Thursday, April 28, 2011

AAPDEP-Sierra Leone U.S. Tour on Infant and Maternal Mortality raises medical supplies and cash to build clinic

By Dr. Aisha Fields, International Director, All African People's Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP)

(Reposted from - Published Apr 27, 2011)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – On February 5, 2011, my children and I stood waiting inside the Nashville International Airport baggage claim anxiously waiting to see a sister who I had spoken to many times and whose face graced several AAPDEP posters, fliers and web pages but who I would now finally be meeting in person--Nurse-midwife Mary Koroma.

Nurse-midwife Mary Karoma - Freetown, Sierra Leone

My three-year old son, who was supposed to be holding one half of a large sign that read “Welcome Nurse Mary!”(my 7-year-old daughter stood quietly holding the other half), was instead running circles around me when I saw Sis Mary nervously stepping off of the escalator, walking toward an airport employee, ticket in hand.

The children and I quickly headed toward her and with smiles and hugs welcomed and introduced ourselves to her.

During the 2 hour car ride to my home, Nurse Mary and I talked a lot about the clinic she built in Sierra Leone and her organization of traditional birth attendants, Women in National Development (WIND).

As it was her first time traveling to the US (as part of a 7 state 9-city tour none-the-less!), we talked a lot about the many similarities between African communities in the US and in Sierra Leone, what to expect during the upcoming tour and about our shared vision of sustainable development for Africa and African people through self-determination.

I could tell in that first discussion that we had indeed partnered with the right person to launch our AAPDEP Infant and Maternal Health Project!

The next six weeks took us to 7 US states and 9 cities as part of the whirlwind “Stop the Hemorrhaging!”(STH) US-wide fundraising tour.

By all standards, the “Stop the Hemorrhaging!”tour was a tremendous success!

Events were organized in Philadelphia, PA, Washington D.C., Baltimore, MD, Huntsville, AL, Jackson, MS, Daytona Beach, FL and St. Petersburg, FL.

There were stops at universities, nursing schools, birthing centers, middle schools, community centers and churches!

Hundreds of people had the opportunity to meet Nurse Mary, learn first-hand about the plight of African women and babies and the horrible conditions that have been imposed on African people in Sierra Leone in general.

More than that, though, audiences were able to walk away with a real analysis of why these conditions exist in Africa and among African people everywhere and what must be done to reverse them once and for all!

The tour kicked off in Washington, D.C. with three events, two sponsored by AAPDEP-DC and a third by the Family Health & Birth Center. The first AAPDEP-DC event took place at St. Stephen's Church and included presentations from Nurse Mary, Ayesha Fleary, Director of Information & Education for AAPDEP and Lauren Arrington, an African nurse-midwife based in Baltimore, MD.

People arrived early to make sure they had a seat. Despite the late start and a few technical difficulties the crowd stayed attentive.

Ayesha Fleary opened up the event introducing the attendees to AAPDEP and why we felt it necessary to use this tour not only as a way to raise awareness around the issue but also as a way to begin development through fundraising.

Midwife Lauren Arrington provided great information around the high rates of infant and maternal mortality in African Communities across the U.S., which helped tie the Sierra Leone work to the overall contradictions that affect African people no matter where we’re located.

Nurse Mary ended the program with a dynamic presentation that outlined her work and what she hoped to accomplish in partnership with AAPDEP.

The attendees were very receptive and at the close of the event stayed around to speak with all of the presenters, wanting to know more about how they could help.

At Family Health & Birth Center, Nurse Mary had the opportunity to meet fellow midwives and health care workers during a small gathering.

While the turnout was modest, we were able to spread the information and get connected to a network of midwives and develop a relationship with the birth center.

The second AAPDEP-DC event was an informal dinner fundraiser at Little Ethiopia Restaurant.

There, more than 30 people joined Nurse Mary and AAPDEP organizers for a delicious dinner and discussion about the way forward for the AAPDEP Infant and Maternal Health Project (IMHP).

Many of the attendees had attended our first event and came back for more. During this one event, we raised a little over $600 in donations which spoke to the impact that we were making in DC.

The first tour stop in Philadelphia was at Harambee Institute of Science & Technology, an African-centered K-8 charter school.

There, Nurse Mary and I spoke to a group of about one hundred 7th and 8th graders.

This event was especially important to me as a former student, having attended Harambee almost 30 years ago.

