On Friday, April 14, a special meeting was held at the Union Mill in West Baltimore. It was called and sponsored by the Afrikan Heritage Walk-A-Thon and its Founder, Mama Victory Swift, in memory of her son. The meeting was called to bring together families who had lost loved ones to the violence that continues to plague our communities. For more on the meeting and the outreach effort it has inspired, click here.
Self-Help News publishes regular commentary on issues of concern to the Pan-Afrikan Community. We are pleased to be able to share occasional articles and analyses from Self-Help News. Their commentaries, as well as those of Zulu Publications and others, can be found at their website, http://www.ubol.com/index_files/Page2319.htm. This particular article echoes what Dr. Walter Rodney had said so long ago in his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. For the full commentary, click here.
This is a question-and-answer taken from an interview with Dr. Ray Marshall by Heather Gray of the Justice Initiative for the Federation/LAF’s 25th Anniversary in 1992. Dr. Marshall served as the Secretary of Labor under President Jimmy Carter. As an economist Dr. Marshall shares his insight on the economic needs of individuals, communities and nations and, importantly, the different levels of democracy and how cooperatives can serve to strengthen democratic institutions. For the question and Dr. Marshall’s explanation of the importance of cooperatives, click here.
Congress Member Karen Bass (Democrat from Southern California) holds regular Africa Policy Forum events during the Congressional Session. At these events, experts in various fields important to the uplift of Afrika are assembled to discuss issues from war to famine to economic development. On Tuesday, April 4, an Africa Policy Forum on Famine was held. This was the second such Forum of the year, and it afforded the public an opportunity to learn about the current famine in South Sudan, Somalia and northern Nigeria from a panel of experts and advocates who have worked on the ground in those areas and in policy and program formulation in an attempt to assist communities that are the hardest hit by the crisis that has led to over 20 million people currently living under famine conditions. Issues of governance, the drivers of conflict, the often-ineffectual or disinterested international response and a failure to examine the root causes of poverty and famine in Afrika were explored. For the full story, including a transcript of most of the remarks of the panelists and questions from the audience, click here.
A Celebration of Life for Victorious Khan Swift
On Tuesday, April 4, at the Joseph H. Brown Funeral Home, over three hundred friends, family and community activists gathered to pay their respects to Bro. Victorious Swift, who was tragically gunned down on Sunday, March 26 in what was an apparent random robbery. The pews in the largest of the tribute rooms were full, and people lined the walls and spilled into the main hallway. There could hardly have been a more profound expression of the community’s respect and grief at the loss of a young warrior for Ma’at at such a young age (19).
Elders such as Baba Ademola Ekulona, Baba Tony Rotan, Rev. Daki Napata, Baba Charlie Dugger and others exalted the name of Victorious Swift. Classmates and friends at the Baltimore Design School spoke of the supportive young man who was always ready with a smile or a hug, and gave brief performances in remembrance. Several community organizations were present, including the Afrikan Heritage Walk-A-Thon, the Pan-Afrikan Liberation Movement, Working-Organizing-Making-A-Nation (WOMAN), the Egbe, Conscious Headz/Solvivaz Nation, the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus, the Organization of All Afrikan Unity-Black Panther Cadre and others. Mama Victory Swift, Victorious’ mother, gave a rousing tribute that showed all of us that “Victorious will never die.”
Red, Black and Green Balloons were released in tribute at the end of the service, and a repast was held at I Can’t-We Can on Park Heights Avenue. This tragedy has also sparked a new commitment among several of the community Elders and activist organizations to work even harder to build the Pan-Afrikan Community. “The young man who took my son did this because someone didn’t love him enough,” Mama Victory said. “We must work to make sure that no more sons must die in this city.”
