“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

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Pulitzer-prize winning writer Katherine Boo chose these seven words – “Afraid to speak, I learned to write” – to describe herself when she was being introduced at the NY Public Library on Wednesday night. Several writer friends on different occasions mentioned Boo’s book, Beyond the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, which prompted me to finally …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Afraid to Speak, I Learned to Write”

Remembering Rwanda Differently This Time

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Monday April 7 was the 20th anniversary of the start of the genocide in Rwanda in which 800,000 were killed over a period of just 3 months. I was living in NYC then, and I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t recall the start of this terrible event. It was only in retrospect, when it was all over, and a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideRemembering Rwanda Differently This Time

Toni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

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This weekend, I had the wonderful pleasure of attending a launch of the latest issue of Black Renaissance Noire (www.nyubrn.org) an artsy literary journal, which the Institute of African-American Affairs @ NYU puts out three times a year. I’d never heard of Black Renaissance Noire, edited by the esteemed writer and poet Quincy Troupe, until my friend Linda was contacted …

Pamela Brown-PetersideToni Cade Bambara: Paying it Back

My ‘Americanah’ Story

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  My favorite Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is in New York to promote her latest novel, Americanah, which just came out in paperback. Last night she spoke to a packed house at the Tenement Museum (www.tenement.org), today she’ll be a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC and next week she’ll be at the Schomburg in Harlem. That …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy ‘Americanah’ Story

My Irish Mini-Adventure

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Several months ago, before I had any idea I’d have the opportunity to visit Northern Ireland, I went to see the film, Philomena. Though it is ultimately a tragic and sad story, I laughed a lot through it. There were many moments of humor, brought on usually by the culture and socioeconomic clashes between the British Oxbridge-educated journalist Martin Sixsmith …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy Irish Mini-Adventure

My Grandfather’s Final Words

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I never had the chance of knowing my Northern Irish grandfather. He died suddenly from a heart attack at age 74 when I was just 2. At the time, my parents were considering a trip to visit he and Granny which never happened. Granny once told me Grandpa had passed away 2 weeks after their 50th wedding anniversary – she …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMy Grandfather’s Final Words

“The Secret of a Long Marriage is Learning to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ first.”

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Mum had one brother, E, who was 13 years older than her. He married young and she married later in life and the result is that Uncle E’s 5 children, our cousins, (including a pair of identical twin boys, who’re now men), are practically a generation older than me and my siblings. Thus it is that G @ 71 – …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“The Secret of a Long Marriage is Learning to Say ‘I’m Sorry’ first.”

“I didn’t get engaged until I was 76.”

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This trip to Newcastle was quite unexpected and pulled together in just a few days. I’d been wanting to visit Auntie P for some time now, ever since I learned she’d got married for the first time late in life and was now caring for her frail husband. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to get myself to Northern …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“I didn’t get engaged until I was 76.”

“Did I Tell You How I Met Your Granny?”

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This weekend I had the privilege of being in Northern Ireland to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my cousin G (that’s a different post). I was also extremely fortunate to share a few meals with Auntie P and her husband of 10 years, Dr. G. Auntie P, like my mother, is from Northern Ireland, and her mother, like my …

Pamela Brown-Peterside“Did I Tell You How I Met Your Granny?”

The BBC Loses One of its Finest

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Komla Dumor, a Ghanaian broadcaster with the BBC World Service and host of ‘Focus on Africa’ is gone. He died yesterday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 41, leaving a wife, 3 young children, and scores of fans spread across Africa and beyond in shock and disbelief. I am one of those who are reeling. He was …

Pamela Brown-PetersideThe BBC Loses One of its Finest

New Birth, New Life

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This week I had the privilege of visiting a leader of one of our community groups who’s become a friend. In the last several months, she’s taken a hiatus from her group because she’s become the mother of a sweet little girl called Hannah! Hannah is a miracle birth.  Her parents married later in life and had been trying for …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNew Birth, New Life

Transitions

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As a new year begins, I’ve been reflecting on losses I experienced in 2013. Since I’m getting older – this will be my year of Jubilee, where I celebrate a half-century of life (gulp!) – thoughts of one’s mortality and that of others feature more prominently…. Almost a year ago today, a well-loved, justice-minded, 50-something physician, Brian, went for a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideTransitions

Mandela’s Long Walk Comes to an End…

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Six days ago the world learned that Nelson Mandela had finally passed away after a long illness associated with his respiratory situation. Though the news came as something of a shock, I knew he’d been close to death since the summer. Then, purely for sentimental reasons, I’d hoped he’d reach his 95th birthday on July 18th – which he did …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMandela’s Long Walk Comes to an End…

Mandela’s Long Walk

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Tomorrow, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the Weinstein’s film based on Nelson Mandela’s authorized autobiography opens. For the first time, I along with a few hundred others – including a handful of Redeemer leaders – had the opportunity to attend the film’s premiere on Monday night. Among those who made an appearance on the stage before the start of the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideMandela’s Long Walk

Humanizing Work

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This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the Center for Faith and Work’s annual conference, this year entitled ‘Humanizing Work': http://www.faithandwork.org/cfwconference/. The idea was to spend 2 evenings and a full day in between reflecting on the idea of work not as the source of our humanity but as an expression of it. The event was packed full …

Pamela Brown-PetersideHumanizing Work