After serving under two U.S. presidents and accomplishing much in her career, Ambassador Suzanne Johnson-Cook came off her sabbatical in October 2013 with a vision for the ProVoice/ProVoz Movement, the 21st century answer to both the civil rights and the women’s liberation movements, an inclusive organization for those left in the R.E.A.R. (racial, ethnic and religious minorities).
“ProVoz was birthed out of the need for inclusion,” said Johnson-Cook. “After serving at the senior level of government twice, both in the Clinton administration and Obama administration as a senior level appointee and you go around the globe, few Black and Latina women are at the table or even in the conversation.”
The Harlem native has decided to launch ProVoice/ProVoz by honoring four extraordinary women she’s known and admired for years.
Monday, Sept. 22, her organization hosted an award ceremony honoring the wives of the “Gang of Four” in Harlem: Joyce Dinkins, Alma Rangel, Leatrice Sutton and Portia Patterson, along with Councilwoman Inez Dickens for her community service, at the Gran Piatto D’Oro restaurant on Fifth Avenue.
“I wanted to come back to my village not wanting, but giving,” said Johnson-Cook, feeling so loved by her “village” in Harlem. The four dynamic, elegant, extraordinary women of Harlem are all still alive and have never been honored collectively.
“The village of Harlem is coming out to express our thanks to them and what they’ve done, what they’ve meant to us,” Johnson-Cook continued. “As wives of African-American political leaders, their stories are not as well known as their husbands’, but an integral part of our history and important as the next generation moves forward to make change. Acknowledging them is a great example of things to come from ProVoice/ProVoz Movement because it’s about including women and giving them a voice.”