Nurse Mary and I were both excited and a bit anxious about speaking at Harambee, since our presentations would need to be different from all the others, which had primarily adult audiences.

We decided that the best way to approach the presentations would be to share with them some of the conditions that our people are faced with in Sierra Leone and around the world (in Philly too!) and to focus on the students themselves by reminding them of their primary responsibility as African students–to learn all that they can in order to solve the problems we are confronted with as a people.

In the end, we were pleased to find that the students were not only brilliant, attentive and eager to learn, but that they were in full unity with accepting their responsibility to African people!

Harambee has donated $500 to the AAPDEP IMHP, qualifying the school as a “silver”level sponsor.

As such, the school will be honored with a commemorative brick in the new AAPDEP birthing clinic that will be built in Sierra Leone.

Their support of the AAPDEP IMHP hasn’t stopped there, though! Several teachers at Harambee have expressed interest in donating personally, and the school has decided to continue to sponsor the IMHP, initially through a school-wide pennies drive!

Uhuru Furniture Store-Philadelphia, an institution of the African People’s Education & Defense Fund (APEDF) organized a second Philly stop on the STH tour.

This event, the only one of the tour with a predominately North American audience, featured a dynamic presentation from African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) organizer Harris Daniels who laid out the dialectal relationship between the poverty experienced by African and other colonized people and the wealth of the white world.

Harris’s presentation made a clear distinction between charity, which does not address the core reason for the misery and poverty experienced by Africans and other oppressed people, and genuine solidarity with the struggles of African people to reclaim control over our resources and lives.

There were several nurses and midwifery students who attended the event, all of whom were so moved by the presentation given by Nurse Mary that they offered to organize fundraisers and equipment drives for the IMHP clinic.

From Philly the tour traveled to Holy Ghost Missionary Baptist Church right outside of Jackson, Mississippi.

Words can’t express how much AAPDEP appreciates the warm reception that was given to us from Pastor and Mrs. Burse and the entire congregation!

Nurse Mary spoke at both 8am and 11am services as part of the church’s Black History Month program organized by AAPDEP volunteer Dr. Teri Robinson.

After 8am service, Nurse Mary and I were ushered into the fellowship hall of the church, decorated beautifully in red, black and green and with a large sign that read “Welcome Nurse Mary.”

There, we, along with those who attended morning services enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet cooked by several of the sisters at the church.

At the end of the 11am services, we were honored with a luncheon that was only topped by the generous donation of $5,000 made by the church to the AAPDEP IMHP!

In order to honor the congregation for their tremendous contribution, the largest birthing room of the new clinic will be named “Holy Ghost Missionary Baptist Church Birthing Room.”

From Mississippi Nurse Mary whizzed back to the east coast to speak at Sojourner Douglass Nursing College located in Baltimore, Maryland.

There, Nurse Mary gave a powerful presentation to the students.

She explained her role as a health care worker and the difficulties she faced working for the State, which is what led her to ultimately start her own clinic.

She explained the importance of the responsibility they hold as health care professionals and what they must do with their degree.

Even though the students did not expect to donate when asked they contributed their coins, dollars and checks to this great effort.

We raised $120 at this event, but gained forces who were committed to helping raise awareness, gather supplies, and organize fundraising events on behalf of the IMHP. We truly want to thank those students who attended.

Next stop was Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama where Nurse Mary spoke to science students who are a part of the Health Career Opportunities Program.

The events was really important in that it offered African students who are studying to enter into science and health-care fields an opportunity to have a first-hand account of the issues faced by African women and infants on the Continent.

Our last leg of the tour took us to Florida where we had events in St. Petersburg and Daytona Beach.

In St. Petersburg, we spoke at the Uhuru House, the international headquarters of the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement.

Organized by AAPDEP-Tampa/St.Pete, the event featured presentations from local AAPDEP organizer Camilla Hippolyte and Chairman Omali Yeshitela, leader of the Uhuru Movement.

Chairman Omali discussed the significance of AAPDEP in this period as an organization, which provides African people an opportunity to use our energy, skill and resources toward building concrete programs that help to transform the conditions we are faced with as African people.

With the assistance of Sis Baye Moye who offered a heart-felt, impromptu second call for donations, we were able to raise just over $1,000 in cash and pledges!

The tour wrapped up at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida at the National Conference of the National African Students Association (NASA).

The event was outstanding! Nurse Mary and I spoke to a full house of almost 200 African students from universities throughout the US.

