On the weekend of November 17-19, the All African People’s Development Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) celebrated our 10th Anniversary Convention in Huntsville, Alabama.
Rightly named, African Skills For African Liberation, this convention was a highly anticipated event used as a call to Africans around the world to give their skills in the areas of education, agriculture, healthcare, economic development and emergency relief to the African nation to further AAPDEP’s mission and vision.
Beginning Friday, November 17 with attendees flying and driving in from all across the country, our welcome mixer at Zenzele Consignment located in Huntsville, AL was very fruitful.
The African Skills for African Liberation Convention was jump-started with a powerful introduction by Program MC NiaNah Tumpe.
Next, International Director of AAPDEP, Dr. Aisha Fields gave a moving summation on AAPDEP-Uniting Africa’s People, Resources & Skills for African Liberation.
The morning was full of great panels and workshops like “Education Must be a Tool to Solve the Problems of the People,” “He Who Feeds You, Controls You,” and “Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired.”
Speakers and panelists included William Hobson, NiaNah Tumpe, Benetta Ward, Jaleel Nash, Ayanda Nsemeno, Wovoka Sobukwe, Dr. Michelle Strong Fields, Gazi Kodzo, Ibrafall Wright, Muteba Tshinabu Wa Munda and Kobina Bantushango.
After a lunch break, attendees were immediately captivated by an eye-opening and scathing criticism of imperialistic capitalism and organizations like AFRICOM and others which exploit Africa and her children.
Keynote speaker, Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party set the audience off, as he spoke to the need for Africans to collectivize our skills.
His final words brought the crowd to its feet.
Chairman Omali’s call to the crowd was as follows:
“No Excuse! Imperialists don’t give a damn about your age.
“White people and white power don’t spare you because you’re too old, and they damn sure don’t spare you because you’re too young!
“They don’t spare you because you’re fat, skinny, tall, woman, man, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, trans; they don’t give a damn!!
“YOU have to become a part of the movement to overturn this system, it’s the only way out!”
Chairman Omali sparked a fire within the room!
Next was a call for membership by the AAPDEP Director, Dr. Aisha Fields and AAPDEP Membership and Information Director, Robert Veney.
Beginning with a layout of AAPDEP’s seven new membership levels, the call for membership was a huge success. bringing in over 30 new members to AAPDEP!
This portion would also serve as a call for resources to further the programs that AAPDEP has on the horizon for 2018.
Also considered a success, the goal for resources was far exceeded, which only confirmed the unity that the audience was feeling.
Next on the program included some audience participation with a Q&A session with Chairman Omali Yeshitela.
Following the Q&A session was another exceptional panel led by Dr. Aisha Fields and William Hobson. Thetopic of this discussion was AAPDEP’s Project Black Ankh which is poised to become the African response to the American Red Cross.
Panelists pointed out the glaring contradictions Africans face when putting our faith and ultimately our lives, in the hands of the Red Cross, FEMA or OXFAM etc.
The “Let’s Build & Consolidate AAPDEP” introduction of AAPDEP’s Self-Reliance Challenge (to be launched in the near future) and the formal summation would close out an action-packed day one.
Guests were then invited to celebrate AAPDEP’s 10th anniversary and Dr. Aisha Fields’ birthday with a party later that night at Huntsville’s Club Envy.
The party was a great opportunity for Comrades and guests to loosen up and have some fun.
The final day began promptly at 8 AM back at Zenzele Consignment with an opening by Dr. Fields.
William Hobson followed up with an amazing DIY/Education session on disaster preparedness and AAPDEP’s Project Black Ankh.
This portion drew an abundance of interest from the audience. Enthusiasm and positivity were in the air!
Immediately following was a tour of Huntsville’s Community Garden run by AAPDEP members and community volunteers where guests were given the opportunity to work in the garden.
Everyone was excited to put on some gloves and volunteer, doing some light weeding and clean up.
The workshop also included a hands-on DIY session where Kobina Bantushango taught us how to build raised beds from wood pallets.
This powerful convention was concluded at the garden with closing remarks from several guests and summations by Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Dr. Aisha Fields.
Overall, AAPDEP did an outstanding job organizing that entire weekend. Attendees of the African Skills for African Liberation Convention left with a new sense of urgency around Africans collectivizing our skills and a clear understanding of what African self-determination and self-reliance look like.
African Skills for African Liberation!
Africa is Our Future!