10/21/10

Firstly we must give thanks and praises to God, whose name and attributes are just as diverse as the names, cultures, and tradition of us as Afrikan people and to our ancestors, martyrs, our saints, who all over the world, struggled to lay this foundation we have today to continue in the spirit of freedom, the spirit of liberation, and the spirit to return and maintain our integrity as a people of the Afrikan Continent. It is indeed a good day that we all have come to set down with each other in unity to advance the civilization of African and her peoples.

 Afrikan Unity of Harlem, Inc would also like to thank the African Union for its perseverance in making this African Diaspora conference a reality and we pray that we will find it inspiring. It is due to the advancement of the African nations towards a united stage that we have come together today with intentions of uniting we here in the Diaspora towards the final steps to a raising African continent.

A.U.H., Inc is an umbrella organizational catalyst here to spearhead the empowerment and unity of African People worldwide. There are 4 pillars supporting this umbrella which are Charitable, Educational, Scientific, and Religious. We are connected to the 54 countries of Africa and the African Diaspora Sixth Region through their Embassies, Missions, Consulates, Organizations and people of Africa, by keeping them informed of our events, invitations to participate in our community forums, letters of moral support, and community reports to also include working partnership.  Support from the international leadership for AUH, Inc. has come from the African Union, the Missions and Embassies from Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia and Kenya. And our connections to South America are continual.

To date, Afrikan Unity of Harlem, Inc’s membership and global participation is reaching over 500 Afrikan People and Organizations of who we have directly worked and commutated with. A.U.H., Inc has been established for ten years, incorporated February 21, 2006 and is a not for profit organization. Since its forming by founder and President Brother Kassayi Hailu, an African born on the Continent, and Vice President Dr. James J. Graves, an African born in the Diaspora, the organization has produce  22 community programs and four international conferences centered on the crisis of the Horn of Africa. We have also implemented several community programs and projects under the 4 pillars supporting the A.U.H., Inc umbrella. Please view our Missions statement to read full detail of each.

We are currently voting members of PADU (Pan African Diaspora Union) and partners with SDRC (Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus). Our main objective to establish a community center tilted, “ The Center of Afrikan Unity”, in Harlem, where “ No matter where we are born, No matter what language we speak, No matter what religion we practice, We are One Afrikan People home and abroad. We are in need of a place to sit down and the center will provide this historical and cultural reflection of us all in one setting. We like to work within your initiative like in the Africa House to collectively work to establish the community center in Harlem.

Your Excellences we stand with you on the advent of peace and security in Africa. Let our people without visa be able to travel throughout the continent and for us in the Diaspora to do likewise. A.U.H., Inc. is also asking our scholars to bring the history of a united African people so that Africa can finally tell the world who and what she is. Africa feeds the whole world but it is Her children who our most hungry and begging in the streets. And globally inhumane acts continue to violate Her children’s human and people’s rights just as in France when the African women immigrates were dragged with their babies on their backs from street concerns due to the protesting the system of homelessness.

Your Excellencies, yes we need the skills bank, as well as the Center of Afrikan Unity. This center is a safe place for all of us no matter where we are from to come together in reconciliation with the world’s harms towards us, to live among each other to reacquaint out families and share our common heritage as a united people. The Center of Afrikan Unity in Harlem will utilize professionals, volunteers, student volunteers and community based activist who are blood descendants of the African continent. Each volunteer will be expected to successfully participate in a three week training program at the beginning of their work with the center. This training program will provide basic historical information pertaining to African history. We will focus on Africa’s relationship to other parts of the world through, art, culture, language, and science. The center will also give all volunteers information about African peoples and on African-centered educational methods. Volunteers who demonstrate proficiency during the initial training program will be invited to participate in an advanced training program to learn effective teaching techniques to foster the professional skills to secure their own futures. Each student volunteer will be expected to contribute 3-5 hours each week and to continue with The Center of Afrikan Unity in Harlem for a period of not less than 6 months with the benefits of college credits and field experience.

The Center of Afrikan Unity in Harlem will operate with 6 full and part time staff members. In addition, a Governing Board made up of international community leaders and Harlem activists that will provide overall operation and supervision of the Center.

