African People’s Solidarity Committee challenges US racial divide

On Saturday, November 6, the African People’s Solidarity Committee will hold a public event entitled, “Beyond Obama: Seeking real solutions to the growing racial divide in the US.”

The conference will feature presentations by leaders of the “Black is Back!” Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations; Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal; the Black Agenda Report; and the Harlem Tenants Council.

It is the culmination of an effort to raise $10,000 for the Uhuru Movement’s black community justice campaigns.

The event takes place just three days before a hearing during which Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams will move to reinstate the death sentence for jailed black journalist and internationally recognized political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal.

This impending hearing has put the eyes of the world on Philadelphia while tensions continue to mount between the police and city officials and the black neighborhoods that bear the brunt of social service cutbacks and increasingly aggressive policing.

Conference organizer Alison Hoehne states that, “The black community in Philadelphia is facing a severe crisis of poverty and political repression. It’s urgent that we in the white community take a strong stand in support of black people’s right to organize for real change!”

Hoehne cites a recent Pew study that indicts Philadelphia as having the highest rate of poverty and the second highest rate of hunger in the country. She says that some black neighborhoods have 76% of families living below the poverty level. A recent edition of The Business Insider reports that 43% of all children in the city rely on food stamps to survive.

Many social justice activists have described the climate in Philadelphia as increasingly repressive towards those who speak out in dissent against government policy as well as towards average black working residents.

Police statistics report that nearly three times as many pedestrians are stopped by police annually in the predominantly black Logan neighborhood since Mayor Nutter began to push his “Stop and Frisk” policy. The recent police beating of Askia Sabur, caught on video tape, has provoked outrage from throughout the country.

The November 6 conference will feature voices direct from the front lines of the struggle over black democratic and human rights:

  • Omali Yeshitela, leader of the Uhuru Movement and the Black is Back! Coalition will deliver the keynote presentation
  • Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report and the Black is Back! Coalition will discuss the Coalition’s upcoming “March on Washington to Stop U.S. Imperialist Wars”
  • Penny Hess, leader of the African People’s Solidarity Committee will speak on the role and responsibility of white people to support black community struggles
  • Diop Olugbala, the Uhuru Movement leader recently convicted on charges stemming from a protest at Mayor Nutter’s budget presentation will make a call for attendees to “Defend the Right to Resist”
  • Pam Africa will provide updates on the struggle to free Mumia Abu Jamal
  • Naimah Wilson, will discuss the police beating of her brother Askia Sabur, as well as the attacks on African children in the Philadelphia school system
  • Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Council will review the current situation in Haiti with massive cholera deaths and no aid in sight, and will present a “Vision for Liberated Haiti”
  • A representative of The Dollar Boyz will discuss the struggle for economic and democratic rights

The event will take place at the First Unitarian Church, located at 2125 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.

The program is open to the public and begins at 1:00 p.m. Admission is $10 – $25 sliding scale and includes dinner and cultural performances from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

The event is part of the African People’s Solidarity Committee’s nationwide “Reparations in Action” campaign intended to popularize support from the white community for the black community demands for reparations and social justice.

For more information, visit uhurusolidarity.org or call 215-387-0919.

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