After our presentations, dozens of students rushed to meet Nurse Mary and I to discuss ways that they could become a part of AAPDEP, volunteer their skills, time and resources.

One young student, a brother born in Liberia, has offered to help us get computers and internet access for AAPDEP’s new clinic in Sierra Leone.

Another brother from Ghana whose older sister died in childbirth, applauded AAPDEP’s effort to build awareness of African infant and maternal mortality and pledged his support to organize other Africans, especially men, to participate in supporting the project.

Based on contacts we made at the conference, we are currently in discussions with African student organizations at Miami Dade College as to the best way to bring their entire membership into AAPDEP!

The day after the event at Embry-Riddle was March 20, and Nurse Mary was heading back to Sierra Leone, having worked almost non-stop since her arrival in the US in February.

Not only had we successfully spread awareness of African infant and maternal mortality to hundreds through the STH Tour, but Nurse Mary had a hands-on one week intensive training on emergency delivery techniques with AAPDEP Partner, Midwife Jennie Joseph, founder of The Birth Place and Commonsense Childbirth School of Midwifery in Winter Garden, Florida.

AAPDEP leadership was also able to make quite a few important determinations about the way forward for the overall work in Sierra Leone. One of the most exciting advancements is that Nurse Mary is no longer just AAPDEP’s “partner.”

She has become a member and will serve as the AAPDEP Chair in Sierra Leone.

Now, all of AAPDEP’s projects in the country, not only the IMHP, will be under Nurse Mary’s direct leadership.

Connected to this is another exciting development - Women in National Development (Nurse Mary’s organization of TBA’s) is now merging with AAPDEP to become AAPDEP-WIND, increasing AAPDEP’s overall membership by over 150 people!

Now, before the new AAPDEP clinic is built in Sierra Leone, which is slated for summer 2012, Nurse Mary’s current clinic will officially become an AAPDEP clinic—The AAPDEP-WIND Community Birth and Health Clinic.

As an AAPDEP clinic, we will work to ensure that it has access to the necessary supplies, medicines and equipment.

In fact, AAPDEP was able to organize for Nurse Mary to return to Sierra Leone with over 250 pounds of medicines and equipment including fetal heart monitors, blood pressure cuffs, infant and adult scales, clamps, thermometers, suture, and a variety of first aid supplies.

Many thanks to AAPDEP partner Jennie Joseph (Winter Garden, FL), and supporters Dr. Michelle Strongfields (Philadelphia, PA), Brother Shabaka Mombatha (Philadelphia, PA), and Lauren Arrington & Family (Baltimore, MD), for the very generous donations they made to this first medical shipment.

When it was all said and done, hundreds of Africans and our allies contributed a little more than $10,000 to AAPDEP during the Stop the Hemorrhaging tour, for the work to build the IMHP, giving us a solid footing for the establishment of our new clinic and for our work to train traditional birth attendants in Sierra Leone. The tour helped us to expand our influence and organization into cities around the US and has helped us to break new ground in terms of our organizational capacity in Sierra Leone.

It is AAPDEP’s goal as the weeks and months since the STH tour pass, to be able to report that Nurse Mary’s 6 weeks in the US offered our people more than a great tour, but that it in fact will come to represent a turning point in our effort to stamp out the high rates of infant and maternal death in Sierra Leone.

To borrow an often repeated quote from Nurse Mary herself, “Together we will succeed!”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Uhuru Solidarity Movement condemns Obama’s war and torture of African and Arab people – from Guantanamo to U.S. prisons, from Libya to Philadelphia!

Calling all progressive Euro-Americans to come to the Uhuru Solidarity Movement National Convention on June 4 and 5, 2011 in Philadelphia, PA: “Resistance is the Future! Solidarity with African Liberation!”

On Monday, April 25, two reports were released – both vividly demonstrating the depth of the brutality with which the Obama administration is carrying out and intensifying the U.S. aggression and warfare against African and Arab peoples, inside the U.S. and worldwide.

President Obama, promising “hope” and “change” in his election campaign, has in fact escalated the war on Arab and African people at home and abroad. He has initiated the first war by AFRICOM on Africa, with the bombing of Libya and the brutal murder of the Libyan people.

It is Obama who has intensified the attacks on the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Congo, Colombia and the Israeli genocide on the Palestinian people in Gaza. It is Obama that is attacking the African community in the U.S. with increasing police violence, increasing direct military occupation and mass imprisonment of young Africans.

