“Break the Silence! Refuse To be Complicit!” is the rallying cry of the upcoming March 7th and 8th National Convention of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM), to be held in Gainesville, Florida at the Paramount Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 2900 SW 13th St.
The USM is the organization of white people working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, organizing in the white community for reparations to African people.
This year’s convention will take place in the city of Gainesville, Florida, an area where the African People’s Socialist Party has deep roots going back to the Black Revolution of the Sixties.
Gainesville’s historical significance for the Uhuru Movement
It was in Raiford, Florida, just minutes from Gainesville, where Chairman Omali Yeshitela was brutally forced to labor on a chain gang for three years after he was thrown in jail for an act of civil disobedience in St. Petersburg, Florida in which he boldly tore down a racist mural from the walls of St Pete City Hall.
Gainesville was the hometown of Katura Carey, a black freedom fighter and school teacher whose organization, the Gainesville Black Study Group, merged with the Black Fighters Group and the Junta of Militant Organizations in 1972 to form the African People’s Socialist Party.
APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela writes in An Uneasy Equilibrium: “The Gainesville Black Study Group was an organization of mostly students who were organized by Party co-founder Katura Carey, a school teacher in the Gainesville, Florida area. The Black Study Group brought us into our first meaningful political contact with Africans from the Continent. These were primarily political refugees from Rhodesia, with whom the Party would build the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) Support Committee to support the African independence struggle in white settler-colonial Rhodesia.”
It was in 1973 in Gainesville when the Party led a massive, 38 mile march to the Florida State Prison at Starke to expose the inhumane living conditions imposed on the prisoners there.
It was in Gainesville in 1979 where the Party courageously took to the streets and spoke out in defense of the Iranian people and developed deep relationships with Iranian students exiled from their homeland by the brutal CIA-installed Shah.
When the Islamic revolution overthrew the Shah, the African People’s Socialist Party shot to international recognition when they led a demonstration in solidarity with the Iranian people and pushed back vicious reactionary attacks by frothing American patriots.
In 2012 the Uhuru Movement led a victorious struggle in defense of a teenaged African named Eric Oliver, living in nearby Bronson, who was locked up for defending himself and his family from a white lynch mob. The Uhuru Movement mobilized the first demonstration ever held in the small town of Bronson!
Many of the black residents of predominantly-white Bronson are descended from refugees of the 1923 Rosewood massacre, in which a prosperous African community was burned to the ground by a white mob.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, under the Party’s leadership, has continued to organize in Gainesville, Florida over the past five years, holding “Days in Solidarity with African People” events with Party leaders such as Gaida Kambon and Chimurenga Waller, and Penny Hess, the Chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee.
It was on the platform of this proud history of struggle that USM resolved to hold our national convention in the city of Gainesville on March 7th-8th, 2015.
Program to address women’s liberation, white opportunism, and anti-racism
The USM Convention this year will begin at 12:30pm on Saturday, March 7th with opening presentations by Dianne Tornay, the Chair of USM Gainesville, and Jesse Nevel, the National Chair of USM.
Penny Hess, Chair of APSC and author of Overturning the Culture of Violence, will present on why white people must unite in solidarity with the African struggle to defeat colonial oppression and how this differs from the traditional “anti-racist” approach.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela, leader and founder of the Uhuru Movement, author of An Uneasy Equilibrium: the African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism, will deliver the keynote presentation.
Chairman Yeshitela has traveled to Ferguson repeatedly since the August 9 murder of Mike Brown by white cop Darren Wilson, to organize and lead the mass movement on the ground there.
The Chairman played a leading role in the famous Black People’s Grand Jury held in Ferguson in January where African people came together to review the evidence in the Mike Brown case and determined to indict Darren Wilson for first degree murder.
A panel discussion entitled “Women’s Liberation through the Eyes of African, Indigenous, and Arab Women” will feature the following guest panelists addressing the conditions faced by African women, the historic opportunism of the white feminist movement, and the road to a world without oppression of any form:
- Yejide Orunmila of the African People’s Socialist Party, Washington DC Branch, and coordinator of the upcoming African Internationalist Women’s Conference
- Herdosia Bentum, leading member of the Ferguson chapter of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement
- Wendy Craig, San Diego-based member of Uhuru Solidarity Movement
In the evening, USM is hosting a national debate called ”Beyond Anti-Racism and White Privilege: A Debate on the Role of White People in the Black Liberation Movement,” with the following list of panelists invited to engage in a lively discussion about this controversial issue:
- Chairman Omali Yeshitela
- Penny Hess
- Tim Wise
- Students for a Democratic Society
- Dream Defenders
- Freedom Road Socialist Organization
- Bob Avakian
- Showing up for Racial Justice
- Coalition of Anti Racist Whites
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- ANSWER Coalition
- International Action Center
We are honored to host a guest musical performer, Inez Barlatier, the Miami-based Afro-indie rock artist, whose Haitian folk-inspired music is known and beloved around the world, on the first day of the convention!
The second day of the convention, Sunday, March 8th, we will conduct dynamic, interactive workshops on building the “Days in Solidarity with African People”, a major fundraising and organizing campaign culminating in events throughout the country.
A fashion show called, “This is What Solidarity Looks Like” will display our revolutionary and fashionable new fundraising project, the Planet Uhuru Apparel Line. T-shirts will be available for purchase.
A workshop on the war of ideas called “We Are Not Charlie! We Are The Burning Spear” will cover why the USM distributes the Burning Spear Newspaper, the newspaper of the Uhuru Movement, to the white community, and how we use our online radio show and website to influence our community and build a movement for reparations to African people.
The USM convention is also where the membership has the opportunity to participate in the democratic process of nominating and electing officers to the national steering committee.
The USM Convention of 2015 is sure to be an unforgettable political, cultural and social experience for everyone who attends.
Registration is now open online at uhurusolidarity.org/convention and is only $30 for both days! Affordable hotel rates are also available. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-888-3797 and get registered today!