We include here statements from several Pan-Afrikan organizations as they express their sympathy for the victims, their analysis of what happened and their conviction that the slogan “Black Lives Matter” must translate to the commitment to defend the Pan-Afrikan Community, wherever we are found around the world, against oppression and violence.
These are clearly not all the statements that have been offered from our many and varied organizations and they do not represent the entirety of thought in the Pan-Afrikan activist community; they are but a sample. We will share commentaries and analyses from human rights organizations in the general community in a separate article, and we will offer some of our own thoughts in a separate article as well.
Statement from the Clement Payne Movement, Barbados, The Caribbean
CARIBBEAN GOVERNMENTS MUST INTERVENE AND DEFEND OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN BROTHERS
The critical importance of the United Nations International Decade For People of African Descent becomes more and more apparent with each passing day!
A case in point is the massacre which occurred [June 17] at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in the United States of America, in which nine African- American women, men and children were brutally shot to death by a White male.
This latest genocidal outrage comes at a time when right-thinking people all over the world are expressing shock and horror at the phenomenon of White American police officers callously killing literally hundreds of unarmed Black-American men and women, and the U S Criminal Justice system routinely declaring that the killers are not even required to stand trial for their wrong-doing.
Indeed, the U S Justice System recently sent such a loud and clear message that Black-American lives do NOT matter, that it is not surprising that an ordinary White civilian racist would get it into his head to enter the sanctuary of an historic African -American church and assassinate Black men, women and children who were in a posture of prayer!
But the inherent message of the UN International Decade For People Of African Descent – which began on 1st January 2015 – is that the African- American people of the United States of America are our Black Barbadian and Caribbean kith and kin!
The nine Black American men, women and children who were so brutally murdered [June 17] are our “brothers and sisters”. And they are our brothers and sisters because their African ancestors were brought to the Americas in the same slave ships that brought our African ancestors, and were subjected to the same architectonic socialisation experiences of chattel slavery and colonialism in “Plantation America” that our ancestors were subjected to on the plantations of the Caribbean.
The only truly significant difference between ourselves and our African-American brothers and sisters is that we are Blacks in a Black majority society, while they are Blacks in a White majority society.
This fundamental difference is responsible for the fact that we possess pre-dominantly Black governments, legislators, nation states, police forces, judicial officers, diplomatic representatives, and the list goes on, while they remain a relatively powerless and under-represented minority in the White majority institutions of the USA. Furthermore, it has now become absolutely clear that the traditional White American establishment that orchestrated the anti-Black slavery and slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries has no intention of ever permitting the Black US-based descendants of their former slaves to ever be truly and fully free!
The very existence of the UN International Decade For People of African Descent impels us as Black people to come to this profound understanding of the predicament of our African-American brothers and sisters, and to the responsibilities that we must undertake as a result of that horrific predicament.
And the clearest such responsibility is that we Black Barbadian and Caribbean people who are racial majorities in our national societies, and who possess predominantly Black nation-states, national governments, and diplomatic seats at the United Nations and other high councils of international decision-making, are duty-bound to speak up for and to defend the rights of our African-American brothers and sisters! We simply can no longer allow our interest in our brothers’ plight to be restricted because they are supposedly citizens of a different nation! No! We who are joined together by deeply rooted ties of ancestry, kinship and affinity, must not permit artificial national barriers to keep us apart!
The time has therefore come when the Prime Ministers, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, and the various Ambassadors and consular officers of our Caribbean nations must accept that they have a duty to speak up for and defend our African-American brothers and sisters.
Just as the American State Department, Secretary of State, President and Vice-President believe that they possess a right to intervene in and pass judgement on our national domestic affairs, our Caribbean high officials of state must assert an even greater right to intervene in and pass judgement on the existential predicament of our African-American brothers and sisters within the national arena of the USA.
And it is therefore high time that our premier officials of state intervene with US President Barack Obama and call upon him to do his duty to the African-American people of the USA!
The sad reality is that President Obama has spectacularly FAILED— during his Presidency— to address the issue of the deeply entrenched anti-Black racism that exists in the bowels of American society and in the very DNA of the institutions of the USA.
Even with this most recent racist massacre, President Obama shamelessly side-stepped his duty to represent the African-American cause and sought to characterize the massacre as being related to the ease of access to guns in the USA, rather than to pinpoint the fact that it was underpinned by the trenchant anti-Black racism that exists in U S society .
Way back in the 1960’s, the late Lyndon B Johnson, a white American president, distinguished himself on the race issue by establishing the Kerner Commission to enquire into the endemic racist conditions that were at the heart of the race-based civil disorders of the mid-1960’s and to propose possible solutions. What has President Obama done on the issue of anti-Black racism since becoming President? The tragic answer is:– nothing of consequence!
