Christmas Eve, my favorite day of the year. The night before Christmas is always so special. There is a tingling in the air that all is well, all is bright. Sleep in heavenly peace as tomorrow is Christmas Day, and you want to be well rested for a day of cheer.
There was plenty of pre-Christmas Eve cheer to go around as the end-of-the-year holiday season was in full swing. New York County Supreme Court Justice Raymond Lloyd Bruce took it to another level at his induction ceremony. Formerly a civil court judge at Bronx Criminal Court, this is quite a prestigious and well-deserved honor, as Bruce is now officially carrying on the Black male Supreme Court judge in New York county tradition, carrying forward the torch held by those such as Leland DeGrasse and Milton Tingling.
The lineup for the swearing in was stellar. Tingling, who shared little personal tidbits with the packed court room about Bruce and honored guests, served as the master of ceremonies. Mistress of ceremonies was Cathleen Trigg Jones. The invocation was given by the Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, where Bruce and his family are staunch members. Bruce, in his remarks, spoke of how he grew up in the church and how his Christian faith continues to be at the core of his existence. Soloist Juanita Faulkner, accompanied by Dina Foster-Osborne, gave a rousing rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Continuing on with the program was Manhattan Supreme Court Administrative Judge Peter H. Moulton, who gave the welcoming address, followed by a poem recited by the Bruce children, Precious and Masiah, along with their friends from Jack and Jill of America. Vy Higginsen, mistress of true entertainment—the kind that gets something on your body moving while creating an indelible, long-lasting impression—provided the musical selection. Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens performed “Let My People Go,” and need I say more?
Highlighting the steadfastness with which Bruce has exuded throughout his career and rise in the judicial system were those such as Mayor David Dinkins, Assemblyman Herman Denny Farrell, Maria Luna and Public Advocate Letitia James. All spoke strongly of Bruce’s commitment to seeing justice is served.
The administration of the oath conducted by former New York Court of Claims Judge Juanita Bing Newton was very moving. Surrounded by his wife, Darlene, children, mother and mother-in-law, Bruce took the oath to always keep it real and do the right thing. Bruce, cloaked in his newly adorned robe, took the podium, and though he spoke at length, he was thoroughly engaging and entertaining. Thanking all of those for their support, including but not limited to New York County district leaders, including newly elected District Leader Earnestine Bell-Temple, judicial delegates, community leaders, members from Abyssinian—some of whom served as ushers—and his family members, who traveled en masse from points all over to be there for the ceremony.
Bruce gave a special thanks and a kiss to his wife, with whom he stated, “We collaborate on everything, and then we do it her way.” He expressed his gratitude for her standing by his side and always being encouraging, supportive and loving.
After all of the protocol and accolades, what comes next but a throw-down reception? Held in the rotunda of the New York County Supreme Court, 60 Center St., guests dined sufficiently while mingling, taking selfies with the judge and giving out warm wishes to the strands of the trio whose tempo was just right.
While the induction ceremony was held downtown, among the many celebrations taking place uptown was the Fred Samuels Democratic Club party hosted by Vice President of the Fred Samuels Democratic Club, Melvin Alston. Present among the revelers was Assemblyman Keith L.T. Wright, who will run for Congress in 2016 for Rep. Charlie Rangel’s seat. If ever there was a savvy politician who was truly a representative of the people, who should be voted in by the people, as he works tirelessly for the people, it is Wright.
Keeping it brief but heartfelt just the same, Wright acknowledged guests including his cousin Samuel Roberts, of the Commissioner Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance; Councilwoman Inez Dickens; William Anthony Allen MPA, deputy chief clerk, Board of Elections, city of New York; State Committeewoman Yasmin Cornelius; Maury Ortega, of Harlem Democratic Club West; and Beverly Alston, of Uptown Democratic Club; Connie Drayton; Daniel Paterson, who insisted I take a picture with the fellas; Kyndell Reid; and others too democratic to mention. After the raffle, featuring gifts donated by Valerie Richardson and Wanda Davis, Wright ordered everyone to turn the lights down and play the music, saying, “Let’s go!” It was a very groovy party.
Also reveling was Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook, who hosted a holiday fundraising reception at the Whispers Restaurant, 210 W. 94th St. Served were hors d’oeuvres and an ambassador special. As you know, the ambassador is also running for Rangel’s seat. Bon chance! (French for “good luck!”)
Happy birthday, Kim Getty, Amy Lowe, James Tracy Moultrie and Harold Auston, who turned 75 years old. Get well wishes go out to the husband of Jackie Rowe-Adams, who we affectionately call “Dollar Bill,” who has undergone heart surgery. Rest in peace, Malcome McCornick.
Word just in, “The First Noel,” currently playing at the Soundstage of the Apollo Theater, is a strong, moving theatrical musical performance. The passionate actors who brought a message of forgiveness, hope and love brought the stage alive. The singing was really good, and the audience enjoyed every minute. Catch it while you can in the intimate setting, as next year it is headed for the Apollo main stage.
One last thing before I go, gee, it’s Christmas and I wish it would snow. But whatever the day, I want to spread good cheer for a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Until next year…kisses