Us' 30th Anniversary Offers Models of AchievementThe Organization Us assembled an impressive array of scholars, activists and general participants to celebrate its 30th Anniversary at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel, September 8 -10. Among those in attendance where some of the most critical minds in the country including: Dr. Molefi Asante, Dr. Clay Carson, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Dr. Neil Painter, Dr. Sonia Sanchez, and Dr. Cornel West This historic gathering of women and men from every region of the country reaffirmed the respect held for Us for its 30 years of "service, struggle and institution-building" in and for the African American community.
Us' contributions include the Nguzo Saba, Kwanzaa, Rites of Passage Programs, independent schools, cooperatives based on the principle of Ujamaa, the concept of "operational unity", founding membership roles in the National Black Power Conferences, the National Black United Front, the National African American Leadership Summit and the National Organizing Committee of the Million Man March. Locally, Us was also a founding member of the Brotherhood Crusade, co- planned and named the Ujima Housing Project and was a co-planner for the Watts Health Foundation and Kedren Community Mental Health Center.
The three-day celebration opened with a vigorous exchange regarding the participation of women in the Million Man March and the Day of Absence during the Kawaida Seminar in Social Theory and Practice conducted by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chair, of the Department of Black Studies, CSULB Dr Karenga, a member of the national executive committee for the march argued that, "priority must be given to men without the exclusion of women. The priority of the march is on Black men because until Black men stand up, Black men and women cannot stand together."
Dr Karenga went on to stress that "the march does not stand alone it is linked to the Day of Absence. Taken together they represent a cooperative project, a partnership of women and men, and women must meaningfully participate in the Day of Absence thru mobilizing, organizing, planning and conducting teach-ins demonstrations and rallies in concert with and support of the march."
The second part of the celebration was an Awards Luncheon which featured the distinguished poets Mari Evans, Haki Madhubuti and Sonia Sanchez who read and provided commentary on their poetry from the 60's and their current works In addition, Us presented awards to several Black community organizations, institutions and individuals for excellence in their fields and committed service to African people Included among the honorees were Dr Evans, Mr Madhubuti Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Roy Garrott who received the Alain Locke Award for Excellence in Literature; Dr Molefi Asante, founder of Afrocentric theory, the Carter G Woodson Award for Excellence in Education; Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose and Seba Chimbuko Tembo the Fannie Lou Hamer Award for Excellence in Leadership and Senvice; Ms Lela Ward-Oliver, the Ida B Wells Award for Excellence in Journalism and Ms Kusudika Talibi, the Paul Robeson Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts.
Beginning on Saturday morning and ending on Sunday at noon, the Conference on Critical issues rounded out the three-day celebration with round tables at which presenters offered models of excellence in their various fields of family and male relations economics, politics, the arts, education and the media.
Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose brought her successful experience in counselling on male\female relations; Dr. Conrad Worrill in organization of the National Black United Front and the Harold Washington campaign; Mr. Haki Madhubuti as publisher of Third World Press; Dr. Kay Lovelace as director of an Afrocentric training program for Detroit Public Schools; Ms Subira Kifano as director of the independent school, the Mary McLeod Bethune institute; Dr Molefi Asante as the organizer of the first Ph D program in Africana Studies; Dr. Kariamu Welsh- Asante as organizer of an independent dance troupe and originator of an Afrocentric dance style; and Prof Amen Rahh as teacher organizer and board member of the Compton Unified School District.
The conference ended Sunday at the African American Cultural Center with a round table discussion on Spirituality and Ethics Reflecting the religious diversity of the community, the round table was organized around readings and commentaries from various sacred texts directed towards addressing critical current issues Dr Joyce Johnson of Henry McNeil Turner AME read from and commented on passages from the Bible; Min Charles X of the Nation of Islam from the Quran; Babalosha Yewande of the Lecumi Tradition from the Ifa (Yoruba) Texts; and Seba Dr. Maulana Karenga of the Temple of Kawaida (Maat) from the Husia, the sacred texts from ancient Egypt.
Dr Karenga closed the conference with a stress on the need for continued struggle, service and institution-building He urged the participants to "remember the ancient Egyptian teaching that we are not simply in history, we are history" Quoting from the Husia he said, "we must remember that everyday is a donation to eternity and even one hour is a contribution to the future."
The Significance of the Million Man March
By Dr. Maulana Karenga
The Million Man March, forming a joint project with its companion Day of Absence, speaks to who we are, where we stand and what we are compelled to do in this hour of meeting and posing challenges Its significance lies in the fact that:
THE DAY OF ABSENCE
We call on those who do not come to Washington, especially Black women, to mobilize and organize the community for the Day of Absence in support of the Million Man March and its goals The Day of Absence, October 16, is a parallel activity to the Million Man March and a component part of one joint and cooperative project: the standing up and assumption of responsibility by the Black man in particular and the Black community in general.
Women are in the leadership of the Day of Absence without exclusion of men, as men are in the leadership of the Million Man March without exclusion of women and both activities are equally essential.
The Day of Absence is a sacred day, a holy day, a day of atonement, reconciliation and responsibility it thus has activities to reflect this To observe this sacred day, we call on all Black people to stay away from work, from school, from businesses, and from places of entertainment and sports and to turn inward and focus on the themes of atonement, reconciliation and responsibility in our lives and struggle.
We call on those who choose prayer and meditation as essential ways of observation to do this in groups of family and friends at home or in larger groups at mosques, churches, synagogues, temples and other places of worship.
Also, we call for teach-ins at homes and in community gatherings on: a) the meaning of this day and the juncture of history at which we are as a people: b) the meaning of the Million Man March and its goals; c) the importance and requirements of our struggle for liberation and justice d) the indispensability of spiritual and ethical grounding in our struggle; and e) the glory and burdens of our history as fathers and mothers of human civilization; sons and daughters of the Holocaust of African Enslavement and authors and heirs of the reaffirmation of our Africanness and commitment to liberation in the 60's Also, we call on this day for massive voter registration and for all to contribute to building a Black Economic Development Fund.
|"Never Turn Back: The Life of Ms. Fannie Lou Hamer", movie and discussion of a key figure in the Black Freedom Movement and her struggle to win power for her people.|
|"An Afternoon of Elegance'' - fundraiser sponsored by Women in Support of the Million Man March - 4339 Degnan Ave.|
|The Mary McLeod Bethune Institute Saturday School|
"Children in Support of the Million Man March"
|The Day of Absence & The Million Man March: A Teach-In (Part 1)|
|The Day of Absence & The Million Man March: A Teach-In (Part 2)|
|"The Million Man March & The Day of Absence: A Report From The
Presenters: Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor and Chair, Dept of Black Studies, CSULB: chair, Us: author, Introduction To Black Studies Ms. Subira Kifano, Language Development Advisor, LAUSD; co-vice chair, Us.
|"Report From Puerto Rico" - Slide presentation and commentary|
Presenter: Mr. Mpinduzi Khuthaza, chair, Organization & Alliance, Us.
2nd & 4th
|Timbuktu Book Circle|
Facilitator: Dr Roy Garrott
|Black & World News Forum|
Facilitator: Dr Maulana Karenga
|Swahili Language & Culture|
Instructor: Prof. Muaka Angaluki
|Rites of Passage Program|
Young women, ages 11-16
See events/activities for details
|Lecturer: Ms. Ramona Afrika|
Member of Philadelphia's M.O.V.E organization and supporter of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Sponsored by: The Coalition to Stop the Lynching of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
|Last updated: 8/23/99|