National gathering discusses Black community's issues
Published Jun 5, 2008 11:01 PM
Youth activists meet during breakout session
at Black Left Unity Conference, May 31.
WW photo: Monica Moorehead
Black activists from around the country participated in a “Black Left
Unity Conference” held at the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Culture and
History Center May 30-June 1 on the campus of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. The intergenerational gathering of activists came together
to continue the discussion on how to build an effective Black United Front
in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina/Rita.
Part of the call for this conference reads: “Back in June 2007 at the
U.S. Social Forum, over 50 brothers and sisters gathered in Atlanta to discuss
the state of the Black liberation movement and the role of the Black left. Most
agreed that the Gulf Coast/Katrina disaster is a defining moment that requires
that Black revolutionaries unite and work to build a National Black United
Front, its initial focus being the development and support of a Gulf Coast
Reconstruction Movement. This movement would be a part of a strategic flank of
the wider National Black Liberation Movement.
“Since the Atlanta meeting, many of us have engaged in numerous
gatherings and actions in our local and regional areas as we develop direct
support for the Gulf Coast and its Reconstruction Movement.
“At the August International Tribunal on Katrina and Rita held in New
Orleans, some of us again came together and initiated the ‘We Charge
Genocide Campaign.’ This campaign was initiated to promote the findings
of the International Tribunal on Katrina and Rita, which indicted the U.S.
government for committing Crimes Against Humanity for its role in causing the
massive deaths, dispersing, suffering and repression against the majority Black
and working-class people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and to expose the
many conditions of national oppression of Black people throughout the U.S.
Monica Moorehead and
“We also initiated the Green Ribbon Campaign in direct response to HUD
and the New Orleans City Council’s plan to demolish public housing in New
Orleans, another direct act that will continue to prevent poor and working
class Blacks from coming home. Wearing of a Green Ribbon also represents a
People’s Vigil and symbolizes our human right to land and housing and
protests the stealing of the land and homes by the big real estate, banks and
A large focus of the panel presentations, question and answer periods and break
out discussion groups at the conference was on the issues and challenges that
the Barack Obama campaign poses for the Black left now and if Obama does become
the first Black U.S. president.
WW photos: Larry Hales
and Tyneisha Bowens
Other issues raised during the conference were on how the Black movement and
Black community are being impacted by “globalization,” including
the U.S. South; imperialist war abroad and the growing economic and political
attacks at home; the [email protected] Diaspora; Cynthia McKinney’s electoral
campaign, the Reconstruction Party; immigrant rights; labor developments;
culture; the demand for reparations; sexism; and much more. A resolution was unanimously passed by the conference delegates demanding that relatives of the Cuban Five be granted visas by the U.S. government in order to visit the anti-terrorist heroes unjustly incarcerated in federal prisons.
Those who attended the conference included Saladin Muhammad, Black Workers For
Justice and the Black Workers League; ILWU Local 10 leader Clarence Thomas;
activist and poet, Amiri Baraka; Million Worker March leader, Brenda Stokely;
Ana Edwards, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality; Ajamu Baraka, U.S.
Human Rights Network; Patrisse Cullors, Labor Strategy Center; Efia Nwangaza;
Theresa El-Amin; Kali Akuno from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Jaribu
Hill, Mississippi Workers for Human Rights; Vickie White, People’s
Organization for Progress; labor organizer, Angaza Laughinghouse; Larry Adams,
New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW); cultural artist, Luci Murphy;
educators Muntu Matsimela, T. Menelik VanDerMeer and Sam Anderson; Yvette
Modestin, Afrocaribenas y de la Diaspora; Colia Clark; and activists
representing Fight Imperialism-Stand Together (FIST) and the Troops Out Now
The conference delegates agreed to continue the various ways to consolidate the
building of a Black United Front on a regional level in the coming months. For
more information about this conference, go to www.WeChargeGenocide.org.
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