On Saturday, February 25, Occupy the Food System activists and other community members converged on the Uhuru House in East Oakland to engage in political workshops, committee building work and work to prepare the backyard at the Uhuru House for the Oakland Freedom Summer Project.
The Occupation for Self-Determination conference began with a presentation about the role of white people in the struggle for African self-determination.
Wendy Snyder, a member of the African People’s Solidarity Committee and the National Sustainable Membership Coordinator of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, called on white people to get organized under the leadership of the African working class-led strategy to transform the system of colonial poverty and oppression.
Her presentation laid out how the wealth of the U.S. system and white world has its basis in the attack on Africa, the enslavement of African people and the attack on Indigenous peoples.
International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement President Diop Olugbala, who also leads the work to build the Oakland Freedom Summer Project, gave a history of the Black Power Movement of the Sixties and in particular, the legacy of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, the U.S. government’s attack on the movement and the historic role that Uhuru Movement has played in keeping the Black Power Movement alive.
He outlined the disparities currently facing the African community of East Oakland, where the average household income is $15,000 and 75 cents for every retail dollar is extracted from the community, and the colonial conditions that African people face.
Olugbala gave a critique of the Occupy Movement. He stated that it is not good enough to just criticize different aspects of the social system that was founded on the oppression of African people.
“There can be no unity at the expense of my community,” he stated, calling on the Occupy Movement to support the African community’s struggle for self-determination.
African community's fight for Self-Determination picks up speed
Maureen Wagener, the director of Uhuru Foods, provided the vision for the Uhuru House Renovation and the Oakland Freedom Summer Project.
From July 9-29, 2012, activists, students and community members will renovate the historic Uhuru House black community center in East Oakland, install a sustainable community garden and participate in the installation of Uhuru Jiko, a community kitchen, a program to bring true community commerce, health and food programs to the African community.
Haben Yosef, who leads the community garden committee of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project, gave details about plans to build the garden committee.
Following lunch, conference participants cleared the backyard, built planter boxes and readied the boxes for planting with fresh compost.
The work in the garden represented a genuine expression of solidarity with the struggle to build the Uhuru House as an institution of economic and political power for the African community.
The Uhuru Movement is calling on all people to attend two events that will officially kick off the Oakland Freedom Summer Project. Both events will be held at the Uhuru House at 7911 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland:
Saturday, March 10, 5 to 8pm, Occupation for Self-Determination: African and Indigenous People Have a Right to Control Their Own Food Production with Omali Yeshitela, Chairman and founder of the Uhuru Movement, Penny Hess, the Chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, Eric Holt-Gimenez from Food First and Harry Simón Salazar, Sub-Secretary General of Unión del Barrio.
Sunday, March 11, 4 to 7pm, Townhall Meeting: Join the Movement for African Community Self-Defense and Self-Reliance! With Elaine Brown, Former Chair of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Chairman Omali Yeshitela.
Fore more information, email Oakland@uhurusolidarity.org or call 510-394-1780
Join the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, white allies taking a stand under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party!