The Rhythm People Coalition and the Teaching Artist Institute Announce the NOMAD Tour 2017
The Rhythm People Coalition of the Teaching Artist Institute (TAI) is announcing its 2017 NOMAD Tour, in which the work of the Rhythm People Coalition and TAI to promote Art for Social Transformation is being spread throughout the Pan-Afrikan Diaspora. The Tour includes dates in Charleston, South Carolina (May 28, 2017), Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (June 3-4, 2017), Portland, Jamaica (June 24, 2017), Los Angeles, California at Leimert Park (September 16-17, 2017), Santiago, Cuba (October 14-15, 2017) and Paris, France (October 28-29, 2017), as well as a visit to the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus National Summit in Nashville, Tennessee on October 20-21, 2017.
Just who are the Rhythm People? Let the following Infograph, designed by TAI artists, explain the concept:
For more information or to inquire about joining the Teaching Artist Institute and the Rhythm People Coalition, contact them by phone or text at 443-739-0941, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the TAI Tours Website, www.taitours.org.
Rest In Power, Lynne StewartEDITOR’S NOTE: This message comes from the New York Jericho Organization, announcing the transition to the Ancestors of Lynne Stewart, human rights attorney, who defended political activists, dissenters and the wrongly accused, as well as those charged by the US government with crimes such as sedition and terrorism. Her dedication to providing a proper defense to her clients earned her the respect of the activist community, as well as the ire of hard-core members of the law enforcement community. Here, we share the announcement from the New York Jericho Organization, as well as a news article about her passing and brief tributes from several of the people whose lives she has touched. For the story, click here.
In December 2015, Sis. Kim Poole, a self-described Soul-Fusion Teaching Artist from Baltimore (Tubman City), Maryland, founded the Teaching Artist Institute. The overarching goal, as stated by Sis. Kim and in the organization’s literature, is Art for Social Transformation. The global campaign is The Rhythm People, a recognition of the degree to which the rhythm of the Afrikan Drum has empowered and energized Afrikan and other Indigenous communities around the world.
TAI Tours is the vehicle through which TAI Fellows travel to different areas of the world to advance TAI’s mission. The TAI Tour for March is to Ghana, from March 3-March 12.
In support of that mission, TAI Tours hosted the first annual Ghana Sendoff Event to announce the Ghana TAI Tour to the community. The event was held on Tuesday, February 28 at Tabba-Tabba Coffeehouse in Catonsville, Maryland. Several TAI Fellows who are accompanying her on this trip spoke at the event, including Jah Kente International founder and TAI Elder Rufus Tiefing Stevenson. For the full story, click here.
As part of the Teaching Artist Institute’s TAI Tour to Ghana from March 3-12, 2017, to participate in Ghana Music Week, the first annual International Conference on Art for Social Transformation, Artizen 2017, will be held on March 7th at the British Council on Liberia Road in Accra, Ghana. Featured artists at the Artizen Conference will include Bice Osei Kuffour, President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Linus Abraham, Rector of the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), and Kim Poole, Soul-Fusion Teaching Artist and Founding Fellow of the Teaching Artist Institute. For more details on the TAI Tour, the Artizen 2017 Conference and Ghana Music Week, click here.
On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren stood to voice her objection to the nomination of Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as the new Attorney General under the administration of President Donald J. Trump. The Senate debate over Sessions’ candidacy had just heated up, and the world was watching as the drama (by Senate standards) unfolded. As she gave her remarks, she began to read from a letter written 30 years ago by Coretta Scott King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King III, in which Mrs. King strongly criticized Sessions’ conduct as an Alabama prosecutor in the 1980s and urged the Senate at the time to reject his candidacy for a federal judgeship for which he had been nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to Mrs. Warren’s reading of the letter by citing a little-used, arcane and elitist procedural rule (“Rule 19”, which forbids Senators to “impugn” the reputation or motives of another Senator) to order Mrs. Warren to, in effect, sit down and shut up.
In this article, we share the letter Mrs. King wrote to the United States Senate 30 years ago, as well as accounts of Sessions’ record as Alabama’s Attorney General when his office prosecuted Afrikan-American activists who were registering Black people to vote in 1985. For the article and links to other stories, click here.
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