barbara-jordan-tettey-tsuru_web.jpgMIAMI GARDENS — Two Miami-Dade County commissioners may now add the title “Queen Mother” to their titles, a sign of respect issued to them by African royalty.

On May 23, commissioners Audrey M. Edmonson and Barbara Jordan were each crowned “Queen Mother” by His Majesty King Tettey Tsuru III of Accra, Ghana.
Both women took part in the traditional ceremony at a Ghanaian festival at Florida Memorial University.

The title is given to Ghanaian women who are recognized for determining and addressing the needs of their constituents. The commissioners participated in the authentic Ghanaian ceremony, where they received the traditional armament worn by women of the Ga Tribe.

“I am committed to encouraging economic and cultural ties as well as the development of the continent,” Edmonson said in a written statement.  “My interest in Africa stems from my belief that we are all connected — we are one people, with common ancestry and heritage.”

The Back Bone Cultural Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting knowledge of African culture, sponsored the Ghanaian Festival to increase awareness of African culture, and to bring reconciliation between Africans and Americans of African descent.

“I’ve been very involved in the African and Ghanaian community for some time,” Jordan told the South Florida Times. “I have an employee who is from Nigeria and there have been a number of meetings in my community to talk about the different issues…as it relates to women and trying to do something to help children. I’m grateful that they recognized my contributions here in Miami-Dade County.”

In 2007, Edmonson was appointed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez as the honorary chairperson to the City of Cape Town, South Africa for the Miami-Dade County “Sister Cities Program.” The 29-year-old program is administered by the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium (ITC). According to the Miami-Dade Countywebsite, the ITC “promotes citizen diplomacy, international cultural understanding, and trade and commerce by receiving foreign missions, by leading missions to partner communities abroad, and by developing local projects that foster interest in world affairs.”

Jordan said her office hosted the Ghanaian king in 2008, during which time they “were able to discuss common issues.”

During the king’s 2008 visit, he was able to establish relationships with Miami- Dade’s airport and seaport in efforts to facilitate trade, Jordan said.

“One of the things that we had been looking for is that we recognize the historical contributions of the African community,” Jordan added. “What is important to me is to try and facilitate a relationship that would also further women’s rights in Ghana.”

The commissioner, whose district covers a significant portion of  Miami Gardens, said she would like to share some of the county’s possessions with Ghanaians.  ­­

“We seldom recognize how wealthy, even though we’re going through a critical time here, how wealthy we are as compared to other countries,” Jordan said. “When you look at our libraries and the books that each year we extract from the libraries to replace with new books, perhaps we can take those books and send them to Ghana let them be used by the children.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEXIS SNYDER. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, left, says South Floridians should share their wealth with people in Ghana.