We look forward in setting down with all of you to share our goals in the establishment of The Center of Afrikan Unity in Harlem, and we know you will support such timely and noteworthy event.

Most Respect

Sister Ivory Ann Black II Woletta Sellassie

Executive Secretary

Afrikan Unity of Harlem, Inc

ATTENDEES: SRDC Members and Facilitators, and CCOE Members (Maryland, S.C., California, N.Y.,  Washington State, Ohio, Nicaragua Central America), Elected Representatives and Observers (Ohio, Maryland, California, S.C., Washington State), and  special guests (Dr. Robert Brock, Sister Mickie, Apostle T.L. Rodgers, Rev. Arthur Pinckney, Rev. and Mrs. Leo Woodberry, Brother Hodari Kamau Omari-Church of the Black Madonna, Sister Marva Berry, etc.)  and interested members of the public. Also in attendance were officers and spokespersons for the UNIA-ACL (PG Senghor J. Baye, Zama Cook, Nyata Toure, Chuck Banks), UNIA-LDF (David L. Horne), CBPM (Ras Marvin), Per Ankh African Kingdoms Federation/Africans of the Diaspora Caribbean Region (Dr. Chenzira Kahina, Ramona LaRoche), AAPRP (Sister Moya Mzuri Pambeli, Shabaka Ture), CABO (Sidney Francis), and  AUH (Sister Ivory Ann Black, Kassayi Hailu) , all of whom were new partner-members of the International Diaspora Council, PADU which met for the first time. There were also five recently elected AU-Diaspora Representatives (Sister Aline Diakite and Kamau Ron Taplin, from Washington State,  Anita Diop and Shabaka Ture, from Ohio, and Curtis Butler from California), along with Observer Shari Harris, and new member Jackie Howard, both from Ohio. The approximate conference attendance for the three days was 135. (For an official list of attendees, contact organizingsrdc@aol.com)

THE OFFICIAL CONFERENCE PROGRAM:

Friday  July 23   9:30 am Bus Tour of Charleston and Gullah Areas                                                                1:30 pm  Welcome to the Conference:          

                                               SRDC Status Report

                                               Bringing the Youth into the Effort to Organize the Diaspora

                             6:30  pm   Charleston Community Gathering—Bringing in the Spirits

Sat.     July 24    8:15 am   The Inaugural Meeting of the PADU International Diaspora

                                                Council

.                          11:30 am  A Public Plenary—Comments by Dr. Brock, the Church and

                                                21st Century Pan Africanism, the Issue of Dual Citizenship                                                   for the Diaspora, Joining Forces to Be More Effective

                             7  pm     Community Banquet

Sun    July 25    8  am      SRDC Closed Plenary—Taking Care of Business

                             3 pm      Ball Down–Adjournment       

                                               

SPECIFIC SCROLL NOTES TAKEN AT THE CONFERENCE: (by Brother Cliff)

Washington State included in their delegation two newly-elected Representatives: Bro. Kamau Taplin and Sis. Aline Diakite (she’s from Burundi and married to a Brother from Mali), who accompanied their State Facilitator, Sis. Folashade Farr, and Bro. T. West, who served as Facilitator last year when Sis. Folashade’s husband tragically passed.  Bro. T. West had completed the fine work Sis. Folashade had done in preparing the National Summit in Seattle last year.

Ohio brought along its newly-elected Representatives, Sis. Anita Diop and Bro. Shabaka Ture, and one of its elected Observers, Shari Harris, all of whom accompanied their State Facilitator, Sis. Michele West, and a member of their Council of Elders, Mama Rihanni Aanika.

The New York delegation included Facilitators Sis. Iman Uqdah-Hameen, and Carmen Collymore along with  Elder Mama Anisa Edwards.

California’s group included the International Facilitator of SRDC, Dr. David Horne, as well as newly-elected Representative Bro. Curtis Butler, re-elected Representative Dr. Ruth Love, Observer Bro. Al Washington and three members of the Council of Elders (Mama Opal, Mama Beverly and Baba Daoud).

Maryland was represented by myself (State Facilitator and elected Representative) and Bro. Tafari Melisizwe, a new member who came on board earlier this year and perhaps SRDC’s youngest member at age 20.  He gave an inspiring talk about organizing the youth on Friday.

