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

A Treat, a Tweet & a Highlight

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Saturday: On account of the blizzard pummeling the east coast of the US, the city which never sleeps has ground to a standstill — and that includes Broadway. Yes, all matinees and evening performances were cancelled earlier today. The hope is that by tomorrow afternoon, the storm will have blown away, and the city will re-awaken, the subways and buses …

Pamela Brown-PetersideA Treat, a Tweet & a Highlight

Look for the Signs

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January 6th, is called the Day of Epiphany in the Christian calendar. It is marked by the visit of the magi in search of the baby Jesus. Matthew tells us that magi came from the east to Jerusalem looking for the king of the Jews. They had seen his star and had come to worship him. The star was a …

Pamela Brown-PetersideLook for the Signs

Encountering Europe

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This summer, I listened to a number of disturbing stories on the BBC about migrants, many of them African, undertaking horrific journeys filled with risk and terror. If they get far enough, their efforts usually culminate in a Mediterranean crossing, the result of a desperate attempt to reach Europe. Many are fleeing war-torn lives and economic hardship or both with …

Pamela Brown-PetersideEncountering Europe

Surviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

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I continue to find myself gripped by the events surrounding the Ebola outbreak that continues to devastate Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. As 2015 begins, there are now 20,000 reported cases and 8,000 deaths – and counting. I also keep reflecting on how thankful I am that the disease was successfully contained (at least so far) in Nigeria, Africa’s most …

Pamela Brown-PetersideSurviving Ebola: One Nigerian Doctor’s Terrifying Experience

Nigeria’s Successful Response to Ebola

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Described as a “spectacular success story,” the World Health Organization declared Nigeria to be Ebola free on Monday October 20, three months after the disease arrived in Lagos, a vast city of 21 million. It was the first time Ebola had been contained in an urban context. Four days later, New York City confirmed its first case of Ebola. Ebola …

Pamela Brown-PetersideNigeria’s Successful Response to Ebola

Hazards of Travel in Mid-2014

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I just returned from a very full 3 weeks of road and air travel that took me to London, Uganda and Kenya. Yesterday as I was about to enter my apartment building in New York with my luggage, a neighbor who held the door open for me seemed relieved to see me. I recognized her but don’t know her personally. …

Pamela Brown-PetersideHazards of Travel in Mid-2014

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”

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.”