August is closing fast and in grand style: national elected officials are dashing from one event to the next, the Sullivan 5K run completes its 31st season, Sen. Ed Brooke was remembered with a scholarship fundraiser, the Soul Cup basketball exhibit at the new Vineyard museum held a conversation about friendship and life lessons learned from playing Naismith’s game, and 400 attended a vibrant conversation on voter suppression at Union Chapel. All of this and more occurred as sun down is coming much faster and the humidity has surrendered to the cool evenings of late August.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley headlined a panel at Union Chapel focusing on the broad range of impediments that limit college students, women, people of color and immigrants from voting. She later dashed off to the home of Bennie and Flash Wiley for a fundraiser in her first return as an elected congressional official. She began coming to the Vineyard three years ago when she served on the Boston City Council. Joining her was first timer Lydia Edwards, who currently represents East Boston, Charlestown and the North End on the Boston City Council. Who knows what the Vineyard waters might have in store for her! Joyce Ferriabough Bolling, political and communications consultant to many, was also on hand as part of the host committee for the event.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, from Oakland, Calif., shared with over 50 people her experiences with our Sen. Ed Brooke when she served as an assistant to former Congressman Ron Dellums, before she succeed him in Congress. Former Brooke staffers Vivian Beard and Michelle Stent, along with regional HUD general counsel Miniyard Culpepper, organized the fundraiser to provide scholarships to young men that are college bound. Former students and administrators from the enormously successful Edward Brooke Charter Schools in Boston were on hand to pay tribute to the prince of Martha’s Vineyard and Senate giant.

Harthaven’s Tiffany Hall was part of the host committee for a fundraiser that presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris held at Spike Lee’s Oak Bluffs cottage. Harris has several events last week and reportedly left the island with over a million dollars for his fall campaign stretch.

Boston University hosted alumni and friends at Farm Neck last week, featuring Prof. Saida Grundy, television personality Karen Holmes Ward, and lawyer, author and Rhodes scholar Herve Gouraige. Herve and his wife Carla are also celebrating daughter Sophia’s recent engagement. Wedding bells will be ringing in 2020. Dean Kenn Elmore and Katherine Kennedy have come to the Vineyard two years in a row to publicize the $18 million dollar Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground now under construction on the university campus. Dr. Esther Hopkins, her son Ewell Hopkins and author Tom Dresser were among the many enjoying the reception.

L. Duane Jackson, Phil Hart, Flash Wiley and I were introduced at the Vineyard museum by the real Mayor of Oak Bluffs, Skip Finley, about the twenty years of basketball that we played on the Vineyard, mostly at the Tisbury School on William street. These friends for over forty years, urban enthusiasts but also Vineyard-rooted and fierce basketball competitors, all spoke about their shared values on the court and their success as professionals and family men.

Dr. Lou and Ginger Sullivan organized their 31st Sullivan 5K race around East Chop, supporting the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. While many local hospitals have closed or limited their service areas, our hospital, thanks to the efforts by people like the Sullivans, continues to thrive. More than 300 participants ran, crawled or walked the August 24 race. The Sullivans have passed the baton to the hospital, as all future runs will be organized by the hospital. Lou and Ginger deserve significant praise and applause!

Paradise on earth is the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it, as life is fleeting!

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