“We have a responsibility to lead and be role models for those who have been marginalized, to demonstrate that the opportunities to excel exist, and to provide a path forward that is unimpeded by prejudice.” – NYC Mayor Eric Adams
New York City is a melting pot of diverse cultures, and African immigrants are among the fastest-growing populations. While this community is incredibly diverse, with various ethnicities, religions, and languages, they are united by their desire for political empowerment. This desire has been given a strong voice through the leadership of three rising stars – Famod Konneh, Leonard Egiogu, and David Ahmed Coulibaly.
These leaders have been shepherding their communities forward, particularly during the recent municipal elections, and have mobilized their communities like never before. They understand the unique challenges faced by African immigrants in New York City and are working tirelessly to promote their interests and uplift their voices.
Famod Konneh, a community leader from Liberia, is particularly committed to empowering African immigrant youth through education and mentorship. He has founded several organizations and initiatives to help young people succeed, including the African Youth Excellence program, which provides scholarships and mentoring to African immigrant students in New York City. Konneh ccurrently works at the NYC Office of the Mayor’s Ethnic & Community Media.
Leonard Egiogu, a Nigerian-American community organizer, has also been a strong voice for African immigrant political empowerment. He has worked with numerous community groups to promote voter registration and has been a leader in the movement to increase political representation for African immigrants in New York City. Egiogu serves as the NYC African Council liaison.
David Ahmed Coulibaly, a community leader from Côte d’Ivoire, has been at the forefront of efforts to promote economic empowerment and entrepreneurship among African immigrants. He has founded several businesses and organizations to support African immigrant entrepreneurs and has been a vocal advocate for policies that support small businesses and economic growth in African immigrant communities. Coulibaly currently works as the Director of Community Services at the Office of Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson.
These leaders have garnered the support and admiration of many in the African immigrant community, and their political prowess is evident in their ability to mobilize their communities towards political action. As Sheikh Musa Drammeh, a prominent member of the NYC African Council, said, “Knowing how misleading political operatives during campaigns are in New York, we don’t want our people to be misled into supporting any potential candidate other than our mayor. Our mayor is one of us and has recognized this bond longer and better than anybody else.”
“Famod Konneh, Leonard Egiogu, and David Ahmed Coulibaly represent the best of New York City’s diverse and dynamic immigrant communities. They have worked tirelessly to unite their communities and advocate for their needs and interests. I am proud to stand with them and support their efforts to build a more inclusive and equitable city,” Drammeh added.
“We, African immigrants, have brought a unique perspective and energy to New York City, enriching American culture and economy. It is critical that we continue to receive support from fellow New Yorkers and leaders in order to aid us uplift our voices and leadership in our society,” said Dr. Abdoulaye Balde, a pioneering African community leader in the Bronx.
Therefore, by supporting leaders like Konneh, Egiogu, and Coulibaly, New Yorkers can ensure that the voices of African immigrants are heard and their interests are represented in the political process. These leaders have the potential to bring about positive change and empower their communities to achieve their full potential.
In conclusion, the rise of leaders like Konneh, Egiogu, and Coulibaly, and the support of political figures like Mayor Eric Adams, is a positive step towards African immigrant political empowerment in New York City. As late NYC Mayor David Dinkins said, “The hope and optimism of our children are a testament to our commitment to them.” By continuing to fight for political empowerment and unity, African immigrants can pave the way for a brighter future for themselves and future generations.