The West Coast Black People’s March mobilization was held on Saturday Nov. 4, in the African community of Leimert Park in Los Angeles, California. Leimert Park is also called Africa Town by local organizers and is situated in the heart of the Crenshaw District.
Attendees came from around the West Coast, including Tacoma, Washington. Union del Barrio booked a 51 passenger bus from San Diego and people even flew in from St. Louis, Missouri.
The theme of the LA mobilization was “Drop the Charges on the Uhuru 3! Not One Step Backwards! Build the Anti-colonial Free Speech Movement!”
The West Coast March and Rally was emceed by Pres. Matsemela of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and Secretary General Adrianna Jasso of Union Del Barrio.
At the starting point on Martin Luther King Blvd. and Crenshaw Ave, attendees heard addresses from Pres. Matsemela, Secretary General Adrianna, Chairwoman Penny Hess of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) and one of the Uhuru 3, Zach Ray of Black Alliance for Peace SoCal, Celine from Anakbayan and Gloria Verdieu of Socialist Unity Party (SUP).
Africans, Arabs, Filipinos, Mexicans, Indigenous and North Americans marched south into the Africa Town central plaza. Once at the plaza, hundreds of community members and organizations attended the Black People’s March in Los Angeles.
There the crowd heard from a representative of the Africa Town Coalition, Oppium Sabbah of the Leonard Peltier Ad-Hoc Committee, Mzuri Pambeli of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, Alfredo Mendoze of Association of Raza Educators, Tasha Thomas and Yusef Doucet of JOKO Collective, John Parker of SUP, Mark Friedman of LA Hands Off Cuba, Natalie Matos of the Committee to Free Ruchell Magee, Paolo Cruzalegui of Los Ronderos de las Redes and Comrade Zayi, Western Regional Representative for the African National Women’s Organization.
Chairwoman Penny concluded the event. The hundreds of participants were joined by hundreds more people in Africa Town/Leimert Park. Once the African drummers arrived at the rally, the crowd grew even larger.
On Sunday Nov. 5, we held a viewing party for the Black People’s March Conference that took place in Washington DC. Our viewing party took place at the South Central Constituency Center, on the eastern end of South Los Angeles, on 43rd Street and Central Avenue.
As with the march and rally the previous day, the location of the viewing party was important to the African Liberation Struggle. It was two blocks down from the location of the December 1969 “41st and Central” assault endured by the Black Panther Party.
West Coast mobilization was a success
The West Coast Black People’s March was a success that reflects the multitude of work taking place in California and throughout the Western Region. It reflects the Party-building taking place under the leadership of Western Regional Representative Bakari Olatunji of Oakland, a leading force in the Party.
It reflects the near forty-years of fraternal bonds between the African People’s Socialist Party and Union del Barrio. The successful weekend reflects the increasingly strong presence of the Black is Back Coalition (BIBC) on the West Coast. BIBC organizations JOKO Collective, Black Panther Party of San Diego and Reparations United Front are headquartered in California.
The Party and two of its mass organizations, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) and the African National Women’s Organization (ANWO) have strong presences in California and are growing throughout the region. The weekend also underscores the intensity of the Hands Off Uhuru Campaign and Fight Back Coalition throughout the region.
Hands Off Uhuru has organized mass defense of the APSP out West
On July 29, 2022 comrades out West were awakened to the news of the U.S. government assaults in St. Louis, MO and St. Petersburg, FL. They were preparing for a West Coast mini-intensive with a capstone event featuring Representative Bakari as the keynote speaker that weekend. Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Omali Yeshtiela, we went forward with our planned weekend of events. Sunday July 31, 2022, Rep. Bakari spoke to a crowd at the InPDUM San Diego office.
In Sep. 2022, Chairman Omali Yeshitela visited Oakland, California for the Days of Reparations to African People event held at the Uhuru House. In Nov. 2022, the recently formed Hands Off Uhuru Southern California committee organized a symposium at the San Diego Justice Center. This event brought together a host of organizations such as Union del Barrio, Anakbayan San Diego, Malaya Movement San Diego and the Socialist Unity Party.
The coalition established through Hands Off Uhuru SoCal has been essential in reinvigorating the anti-colonial fervor and unity amongst colonized people in the region. This is evinced in the subsequent events such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Action in Jan. 2023, and African Martyrs Day activities in Feb. 2023.
May 27 Day of Action as well as the concurrent African Liberation Day rally and conference held in San Diego were also important events.
Chairman’s tour builds anti-colonial free speech movement out West
Chairman Omali Yeshitela toured four California cities, holding six events in five days from Oct. 2- 6. The tour began in Northern California and concluded in Southern California.
On Oct. 2, Chairman spoke to a capacity crowd at the Oakland Days of Reparations event hosted by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM). The next day, Chairman Omali spoke to hundreds of students at a San Francisco State University event hosted by Professor Tiffany Caesar, a biographer of Queen Mother Moore and a friend of the Uhuru Movement.
On Oct. 3, the Chairman spoke to scores of students at San Diego State University (SDSU). This was a historic event because in early 2020, hundreds of students, faculty and community members had organized in defense of Chairman after Zionists prevented him from speaking at SDSU.
On Oct. 5, Chairman began the day speaking to a crowd of community members and students at Santa Monica College at an event organized by JOKI Collective. The day ended with an event organized by Union del Barrio at the South Central Constituency Center. The final tour event was held at the San Diego Justice Center and entitled “Build the anti-colonial free speech movement. All out for November 4 Black People’s March”.
The Chairman’s West Coast tour built the organizational capacity for the West Coast Black People’s March.
West Coast Black People’s March forwarded HOU demands, built anti-colonial unity
The importance of the Black People’s March mobilizations were deepened by the surge in the Palestinian Liberation Struggle on Oct. 7. In fact, on Oct. 6, Chairman spoke directly to an Arab couple in the crowd where he spoke of the colonial mode of production and the unity of African and Arab people, specifically citing Palestine.
The success of the West Coast Black People’s March was guided by our strategic anti-colonial demands. Our march, rally and conference did not only describe our shared conditions, they pointed the political way forward.
In the weeks between Chairman’s tour, APSP, ANWO and InPDUM attended numerous rallies and marches and held a public teach-in, in the heart of the African community in San Diego on Palestine. This built mass support for the November 4 mobilization, bringing new people into political life, including new Palestinian comrades. It is also how we met a new friend of the movement, Paolo Cruzalegui, and his organization Los Ronderos de las Redes. The week following the march, West Coast comrades were back in action at the No 2 APEC rally and conference in San Francisco.
As African Internationalists, we know that we never leave empty-handed. The build up to the march, and subsequent events, has expanded the reach of African Internationalism and the Party on the West Coast. It has helped us establish a new Party unit in Los Angeles. It is proof that we are indeed winning!
This time until it is won!