NYC First Lady Launches “All Faces All Races”; Town Hall Discusses Challenges To Reform And Role Of Black Immigrants


Shown far right is T.J. Holmes, and, from left to right: Rev. Bernard, Joy-Ann Reid and Bertha Lewis

The Black Institute, in partnership with the Christian Cultural Center (CCC), hosted a town hall forum to discuss the key obstacles towards immigration reform and the role of Black Immigrants in American society, on Wednesday evening.

The forum featured special guest New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray.

The moderator was T.J. Holmes, Award-Winning Journalist.

The co-host was Bertha Lewis, President and Founder of The Black Institute. Panelists and speakers were: Pastor A.R. Bernard, Sr., Founder, Senior Pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center (CCC), Pras Michel, Artist, Film and Music Producer, Formerly of The Fugees, Marcia L. Dyson, President of M&M Dyson, LLC, Joy-Ann Reid, Managing Editor, of The Grio and MSNBC Contributor, Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, and Bishop Orlando Findlayter, CUSH/New Hope Christian Fellowship.

“Immigrants are the foundation of our beloved city and great nation,” Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City said. “We bring energy and renewal with our mosaic backgrounds, cultures, traditions and ideas; it is that continuous sharing that makes our country so strong. Tonight’s forum was a tremendous opportunity for us to celebrate our heritage, and discuss progressive efforts to achieve true immigration reform.”

“Tonight we gather, yet again, to discuss the lack of immigration reform in this country,” Bertha Lewis, President and Founder of the Black Institute, said. “Everyday, new immigrants come to these shores to chase the American Dream, bringing with them their unique cultural identity and yet our politicians still maintain policies that shut them out. There are millions of Black immigrants around this country trying to pursue a better life that are sick of all the posturing in Washington. TBI is committed to working with immigrant communities of all cultural backgrounds, empowering them so that they may realize their rights as Americans and work towards changing immigration policy. We need truly comprehensive immigration reform now.”

“The issue of immigration is not just a social or political issue,” Pastor A.R. Bernard, Sr., Founder, Senior Pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center said.

“It’s an issue of fairness and economics. We can only benefit from sharing freedom with those that wish to positively contribute to our society. Comprehensive Immigration reform is something that many people on both sides of the aisle agree is necessary and I want to play my part in pushing the conversation forward- especially because of my own personal story of how my mother and I migrated to the United States,” he added.

“The conversation tonight that brought together immigrants of all backgrounds was truly inspirational,” Bishop Orlando Findlayter of the CUSH/New Hope Christian Fellowship, added. “All immigrants seek a life better than their current one, one which is dominated by hurtful immigration policies. As a country, we must come together and work towards substantive reform, which will benefit all Americans and help make this a better society.”

Throughout the evening, panelists engaged in a stimulating debate on the problems of current immigration policies, educating Black immigrants on their ancestry and the current efforts towards achieving comprehensive immigration reform. The Black Institute unveiled their newest initiative, the G Project; with the goals of identifying Black Immigrants and building a strong immigrant rights movement that is inclusive for all races and ethnicities.

The Black Institute’s Generation Project — or “The G Project” — is an innovative public awareness campaign that focuses entirely on Black Immigrants and the contributions that they have made to this country.

The G Project is different from other grassroots efforts centered on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) and Black Immigration because instead of focusing on the perceived ills of immigration, and the supposed divide that it has created in the Black Community, it focuses on the positive aspects of immigration – success and achievement in an effort to help galvanize support for CIR and Black Immigration.

For more information about The Black Institute please visit

Address: 39 Broadway Suite 1740 New York, NY 10006 Phone: (212) 239-7323


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