Penny Hess, “I’m still here” – 47 years in solidarity with African liberation

The African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) is the organization of white people formed by and under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). APSC organizes in the white community for reparations to African people.

My name is Penny Hess, Chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC).

I am one of the Uhuru 3, who has been indicted with bogus charges by the U.S. government that are targeting Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP).

Chairwoman Penny Hess speaking at the May 10 post-indictment press conference PHOTO: THE BURNING SPEAR

The APSC is an organization of white people formed by and working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party—formed by the Party in 1976 right here in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Our work is to organize in the white community for reparations and genuine solidarity with the movement of African people for power over their lives.

I am still part of APSC after 47 years because African people in this country and in Africa throughout the world still don’t have power.

There are still police murders, massive poverty, mass imprisonment, gentrification, unemployment, loss of African babies and mothers, and a “foster care” system that takes African children out of the community and that violates the Geneva Conventions of the United Nations.

I am still here because I have deep, profound respect and admiration for Chairman Omali Yeshitela, the African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru Movement.

For the nearly 50 years that I have been involved in this Uhuru Movement, the Chairman has fought relentlessly, tirelessly speaking for the poor, for the oppressed–not just explaining the world but changing it.

Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Chairwoman Penny Hess at the 1990 APSC National Conference PHOTO: THE BURNING SPEAR

In a country where the daily news cycle is reporting endless U.S. wars, mass murders, poverty, massive homelessness, corruption, billionaires getting richer and richer at the expense of the people… the First Amendment, the freedom of speech is not extended to those who fight for the interest of the poor and working-class black community to end these conditions?

Clearly, the First Amendment does not extend to Chairman Omali Yeshitela.

I urge you to fact-check!

There are countless videos of Chairman Omali Yeshitela speaking from way back and his writings, books, pamphlets and the archives of The Burning Spear newspaper.

Read it.

And tell me is it not true what he is saying–then and now?

Tell me what he has said that is not true. Tell me what he said 50 years ago that is different from what he says now.

There is no crime here. Do your homework.

This system is founded on crime–on the legacy of enslavement that still reigns today as the basis of wealth of the banks, Wall Street, white wealth, or the expectations of white wealth and power.

Gentrification–wiping out black neighborhoods like the gas plant and overall south St. Pete, while pouring resources into white neighborhoods, wiping out this neighborhood.

These indictments have no basis in reality but this is how this government has attacked black people who struggle for freedom and self-determination to have actual power over their lives.

Same with Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Paul Robeson and so many others; attacked for speaking out, for exercising the right to free speech.

It is completely absurd and profoundly racist that anyone could say that the Chairman is anything but his own person; he has agency–he is no one else’s agent!

He is an incredibly brilliant and dedicated African man who fights for his community, who wins and has friends and supporters and admirers all over the world. And he is an ardent advocate of anyone fighting injustice anywhere.

Are we to accept that it is not allowed for black people to fight for the interests of the poor and oppressed?

The Chairman has done what cities and the states don’t do, raised resources–often from the white community as a stand of reparations–that create programs that actually change the lives of African people. There is a radio station that is much appreciated here.

In other places, there are women’s health centers, a farmers market, furniture stores, a baking and pies institution and a basketball court.

The Chairman has fought for peace, dignity, justice for African people through the return of the value of their stolen labor and resources. He is calling for actual power over what happens to them, an end to colonialism, and the domination of a whole people by others.

For us as white people, the Chairman gives us science to see that this system is built on the backs of African people and the oppressed of the Earth and that it can and will be changed–and that this same system is the cause of our problems and contradictions.

That is not about racism; it’s about colonialism. The colonial mode of production is something that oppressed peoples all over the world are fighting against.

We can take a stand. The Chairman calls white people to action and this is the work I do too.

I support the movement for liberation of African people here and around the world, because in Africa and everywhere there are black people, there is poverty and human suffering.

I unite with reparations to African people to establish real economic development which they can benefit from, not at their expense.

The Chairman has spent his life fighting for a simple truth, solving a simple question. Why should African people be poor, stuffed into prisons, or face an early death?

This world we experience now is not a sustainable world, that is not a world that can live in peace and prosperity for everyone.

Clearly, the so-called guarantee to the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly must apply to Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the African People’s Socialist Party. And I salute him for his fierce fight to uplift and empower the black community and African people everywhere and for opening the door for white people to join African people and humanity.

That has been his life for more than 60 years.

I call on all white people to fight to defend Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the Uhuru Movement against this baseless attack. This is truly in our interest.

Hands Off Uhuru!
Hands Off Africa!
Drop the Charges Against the Uhuru 3!
Reparations Now!


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