Powerful InPDUM 25th Anniversary Convention in Ferguson forwards struggle for self-determination!

September 17th and 18th, 2016, let this be a date to go down in our movement’s history. It was the historic 25th Anniversary convention since the founding of InPDUM in Chicago of 1991.

It was held on the grounds of the 2014 African uprising, Ferguson, Missouri, in what could’ve been considered the safe haven for Africans at the time: Greater St. Marks Church.

Not only was the location of this event significant in making the 25th Anniversary Convention a success, it was also convened by the newly elected international executive committee comprised of African women: Membership Chair Akile Anai, Economic Development Coordinator Adisa Dokubo, Secretary Daraja Haki, under the leadership of President Kalambayi Andenet.

Under the banner, “Continuing the Black Struggle for Self-Determination:The Task at Hand,” the 25th Anniversary Convention, packed with dynamic presentations, panels, workshops, and cultural performances, really captured the essence of the new world for everyone to envision.

Day one opened with spectacular cultural performances: vocalists. Particularly the cover of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Got Damn” and Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” moved the crowd to tears. It was the perfect start to a damn near perfect convention.

President Kalambayi opened up the convention with the President’s report, laying out the work, successes, and way forward for InPDUM. Shortly after, Kalambayi raced upstairs to speak at a funeral being held right above the convention. It was the funeral of Darren Seals, a well-known rap artist and activist of the African community in St. Louis. He was murdered a few days prior; shot in the head and left inside a burning car. Kalambayi gave a winning speech to the mourning friends and family, letting the people know that it’s time to unite for freedom and black power!

Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party and founder of InPDUM took to the podium to deliver a powerful presentation on the upcoming elections, reminding everyone that the solution to our oppression is not in the hands of our oppressor, but comes with the power of the oppressed. “Our victory comes with the defeat of white power, not a vote for it.”

Laying out the contradictions of both Clinton and Trump, whilst deepening the audience’s understanding of the crisis of imperialism further emphasized the necessity of this convention: a true testament of an organization preparing to govern; this is why and this is how.

After the Chairman’s keynote presentation came a delicious catered lunch and a special Uzi Fashion show. Uzi is a brand new fashion line coming from the economic development office of InPDUM, its name a Swahili word meaning “thread.” African women and men ripped the runway with stylish revolutionary gear.

Following lunch came the the Membership and Resource appeal led by both the Economic Development Coordinator Adisa Dokubo and Membership Coordinator Akile Anai. They started by showing an inspiring video titled “25 Years of African Resistance” that displayed the ongoing fight of InPDUM for the democratic rights of the African community since the 1990’s and its presence that is felt around the world.

Then came the appeal. Adisa and Akile announced to the audience the goal to raise for the year: $15,000.

“InPDUM is funded by and works in the interests of the African poor and working class. We understand that the political and the economic are one. Who you are funded by determines your political objective. We are not funded by the democratic party, the Ford Foundation, or any other white left entity. The poor and working class makes this work possible. That’s why we need you to support this movement and become members!”

With powerful testimonies from Kunde Mwamvita, the mother of Dominique Battle who was one of the three African teens murdered by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department on March 31st, 2016, and powerful presentations by both Adisa and Akile, the crowd was eager to both join and donate, allowing InPDUM to exceed their goal.

The last presentation was a panel discussion around the campaign for Justice for the Three Drowned Black Girls, chaired by Akile Anai. It was an emotional panel, both Kunde and Akile sharing tears as they recollected the girls. But the tears turned into spears in the form of words, laying out the campaign and the next steps to furthering it.

“I won’t stop until all African people are free. They didn’t just touch my daughter that night. They touched all of us. And I’m gonna fight like they touched all of us. Because Gaultieri has to go. Gaultieri has to feel what I feel. What he did in the dark is coming to the light, and I’m coming. The Uhuru Movement is coming.” – Kunde Mwamvita

Day two: exciting panel discussions!

Day two arrived and the excitement still filled the air. It began with cultural performances by local African drummers, followed by a monologue titled “Blowing Smoke,” yet again setting the tone for this brilliant convention.

The second day was primarily the day of panel discussions. These included: Black Community Control of Schools led by the African National Women’s Organization President Yejide Orunmila, who laid out the need to build the Kijiji Homeschool Collective and participate in the campaign to overturn and expose anti-African school board policies with Black Girls Wrap Wednesday.

Black Community Control of the Police, with local St. Louis forces who lost their loved ones by the police, as well as Kobina Bantushango, chair of the Justice for Mustafa campaign.

Horizontal Violence, with testimonies from relatives who lost loved ones from horizontal or “black on black” violence.

A panel on the question of African Same Gender Loving and Trans people with panelist Gazi Kodzo, Muteba Tshinabu wa Munda, and Cleo Manago.

There were also solidarity statements from different organizations including Zaki Baruti of the Universal African People’s Organization and Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report.

“Dope and informative”

Here’s what some participants of this historic convention had to say:

Travis Marley from Chicago, IL stated that the Convention was “dope and informative.” He said “I gained a better understanding of the Movement.”

Nia Nah Tumpe stated the Convention was “awesome.” She went on to say that “I always learn from the Movement. I learned what InPDUM has done over the last 25 years.”

Johnny Joseph came from Boston, MA. He told the Spear “I thought it was a healthy representation of power and unity.” He continued by saying “it was a platform for the Self-determination and freedom we been talking about forever.”

Coming to the conclusion of this powerful two-day convention, members of InPDUM had elections to vote on the existing constitution and the International Executive Committee. With no contest, the new IEC came to be, composed of President Kalambayi, Economic Development Coordinator Adisa Dokubo, Membership Coordinator Akile Anai, and newly elected Secretary Mawuli Oteka.

The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement enters this next year with more strength and political development than ever before. In an era where African resistance is happening everywhere we are, InPDUM is ready and hitting the pavement to meet the people at the door.

This upcoming year brings promise to this ever growing mass organization; this convention a mere taste of all the victories to come!







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