Good morning, and thank you for attending this very important press conference.
This press conference was called to announce plans for a coordinated effort by the Black community here in the Tampa Bay Area – efforts which will also be connected to those of Africans around the world-to intervene in the tragic situation experienced right now by millions of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
This morning, statements will be given from various organizations based here in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay Area who will be working together to coordinate community efforts aimed at offering some immediate material support to our people in Haiti.
My name is Dr. Aisha Fields. I am the Director of the All African People’s Development & Empowerment Project, also known as AAPDEP.
AAPDEP is an organization of the Uhuru Movement that was built in 2007 in order to organize African doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers and other skilled Africans around the world to coordinate a variety of development projects that work to transform the miserable conditions of existence that have been imposed on our people around the world.
AAPDEP is not a charity organization! Instead, AAPDEP functions as a vehicle for African people everywhere who are willing to take up our responsibility to use whatever skills we posses collectively for the development of Africa and African communities around the world.
Since our founding in 2007, we have successfully completed and or launched several development projects in Sierra Leone, West Africa and the United States.
In Sierra Leone, AAPDEP’s African Corps of Engineers, Scientists and Healthcare Workers has built a series of rainwater harvesting systems in the rural farming community of Gbanelol, has initiated community health workers training that focuses on the prevention, identification and treatment of waterborne diseases, and will next month launch a community commercial fishing project in the capital, Freetown.
AAPDEP is currently organizing African midwives, doctors and nurses based in the U.S. and Africa as part of our newest project to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rates in Sierra Leone, which at present are the highest in the world.
Right now, though, AAPDEP is working with a variety of local and international organizations to help coordinate efforts aimed at assisting our people in Haiti.
First of all, and perhaps most importantly, we are calling on the African community here in St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay to recognize our sameness with our African brothers and sisters in Haiti who must not face this crisis alone. Neither must we expect that it is enough to be bystanders content with assistance that comes in the form of “good will” from other people.
It is therefore in the spirit of self-reliance that AAPDEP, along with those gathered here today, call on the Black community and our friends and allies in St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay to make contributions of dry goods, water, personal hygiene items, diapers, basic first aid and other medical supplies that can be dropped off here at the Uhuru House located at 1245 18th Ave. S, Monday through Friday from 9:30am-1pm.
This same call to action is being made not only to the African community here, but throughout the world where AAPDEP and or other organizations of the Uhuru Movement exist including in major US cities like Houston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York, Memphis and Oakland. Africans in Toronto, Canada, London, England and Sierra Leone, West Africa are also being mobilized to make similar contributions of goods, supplies and resources.
AAPDEP is also currently in communication with African organizations in places like the Bahamas, in an effort to assess our ability to send a contingent of African doctors and nurses into Haiti to participate in offering much needed medical support and supplies.
We invite the Black community here in Tampa Bay and elsewhere to attend the third Annual National Conference of the All African People’s Development & Empowerment Project which will take place here at the Uhuru House this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, January 16th & 17th from 9am-2pm.
Among other things, this conference will be used to discuss other local and international efforts aimed at uniting the Black community in swift and in all likelihood, protracted work that must be undertaken to assist our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
More information about this weekend’s conference can be found on our website, www.DevelopmentForAfrica.org
or by calling us at 727-821-6620.
I would like to end by issuing another urgent call to African people everywhere to unite in support of our people in Haiti who are suffering tremendously.
We must pull together our resources and offer whatever skills we may have to make as great an impact as possible.
African doctors, nurses, engineers, scientists, those with skills in renewable energy, water purification and other areas must join the AAPDEP African Corps of Engineers, Scientists and Healthcare Workers!
Yesterday it was Katrina, today it is Haiti. Tomorrow it could be anywhere else in the African world. No matter the location or circumstance, African people must be prepared to take care of ourselves.
Our task right now is to make sure we are organized and ready to make every effort possible to assist our brothers and sisters in need.
One Africa! One People!