The Forward Ever Podcast

African immigrants have been vital in shaping New York City economically, socially, and civically. Yet their contributions as community leaders and change-makers often go unrecognized. Forward Ever, a new podcast hosted by African Communities Together (ACT), raises their visibility and celebrates, through personal stories and sometimes profound reflections, the experiences and contributions of New York’s diverse immigrant diaspora: women and men from different regions of the Continent creating positive change in every borough.

The first set of episodes introduces listeners to 12 leaders of our community. Interviewees tell of different circumstances that drew them to New York, obstacles they overcame, the warm sense of belonging they gain from supporting other immigrants, especially others from Africa, and their work to organize and move forward their community, holding the United States accountable to the rights of all immigrants, despite systemic barriers of inequality and racism.

The “Forward Ever Podcast” is named for the famous words by Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah, “Forward Ever, Backward Never!” This proclamation has not only inspired pan-African movements across the world but is also how we close every membership meeting at African Communities Together. They remind us that there is always work to be done and that we will always set our sights on the brilliant future before us.
 

 

Episode 1: Audu Kadiri (Nigeria) Youtube

Episode 1 features Audu Kadiri, a Nigerian immigrant and dedicated community organizer with African Communities Together. Kadiri describes his work helping at-risk and marginalized populations in Nigeria, (in particular, members of the LGBTQIA community), the circumstances surrounding his migration to the US, importance of family, and the crucial work he’s done with African Communities Together and other advocacy organizations since arriving in New York in 2014. “Every challenge is an opportunity to make a change,” he says. This interview was conducted during Spring 2021 by Adara Rosenbaum, a Barnard senior originally from the United States. 

Episode 2: Dinsiri Fikru (Ethiopia)Youtube

Episode 2 features Dinsiri Fikru, an employee of the New York State Housing Department, ACT Community Guardian, and strong advocate for Ethiopian immigrants in New York. She walks us through her childhood in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, growing up in America from the age of 12 with friends from many different cultures, and contributing to New York City, ACT, and the Ethiopian Community Mutual Assistance Association (ECMAA). This interview was conducted during Spring 2021 by Connie Cai, a Barnard senior originally from St. Maarten and China. 

Episode 3: Anonymous (Nigeria) Youtube

Episode 3 features a member of our community who prefers to remain anonymous. They discuss their early life in Nigeria and identity as a member of the LGBTQ community who ultimately sought asylum in the US, as well as their journey to New York City and activism throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to improve the well-being of all New Yorkers. This interview was conducted during Spring 2021 by Crystal Foretia, a Barnard sophomore originally from Cameroon and the United States. 

Episode 4: Mr. & Mrs. Agyemang (Ghana) Youtube

Episode 4 features Mr. and Mrs. Agyemang, husband and wife originally from Ghana who migrated to New York City in 1970. They reflect on the importance of family and church while growing up in Ghana, share stories of raising their family and founding the Ghanaian Presbyterian Reform Church in New York, and express their hopes for the future. This interview was conducted during Spring 2021 by Ayomide Tikare, a Barnard College sophomore originally from Nigeria. 

Episode 5: Deacon Solomon Kibriye (Ethiopia) Youtube

 

Episode 5 features Deacon Solomon Kibriye, an Ethiopian immigrant and religious leader. He shares his experience of having to flee Ethiopia as a child in 1985, creating a life of community in New York City, his growing involvement in the church, and how his love for history has influenced his current projects. This interview was conducted in Spring 2021 by Amrita Khan, a Barnard junior originally from Guyana and the United States.
 

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Music: "Fatima" by Yacouba Sissoko from his 2017 album Siya. Voiceover: Yatta Kiazolu, ACT Staff member.

Support for Forward Ever is generously provided by Barnard College History Professor Abosede George and the students of her Spring 2021 class “African Communities in New York, 1900 to Present,” with thanks as well to Barnard Engages New York: Collaborative Partnerships to Promote Sustainable Change (or beNY for short), a Barnard initiative that combines curriculum with public engagement, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. To learn more about beNY, visit their website. Dr. George’s course, “African Communities in New York, 1900 to Present,” explores the history of voluntary migrations from Africa to the United States over the 20th and early 21st centuries.

 

Join us to raise a powerful new African voice for progress!