#PositiveControversy: Whose Uptown is it? A Conversation with Pastor Mike Walrond (Episode 5)

Do you remember the time you were so floored and excited about the idea hope? I bet it was November 4, 2008…sometime around 10:00 p.m. EST. But within a few months, the Wall Street collapse would burst that bubble and take away the splendorous notion of the kind of change an ultimate Black leader could achieve.

Since 2009, leadership in every community across the country has been a struggle of culpability and rebuilding. It seems that within a year, the American Dream saw its last stand, and the struggles of unemployment, education and health are among a laundry list of challenges that tug at the american heart.

Upper Manhattan is an enclave of New York City where people from different ethnic, language and class backgrounds confront the questionable ideal of the American Dream. Here, in this microcosm of today’s United States, many are wondering how hope can still exist.

This week, I pursue the controversy of a changing America in conversation with Pastor Mike Walrond, leader of one of Harlem’s largest and fastest growing churches, First Corinthian Baptist Church. He is running for New York’s 13th Congressional District. A newcomer to politics, his grassroots campaign is inspiring many to believe even a little bit harder.

Pastor Walrond is running for more than a seat, he running for a legacy. Only two congressman, Charles Rangel and civil rights icon Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., have held the seat for which Walrond is running. In fact, Congressman Rangel has held office for over 40 years. In that time, the community has changed drastically into a diverse, and at times, competing population. As many wonder when Congressman Rangel will move aside for fresh leadership, I sat down for a one-on-one with the a man who believes his time is now.

Given my support of Pastor Mike Walrond, I hope you enjoy the episode. We hope to see you on social media to join us in challenging the conversation on what communities need now using #PositiveControversy.

Thank you for your ongoing support of The Positive Controversy!

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