*Thanks to a call from Our Author’s Study Club, the local branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, EURweb was invited to attend a small gathering of dignitaries and city officials to hear Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield earlier in the month as she addressed the state of Africa during her visit to Los Angeles. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is the Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs for the U. S. Department of State.
The Museum of African American Art (MAAA) hosted the event that drew an audience with standing room only. A warm welcome by MAAA President Berlinda Fontenot-Jamerson was followed by a spirited intro from Diane Henry, Co-Chair of the LA African Diaspora Ad Hoc Committee, Commissioner Mike R. Davis and Jan Perry, General Manager of Economic & Workforce Development Department for the city of LA. Then the ambassador took the floor.
Among her duties she has overseen a staff of 400 people on three continents. Ambassador Thomas Greenfield admitted to a day that starts at 4:30am where her first task is to check her devices for what has occurred in Africa during the night.
She kindly reminds the crowd that it is not all bad news, but acknowledges that sometimes it is and in those instances she asks conscientious African Americans and all Americans to care. She makes a passionate plea: “The first thing I need you to do is to care. I need you to care about Africa. Care about it as though it were your own family, your own people.” Her call of the heart is because she acknowledges a kinsmanship with Africa and charges that it is the caring that breeds a call to action. The action items include calling or writing your local representatives about the state of Africa. The questions that should be asked are: “What are we doing about Africa and what pending legislation can I support that will help Africa?” As President Obama’s advisor on Africa, she assures the general public that the White House is indeed concerned about Africa and is committed to making more citizens aware of what they can do that will further help the cause.
The ambassador also encourages educators and members of the community to inform young people about the vast career opportunities that are available as Foreign Service representatives. Thomas-Greenfield was the recipient of the Warren Christopher Award in 2000 for Outstanding Service in Global Affairs. Dominique DiPrima of Los Angeles’ KJLH 102.3’s public affairs program The Front Page was moderator. For more on Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield visit www.state.gov