective of legal status. When the cost of health care devastates families, Ashanti Unity Day has worked hard to bring Affinity Health Care Insurance system which is dedicated to serving all of your health care needs.
Life Insurance is the cornerstone of our family's financial security. Walls Street Financial Service and Metlife Insurance are here to assist us to achieve our financial freedom. MoneyGram is also here with answers about money transfer to Ghana. Let me digress a little to thank all Ghanaians in Diaspora for a record 1.5 billion dollars in remittances this year as recorded by IMF financial statement on Ghana. It shows the level of commitment, love and care we all have for our families back home. Let's continue! Few months back, Ashanti Unity Day Committee paid a courtesy call on the Borough President and the Deputy President. I was humbled for the warm reception accorded us. We thanked you.
We were gratified about your desire to understand various cultures within the Bronx diverse community and your intent to embark on working trip to Continental Africa in 2006. We believe, you will be very much surprised about the size of your entourage because majority of the Ghanaian community are prepared to privately be with you and provide you a great standing ovation on the soil of Ghana.
Ghanaians have excelled in all kinds of persuasions. Our challenge is to harness our resources------untapped potential to overcome the socioeconomic plight of Ghanaians. There is no secretariat within our community for any Ghanaian to call for the vast resources available within Borough government and/or New York City government offices. We are grateful to have Tracy, your Community Director to guide us when confronted with obstacles, but we cannot let all Ghanaians to call her for simple solutions that a “Community Center for Africans” can resolve diligently. Our community was excited about your proposed support to help us acquire an “African House” to serve as a resource center for all Africans and ever ready to raise the funds with your support towards this endeavor.
My fellow Ghanaians, today we have found a perfect partner in Honorable Adolfo Carrion. This is our chance. We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late. Ghanaians are very smart, intelligent and when we come together and work together, there is no limit to our greatness. Let's apply to become members of community boards. I challenge all Ghanaians to a season of service. Volunteering your service of love in advancing mankind: Helping troubled children, keeping company with those in need and eschewing division in all ethnicity/races. In serving, we recognize a simple but powerful truth--we need each other. And we must care for one another. Today, we do more than celebrate Asante culture; we rededicate ourselves to the very idea of America. Voting is our only way of ensuring good governance. We are citizen of America and our children are also citizen of America. We vote in numbers. We need recognition and political attention to enable us exercises our inalienable rights of good citizenry.