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New York City Multicultural Festival: Emir of Argungu honours community leader in Harlem


(Left-Right) The President and Founder of New York African Chorus Ensemble, Chief Joyce Adewumi, Amb. Mohammed Maidugu of Consulate General of Nigeria in New York and Willie Walker, an awardee with other dignitaries at the 13th Annual New York City Multicultural Festival
Willie Walker, a Community Leader addressing the 13th Annual New York City Multicultural Festival at Harlem.
Batala New York, a Brazilian-African troupe performing at the 13th Annual New York City Multicultural Festival at Harlem, organised by the New York African Chorus Ensemble (NYACE).

By Cecilia Ologunagba

New York, June 26, 2022

A Nigerian traditional ruler, Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, has honoured a respected community leader, Willie Walker, with the Community Hero Lifetime Achievement award in Harlem, New York, United States of America (USA).

The award, donated by Mera to the New York African Chorus Ensemble (NYACE), was presented to Walker at the 13th Annual New York City Multicultural Festival.

NYACE is an award-winning non-profit organisation based in New York City, founded by Chief Joyce Adewumi, a Nigerian American, and an accomplished singer, choreographer, scholar and educator.

The mission of the organisation is to preserve native African art forms, provide easy access to the viewing and learning of African music, and provide forums for the exchange of ideas.

The members of NYACE represent a rich breadth of racial and ethnic diversity with performers from the Americas, Asia, Haiti, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Presenting the award on behalf of the Emir of Argungu, Amb. Mohammed Maidugu of the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York, lauded the dedication of Walker to his community.

“On behalf of the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York and NYACE, I’m here to present an award donated by the Emir to you.

“This is in recognition of your contributions to humanity, education and other fields of endeavour,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Adriano Espaillat, Member of Congress, 13th District, New York, acknowledged the commitment of the awardee.

“We are here to honour someone who has given his whole life to his community. He does it with actions and with his whole heart.

Espaillat said he had a proclamation from the U.S. Congress to also recognise the contributions of Walker on the floor of the U.S. Congress for his outstanding commitment to the community of Harlem.

Responding, Walker commended Chief Joyce Adewumi for her commitment, and the Committee for organising the Multicultural Festival annually.

“The festival brings the community happily together. It brings different cultures together.

“In New York city, we must learn how to get along. We hear people talk about gun violence, it’s not enough to say, ‘if you see something, say something.’

“We have to say: ‘if you see something, do something.’ That is when whatever you have seen will not happen,’’ he said.

The festival featured diverse cultural presentations, including live performances by culturally diverse New York City artistes, international food and retail vendors, New York Police Department (NYPD) and rock-climbing wall, among others.

The festival was hosted in partnership with NYPD, Manhattan Borough President, Mark Levine, Assemblyman Al Taylor, Voza Rivers and New Heritage Theater Group, Saint James Presbyterian Church and Clean Money Music.

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