Harlem held a homegoing for June 20, 2022 shooting victim Darius Lee at Pastor Mike Walrond’s First Corinthian Baptist Church. A state court judge ruled against the historic municipal voting rights law the City Council passed last December. The law was meant to give tax-paying immigrants who aren’t lawful citizens in New York City the right to vote in hyperlocal elections. The Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, urged President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to arrange for him and a group of faith leaders to meet with jailed WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia. Clifford L. Alexander Jr., first Black American secretary of the Army, passed at 88. The People’s Organization for Progress organized a 1967 Newark Rebellion Commemoration March and Rally on the 55th anniversary of the uprising.

Former Assemblyman and City Council Member Al Vann Credit: Lem Peterkin

Al Vann, deemed a political bedrock of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, died peacefully on July 14; Vann was 87. Fed up with the impending education budget cuts, two teachers and two parents jointly filed a lawsuit against New York City, the Department of Education and Schools Chancellor David Banks. The group demanded an injunction to halt the $215 million budget cuts to public schools planned for next year. Queens Borough President Richard Donovan honored the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Riders from Queens, some of whom attended the gathering at Queens Borough Hall. The New Amsterdam Musical Association, the oldest musical organization founded for Black musicians in the United States, celebrated 100 years in its landmark building with a gala held at Harlem School of the Arts. Within one hour of the Major League Baseball Draft held in Los Angeles in conjunction with the All-Star festivities, it became a seminal event for the sport when, with the fifth pick, the Washington Nationals selected Elijah Green of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The 18-year-old outfielder is the son of Eric Green, a former NFL tight end who was the 21st overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1990. Green was the fourth Black player taken among the first five picks, the first time that has ever occurred in the MLB Draft.

Bed-Stuy community distraught as mansion torn into with a giant wrecking ball and excavator last Thursday, July 21. Photo by Ariama C. Long.

The Bed-Stuy community was heartbroken after the over-120-year-old French gothic revival mansion located at 441 Willoughby Ave. was viciously torn down by developers. Vincent “Vince” Ellerbe, James Irons and Thomas “Tommy” Malik are to be cleared for the 1995 arson murder of Harry P. Kaufman after Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez moved to vacate the convictions earlier this month. The trio was sentenced to 25 years to life, with Ellerbe paroled in 2020. Irons and Malik were released. More than 800 New York City educators signed a petition calling on Chancellor David Banks to provide an update on the Mosaic curriculum,  a universal, culturally relevant curriculum that former Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to create and spend more than $200 million on in the summer of 2021. John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil, who was much more than a Negro Leagues icon, received his long overdue enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

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