Guantanamo leaks lift lid on world’s most controversial prison

The Guardian newspaper released an article titled: “Guantanamo leaks lift lid on world’s most controversial prison,” based on the leaking of 759 “secret” U.S. military dossiers covering almost every prisoner since the U.S. prison camp was opened in 2002.

This report reveals the real criminality of the neocolonial Obama regime that carried out mass torture of the 779 mostly Arab men captured and held at Guantanamo in the name of the “war on terror.”

It states that over two years after Obama promised to close Guantanamo, 172 people are still there, unable to even stand trial as they have been so badly tortured over a prolonged period.

It speaks of outrageous rights abuses inflicted on the captives, the vast majority of whom were brought there on ridiculous grounds, including an 89-year-old Afghan villager with dementia. He was brought to the concentration camp to be interrogated about some “suspicious phone numbers.” There is also the 14-year-old boy, tortured for his “possible knowledge of Taliban local leaders.”

The exposé showed that of the 779 prisoners at Guantanamo, the overwhelming majority, 606, were cleared and released by the U.S. due to “no intelligence showing any threat to the U.S. and its allies.”

This rate of false imprisonment is similar to that of the “Stop and Frisk” police policy. In Philadelphia, a quarter of a million people, mostly young African men, were stopped and harassed by the police in 2009 alone. Less than three percent of those was found to have weapons, which was the rationale for this gross abuse of African people’s democratic rights.

Systemic torture of Africans imprisoned in Pennsylvania

The second paper released on April 25 documents the chilling and systemic torture of Africans imprisoned in Pennsylvania’s state prison, SCI Huntingdon.

The Human Rights Coalition based this report on a year-long investigation and over 1000 pages of letters, grievances, affidavits and testimonies from prisoners. It shows the courageous resistance by prisoners in solitary confinement in Huntingdon’s Restricted Housing Unit, where they faced the most unimaginable torture and degradation.

It describes the “culture of torture and terror” fostered by the guards and endorsed by the prison administration and the PA Department of Corrections. Africans were deprived of food, water, clothing, bedding and hygiene items. They were starved, were threatened with death, beaten and tortured for any form of resistance.

In September and October 2010, prisoners organized a protest of these conditions. Guards sprayed them with a toxic chemical, “O.C.”, and left them to burn with no water to wash it off.

As horrendous and appalling as the treatment of Africans and others in PA prisons revealed by the report is, we can’t be surprised by it.

We saw how many of the U.S. military guards who tortured Arab prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq were trained in PA prisons like SCI Greene and SCI Huntingdon.

U.S. torture techniques are practiced and perfected on African people kidnapped from cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and held in the dungeons of U.S. prisons, U.S. concentration camps.

The Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) absolutely condemns this collective punishment of African, Arab, Mexican and all oppressed people by the U.S. government.

We must stand up as white people living in the belly of imperialism and defend the right of the African community and all others to organize and resist the colonial terror being waged every day against their people.

In February we saw the military occupation and siege of a 33-block radius of the African community on the south side of St. Petersburg, FL, the location of the national office of the Uhuru Movement after a cop was killed. This was no different than how the U.S. marines operate in Afghanistan.

Homeland Security, FBI, SWAT teams and many other police agencies carried out door-to-door searches. They stopped cars and busses going in and out of the community and stuck guns in children’s faces. The police didn’t even know who they were looking for, but the entire African community was locked down and under siege. This is colonial occupation!

We have to say that just as the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and throughout the Middle East and North Africa have the right to resist their poverty and oppression at the hands of U.S.-backed regimes, so do African people in the U.S. have the right to resist.

We have to recognize that U.S. occupation of communities of Arab and African people from Afghanistan to Philadelphia, and kidnapping, imprisonment and torture of prisoners, is part of the U.S. colonial war on African and other oppressed peoples worldwide.

The Uhuru Movement shows that imperialism is in the deepest crisis of its existence

The U.S. and imperialist economy can only exist on stolen resources – oil, gold, diamonds, bauxite, coltan – and all the wealth and minerals stolen daily by U.S. corporations, the World Bank and IMF from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

Today, the crisis is deepening because oppressed people are fighting fiercely to control their own resources and regain their self-determination – from Iraq, to Haiti, and inside the U.S.

Obama has the largest military budget of all time

In a desperate attempt to control the world’s resources, Obama has the largest military budget of all time: $700 billion. The U.S. government spends $200 billion every year on the war on African people in the U.S.

