14th annual Marcus Garvey Youth Project essay contest—top three essays on Chairman Omali Yeshitela

These are the top three winning essay submissions for the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project‘s 4th Annual Marcus Garvey Youth Program Essay Contest.

By Fatmata Bangura

In the dark raining climate of imperialism, colonialism and black discrimination in the world, a dexterous Pan-Africanist, socialist, and activist was born on October 9, 1941 in Florida to Lucille Waller of Pensacola, Florida and Joseph Waller of Eatonton, Georgia.

He has publicly critiqued U.S. imperialism and challenged racism in America throughout most of his life. With an outstanding personality and a great vision, he demonstrated the greatest spirit of our ancestors to challenge the devils that wanted to spirit away our golden Africa identity, heritage and rich valuable cultures and tradition.

He emphasized the benefits of bringing together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences, and how this can lead to more creative and effective problem-solving in the world. Changing his
name from Waller to Omali Yeshitela shows that the spirit of our ancestors is back to correct their mistakes
in the past. In 1972, Omali Yeshitela formed the African People’s Socialist Party, which three years later
successfully fought for the 1975 release of Florida death-row inmates Wilbur Lee and Freddie Pitts.

Throughout his leadership, Omali faced numerous challenges—from economic crises to international conflicts of racism in the world. He writes about the importance of having the courage to tackle difficult problems head-on, even when the odds may seem insurmountable in the midst of the financial crisis.

It is always clear that heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.

Omali Yeshitela dedicated his life to the struggle of African people. He fought against white domination and
fought against black domination. Omali Yeshitela cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all people will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which he hopes to live for and to see realized. But, if it needs to be, it is an ideal for which he was prepared to die. Only a true leader understands the needs, thoughts, and feelings of his followers. “Understanding” here doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with their point of view. It means that you’re willing to see and appreciate things from the point of view of your followers.

Success is when reality catches up with your imagination. He was able to show his people what he had been seeing. He communicated his dream in such a way that he allowed others to have no other option but to do the same in order to foster equality in humanity. His legacy is a beacon of African identity and heritage.

By Alie Sulaiman Bah

Few men have ever had as much of an effect on our world as Omali Yeshitela who was not just charismatic, deliberate and analytical, but a writer, an intellectual and an orator. Without a doubt, he was a complex man believing in simple things.

Omali’s leadership role was extremely complex against the conduct of racism in the world.

Furthermore, Omali Yeshitela is the most powerful proponent of the African Liberation Movement today, as well as the foremost black political thinker of our time. He is a speaker, activist, theoretician and organizer of campaigns. He is one who strongly believes that all diamonds are blood diamonds mainly because they were taken away from our continent.

Yeshitela would teach us countless lessons about life, leadership and much more. He was naturally charismatic. He had a “feel” for his follower’s needs which was uncannily correct. He developed this to become a better leader over time. He had a rock-solid value system from which all his activities stemmed. He wanted to make major changes at every turn in his life, and he had a totally interdependent relationship with his followers. As a man of action, he used this throughout his life: envision, enable, empower, and energize. A critical success for Omali was the support he got across America and in the international community. Despite the brutal humiliation he went through including arrests, trials, imprisonment and personal sacrifice [he continued] in his struggle to complete the Black Revolution of the Sixties.

He never stopped building fighting organizations in the interests of the African working [class] community. He survived the U.S. government’s attack on the Black Power Movement of the 1960s that imprisoned, assassinated, or silenced most black revolutionaries by driving them underground. For this he has been called “the last man standing.”

Following in the footsteps of previous black leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Mangaliso Sobukwe, Patrice Lumumba and Malcolm X, Omali Yeshitela points to a positive future for the African continent through the slogan made famous by the Garvey Movement of the 1920s, “Africa for Africans, at home and abroad.” He sends a bold message, calling on African people worldwide to unite their homeland, liberate their people and disperse the colonial borders that continue to divide and oppress.

From the day he ripped down the racist mural from the walls of City Hall in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1966, Chairman Omali Yeshitela (then known as Joseph Waller) has never stopped fighting for freedom for African people everywhere. Mobilized in his youth by anti-colonial movements around the world and the struggle for black liberation inside the U.S., Yeshitela dedicated his life to uniting and liberating Africa and African people everywhere. In the heat of revolutionary struggle and during his early years as a political prisoner, Yeshitela was driven to discover the reasons why black people all over the world are impoverished and oppressed. Yeshitela developed the political theory of African Internationalism that understands the world through the eyes of the African working class.

By Amidu Kamara

Chairman Omali Yeshitela (born Joseph Waller on October 9, 1941) is an American political activist, theoretician, and author. He is a co-founder and current Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) formed in 1972 which leads the Uhuru Movement.

According to its constitution, the APSP is the “advanced detachment of the African working class and its general staff” pursuing the goal of “the liberation and unification of Africa and African people under the leadership of the African working class as a critical component of the struggle to overthrow imperialism.”

In 2012, the APSP launched Black Star Industries bringing all of the economic institutions of the Party under one umbrella and creating partnership with community members. Following a worldwide speaking tour in 2013, Chairman Omali gathered the APSP 6th Congress in St. Petersburg, Florida.

In 2014, Chairman Omali published his historic new book, An Uneasy Equilibrium; The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism, One People, One Party, One Destiny, and more.

The Chairman and Party members organized on the ground in Ferguson following the police murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The Chairman spoke to churches and to the national mobilization in Ferguson. His video commentaries summing up the situation in Ferguson went viral.

I, personally as an African child, do unite firmly with Chairman Omali Yeshitela for all his historic books he published in 2014. An Uneasy Equilibrium book led a month-long political movement intensively in St. Petersburg.

Chairman Omali Yeshitela and his wife Comrade Ona Zené Yeshitela did not act cowardly when the FBI agents and the police broke down their door and told them to sit on the curb, even though they were handcuffed. They mentioned his name in the indictment as an unindicted co-conspirator, but he has continued to write and actively leads the worldwide Uhuru Movement.

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