The fourth day of the historic 2012 Uhuru Oakland Freedom Summer Project kicked off with rigorous physical exercise led by Diop Olugbala, President of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM). Participants stretched, then ran from the Uhuru House to East Oakland's Arroyo Park and back carrying the red, black and green African flag through the streets of the African community. The run was followed by group calisthenics.
Following a delicious natural breakfast prepared by Uhuru Foods chef John Janosko, Summer Project participants continued work on the flourishing community vegetable garden in the back yard of the Uhuru House. Led by African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) Secretary General Gaida Kambon, everyone took on a different task in the garden, from planting cherry tomatoes and eggplants to clearing weeds from the paths and trimming aromatic rosemary and lavender bushes.
The food harvested from the Summer Project work has already fed many hungry participants of the Summer Project, and the continued work on the garden will yield even more nutritious meals throughout the year.
The Biko Lumumba Free Lunch program has already been drawing many children and parents from the impoverished African and Mexican community of East Oakland, coming together for healthy meals, engaging children's activities and political education for the parents. The program is off to a successful start, reintroducing many families to political life in the Uhuru House!
The renovations work on the historic Uhuru House has been right on schedule, led by African People's Solidarity Committee (APSC) member Pete Yaroschuk, who has secured donations of rental construction equipment, power tools, paint and other materials through a rigorous donations campaign.
Volunteers have been participating in the work daily, cleaning the front of the Uhuru House, bringing down the murals of African martyrs and leaders including Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Huey P Newton and Chairman Omali Yeshitela. These murals will be repainted by a skilled African artist.
The exterior of the Uhuru House is getting a thorough cleaning and will soon be painted by volunteer painters from a local union organized by Carlos Sturla, who has become an enthusiastic supporter of the Summer Project, bringing Diop Olugbala and Pete Yaroschuk to speak to a meeting of the union, recruiting painters to participate and donate skills to the work, and himself donating the use of a pressure washer.
The day continued with community outreach led by InPDUM downtown to Africans and by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement in the white community to organize North Americans into the Summer Project work. Both organizations have been quite successful in reaching people and signing up registrants for the projects, winning donations and promoting the project, the Sunday rallies and the July 28-29 Black Community Convention.
The Summer Project Committee came together to sum up the day's work, framing all the projects as part of an overall strategy for economic self-reliance and winning the African community back into political life. Everyone agreed on the deep political significance of the work.
The Oakland Freedom Summer Project continues!