The Guyana Unity Movement (GUM), a Brooklyn-based non-profit, will welcome First Lady of Guyana, H.E. Sandra Granger and Attorney General Basil Williams, to its first charitable weekend of events, since its massive Unity March on Church Avenue in 2015 to bring Guyanese together.
During a May 11, exclusive interview with Caribbean Life at The Hills Lounge on Church Avenue, Sherif Barker Fraser, president, and members of GUM made it clear that its events are in keeping with the organization’s commitment to foster growth and development within Guyana, and the betterment of Guyanese irrespective of their residence.
To this end, this initiative will include a Unity and Soul Gala at Antun’s Banquet Hall, in Queens, on June 9, a Meet and Greet with special guests First Lady Sandra Granger and AG Basil Williams at Crystal Manor in Brooklyn, and a Family Fun Day, on June 11 at Thomas Jefferson High School Football Field in Brooklyn. Part proceeds of these events will go towards various charities in Guyana.
Fraser said the events coincide with the organization’s vision to provide a mechanism, through which Guyanese can voluntary aid their communities, and people through programs and services culturally unique to their needs.
Doris Rodney, an entrepreneur, and Fraser who grew up together in the small village of Soesdyke in Guyana, felt it is important to keep giving back to their homeland after the success of the Unity Rally, their brainchild, that attracted about 14000 attendees, and according to Fraser, was an ‘awe moment.”
“We appreciate and are thankful to the many persons who helped to make the march a success, but we were responsible for planning the historic movement that we created,” said Fraser, adding that after executive, Ervin Washington joined the team, they unveiled a committee that now has 36 members to carry out the group’s mission.
“Members are here because they are making sacrifices so events are successful. We planned our events after Guyana’s 51st Independence commemoration, to give Guyanese an opportunity to attend other festivities surrounding the celebration,” said Fraser who noted that the organization reached out to Granger to include her in their vision, in keeping with her charitable initiatives.
“We are looking to partner with these charities to improve on their goals, while assisting them with whatever their needs and based on our past charitable community outreach,” said Fraser. She who hopes to launch a youth arm of the organization in the future since GUM wants to include youngsters in Guyana and the diaspora in their programs.
Rodney’s upbringing was not easy, that is why she is compelled to give back since becoming a successful businesswoman. One of her desires is to open a shelter for battered women in Guyana. “I believe in giving, if it’s done from your heart,” she added.
Founding member, Eric Joseph easing the confusion in the community, by emphasizing that GUM is not a part of Guyana’s 51st Independence commemoration, but instead, a celebration weekend to support several charities.
“This is why we are here. These events are to showcase our 2017 initiative,” he said
“I like Sherif’s leadership. It is about time we start our program of unity to show others that we can come together and carry out those goals,” said member Karen Gray.
The designated 501C(3) tax-exempt organization will continue to accept membership, but its strict rules would apply to applicants, who will actively participate for the organization’s progress.
Charities such as the Sonia Noel Foundation (David Rose School for Special Needs) the Linden Dream Team, Prevention of Teenage Suicide, Guyana Cancer Foundation, GUYDA have all expressed interest in receiving help from GUM.
Fly Jamaica, Caribbean Power Jam, Honest Illusions, DIVIN Wear, and TravelSpan are sponsors of the events.
Board of directors include: Ervin Washington, VP; Doris Rodney, second VP; Stanley Harmon, treasurer; Kevin Charles, assistant treasurer, Lesley Grant, secretary; and Burgette Williams-Forde, sergeant at arms.
To learn more, go to www.guyan