August 27, 2003
Saying that Liberia is a divided nation from the "disaster"
of the 14-year Liberian civil war, the President of the Staten Island Liberian
Community Association SILCA, has called for unity amongst Liberian and vowed,
"we will rise again" as a nation.
George Curtis, President of the largest Liberian community in the United States spoke Sunday at the predominant Liberian Christ Assembly Lutheran Church in Staten Island during induction ceremony for the newly elected officers of SILCA. There are about 5, 000 Liberians in Staten Island.
Guest speaker Aurelia Curtis, a sister-in-law of George Curtis, called on Liberians everywhere to do away with class inequities of the past that Liberia is a nation of two groups: the minority ruling congo/americo Liberians and the majority indigenous African Liberians or "country people". She then asked: Can this glorious land of liberty be ours, a reference to Liberia's national anthem, and noted, because "we are all in this boat together."
Liberia's civil war has killed over 200,000 people; ruined the economy and left Liberians without electricity and safe drinking water.
Victory Bank of New York Vice President Joseph Maddory, a native of Staten Island told the new SILCA officers to adhere to the popular reframe of "together we aspire, together we achieve."
The Acting President of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, ULAA, the parent organization under which SILCA falls, Roberta Rashid told Liberians that her organization has negotiated with the US State Department for the right to ship free of charge humanitarian and relief supplies to the war-weary people in Liberia. She also noted that FedEx, the giant shipping company would help take relief supplies to Liberia.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a letter to SILCA,
praised the organization for "working to enhance the quality of life
in New York City and around the world." The Mayor noted that SILCA is
an "unwavering source of support for Liberian Americans" and is
"dedicated to strengthening and addressing the needs and concerns of
The other SILCA officers who were elected to a two-year term are: Bernice Momo, Vice President; Miatta Teasley, Secretary; Tonia Jaipur, Treasurer, and Comfort Parker, Chaplain.
SILCA Board of Directors members are: Vamba Fofana, Chairman; Walters Weah, Rufus Arkoi, Emmanuel Saingbe, Larry Morris, James Jaddah and Jerry Wion.
Some invited guests were: Staten Island Assistant District Attorney, David Lehr; NAACP local chapter President Edward Josey; Liberian Consul-General in New York City Dorsey Handsford, and David Kpamokpor, a former Head of State of the Liberian National Transition government in the 1990s.