Keep DC a Chocolate City event success
Boycott Everlasting Life Café and all traitors of the black community
By: Asafo Yerodin
On December 18, 2010 the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) DC branch successfully held our event “Keep DC a Chocolate City, Stop DC’s War on the Black Community!” Despite an attempt by Everlasting Life Café, our planned venue host, to sabotage an event that was more than a month in the making we were able to hold an outstanding event. The attack on our planned event led InPDUM to hold a demonstration at Everlasting Life Café directly following our event proving that you cannot sellout the community and get away with it.
As previously reported on Uhuru News, Everlasting Life Café called InPDUM organizer the day before the event at 4:30 in the afternoon and stated that they would not allow the event to take place at their venue because a blog ran by white gentrifier incited his followers to email Everlasting Life Café to say they would boycott the café if our event was held. http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2010/12/protest-signs-plastered-up-and-down-georgia-avenue/ By 5pm InPDUM started a call-in and email campaign around this act asking Everlasting Life to allow InPDUM to hold the event. http://uhurunews.com/story?resource_name=urgent-keep-dc-a-chocolate-city-event-under-attack-call-in-now InPDUM hoped to show Everlasting Life that the African community had just as much organization as the anti-African sector of the white community.
The call-in and email campaign was successful in organizing a large group of people from DC, North America, and internationally to participate by spreading the message via phone calls, text messaging, e-mail, social media, and Uhuru News..All the while two InPDUM organizers went to Everlasting Life Café to meet with management. This was not good enough for Everlasting Life They went out of their way to come up with reasons why InPDUM could not hold the event. They even said that people calling in to ask that Everlasting Life honor their agreement with InPDUM was the reason they could not reconsider, while they had no contempt for the white community that threatened to boycott them. In fact, they even sent out an e-mail apologizing to the white community for allowing InPDUM to hold the event in the first place and called InPDUM an “extremist group.” http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2010/12/a-note-from-the-owner-of-everlasting-life-cafe-regarding-provocative-protest-signs-on-georgia-ave/ Foolishly, they said gentrification would benefit their business because the new condos being built on Georgia Avenue would make everybody come to Everlasting Life Café. Obviously, they do not understand that the white community has no love for black business or black people. The only love they have for us is when the black community is puppets for white power. Although they may like “soul vegan” food, they love Starbucks and Chili’s more. In fact it has come to our attention that Sankofa Café which is on the same strip as both Soul Vegetarian and Everlasting Life have come under attack due to their mural of Malcolm X on the side of their building. Furthermore making it clear that every inch we give is another inch that will be taken in the future.
In last minute efforts to find a new venue, Soul Vegetarian Café allowed us to use the space. Although once they found out about the controversy they asked for us to put out a disclaimer stating the ideas we express not being the ideas of the establishment. While InPDUM respected their stance and obliged their request, we believe that institutions that operate in our community should be able to support black self-determination and the ability for the black community to interact as with each other as we wish…
Nonetheless, InPDUM’s event started 30 minutes late to allow people who would have gone to the previous venue to make their way to Soul Vegetarian Cafe. By the time international President Diop Olugbala spoke the upstairs of the Café was standing room only left. Diop Olugbala gave a powerful presentation on the right and responsibility of Africans to resist. Dynamically speaking on the fact that gentrification in DC is the same thing as the original gentrification of Africa in when African people were put into slavery by Europeans. Diop then touched on the issue of African’s responsibility to each other and that selling-out is not an option announcing that InPDUM will be demonstrating in front of Everlasting Life Café and calling on them to retract their sellout position to the community in kicking InPDUM out at the last minute.
During the discussion period it became clear that InPDUM had overwhelming support in our choice to demonstrate against Everlasting Life Café. The participants understood that now more than ever is the time to call each other out when members of the community are wrong and there is no problem with doing that. Some were not for the demonstration but approved of the community boycotting Everlasting Life if they could not meet our demands make up. Some even urged InPDUM to keep on doing what they have been doing and never to lose the backbone that allows the organization to take action.
The discussion also allowed for inspiring individuals such as a sister named Irene saying, “Just tell me where I need to be, when I need to be there, and how high you want me to jump,” showing the dedicated community members who are willing to work for change InPDUM is attracting.
Following the closing of the event InPDUM marched to Everlasting Life chanting, “Self-Determination, not gentrification!” When we got to the Café local President Aaron on a bullhorn stated why we were there while other members stood in-front of the establishment holding up signs with various messages opposing gentrification and promoting the right to resist. As others passed out flyers stating that Everlasting Life Café was a sellout institution and should be boycotted. Member of local a local division of the UNIA, Warren stood with InPDUM against traitors in our community.
One of the managers stepped outside of the café agitated by the demonstration. But the most they could say is that the reason we kicked you out the day before doesn’t matter. That somehow they can support the black community and kick the black community to the curb when we need a home at the same time. They can say that gentrification is good for their business while that same gentrification is hurting the black community, but still support the black community. Everlasting Life Café has refused to even apologize, so InPDUM has officially said the boycott must begin. The black community is not pleading that you take our side, it is a demand. A demand that if cannot be met, will have consequences and repercussions.
The boycott will continue until Everlasting Life Café can…
Make a public apology and self-criticism to InPDUM and the black community for turning their back on us and selling out to white customers.
Host and organize an event where InPDUM will speak on gentrification and the effects it has on the black community.
InPDUM makes our position clear; we do not wish to put Everlasting Life Café out of business. We do not wish to break up any unity within the community either. In fact, we wish to create a network of businesses in the near future that can combat the attack on our community but will also help these businesses prosper. The break in unity was pushing our event out of their establishment at the last minute. The break in unity was turning their back on the black community when the community needs them the most. The black community supported Everlasting Life when it was just a hole in the wall and you had to be careful as you walked across the floor for fear of a plank coming up and hitting you in the face. We supported Everlasting Life in the same way that we supported Soul Vegetarian after our event when the majority of the attendance bought a meal at the establishment in the same way that could have been done for Everlasting Life drawing in customers that day that would have not been there otherwise. InPDUM and the black community have always supported Everlasting Life, but when Everlasting Life was supposed to support the community they did not. They must be held accountable for their actions!
In the end, InPDUM has been pushed forward; the attack has helped define who we are in the community. It has assisted people in understanding why we take the stances we take as real world conditions occur. Words have become action and ideas have been shown to be reality. It also gives us more clarity in working on projects such as “Our-Mart,” project for cooperative economics within the black community which we will discuss at our next event entitled, “Forget Wal-Mart, we need Our-Mart!” which will be held January 22, 2011 at Anacostia Library Room-3. To get the latest updates on what is going on in DC “like” our facebook page “International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement DC Branch.”
Boycott Everlasting Life and All Traitors in Our Community!
Forget Wal-Mart, We Need Our-Mart!
Africans have the Right to Resist!