FLORIDA—The Southern U.S. is infamous for the auction blocks and plantations where African (black) people were openly sold and enslaved. Over 55 percent of Africans in the U.S. live in the country’s southern region. It is also this region that has some of the worst rated schools and hospitals, depriving our people of education and healthcare.
African people are up to three times as likely as white people to contract COVID-19 and two times more likely to die from it. So it is not surprising that most states in the South are not addressing the pandemic with urgency. As Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP), sums up, “Colonialism is the virus. …our people are colonized, and we must become anti-colonialists.”
Governors such as Ron DeSantis of Florida, Bill Lee of Tennessee and Gregg Abbott of Texas are doing nothing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. So the colonial virus is thriving in this environment and murdering our African people every day.
The African People’s Socialist Party’s 14-Point Platform defines colonialism:
“We believe that the present condition of existence for African people within current U.S. borders is colonialism, a condition of existence where a whole people is oppressively dominated by a foreign and alien State power for the purpose of economic exploitation and political advantage. We believe further that this colonial domination is the primary basis of the problems of African people within the U.S. and that we shall know neither peace, prosperity, nor human dignity until this colonialist domination is overthrown and the power over our lives rests in our own hands.”
COVID-19 in the U.S. Southern Region
The African People’s Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement defines the Southern Region as consisting of: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.
In the U.S., there have been more than 5 million confirmed cases and more than 160,000 people are confirmed to have died from COVID-19. The CDC website breaks down the infection rate by state, rated in color white to dark blue, with dark blue being the highest with 40,001 or more cases.
It is no wonder that nearly the entire U.S. South, where over half of our people in the U.S. live, is dark blue. The only exceptionis New Mexico with more than 22,000 confirmed cases.
The CDC website links to covidtracking.com, which contains information on how COVID-19 is killing African and Indigenous people. Lee, Arkansas is the third highest county of COVID-19 cases and its population is majority African. The two counties it trails behind, both in Tennessee, list African people as second in their population, just behind white people.
It should be noted that due to lack of testing and discrimination against African people, these numbers and listings are in reality far higher.
COVID-19 is the latest act of colonialism against our people
Our people live in the South because we were kidnapped here, stolen from Mother Africa to labor for white people. It is our stolen land, resources and labor that built the world capitalist economy that has benefited all white people all over the world and is benefitting them at our expense up till today.
It takes great and terrible violence to force a people to labor and create for someone else and to keep us from taking what is ours. Since 1619, nothing has changed except that now COVID-19 is an added weapon to white power’s arsenal.
According to USA Today:
“Dr. Deborah Birx, a White House adviser who is among the top coronavirus officials in the nation, said Monday that Tennessee should close bars and limit indoor restaurant dining to prevent a looming escalation of the outbreak among young people. Moments later, Gov. Bill Lee said he ‘appreciates their recommendations’ but won’t follow them or give county mayors the authority to do so locally.”
The article continues:
“Tennessee on Monday broke records for new coronavirus cases and deaths over a seven-day period, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows. New cases for the week leaped to 16,735—more than five times the worst week seen in the spring. And deaths rose to 131, more than double the worst week of the spring.”
With Africans having less access to healthcare and healthy food to boost our immune systems—the result of colonialism—Lee and others know who will be dying in their states. This is why they are allowing the colonial virus to run rampant.
A number of states, such as Florida and Tennessee, are refusing to submit information to the CDC on what percentage of COVID-19 deaths are Africans. They are trying to cover up the evidence, but we know what they are hiding. This is biological warfare.
COVID-10 is the colonial virus! This is genocide!
Our health and well-being will never be a priority of our oppressor. Their priority is to extract wealth from our labor through both subtle and overt forms of violence.
The African People’s Socialist Party’s mass organization, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), is leading the campaign “Africans Charge Genocide!” This is a petition to the United Nations demanding the U.S. pay reparations to African people.
The Africans Charge Genocide petition uses international law, which defines genocide as:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group;”
We are organizing to take what is ours and build our own Black State Power, where we will be in control of our own health and healthcare.
We are building our own healthcare system!
The African People’s Socialist Party formed our own health board to address COVID-19 in our communities. Our sister organization, the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP), has released information on how to protect and care for ourselves and others during the pandemic.
AAPDEP has recently formed a telehealth program for our people to speak with professional healthcare workers about COVID-19. Africans and any professional healthcare workers are welcome to volunteer as part of the team to create black community-controlled healthcare.
The African People’s Socialist Party has one of our headquarters in the South, in St. Petersburg, Florida. AAPDEP, led by International Director Dr. Aisha Fields, is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama.
Wherever we are as a people, we cannot rely on our oppressor’s healthcare system if we are to have any control over our own health and lives.
Black Power in the Southern Region!
The South is not only home to our oppression but home to our rebellion. African people rebelled against our enslavement since we were brought here, including Gabriel’s rebellion in 1800 and Nat Turner’s famous rebellion in 1831.
Our conditions have only worsened since official slavery, with more African people locked up in the colonial prison system now than were enslaved at the height of chattel slavery in 1850.
In 1965, Africans who had organized through the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) formed the Lowndes County Freedom Organization to take Black Power! Their logo was a black panther and the media referred to them as the Black Panther Party. The slogan and name was adopted not long after by the Black Panther Party in Oakland, CA.
In 1966, Omali Yeshitela, leading the St. Petersburg, Florida branch of SNCC, ripped down the anti-African mural that hung from the local city hall. The mural showed caricatured Africans serving and playing instruments for white people.
This was a fearless act of resistance for which he was sentenced to prison and hard labor. That wall in city hall remains blank to this day.
These are two events that signaled the shift from the Civil Rights Movement to the Black Power Movement. In response, the violence of the U.S. government’s counterinsurgency killed and murdered many of our heroes and crushed our movement.
However, out of the ashes rose the African People’s Socialist Party, co-founded by Chairman Omali Yeshitela in Florida.
The African People’s Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement defended Dessie Woods, an African woman imprisoned in Georgia for killing a white man who attempted to rape her with his own gun. Our ongoing actions resulted in her release!
This is an incredibly small snippet of our history as we fight to continue the Black Power Movement of the 1960s to achieve the bodily safety, total unification and liberation of Africans in the U.S. and around the world to reclaim our Africa and achieve Black State Power.
With Black Power, we can govern and provide for ourselves and defend our people against COVID-19 and all forms of colonial violence!
Down with the colonial virus!
Join the African People’s Socialist Party at apspuhuru.org
Join the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project at developmenforafrica.org
Sign the Africans Charge Genocide Petition at AfricansChargeGenocide.org
Black Power Matters!