Here we are, now that August has arrived, at the last lap of summer. This is the time when, if you’re going out of the city for vacation, you go now or at the very least get away for a weekend trip. That is exactly what the Mitchells did last weekend, as we headed down to the Jersey Shore for what could only be described as the quickest of quickies.
Visiting friends Carol Chaoui and Toni and Pam James, we were lucky enough to go to Ocean City and sit on the beach between the raindrops, which came down in torrential buckets. Dinner at the James’ was delicious. Toni threw some wings on the grill and charred them to perfection. Along with a couple of ears of Jersey corn, which alone makes the trip to Jersey worthwhile, blueberry peach pie for dessert and endless bottles of Chandon, who cared if it was pouring rain outside? It added to the ambiance.
Folks up on the Vineyard were treated to a reading by Charlayne Hunter-Gault from her new book, “To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement,” at an event benefiting Island Elderly Housing. The book, which chronicles the pivotal years of the Civil Rights Movement from 1959 to 1965, is written specifically for a younger audience. Hunter-Gault said the purpose of the book “is to help educate students on the courage, patience, determination and sacrifices it took from many young people collectively in order to challenge the status quo and government rulings at the time.”
Fast-forward to this day and time, and Hunter-Gault reaffirmed, “I want to help young people know where they came from…to know the courage that it took, the reasons students did what they did, the reasons they were willing to make sacrifices, and that in order to keep democracy true to its promise, you have to stay vigilant.”
Hunter-Gault fondly admits that as a youngster, she fell in love with the comic strip figure Brenda Starr, who remained her inspiration from her senior year in high school to her first job out of college as a New Yorker reporter.
Out on the East End, Sag Harbor is gearing up for yet another spectacular season. Harlem in the Hamptons is preparing to make its annual imprint with a variety of activities, while over in East Hampton, the Apollo in the Hamptons benefit is an extravaganza of such magnitude that it’s practically untouchable–as in no individual tickets are being sold, only tables.
Russell Simmons, on the other hand, continues to give power to the people as the mogul/philanthropist hosted his 13th annual Art for Life fundraising gala at his estate. Singer Mariah Carey and her husband, Nick Cannon, were the guests of honor, and the event was hosted by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.
Joining in the fun were celebrities like Grant Hill and wife Tamia, Kevin Liles, Anita Baker, Rocsi Diaz and others just too philanthropic to mention. Art for Life is co-sponsored by Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which was founded in 1995 by Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons as a nonprofit organization dedicated to “providing inner-city youth with significant arts exposure and access to the arts.”
The party ran from 6 p.m. at night until 6 a.m. the next morning, and yes, while you could have purchased a ticket for this event, they raised almost $2 million for charity.
Speaking of charity, don’t we have any in our heart? I was thinking, maybe I have been a little too harsh on our shooters, those responsible for the gun violence that continues to hover over us like the plague, making men, women and children alike so afraid to walk the streets that we can hardly breathe–those who senselessly take lives, douse dreams, destroy all that we as a culture try to uphold and are a disgrace to our ancestors who sacrificed more than the grains of sand.
I know Bob McCoullough must be spinning on his head, wherever he is, as the Rucker Basketball Tournament, which he ran for many summers, was his heart and soul. There are few words to describe yet another stupid, ignorant, senseless shooting that occurred at the games last week.
Meanwhile, in the news a little further downtown–out of Harlem, out of the South Bronx, out of Brooklyn–New York University just received approval to expand its campus, adding additional dormitories, classrooms and services for their students. What is wrong with this picture? Some people are busy living while we’re busy dying?
Now, I like to think of myself as an equal opportunist, so instead of my usual answer to the problem (if you’re a faithful reader of this column then you know what that is; if you’re not, use your imagination), I thought, what if we gathered up all the young thugs–yes, I went there–and made it mandatory for them to attend sessions in groups of 20. At these sessions, they would be able to tell us what they are thinking. What are they feeling? Exactly what is on their minds when they pick up a gun and run out, in the street, in the middle of a crowd, the more young kids around the better, and start firing away?
Make them explain what makes them think they have to defend themselves, doing so by shooting at the ground, in the sky or showing how bad they are by taking direct aim. At this point, I’d really like to know. Does anybody know? If you do know, can you please tell me? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coinciding with the International AIDS Conference, the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria hosted a dinner at the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, D.C. Among those in attendance were Gates Foundation Co-chair Bill Gates (you know him); Board Chair of Friends and Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein; Global Fund General Manager Gabriel Jaramillo; and numerous members of Congress and other key decision makers, including Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, Charlie Dent and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Friends-Global Fund dinner was organized to engage and educate key lawmakers about the importance of continued U.S. leadership and support for the Global Fund. Can’t we all just get along?
Until next week…kisses.