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New York’s Mayor-Elect Adams’ Visit To Ghana Hailed

The visit of New York’s mayor-elect Eric Adams to Ghana has drawn concerns for the wrong reasons while the benefits are ignored. Critics argue that the visit is taking place despite concerns over the Omicron variant that was spotted in South Africa.

The criticism follows President Biden’s ban on travel with South Africa and seven other countries in the region. However, travel to Ghana has not been banned, and the West African country has not reported any case of the Omicron variant. Besides, the mayor-elect has pledged to follow the science and public health COVID-19 protocols during his visit. Amid all this, what is forgotten is that the visit would boost ties between Africa and New York, known for its international standing, with the presence of the United Nations in the city.

A “spiritual journey “ by Mr. Adams to his African roots, especially Ghana, is beneficial after winning the election. Ghana was the first African-Black country to attain independence from Britain in 1957 under the leadership of the great Pan- Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah. The country showcases the impact of the slave trade, and the mayor-elect had said that the trip fulfills a promise he made to himself following the 400-year-anniversary of slavery in 2019.

With Ghana depicting both the horror of the slave trade and the need for healing, the country has attracted visits by thousands of people from abroad including former President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It is worthy of note that the mayor-elect “wants to show how far we have come and to remember how far we still have to go.” Hopefully, the old-slave fort at Cape Coast in Ghana with its “Door of No Return” would provide him some lessons.

Many American leaders have visited their ancestral homelands, notably President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1963. Such visits have enhanced ties between those countries and the U.S. So, there is nothing wrong with a Black American leader going to Africa and getting together with the African people.

Yet following Harold Washington’s election as Chicago’s first Black mayor in 1983, the powers behind the scenes thwarted his plan to visit Africa. Washington sent his chief of staff in his place. In return, Chicago hosted a visit of South Africa’s Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1986. Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first Black president, also visited after his release from prison.

Such visits are not only historical but help promote cultural and social ties between people. Mr. Adams’ visit to Ghana could establish a sister city relationship between New York and the Ghanaian capital, Accra. Such a relationship could boost tourism, cultural and business ties for the mutual benefit of the entire people of New York and Ghana. Mr. Adams deserves a pat on the back for a brilliant idea.

Nicholas Okaijah-Thompson heads the Africa Resurrection and Restoration Ministries and is a former director of Project Africa, both based in Chicago. Thompson holds degrees in political science, journalism, and theology and has written for many newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Defender, and the Rock Island Argus.

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