Letting Go

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Twenty years ago today, I received a Ph.D in sociomedical sciences, a branch of public health. It was my greatest accomplishment to date and something I’d dreamed of achieving for years, a desire that began while I was still an undergraduate. It was also the hardest goal I’d ever set for myself — by far. It took 7 long, painful, …

Pamela Brown-PetersideLetting Go

So Long New York…

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I flew into JFK 26 years ago this month from London with 2 suitcases. Tonight I fly out of JFK and back to London. I take another 2 suitcases (+ 22 boxes that are on a ship somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic). I leave behind a varied and rich tapestry of friends and neighbors. Incredibly, some of these …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSo Long New York…

Sacred Selma

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This past weekend, I had the privilege of visiting Selma. I’d seen the film and mulled over some of its history but wasn’t sure quite what to expect. My friend Linda and I traveled there by Greyhound from Montgomery in a white shuttle bus. Besides the female driver, there were only two other passengers (also women) with us. Apparently the …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSacred Selma

A Long View

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(First posted to my blog on April 7, 2016.) On Tuesday night, I had the honor of attending the annual benefit in New York for the Equal Justice Initiative, EJI.orgĀ  with friends from work. Based in Montgomery, AL with offices that occupy a former warehouse for slaves, EJI exists to fight for people wrongly accused and serving life sentences (including …

Pamela Brown-PetersideA Long View

Remembering…

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(First posted to my blog on April 4, 2016.) The first week of April… On this day (4/4) in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, shot on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis. (On this day in 1959, my parents, Gally Brown-Peterside & Elizabeth James were married in a registry office in South London.) On April 7, …

Pamela Brown-PetersideRemembering…

Familiar, Funny & Fantastic

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(First posted on my blog on March 4, 2016.) It may be the first time that 10 black female actors are appearing on Broadway (Eclipsed @ the Golden Theatre on 45th) or off-Broadway (Familiar @ Playwrights Horizons on 42nd) at the same time in the space of 3 blocks. We have the award-winning Zimbabwean American actor (The Walking Dead) and …

Pamela Brown-PetersideFamiliar, Funny & Fantastic

What’s in a Name?

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(First posted to my blog on Feb 13, 2016.) For someone with a Nigerian father, I have an unusual surname. Not only is my family name unAfrican and all together British but it’s also hyphenated. Hyphenated names, somewhat unusual in the U.S., are usually formed from the surnames of both parents. From time to time, people who know my background …

Pamela Brown-PetersideWhat’s in a Name?

Remembering Arthur Ashe

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(First published on my blog on Feb 6, 2016). Arthur Ashe died 23 years ago today at the age of 49. If he were still alive, he’d be 72. The cause of death was pneumonia, an opportunistic infection his immune system developed, ravaged by the HIV virus. He received HIV from a blood transfusion that he was given during heart …

Pamela Brown-PetersideRemembering Arthur Ashe

Nigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

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The details came out in pieces. First I learned that a young woman in an elite public high school in Manhattan had taken her life. She was a junior (15 or 16 perhaps?) and the inciting incident appeared to have been that a teacher caught her cheating on an exam. The press had vilified the teacher, publishing both her name …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigerians Don’t Get Depressed…oh really?

How I Wish My Father Were(n’t) Alive

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A week ago today in Jos, at a gathering where people were watching the Champion’s League Final, a hotly contested soccer match between Real Madrid and Club Atletico de Madrid, another bomb went off. This time only 3 people were killed. Tragic, but fortunately the loss of life wasn’t significantly greater. It was the third bomb in Jos in a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideHow I Wish My Father Were(n’t) Alive

“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”

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.”