Saturday, October 22, 2011

Report back from Oakland's Day in Solidarity with African People

A Day in Solidarity with African People, held on October 13th, 2011 in Oakland held an electrifying program at the Humanist Hall that brought out long time supporters, welcomed in new members and raised support for the programs of the Uhuru Movement.

Wendy Snyder, the West Coast organizer with the African People’s Solidarity Committee and the Uhuru Solidarity Movement welcomed the attendees by reading the Pledge of Solidarity and describing the campaign to win members and allies from the white community with the African Liberation Movement.

The young performers from the Marcus Garvey Upliftment Project were brought forward by Director Nyisha Moncrease and kicked off the event with African dance. The MGUP is a free arts and education center in East Oakland, CA with the mission to provide a safe environment for tomorrow’s leaders by teaching skills needed for African community self-determination.

Following the performance, Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee gave a brilliant powerpoint presentation that detailed the understandings and teachings of Chairman Omali Yeshitela and illustrated through her slides how the wealth of the white population comes directly from the attack on Africa, the enslavement of African people, the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the plunder of oppressed peoples worldwide.

Chairwoman Hess also challenged the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, “We are NOT the 99 percent,” she stated, clarifying that in actuality white people live of the resources of the rest of the people on the planet.

Hess explained that a true movement to overturn the system of Wall Street is the one led by African and oppressed peoples and that our role is to join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement.

After the presentation by Penny Hess, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson saluted the Uhuru Movement and struggled with the notion of racism versus colonialism, describing the terror that he and his family have faced – from the brutal killing of his nephew, Oscar Grant on the Fruitvale BART platform on January 1, 2009. He described the growing resistance that he sees, particularly among young African people.

"Right now it’s pregnant, ready to give birth to something powerful,” he said.

The keynote speaker following “Uncle Bobby, “ was Omali Yeshitela, the Chairman of the African Socialist International and founder of the Uhuru movement. “Welcome to the struggle,” he said, addressing the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We have been against Wall Street from the beginning."

He explained that Wall Street was actually built by African slaves and African people were the first commodity to be bought and sold. Furthermore, he stated that the wall itself was actually built to protect white people from the so-called Indians. Yeshitela called on the people of the Occupy Wall Street movement to be against imperialism and therefore with the African and indigenous peoples on the planet who are victims of imperialist aggression.

Also speaking at the event was Vylma Ortiz, from the Stop the Gang Injunctions coalition who presented the recent victories of that coalition to push back the legalized racial profiling, the youth curfews and other police measures in the city of Oakland.

Cat Brooks of the Onyx Organizing Committee gave a statement from her organization, describing their involvement with the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant and their intervention in the Occupy Oakland. She explained the roots of the Onyx Organizing Committee in the challenge to the opportunism of white people who attempted to lead that struggle. She also relayed the backlash she was facing at Occupy Oakland by so-called white progressives who opposed African self-determination.

Finally, Maureen Wagener, the director of Uhuru Foods presented on the economic development programs of the Uhuru Movement and the upcoming Uhuru Pies fundraiser, which has a goal to sell 3500 pies in November and December.

People at the event contributed to the Uhuru Movement programs and joined the organization. The event raised $1400 and won six new members to join and two others to renew their membership. Participants also signed up to be involved in Uhuru Pies, a fundraiser for the African People’s Education and Defense Fund, which include community economic development designed to uplift the entire African community.

The Day in Solidarity with African People in Oakland showed the massive potential of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement to build its membership and to reach allies of the African Liberation Movement who are looking for real transformation and change.

If you believe that there will never be peace on the planet without justice, reparations and reconciliation for African people and all the countless victims of imperialism past and present against whom terror, genocide, exploitation were carried out in our name and for our benefit, then Take the Pledge of Solidarity and contribute at least $10 to the African-led Uhuru Movement for liberation and self-determination for African people everywhere!

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