Saturday 18th February 2012 marked 47 years since the Republic of The Gambia, homeland to most of the members of the Gambian Youths Organization (GYO) in New York, gained independence from the British in 1965.
As traditionally happens back home, the GYO makes it a point of duty to revitalize the feelings of the community and introduce them to national commemorations. The national day commemoration this year was two pronged - an evening symposium and a night cultural party.
The speakers at the symposium included Gail Watson, an immigration lawyer in the Bronx, Ms Miriam Tabb, the public liaison officer of the Bronx museum, the spokesperson of the Gambian Youths Organization (GYO), and the venerable Imam Momodou Lamin Sillah, the imam of the Gambian community in the Bronx.
Ms Watson talked about how as immigrants we can get access to immigration benefits in three ways: family, employment and human rights. She dilated on them very well, and gave a real food for thought to the audience to regularize their immigration status.
She noted that only getting arrested, and not being inspected at the border on entry to the United States can derail an immigrant’s adjustment of status.
The second speaker was Ms Tabb from the Bronx Museum who talked about women’s issues in America. She challenged the ladies to be proactive, and take their rightful places in the household.
She encouraged the mothers present to empower their daughters to be very serious about their education to avoid being disadvantaged, and the kids in general to stop playing video games and take out there hoods to carve a better future for themselves and their families.
Imam Sillah encouraged the youths to reach out to the elders to bring about greater understanding between them, while commending GYO for supporting the elders, and encouraged them to continue on such a great adventure. He prayed for the success of the masses.
The final speaker was Samba Jawo, the spokesperson of the GYO, who gave a brief summary of the independence of the Gambia highlighting the achievements of the pioneers of the struggle.
He also gave a brief overview on the activities and accomplishments of the organization.
The president of the organization, Momodou Sawaneh, presented awards to people who have been very supportive to the organization.
They included Alasan Tambajang renowned Gambian businessman in the Bronx, Ms Kaddy Darboe, a very supportive sister and the Gambian mission at the United Nations.
The closing remark was delivered by Mr. Omar Koita, the organizing committee chairman, the master of Ceremonies was Ms Fatoumata Baldeh of the organization and the event was covered diligently by Yusupha Njie also of the organization.
Gambian National Anthem and “legay jotna “were sung in the beginning and end of the program, accompanied by the Kora music of Jali Malang Jobarteh.
The festivity was crowned by a night party and the exemplary program witnessed Gambians and our hosts dress in African Attire, danced and merried all night to the lyrics of the music of Gambian born DJ Happiness.
Thanks to the GYO, the Gambians in New York did not miss our Independence Day back home.