Black History Month

I am fortunate to attend the YMCA on 14th Street and 6th Avenue in New York City. The following information comes from the Y’s posters celebrating Black History Month.

Jackie Robinson, William Hunton, Anthony Bowen. Are any of these names familiar to you?

In 1947 Jackie Robinson was the first Black major league baseball player. He and Roy Campanella volunteered at the Harlem YMCA.

William Hunton, the son of a freed slave, was the first employed YMCA secretary at a “Colored YMCA”. Mr. Hunton worked among the soldiers during the Spanish American War.

Anthony Bowen was a freed slave and the first Black clerk in the U. S. patent office. He founded the first YMCA for the Black community in Washington D. C.

Community members gathered for a lively Trans Day of Love event on February 15 at Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan.

The event was produced by activists Qween Jean and Gia Love and featured speeches, performances, food, and more. Qween Jean became known for spearheading a weekly “Stonewall Protests” demonstration in 2020 and 2021 during which folks would gather to stand up for trans rights and injustice.

The food at the event was donated by Okra Project, Pixie Scout, Fig NYC, and other volunteers. There were also raffle prizes.

This information is from Transday of Love, a Judson community email, posted on 2/17/23.

New York Mysteries. Com

Thank you, Abigail Hastings, Historian and Archivist Extraordinaire for revealing Judson Memorial Church’s layered history. 

Happy birthday, Judson! It was 132 years ago today – Sunday, February 8, 1893 – that Judson’s first Sunday service was held. And yes, there used to be pews – and fancy lamp posts out front. But it wasn’t until the week of January 22-29, 1983 when dedicatory services were held – with speakers every night but Saturday – to mark the completion of the church (which covered a good part of the block). Edward Judson’s vision was so grand, his former church, Berean Baptist on Downing and Bedford, simply wasn’t large enough. Raising funds to build such a massive enterprise took great effort, and as the Times article below mentions, one person termed Edward’s work as “finangelistic” instead of evangelistic. Whatever it took, we’re glad he gave us such a fine place with a very storied history. 

full article attached; scroll down for more…


Judson’s 132nd anniversary is Feb 6, 2023!
Judson’s founding minister, Rev. Dr. Edward Judson, wrote in 1899 that he wanted to build what he called “an institutional church” that “supplemented the ordinary methods of the Gospel with a system of organized kindness by touching people on physical, social and intellectual sides.”  He added: “The church contains the potency for the cure of all the ills that flesh is heir to. Here lies the solution of every social problem.” Ok, maybe not every problem but Judson did establish a nursery school, a kindergarten, an employment bureau for the poor, instructional classes for new mothers, a gymnasium for young men, affordable hotel rooms and a medical dispensary that served over 7,000 patients in 1899 and set the stage for the Judson Health Clinic to come in 1921. 

The first church service was held on a Friday night—actually part of their pattern of Friday night prayer services—and was held in the “lecture room” (where the gym is now but at street level then) with the first Sunday service held on February 8, 1891. The Times article declares it “one the handsomest edifices in the city… extremely graceful in its architectural lines, being Romanesque in style” (NYT Feb 7, 1891). The tower would include a children’s orphanage on two floors and the Judson Hotel was adjacent to that. The Times article observed, “The entire establishment may be regarded, in short, as a church that may be made a home.”

Happy Birthday Judson!

New York Mysteries.Com


Representative Alexandra Ocasio Cortez Democrat New York, 14th District Bronx  just threw an utter temper tantrum on House floor after Ilhan Omar REMOVED from Foreign Affairs Committee. Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are two of the progressive Democratic group in the House known as the Squad.

I quote this from the Guardian:  Omar struck a defiant note in a speech shortly before the votes were counted, accusing Republicans of trying to silence her because she is a Muslim immigrant, and promising to continue speaking out.

“Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy? Or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced? Frankly, it is expected because when you push power, power pushes back,” Omar said, adding: “My leadership and voice will not be diminished.”

When Ilhan Omar Asks Questions, Her Colleagues Should Listen
Peter Beinart  January 30, 2023 New York Times 
She doesn’t oppose an active U.S. foreign policy. She opposes the myth — which frames so much official discourse in Washington — that American foreign policy is intrinsically moral.

