Uhuru Solidarity Movement Summer Study/Action Week in Philly

This past month, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement in Philadelphia hosted a a 6-day “Summer Study/Action Intensive,” a series of studies, events & fundraisers focusing on building support for the programs and campaigns of the Uhuru Movement. This intensive comes at a time when the African People’s Socialist Party is leading incredible struggles around the African world, building the African Socialist International on the continent of Africa as well as in the North American region. The role of white people and other allies of this movement for African liberation is building in the U.S. as the Uhuru Solidarity Movement organizes around campaigns based on justice & reparations for the African community.

For those who attended the events in Philadelphia last month, the understanding of the true nature of the U.S. State was most certainly deepened and was frequently discussed. Starting with a dynamic presentation on Oppression & Resistance in Philadelphia followed by a True African History Tour of Philadelphia, participants learned and saw the deep legacy of slavery, colonialism and white power in Philly, with movements for resistance fighting every step of the way. This affected everyone who went on the tour, seeing the places and learning t he history of the absolute torture and terror inflicted on Indigenous people and Africans in Philadelphia from the landing of William Penn through today’s police containment of the African community.

The first night’s study was an Introduction to African Internationalism & The State, led by Chairwoman Penny Hess, the national leader of the African People’s Solidarity Committee who came to Philadelphia to lead the week’s events. UhuruNews’ dynamic video on the State really drew out the different relationship to the police and courts that we as white people experience, while educating us about the harsh realities for Africans in this country. The theoretical basis for the Uhuru Movement was laid out and provided for excellent discussion, leading everyone into the week’s events. The week moved on with a rousing demonstration on Wednesday morning outside Philly’s Criminal Justice Center, led by International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement leader Diop Olugbala, one of the City Hall 2, who were attacked by Philadelphia police inside City Council chambers on M arch 19th and are being charged with bogus felony assault charges by the very police who choked Diop. This demonstration focused directly on the police, prisons and court system that criminalizes and locks up African people every day in Philly, and challenged the anticipated complicity of citizens by leading a large group of supporters – including white allies in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement – to shout, “Hands Off the City Hall 2! The Real Criminals Are the Boys in Blue!”

The first major event of the week featured Diop Olugbala in a forum calling to “Stop the Billion Dollar War on the Black Community!” Chairwoman Penny Hess gave a mobilizing call to white people to become allies of this movement for African self-determination and to take a stand to defend the democratic rights of the black community. The keynote presentation by Diop Olugbala addressed not only the case of the City Hall 2, but also deepened everyone’s understanding of the State much further through an incredibly gripping yet down-to-earth presentation that challenged everyone to get involved in the organizations of the Uhuru Movement to overturn the parasitic relationship this system has with African people. This gave way to the next night’s event, “U.S. Out of Africa! Resist AFRICOM & NORTHCOM!” featuring Chioma Oruh, who presented an amazingly well-researched and deep analysis of the current U.S. military strategy in Africa and on the homefront. Oruh, who is chair of the African Socialist International North American organizing committee, taught everyone who attended this event so many things that we didn’t previously know about imperialist countries’ plans for Africa, which shines a light on how extremely important it is that African people have a plan for themselves, which we support through the Uhuru Movement. The discussion also informed people on how they can get involved in supporting the African Village Survival Initiative, programs led in black communities in the U.S. to provide community-based solutions to the economic crisis.

The final study of the week, “Environmental Justice Through African Liberation,” was preceded by an informal potluck dinner which allowed people to discuss a lot of the ideas and concepts from the previous events and studies, and to get to know each other better towards the end of a long week. The presentation by Penny Hess also served to connect the call for a cleaner and more sustainable environment to the growing movement of national liberation for oppressed peoples, showing that they must be inseparable. The problems of the environment, “are just a biproduct of colonialism,” as Chairwoman Hess stated, and African & other oppressed peoples need to be free in order to liberate the Earth from its current destructive captors. The presentation provoked a dynamic discussion which touched on many different issues related to building the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, which many people who attended are committed to joining and participating in.

Finally, the last day of the intensive week was an opportunity for everyone to give back to African people, by supporting the fundraiser for the African Village Survival Initiative held at Mi Lah Vegetarian Restaurant in Center City. This restaurant pledged to donate a portion of their lunch proceeds on Saturday, July 18th to the AVSI programs, and partnered Uhuru Solidarity Movement in building and hosting the first of four benefit lunches at the restaurant, featuring information about the Uhuru Movement programs and opportunities to get involved and donate to the projects of the AVSI. This was incredibly successful, as more than twice as many people as usual came to eat at Mi Lah during this day’s lunch, and many of them were friends & supporters of the movement.

This week was extremely mobilizing to current and new members of Uhuru Solidarity Movement, who have been working hard to build a real organization in Philadelphia that we can be proud of, as allies of the African liberation movement. This movement continues to grow and continues to build actions, campaigns and successful fundraisers to ensure that we can support the Uhuru Movement’s programs and take a stand on the right side of history.

Uhuru!

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