Just for a second, have you ever asked yourself if you want to see a revolutionary change in your community or had a vision or plan of what that would look like?
On July 28-29, 2012 in Oakland, California, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) held a powerful, outstanding and heart-felt event that focused on transformation at the Black Community Convention.
This event gave individuals the opportunity to share their struggles and visions about the change they want to see in the Black community.
Sharing our stories gives us hope and a way to talk through the stress we go through. We can then set a vision, make a plan and create the world we want.
Author and poet Maya Angelou said there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Moreover, the Black Community Convention featured incredible speakers such as Omail Yeshitela, who is the Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party, Denika Chatman, who is the mother of Kenneth Harding Jr., who was murdered by San Francisco Police, Sheilagh “Cat” Polk, who is a candidate in District three and co-founder of the Onyx Foundation and Cephus Johnson, uncle of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by Oakland BART police.
Additionally, InPDUM created amazing workshops that covered a number of issues, such as self-reliance, education and police brutality.
Each workshop was an hour long and within each workshop was a theme to empower the youth.
Several individuals had great resolutions and they spoke from their heart.
One young African brother expressed his emotions about the messages in today’s music.
He mentioned that the lyrics in today’s music are very powerful and it can affect the youth in negative ways. He suggests that we need to change it and have more positive messages.
Another African brother raised the question about youth. He talked about horizontal violence and youth violence and how our oppressor separates our youth from our community.
He stressed that therefore, it is essential for the community to be connected to the youth.
Cephus Johnson reminded us that we need to eliminate the youth’s fear of the police and to convert that fearlessness into power.
For example, youth should not have fear when they walk to the store or wear a hoody or even wear certain colors.
A community member agreed that we should be self-sufficient and be protectors of our community instead of offenders.
He also proposed that African brothers need to stand as our defensive guards.
InPDUM President Diop Olugbala unites with both of these brothers because he has always said that we need to have control over our own police.
Denika Chatman proposed the need to have a Million Mother March for all the mothers who lost a child and the mothers who do not want to lose their child to police brutality.
Another African brother proposed that we should have the Black Community Convention every month.
If we want to see a change, we have to build organization
Overall, the resolutions individuals expressed were amazing and Chairman Omail Yeshitela reminded us that organization is powerful and that we must build it.
On numerous occasions, President Diop Olugbala says “If we don’t have organization, we don’t have nothing.”
That statement was held to the test as day two of the Black Community Convention convened on Sunday, July 29.
The goal of the second day was to unite the various individuals and organizations who attended to help build the Oakland chapter of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations.
Organizations who united to build the coalition included Onyx, the Cephus Johnson/Oscar Grant Foundation and the Race for Times media team.
In closing, we all have different experiences, and we all have a story, indeed we all need to unite, converse, work and dance together.
We have to continue to share our stories and our resolutions because the time to speak is now and the time to act is now!
(Resolutions agreed upon at the convention are listed below.)
Resolutions on Self-Reliance:
• Give African youth an assignment to defend our community.
• Establish a catering business and training program for the youth through Uhuru Foods.
• Build a garden cooperative.
• Build kitchens everywhere and establish community dinners using food grown by the garden cooperative.
• Test for chemicals in our food.
Resolutions on Police Containment vs. Economic Development:
• Form a committee of leaders with an organized and principled relationship.
• Support the Million Mothers March, with each organization creating leaflets.
• We are a sovereign people, who assume the sole responsibility to determine our own leaders. We reject any attempt by any and all sources outside the African community to define who our leaders should be.
• Initiate a campaign to stop working with the police, including refraining from calling 911 for police intervention.
• Establish a security force with guards licensed to carry guns.
• Hold a Black Community Convention once per month.
• Build a campaign to advance and defend African culture.
• No African leader should be taken to court as an individual, we must mobilize in unity.
Resolutions on Education:
• Build a committee for African community control of education.
• Create our own textbooks and curriculum which speak to the experience and history of African people throughout the world.
• Expose the education system as a system designed to reproduce neocolonialism.
• Our education should serve to educate and liberate Africa, while working to build infrastructure to change the conditions on the continent of Africa and throughout the African world.
• Build a movement demanding the repeal of proposition 13 in the African and Latino community.
• Resolve to oppose any chemical and physical methods to discipline and control our children.