Philadelphia alone spends $1.1 billion a year on police, prisons and courts. This is counterinsurgency war that builds the trillion dollar prison economy by terrorizing a whole young generation of African people – from places like north and southwest Philly!

Call to build a real anti-war movement

We have the urgent responsibility to build a real anti-war movement from the white community in solidarity with African people’s just resistance and liberation struggle!

We condemn ALL U.S. colonial wars and call for all other white people like ourselves who are tired of hearing these atrocities that the U.S. government carries out in our name, and who are compelled to do something to change this reality, to join Uhuru Solidarity Movement and come to the USM National Convention on June 4 and 5 in Philadelphia.

The Uhuru Solidarity Movement is the organization of Euro-Americans or white people who organize under the leadership of the African-led Uhuru Movement for reparations and material solidarity with the struggle for African liberation, in the U.S. and worldwide.

It is the ONLY organization in the world where we can truly make a difference because we work under the strategy and leadership of the rising African Revolution.

Being active in USM is how we can change our historic relationship as colonial oppressors of African and other people.

This is the only way we can start to reverse the history of imperialism, where we live off the wealth and power created from the enslavement of African people and the genocide of Indigenous people – who are still captive in the other concentration camps, the so-called reservations, living in poverty and dying at an average age of 44 years!

Come to the Uhuru Solidarity Movement Convention – June 4 and 5 in Philadelphia

This year’s Convention will feature
  • Keynote speaker Omali Yeshitela, founder and leader of the Uhuru Movement and Chairman of the African Socialist International
  • Diop Olugbala, International President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement
  • Glen Ford, Executive Editor of and member of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations
  • Nellie Bailey, Director of the Harlem Tenants Council (also member of Black is Back Coalition)
  • Pam Africa of MOVE and the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee
Learn more about the Convention on the USM website. Register by emailing





• Learn more and JOIN the Uhuru Solidarity Movement:
• Uhuru News:
• Black is Back Coalition:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Message from Colonel Mu'ummar Qaddafi

Reposted from

Recollections of My Life: Col. Mu'ummar Qaddafi, The Leader of the Revolution
April 5, 2011

By Col. Mu'ummar Qaddafi; Translated by Professor Sam Hamod, Ph.D.

In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful...

For 40 years, or was it longer, I can't remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert, I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.

I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people's committees ran our country. But that was never enough, as some told me, even people who had 10 room homes, new suits and furniture, were never satisfied, as selfish as they were they wanted more. They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.

No, no matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we've had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination - from thieves who would steal from us.

Now, I am under attack by the biggest force in military history, my little African son, Obama wants to kill me, to take away the freedom of our country, to take away our free housing, our free medicine, our free education, our free food, and replace it with American style thievery, called "capitalism," but all of us in the Third World know what that means, it means corporations run the countries, run the world, and the people suffer. So, there is no alternative for me, I must make my stand, and if Allah wishes, I shall die by following His path, the path that has made our country rich with farmland, with food and health, and even allowed us to help our African and Arab brothers and sisters to work here with us, in the Libyan Jamahiriya.

I do not wish to die, but if it comes to that, to save this land, my people, all the thousands who are all my children, then so be it.

Let this testament be my voice to the world, that I stood up to crusader attacks of NATO, stood up to cruelty, stood up to betrayal, stood up to the West and its colonialist ambitions, and that I stood with my African brothers, my true Arab and Muslim brothers, as a beacon of light. When others were building castles, I lived in a modest house, and in a tent. I never forgot my youth in Sirte, I did not spend our national treasury foolishly, and like Salah-al-Deen, our great Muslim leader, who rescued Jerusalem for Islam, I took little for myself...

In the West, some have called me "mad", "crazy", but they know the truth yet continue to lie, they know that our land is independent and free, not in the colonial grip, that my vision, my path, is, and has been clear and for my people and that I will fight to my last breath to keep us free, may Allah almighty help us to remain faithful and free.

c: Col. Mu'ummar Qaddafi, 2011/05/04

Copyright Col. Mu'ummar Qaddafi, - Mathaba.Net

With permission to
Lisa Karpova

Monday, April 18, 2011

Diop Olugbala Speaks at Earth Uprising! Philadelphia, April 17, 2011

Diop Olugbala Speaks at Earth Uprising! Philadelphia, April 17, 2011

Sponsored by Uhuru Solidarity Movement