On Friday, we were treated to a Bus Tour of Greater Charleston, with emphasis on the nearby Sea Islands.  We visited a plantation and held a Tambiko (libation) at a large tree near the quarters where enslaved Afrikans had been held.  We learned much about the history of the AME Church, the artisans of Charleston and the issue of Black Land Loss during the tour, which culminated in a meal at the Wadmalaw Island Community Center.

That evening the Community Karamu was held.  There were Afrikan Drummers and Dancers, as well as comments made by a variety of attendees for the weekend.  Prior to that, Dr. Horne and Bro. Tafari made statements to the delegates.

Saturday morning featured what could be called a historic event: the first meeting of the new “Super-Coalition” we now call the Pan Afrikan Diaspora Union or PADU.  This group includes SRDC, as well as organizations such as UNIA-ACL, PerAnkh (US Virgin Islands), Central American Black Organization (representing Afrikan communities in 7 of the 8 countries of Central America), A-APRP, Collective Black People’s Movement, Afrikan Unity of Harlem, Black Power Media and several others.  While we in SRDC continue with our work of organizing the Afrikan Diaspora on the grassroots level to bring our voices, through elected Representatives, to the African Union, we are also partnering with these other organizations that recognize the importance of each other’s work and contributions and are working to bring those collective talents and works together in a coordinated, cooperative way.  While the concept of PADU was officially conceived last summer and agreements have been made with several organizations since then, the meeting that was held on the morning of Saturday, July 24 marked the official birth of PADU, and as such represented a historic coming-together of these strong Pan-Afrikan organizations that we expect to lead to great accomplishments on behalf of Afrikan people in the near future.

Saturday afternoon was devoted to several panel discussions, all of which were held for the general public as well as for SRDC members: The Black Church and Its Role in Furthering Pan-Afrikanism; the issue of Dual Citizenship (a panel which included Dr. Chenzira from the US Virgin Islands, Baba Senghor J. Baye from UNIA-ACL, and Dr, Robert Brock, considered by many to be the “father of the modern reparations movement” because of the class-action lawsuit he filed to beat the expiring statute of limitations on court claims for reparations); and Practical Projects, which featured Bro. Al Washington from SRDC-California, Dr. Ruth Love from SRDC-California, and Bro. Kumasi Palmer from SRDC-South Carolina, all of whom discussed specific projects they have been involved with on behalf of SRDC and the African Diaspora. Additionally, Sister Iman Hameen explained the economics of real time African repatriation by describing the experiences of her mother, who still resides in Ghana.

Sunday was devoted specifically to SRDC business and was a “closed” meeting for SRDC members only.  A few issues of importance were discussed, including clarifications of relationships between the Secretariat, the Facilitators, the CCOE and elected Representativers/Observers, and the Representatives then voted among themselves to determine the four (4) who are expected to represent the Diaspora from the US at the African Union Summit.  We fully expect to finally gain official approval of our methodology for electing Representatives this year, which means the four who were elected at the National Summit should have the opportunity to travel to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia sometime next year to take their places in ECOSOCC (the ECOnomic, SOcial and Cultural Council).  The four Representatives who were elected were Dr. Ruth Love (California), Bro. Kumasi Palmer (South Carolina), Sis. Aline Diakite (Washington State) and Bro. Shabaka Toure (Ohio).

The other main issue that was discussed on Sunday was the location of the 2011 National Conference.  Since that weekend in South Carolina, it has been made official: The 2011 National Conference will be held in the Baltimore, Maryland area, over the weekend of August 19-21.  We’re already making preparations for next year’s Conference.  The Conference has been bigger and better each successive year, and the Conferences in Columbus, Ohio (2008), Seattle, Washington (2009) and Charleston, South Carolina (2010) have raised the bar higher and higher.  We plan to raise that bar once more in 2011.

THANKS to the great team in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston, South Carolina (D. Wright, D. Fludd, F. Lincoln, A. Pinckney, K. Palmer) for all of their dedicated work which produced an exciting and dynamic three-day gathering in the heart of the South, and especially to Mr. Ken Riley and the International Longshoreman’s Association.

                                                            Report Submitted by Brother Cliff & DLH   August, 2010