Studio@620 The Studio@620

African Peoples Solidarity Day

Presented by Uhuru Solidarity Movement

The African People’s Solidarity Committee invites all people of conscience to recognize African People’s Solidarity Day by participating in a day-long event held in St. Petersburg Sunday, October 11, 2009 featuring internationally-recognized speakers from the international African liberation movement. Commemorated by events and gatherings in cities around the U.S., the annual day of recognition is a call for support and resources from the white community as an expression of unity with economic and social justice for the African community. (See www.apscuhuru.org)

Keynote speaker Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African Socialist International (ASI) will summarize the current world situation, comparing U.S. military and economic intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan with domestic counterinsurgency programs and discussing the Uhuru Movement’s strategy for achieving national liberation for African people worldwide. Chioma Oruh, Chairwoman, of the ASI’s North American Region, and a nationally recognized expert on AFRICOM, travels to St. Petersburg from Washington, D.C. where she is pursuing a PhD in African Studies at Howard University. She will explain the mission of AFRICOM and the response of African leaders to it.

This year’s Solidarity Day recognition comes amidst the deepest world economic crisis since the Great Depression.  The predatory sub-prime loan debacle has led to the largest loss of wealth in history for the African community in the U.S..  Locally, the City of St. Petersburg is planning to give $700,000 of no-strings attached bailouts for the failed Baywalk commercial property. Wells Fargo bank, which holds the controlling interest in Baywalk has already received billions in federal bailouts even as it is being sued by several U.S. cities for deliberately targeting Africans and Hispanics for predatory sub-prime loans. Meanwhile, over 25% of African families in the U.S. now live under the poverty line

Author and African People’s Solidarity Committee Chairwoman Penny Hess, whose multi-media presentation will detail the effects of U.S. economic and military policy on colonized African communities, declares, “We don’t want to see America’s economic crisis resolved at the expense of African people once again. This is a time of great opportunity to support sustainable solutions being put forward by the victims of the current system, who are rising up to define their own agenda and determine their own destiny.”

African People’s Solidarity Day is a benefit for the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI).  The AVSI is the joint effort of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (www.developmentforafrica.org) and the African People’s Education & Defense Fund (www.apedf.org), to create community-led, self-sustaining economic institutions such as rain water harvesting, community agriculture and healthcare for the African community as a collective response to the global economic crisis.  A local project of the AVSI is to outfit the Uhuru House in south St. Petersburg, with a recording studio as an institution of international African culture and a commercial kitchen for community based economic development projects.

The all-day event at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg starts at 1:00 p.m. with presentations by Hess, Yeshitela and Oruh, followed by a workshop on AVSI, led by Ironiff Ifoma, Director of Economic Development for the African People’s Socialist Party; and Kitty Reilly, Coordinator of the Uhuru House Development Campaign. The program will conclude with a vegetarian dinner and a live African cultural performance.  Tickets may be purchased for $20-$50 donation by contacting the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, (727) 683-9949, www.uhurusolidarity.org . Discounts for student groups are available.

 

Omali Yeshitela

Initiated into political activism during the Black Power Movement of the 1960s, Yeshitela has campaigned to complete the African liberation struggle for over 40 years. Today as chairman of the ASI, he leads a growing international effort to unite African people throughout the world into a single nation, tearing down the colonially imposed borders in Africa and reclaiming her human and natural resources as the birthright of African people everywhere.  In September a collection of Yeshitela’s lifelong writings was added to the archives of the Poynter Library at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, representing the largest collection of the Chairman Yeshitela’s writings in the world.

Chioma Oruh

Chairwoman of the ASI’s North American Region, Oruh is a specialist on AFRICOM, the U.S. military command over Africa formed in 2007.  Born in Lagos, Nigeria, she received her Masters degree from Howard University with a thesis on “Music and Liberation during the 1967-1970 Biafran War” and research focus in the areas of trade policy, culture and liberation movements in Africa. Oruh is currently pursuing her PhD in African Studies at Howard. Her dynamic and informative presentation on AFRICOM has received national attention as she travels to deliver it to academic, community and activist audiences throughout the U.S.

Penny Hess

As national chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, Hess says, “African People’s Solidarity Day is a part of our work to rectify the reality that white wealth is founded on slavery and genocide. We seek a principled relationship to African people — in the U.S., in Africa and around the world. We believe that an honest stand in support of the struggles of the African community – against poverty, war, police violence, and unjust imprisonment – is key to building a world of peace, justice and unity. We are about solidarity with the African struggle, not self-serving charity work. We support victory to African people!”

Ironiff Ifoma

As the director of economic development for the African People’s Socialist Party, Ifoma leads efforts for economic development, sustainability, self-determination and self reliance in African communities.  Commenting on the African Village Survival Initiative, Ifoma said, “With 71% of our community in south St. Petersburg living on or below the poverty level, we must pull together collectively and create self-sustaining institutions that bring about community commerce. These institutions will be models that can be reproduced in every city.”

Kitty Reilly

As an African People’s Solidarity Committee leader, Reilly is focused on the current Uhuru House Development Campaign.  The campaign is raising resources to complete such projects as a commercial kitchen and a recording studio, for sustainable, self-reliant economic development in the African community in St. Petersburg and beyond. Reilly stated, “In these times when unemployment is skyrocketing, these self-sustaining African community-led institutions are key to economic development, creating new jobs, expanding existing businesses and producing African culture in African hands.”

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