After 30 and 34 years respectively, Uhuru Furniture stores in both Philadelphia, PA and Oakland, CA are closing. Since 1989, these economic development projects of the African People’s Education & Defense Fund (APEDF) demonstrated in the real world what African self-determination looks like, taking it from an idea to a concrete reality that the community can interact with, support, and identify with as their own.
Uhuru Furniture and Collectibles (UFC) has provided free donation pick-up services and Uhuru on the Move’s moving services, resold gently used furniture and household goods at affordable prices, saved thousands of tons of furniture from the landfill, and provided volunteer opportunities, job training, and work experience for our community. Hundreds of thousands of people have chosen to shop, donate, and volunteer at Uhuru Furniture because they support APEDF’s programs – putting power in the hands of the African working class community.
We consider it a victory for these black-owned institutions to have made it for over three decades through conditions that normally keep our community out of the economic arena. It is a statement of the tremendous support from the community for what Uhuru Furniture stands for and the mission of APEDF.
However, the U.S. economy is in a deep crisis. Throughout the U.S., small businesses and large corporate retail chains alike are closing. The rising cost of living with skyrocketing rents, rising prices of gas, food, and goods have created untenable conditions for small businesses and oppressed communities. In an economy that was built and is dependent on the violent colonial extraction of our resources, we are always hit the hardest.
In the last 20 years, over 50 percent of the historic African community of Oakland, CA has been pushed out by gentrification. In Philadelphia, over 30 percent of the city (485,000 people) was forced into deeper poverty and hunger when the city cut off supplemental SNAP benefits in March 2023.
These conditions have also made it impossible for the Uhuru Furniture stores to be sustainable economic development projects of APEDF, as we strive to provide living wages for employees and to keep our prices affordable. The cost of doing business and lack of support from the city governments which subsidize developers and big corporations while draining African and other underserved communities has made it impossible for UFC to keep our doors open.
From APEDF and Uhuru Furniture, we say a heartfelt THANK YOU to every person who has chosen to stand on the side of the African working class community’s fight for self-determination! Since announcing our closing, both stores have been overwhelmed by an outpouring of support, showing us how deeply our community not only loves UFC for the great quality furniture and service but feel it is part of their cultural and political lives!
Because of your support, there are programs on the ground transforming the conditions of life in our community. The Black Power Blueprint programs based in St. Louis, MO continue to expand. These programs uplift our community and provide genuine solutions to the disparities we face. APEDF has built an African farmer’s market and community garden, a state-of-the-art basketball court, created a doula training program and women’s health center, and much more. Under the slogan “Our Labor, Our Future,” the African Independence Workforce Program (AIWP) that we are initiating will reverse the negative economic impact of the colonial economy and prison system. AIWP will provide training and jobs so our community can contribute to a prosperous future through the development of our independent liberated economy.
This colonial economy may be in crisis, but it is not our crisis, and now more than ever freedom-loving people have the opportunity to directly support the rapidly growing programs of APEDF:
1. Donate to APEDF programs and the Giving Tuesday Campaign at www.apedf.org/donate. Make a onetime donation or become a sustainer!
2. Stay informed, sign up for the APEDF email newsletter or to volunteer by emailing us at email@example.com and Oakland@uhurufurniture.org.
3. Share your Uhuru Furniture story! Email us and we’ll put it on our website!
5. Buy Uhuru Pies this holiday season. Sign up to sell or volunteer at https://uhurupies.org/
6. You are invited to take an in-person tour of the Black Power Blueprint’s uplifting programs in St. Louis, MO.
Contact us. See more and support our self-determination programs at: https://blackpowerblueprint.org