Liberia Bicentennial Successfully Hosted at CNN Center in the US -Distinguished Personalities Honored, Gowned as Chiefs
MONROVIA – In recognition of the Liberia Bicentennial which highlights the historical role played by African Americans, the American Colonization Society and the United States of America as a whole in the founding of Liberia 200 years ago in 1822 to return and resettle Africans back to Africa after enduring slavery in the United States, the Liberia Economic Development Initiative (LEDI), through the Government of Liberia, under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah, on October 29, 2022 organized the 2022 International Life Changers Awards and Liberia Bicentennial Celebration Gala at the CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia where nine African Americans and one Liberian were honored and gowned as traditional chiefs of Liberia.
According to a LEDI dispatch from the United States, the elaborate ceremony saw Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Bryant, Senior Pastor, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, being named and gowned as Chief Rev. Dr. Jamal Harrison Kai Farley Bryant of Grand Gedeh County; Mrs. Xernona Clayton, Founder and CEO, The Trumpet Awards Foundation, being named and gowned as Chief Xernona Suah Koko Clayton of Bong County; Ms. Dana Lupton; CEO and Co-founder, Moving In the Spirit, being named and gowned as Chief Dr. Tammy Nowah Leemue Gray-Steele of Bong County; and Dr. Tammy Gray-Steele – CEO, National Women in Agriculture Association, being named and gowned as Chief Dr. Tammy Nowah Leemue Gray-Steele Bong County.
Other distinguished personalities who were befittingly honored and gowned as traditional Liberian chiefs due to their manifold contributions not only in the Diaspora but in Africa included Hon. Alicia Blakely Council Member representing Post 2, At-Large, on the Savannah Georgia City Council, who was named and gowned as Honorable Chief Alicia Blakely Suah Koko Blakely Bong County; Hon. Kesha Gibson-Carter Council Member representing Post 1, At-Large, on the Savannah Georgia City Council, named and gowned as Honorable Chief Kesha Nowah Leemue Gibson-Carter of Bong County; Hon. Khalid Kam
au, Mayor, City of South Fulton, State of Georgia, named and gowned as Chief Mayor Khalid Tamba Lamie Taylor Kamau of Lofa County; Hon. Byron Amos, Council Member, Representing District 3 on the Atlanta, Georgia City Council, named and gowned as Chief Hon. Byron Dozen Timblor Amos of Grand Bassa County; Hon. Antonio Lewis, Council Member, Representing District 12 on the Atlanta, Georgia City Council, named and gowned as Chief Hon. Antonio Zwannah Gaynay Lewis of Bomi County; Ms. Erika Y. Mitchell, Board Member, Atlanta Board of Education, named and gowned as Chief Erika Y. Mama Torma Mitchell of Lofa County; and Mr. Phoday Dolleh, Owner, APlus Sports Performance Center, named and gowned as Chief Phoday Nathan G. Page Dolleh of Grand Bassa County.
Over 250 guests attended the event with a significant size of Liberians, where Roland S. Martin, host of the Roland Martin Unfiltered Streaming Show and CEO of the Black Star Network, served as Host and Master of Ceremony of the 2022 International Life Changers Awards and Liberia Bicentennial Celebration Gala.
The Liberia Economic Development Initiative (LEDI) was founded in 2005 in Cleveland, Ohio, the United States of America by Rufus N. Darkortey and his wife Joan Curran Darkortey to help reduce poverty and change lives mostly in Liberia. The flagship project of LEDI for which this event was organized is to give the gift of literacy to Liberia by completing the ongoing modern state-of-the-art library and technology center in Gbarnga, Bong County. The two-story building sits on 1.3 acres of land and costs about US$1.5 million to build. When completed, this library will be the first of its kind to be constructed in the 200 years history of Liberia, LEDI reps stated.
“While we did not raise enough money as we wanted to carry on our library construction project due to the huge cost of hosting the event at the CNN Center, we are grateful that Mama Liberia was successfully celebrated. The event was classic and colorful with the US flag flaunted side by side everywhere with the Liberian flag with the Bicentennial logo. New relationships were built for our country to support tourism, investment, among others. A lasting impression of Liberia was created that induced interest to visit the country.
“Our sincere gratitude to President Weah for his leadership of the country and the Bicentennial. Thanks to you, and everyone for their leadership,” said LEDI in appreciation of what the organization considers a highly successful gathering to celebrate African-Americans and their kins back home.
The organizers also showered praises on Liberia’s Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Ledgerhood J. Rennie, who is also Chairman of the National Bicentennial Steering Committee (NBSC); and Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, for overseeing Liberia’s Bicentennial Gala.
Meanwhile, in the coming weeks, the flag of Liberia will be flown over the City of Savannah, Georgia in support and recognition of the Bicentennial. Additionally, a proclamation will be issued by the City of Savannah to support the Bicentennial.
The State of Georgia, through the Governor’s Office has already issued a proclamation. The Mayor of Atlanta has also accordingly issued a welcoming letter; and the City Council of Atlanta, Georgia issued a proclamation in support of the Bicentennial.
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