Voice of Mandingo
Hon. Hassan Sheriff of PA
ONYMA State of Affairs
My fellow ONYMANS and members of the larger Mandingo Community, I bring you heartfelt greetings and best wishes from the officials of our beloved ONYMA.
Two years ago, after a thorough review by the Abrahim Kromah led Board of Felmausa, we were certificated and officially inducted as a member of Felmausa
Onyma President Konneh
A process that made many of us feel outraged and somewhat disenfranchised. However, we were able to overcome those feelings and be contented due to the legitimacy and transparency of the process. Today, we (ONYMA) are honored to be a part of that history. We are honored not just for our role in the making of history, but the sense of renewed spirit and hopes that it gives to our ONYMA community. For the first time since the establishment of FELMAUSA, ONYMA will exercise its political rights and once again, gain it rightful place in the Mandingo community.
The year 2010 was an extraordinary year; a year of tremendous accomplishments as well as challenges. At times, with very little reflection we inadvertently allowed our emotions to take control yet we never lost sight of the truth that has bound us together. Occasionally, we allow our inordinate desires and animalistic passion to compromise our sensibility. As human-beings, well, we were created with our inherent flaws, and this often means our actions are fraught with imperfections. But what is more important is our collective attempts to engage one another as we work for the common good of our community; how we interact and support one another.
2010 was our first year of operation following our transition from a soccer team to a functioning organization. In 2010, we organized many events reflecting the essence and aspiration of our community. As a young institution, we earmarked ambitious but short term projects. Projects that are essential to the survival and the continuity of ONYMA as a unique organization. To enlighten our reading audiences, I beg your indulgence to share our success story. It is our hope that this will help assuage any lingering doubt about our success as an institution, and perhaps serve as a tool for recruitment in the future.
In 2010, we successfully launched our website and Facebook page, which by all account have become the epicenter for the dissmination of information, not just for our community, but the larger Mandingo community. Our Facebook page has a remarkable record of 385 reviews a day. Honored as a chapter member of Felmausa, we participated not only in its elaborate National Convention, but also in the constitutional referendum in which our representation made an indelible impression on some of the Review committee’s members. We hosted two successful events that grossed $5,000 on return. We held a fund raising rally for Mr. Alie Syllah, Founder and Executive Director of Solomanie Syllah's Public Library in Monrovia, where we generated about $4,000 for his library initiative (something that has never been done before by any Mandingo organization). We initiated an effort in assisting more than 100 community members in applying for the 2012 Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
As a quasi-service oriented institution, we engaged in outreach and support to our membership through weddings, births and few unfortunate tragedies. As an organization deeply rooted in the spirit of Sport, we had several soccer encounters with our sister organizations MENDE and LIMAP as well as other non-Mandingo clubs. We participated in the Bronx Borough President Soccer Tournament held in July where we came in second to the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. We were awarded the trophy for the second place by the Borough President Hon. Ruben Diaz Jr. In the summer of the same year, we held a picnic which was attended by more than 500 people nationwide. We facilitated peacemaking initiatives amongst broken families and restored civility and harmony. Most importantly, we saw a surge in our membership capacity not just in numbers but in the quality of individuals who have demonstrated capacity for an integrity that can only be characterized as responsible, compassionate, dedicated and honest.
Despite all our accoplishments, it would be disingenuous on our part if we failed to mention our challenges. As a unique organization, the transition from a soccer driven establishment to a quasi- political institution was a little challenging. Our attempt to unite all Mandingoes within the boundary of New York fell short of expectations. We did not succeed in adopting our constitution at our December meeting, however, we plan to remedy this failure at our next general meeting. We did not participate or interact with non-Mandingo organizations within the State as expected. Additionally and most unfortunately, we witnessed an incredible era of dissent in the political establishment of Felmausa that held the federation stagnant. The same institution that has made significant progress in transforming our people into a vibrant political and social force.
We see Felmausa as a beacon of hope for the Mandingo people. An institution that will serve as a fountain for future political representation through the brilliant minds in our community. The energy exhibited by our people during the 2009 campaign season was a manifestation of that vision. The issues that were discussed by the various chapters, at our work places, our neighborhoods and respective homes, have all stimulated, nourished and enhanced our political and social lives.
As a chapter of FELMAUSA, we have encouraged similar dialogue and it is our hope to continue. From a point of personal privilege, I want to pay special tribute to Felmausa’s Leaders; the president Hon. Mohammed Dukuly for his courage and the Chairman of the Board, Hon. Abrahim Kromah for the experience and vitality he has brought to this institution. I want to thank Mr. Richmond Konneh for his leadership that helped our community to visualize the possibilities and the extent that Felmausa can reach. Many have preferred to sit on the sideline and be critical (which is the easiest thing to do), but they have endured the avalanche of dissent and deliver this organization to a promised land. It is in my opinion that they have all helped to elevate this organization to a state of recognition and success. There is no need to hit the reset button, let's make progress!
Finally, as we strive to move our community forward through the preservation of our values and diversity, we must remember that there will be many challenges. Challenges that if not handled with due diligence, may undermine our progress. As a way forward, I strongly exhort us all to champion the strength rather than the weakness of one another, because we all flawed. To believe you have no faults, is perhaps the worst fault of all. The wise man's tongue is a shield, not a sword.
Therefore, I ask God to give us leaders who will guide us and help prevent such a dilemma from befalling our community. I ask the Almighty to give our leaders the wisdom to lead us with humility, and give them the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity and the strength to lead us in the face of adversity; for these are the hallmarks of a good leader. Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at time of challenge and controversy”.
Long live ONYMA, long live Felmausa and May Allah bless the work of our hands, Ameena. Thank you.