The following is the text of a speech delivered by Johann Bedingfield, Uhuru Solidarity Movement member and National Outreach Chair. Bedingfield delivered this mobilizing speech at a recent USM event entitled: “Disability Justice through Solidarity with Black Liberation!”
I’m Johann Bedingfield, member of Uhuru Solidarity Movement, an organization created by the African People’s Socialist Party as part of the strategy to go into the white community and return the stolen resources that was accumulated from the legacy of slavery and genocide against African people that continues to this day, in the form of police murder and mass incarceration of African people.
We of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement unite our interests with the struggle of African people winning their liberation and self-determination, working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, whose goal is to overturn this parasitic system and end all oppression.
Twelve years ago, I joined the Uhuru Solidarity Movement to show my solidarity with African people, a decision that also ended the psychological trauma of being isolated as a disabled person living within white society, which itself is alienated from the rest of humanity.
The conditions that white disabled people experience rests on the pedestal of an oppressive white power system. The abuse and neglect we experience from this system is the same system that commits genocide against the black community, including African disabled people, where they are murdered and beaten by the police. As Chairman Omali Yeshitela states,
“Why in the world would people continue to identify themselves with a social system that can only exist through stealing wealth and resources and the future of the vast majority of the people on earth?….YOU have to liberate YOURSELVES from this relationship with the white ruling class; YOU have to fight for Black Power, because it is white power that is responsible for every contradiction that people face [on] the earth..it is white power that is responsible for the oppression of white women, it is white power that is responsible for the oppression of white homosexuals, it is white power that is responsible for the oppression of white workers, it is white power that is responsible for the oppression of the vast majority of the people [in] the world, everybody else is uniting against white power, it is the responsibility of Europe and YOU to join in this struggle; JOIN Uhuru Solidarity Movement!”
This especially rings true for white disabled people. The oppression, the humiliation, the degradation that we go through is from white power. The contradictions that we face regarding not having a life experience of love was much deeper in oppressed nations. There is a whole program where African men are being locked up by the millions, isolated from their girlfriends, wives, and families. This dastardly US policy is a deliberate way of preventing African people from enjoying an economic life in order to continue to steal African resources so white people could experience things like love, community, and family. Africans are prevented from reproducing real life for themselves. Instead, they are being forced to produce life of slavery to feed the white nation. Our experience of isolation and abuse is a microcosm to what the majority of the planet face everyday.
The only way forward, if we truly, genuinely want to end our own oppression, we have to break free from our white ruling class and join in solidarity with the aspirations of African people to overturn the pedestal of white power.
It’s in our material interests and psychological well-being to do so. When I joined USM, I experienced a profound transition to feel human and not like roadkill, which is how white society treated me.
I knew the only way forward for me was to be part of a movement that demanded the return of all the stolen resources of African people, which is their birthright. I wanted to see justice done. I wanted to see Black Power, because Black Power empowered me to not only take responsibility for the white bloody legacy of genocide, but see the liberation of all disabled people through principled solidarity.
Through this process of being in the reparations work, it immediately ended my sense of severe, deadly alienation in the white community that most disabled people experience.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by those who too saw their future with the liberation of African, Mexican and Indigenous people and seeing the destruction of a white social system built on the backs of African people and genocide of the Native people.
I never thought I would see the day when able-bodied white people could actually show humanity to their own disabled sector. It’s Black Power that really brings out the best of us. Over the years, I have experienced white people coming to defend me when I have faced abuse and neglect in this foul system.
These comrades defended me when a white nationalist driver for a wheelchair transportation company threatened to choke me with a seatbelt. He was hostile not only to disabled people, but also to the entire black and Mexican working class communities. He desired to “blow away the n**gers and Mexicans.” At the time, I was on my way to an Uhuru Movement sponsored event.
Not only did forces in the solidarity movement call in, but African forces from the Uhuru Movement called in all the way from Africa.
I am sure that people in this room and who are tuning in online go through similar experiences and looking for a way to end this crippling alienation. This event today will provide a way forward for us as disabled white people. We will uncover the real history that has been suppressed by U.S. institutions, including the educational system that attempts to rewrite history and rob you of the real analysis that would provide the light toward our future with the rest of humanity.
It was the Black Liberation Movement, as you will see, that defended the interests of the white disabled people, before it was destroyed by the US government and white opportunists that infiltrated the disability justice movement, stunting our true interests.
CONTACT Johann Bedingfield IF YOU WANT TO BE PART OF DISABILITY JUSTICE THROUGH SOLIDARITY WITH BLACK LIBERATION WORKING GROUP!
727-888-3797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.