Uhuru Movement spreads Black Power from Birmingham to Selma

On March 4, 2023, International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) organizers and others from the Uhuru Movement held the first Mafundi Lake Day on the ground in Birmingham since the beginning of the COVID-19 colonial pandemic.

On March 5, 2023, we attended the Bloody Sunday commemoration in Selma. We designated this “Black Power Weekend.”

On Mafundi Lake Day (MLD), we observed the life and legacy of Comrade Richard Mafundi Lake at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama.

Mafundi had historically organized at Kelly Ingram Park across from the Institute, where the event took place. Kelly Ingram Park was a historic site of struggle between Africans and the colonial State during the Birmingham Campaign of 1963. Mafundi Lake participated in this historic campaign.

On March 4, 2023, the Uhuru Movement held an event for Mafundi Lake Day in Birmingham, AL honoring the life of Mafundi Lake, a political prisoner of war who dedicated his life to fighting for the democratic rights and freedom of African people.

Dynamic program invites community participation

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute patrons were invited to attend the Mafundi Lake Day observation. Comrade Mafundi gave his life in the struggle for the democratic rights and freedom of African people. Holding MLD at this important location helped make Mafundi a household name in Birmingham.

The program highlighted the life of Mafundi Lake, what he meant to the community, how he inspired them, and the continued fight to free all political prisoners.

The program included local music and culture from Parker High School Bison Chorale, West African Dance and Drum Ensemble, Birmingham Afrikan Centered HomeSchool Collective, Pastor Larry Woodruff, and more.

Uhuru Movement organizers led a panel discussion, and Mafundi Lake’s comrades-in-arms delivered solidarity statements at the event. InPDUM Outreach Coordinator Kobina Bantushango delivered the keynote address. Mafundi Lake’s widow, Carolyn Weyni Lake, sang songs of freedom. Words written by Mama Sanovia after the passing of Mafundi Lake’s father were also spoken.

InPDUM builds in Birmingham

The late Comrade Omowale Kefing, who also organized alongside Mafundi, historically stated that “you never leave empty-handed when doing outreach.” Comrade Erika Clark and Comrade Denzel made calls for membership and resources. New members were won into InPDUM, and significant resources were raised.

MLD 2023 was a success built on a dynamic outreach and registration process. It was a victory of African Internationalist theory and practice. MLD 2023 brought together the community, family, and friends and has laid the basis for future Uhuru Movement organizing in Birmingham.

Uhuru Movement organized at the Bloody Sunday

MLD was the springboard for the regional mobilization of the Uhuru Movement forces throughout the South. On March 5, 2023, Uhuru Movement forces from InPDUM, the African People’s Socialist Party, and the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project attended the annual Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Selma, Alabama.

The Selma to Montgomery March forced the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. For the white ruling class and African middle class, the annual Bloody Sunday commemoration is a victory march. Yet, one only needs to see the abject poverty that Africans are forced to endure in Selma and throughout Alabama to know that the fight for freedom has yet to be won.

African vendors from all over regularly attend the event and are dependent upon the resources obtained that weekend.

People locally refer to Bloody Sunday as a Jubilee Celebration. The message InPDUM brought to the people was that the true Jubilee will be when Africa and Africans are free and self-governing.

Biden’s commemoration of Voting Rights Act is hypocrisy

With the military defeat of the African Revolution of the 1960s, the U.S. colonial State has transformed our observances into expressions of their State power. This is why Mafundi Lake Day in March, and the African Martyrs’ Day observances in February, are an important form of African Internationalist dual and contending power.

The U.S. domestic military forces were omnipresent at the event. Federal, State ,and local police surveilled and monitored the activities. Parade-goers were searched, and security checkpoints around the city abounded.

U.S. president Joseph R. Biden addressed the Bloody Sunday commemoration. Biden spoke of his support for Zambia and Namibia during his time as a senator. Yet, Biden did not mention his opposition to reparations, his opposition to bussing and his 1994 crime bill that placed hundreds of thousands of police in our communities which contain and kill us.

Biden stated that the right for Africans to vote is “under assault” in his speech. Yet, on July 29, 2022, Biden sent his military forces to the homes and offices of Uhuru Movement leaders.

Chairman Omali Yeshitela was a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He led voter registration drives that brought universal suffrage to Africans in Florida and throughout the U.S. South. In much of his efforts, he was chased out or threatened by white lynch mobs.

Biden’s government attacked the Uhuru Movement partly because of our unique participation in the electoral arena. The Chairman reminds us that no one paid a greater price for the right to vote than black people in this country who were bombed, clubbed or pinned against brick walls by high-powered water hoses while standing in voting lines.

It was the determined struggles by African people in this country to be free that led to the Voting Rights Act, but acceptable participation in the electoral arena, as defined by the U.S. government, is when we turn into tools for the slavemaster, doing their dirty work and betraying the African community.

They attacked the Uhuru Movement because we used the elections to continue popularizing the demand for reparations to the black community. Despite the fact that the Votings Rights Act, on its face, is supposed to protect the rights of the Uhuru Movement to do this, the reality is that freedom is illegal for black people, and the right to vote and use the electoral process is only afforded to those willing to continue our oppression.

Black Power Weekend was a success

The unity of the masses of African people in Selma was apparent. We garnered scores of signatures, distributed over 500 pieces of literature and won new members and volunteers into the Uhuru Movement. As always, scores of issues of The Burning Spear were sold.

Black Power Weekend was a victory for the Uhuru Movement. It displayed the 50-plus years of relentless struggle toward African redemption led by the Party. The weekend represented InPDUM’s mission to defend the democratic rights of African people and bring them back into political life.

Vanguard Up!

The highest expression of democracy is self-determination. Join InPDUM today: InPDUM.org/Today

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