Ilhan Omar, Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.O)
House Republicans are poised make a grave mistake by removing from the Committee on Foreign Affairs the only person who consistently describes American foreign policy as it is experienced by much of the rest of the world. Those behind the effort to remove Ilhan Omar claim that she’s bigoted against Jews. Her Democratic defenders counter that the real bigots are those Republicans seeking to oust a Black Muslim woman. Yet neither side is talking much about what Ms. Omar has actually done on the committee from which she may soon be removed. That’s too bad. Because what Ms. Omar has done is extraordinary. In 2021, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation asked 50,000 people in 53 countries which global power they thought most threatened democracy in their nation. The United States came in first. Judging by their public statements, most members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee think these non-Americans are certifiably insane. The committee’s Republicans and Democrats both largely take it for granted that the United States — despite occasional blunders — defends liberty. When discussing threats to human rights, they generally attribute them to America’s foes. Ms. Omar is the exception. Consider what transpired at a hearing last April about American strategy in Asia. Michael McCaul, a Republican who is now the committee’s chairman, declared that “Americans’ legacy in the Indo-Pacific is freedom and prosperity” — and then warned that China’s Communist Party threatens it. Ted Deutch a Democrat, told the witness, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, that it was a “premise that I think we all share” that “human rights needs to be front and center in our foreign policy.” Having applauded the Biden administration and his fellow committee members for their devotion to human rights, Mr. Deutch asked about China’s repression in Xinjiang and its arms sales in the Middle East. When Ms. Omar’s turn came, the self-congratulation abruptly stopped. She began by noting that during America’s last Cold War, the country supported “brutal dictators” like Chile’s Augusto Pinochet and Indonesia’s Suharto because they shared “a common enemy.” She then asked Ms. Sherman why her administration was making Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India “our new Pinochet.” Ms. Omar’s colleagues discussed India primarily as a potential bulwark against China and Russia. Only Ms. Omar spoke about American complicity in the repression of minority groups in India. “How much does the Modi administration have to criminalize the act of being Muslim in India,” she asked, “for us to say something?” This pattern has repeated itself again and again in the four years since Ms. Omar entered Congress. The 50 other members of the Foreign Affairs Committee piously condemn the misdeeds of America’s foes. She asks uncomfortable questions about America’s own. In a hearing in May 2021, about Chinese atrocities against Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, only Ms. Omar noted that the United States had itself imprisoned 22 Uyghurs at Guantánamo Bay and that China’s president had reportedly cited America’s “war on terror” as a justification for his own crackdown. A witness who leads the Uyghur Human Rights Project concurred that America’s actions had “paved the way for this comfortable labeling Uyghurs as a terrorist” group by Beijing. In a 2020 subcommittee hearing on “Democratic Backsliding in sub-Saharan Africa,” Republican Representative Tim Burchett expressed outrage that “some of the officers who took part in the Mali coup d’état had recently returned from Russia.” Only Ms. Omar noted that according to The Washington Post, the coup’s leader, Col. Assimi Goita, had for years fought alongside U.S. Special Forces. Under her questioning, a witness from the U.S.-government-funded National Democratic Institute admitted that the “gross violations of human rights” he denounced in Cameroon were partly committed by troops armed by the United States. Last February, in a committee hearing on Latin America, Ms. Omar asked Todd Robinson, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, about an inspectors general investigation that found that his agency had covered up its involvement in a 2012 massacre of four Indigenous Hondurans. Despite working at the agency in 2012, Mr. Robinson said he didn’t recall what he had told investigators. He didn’t know if any of the Americans and Hondurans charged in the massacre had been convicted. He didn’t know if any of the victims had received compensation. Why was Mr. Robinson so unprepared for Ms. Omar’s line of inquiry? Perhaps because committee members rarely ask government officials such pointed questions about violations of human rights committed by the United States and its friends. Ms. Omar’s detractors might say all this reflects her anti-Americanism. They’re wrong. Ms. Omar speaks idealistically about “the moral authority the United States carries on the world stage when we stand up for human rights.” She just recognizes — as do many across the globe — that the United States doesn’t exercise that moral authority nearly as often as our leaders claim. She doesn’t oppose an active U.S. foreign policy. She opposes the myth — which frames so much official discourse in Washington — that American foreign policy is intrinsically moral. “We are human beings like other human beings on this planet,” she wrote in 2021, “with the same flaws and the same ambitions and the same fragilities.” Across the world, many people encounter American foreign policy when they see a drone flying overhead, a hospital that U.S. sanctions have deprived of medicine or a dictator’s troops carrying American-made guns. Ms. Omar asks the kinds of questions that these non-Americans — whether they reside in Pakistan, Cuba or Cameroon — might ask were they seated across from the officials who direct America’s awesome power. She translates between Washington and the outside world. More often than not, she does so alone. Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) is a professor of journalism and political science at the Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York. He is also editor at large of Jewish Currents and writes The Beinart Notebook, a weekly newsletter. F