Black Lives Matter is not just a cliché, a modern “Black Power” movement or a couple of organizations formed to advocate on behalf of Black people in America.  This stand-alone statement is a declaration of the power, the impact, and the resilience of a people who have sojourned slavery, Jim Crow, and multiple layers of discrimination and brutality, and have yet endured.

Today, the political, economic, and social landscape for Black Americans has shifted, and gone are the years when every now and then a Black person makes history.  Way back in 1975 when President Gerald Ford became the first U.S. president to officially recognize Black History Month, he commented that Black Americans were making great strides and are being fully integrated into American society.  Some 47 years later and the progress continues.

Blacks have infiltrated and excelled in almost every sector in American society, and these days, Blacks are creating history every day – whether it’s the first woman Vice President of the United States; the first Black president at Harvard, America’s oldest university; or the first athlete to cross the billion-dollar threshold, Blacks are striding.

No place in America is this sense of power stronger than here in the New York tri-state area.  In New York City, there is a Black mayor, a Black City Council speaker, and a Black public advocate; a Black police commissioner and a Black schools chancellor.  At the state level, there is a Black lieutenant governor, a Black attorney general, a Black speaker of the Assembly, and a Black leader of the Senate.  The heads of three of the region’s largest health systems are Black, and the nation’s largest state university system is also headed by a Black man.  The U.S. House of Representatives’ minority speaker is also a Black New Yorker.

The following is The New York Christian Times’ top 30 list of Black influencers, in alphabetical order.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Our annual list of trailblazing New Yorkers is carefully selected in collaboration with

The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and key leaders from the New York Urban League,

National Action Network, NAACP, The Black Media Network, and 100 Black Men of New York.