Truly, the time has come for us to move forward on this issue! The advent of the UN Decade For People of African Descent says to us that the time has come for us as Black people to express solidarity with each other right across the Black Diaspora! The time has come for us to collectively declare an attitude of zero tolerance towards all elements of anti-Black racism and racial discrimination!
The time has also come for us to address the U S Government about this issue of the racial oppression of our African-American brothers and sisters, and to use our political leaders and diplomats to take this issue before the United Nations organization and other international human rights bodies!
Quite frankly, in this UN International Decade For People of African Descent, the time has come for us to undertake powerful trans-national campaigns of activism to finally and permanently destroy the centuries- old demon of institutionalized anti-Black racism!
On behalf of the Clement Payne Movement of Barbados, I hereby call upon the political leaders and Governments of the Caribbean to accept and embrace this new understanding of their duty to our African-American brothers and sisters, and to act upon it with a sense of urgency!
May our recently martyred brothers and sisters rest in peace.
President, Clement Payne Movement
Statement from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
The Howard Center, 2225 Georgia Avenue, NW, Suite 331 Washington, DC 20059
June 18, 2015
A Statement Concerning the Massacre at the Emanuel AME Church
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) speaks out against the violence in Charleston, South Carolina, that took the lives of nine African Americans in the Emanuel AME Church. We extend our condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, the members of the Emanuel AME Church, and the entire Charleston community. May your faith sustain you through this storm.
As all Americans now know, this African Methodist Episcopal Church has been a rock in our community since the early days of this republic when the members of the congregation, enslaved and free, could not be citizens of either the state or this nation. The church itself was implicated in the Denmark Vessey plot to throw off the chains of slavery, and it has been a site for our struggle for racial justice and equality across the centuries. The congregation represents how slavery itself could not and cannot extinguish the human thirst for freedom and true citizenship.
This massacre strikes at the heart of our democracy. According to the witness Sylvia Johnson, a member of the church, the shooter told his victims, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country – and you have to go.” As an expression of white nationalism, this slaughter of American citizens – for being citizens – is thus even more than a hate crime. The accused, Dylann Roof, assaulted our common democratic institutions and engaged in domestic terrorism. His purpose could have been none other than to foment greater racial strife, if not race war. We cannot let it stand.
We call on our elected officials at every level of government to denounce white supremacy as an ideology and to root out this form of terrorism. Our nation offers itself to the world as a beacon of racial progress, the hope of a true multi-racial society and we must uphold by this self-appointed mission. Moreover, the state of South Carolina–where the citizens can elect Nikki Haley, a South Asian woman, and Tim Scott, an African American man, as their Governor and United States Senator, respectively– cannot allow white nationalism to undermine our efforts to build and maintain a common democracy.
Daryl Michael Scott
Click here to view this statement on our website
Statement from Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal
A young white man, barely at the age of his majority, walks into Charleston’s most storied Black church and, before he leaves, a new history is written.
Attending the Wednesday night Bible study, he sits for nearly an hour, but his mind isn’t on the life of Jesus nor his disciples. It’s on murder, mass murder. When the door shuts behind him, nine Black souls, elders mostly, had been slain, Bibles in hand.
The man, or boy more than man really, hadn’t come to learn about religion, for he had a belief, white supremacy, or the profound hatred of Black people.
White supremacy is the mother’s milk of Charleston, of South Carolina, of the South, of America. For surely as slavery funded and built America, the underlying principle was the devaluation, exploitation, and oppression of Black life. It’s the only thing that makes the church massacre in Charleston even remotely intelligible.
Nine Black people were sacrificed to the blind idol of white supremacy for the same reason that thousands of Black men and women were lynched on American elms and pines: as sacrifices to an idea, to perpetuate a system of economic injustice.
Dylan Roof, the 21 year old accused of this massacre, had no friends to speak of, no place to stay other than an associate’s couch, no job, and a tenuous relationship with his parents. Isolated, alienated, alone in the world, his sole remaining possession was his whiteness, the only thing that gave his existence meaning. That was the energy that fueled the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.
It now sits like an incubus in the American soul, seething hatred and fear, waiting for more Black lives to consume.
Statement from The Newark Anti-Violence Coalition on the Mother Emanuel AME 9 Massacre: Calls Pinckney Killing an “Assassination”
The Newark Anti-Violence Coalition (NAVC)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE!
The Newark Anti-Violence Coalition speaks out on the Massacre of the Mother Emanuel AME 9 in Charleston, South Carolina, but unlike most condemnations of the heinous act, the NAVC asserts that the incident be also be treated as an ‘assassination’ of Rev. Clementa Pinckney for his leadership on police brutality!*
“Why are we not demanding that this act be treated as assassination of Rev. Pinckney,” asked media advocate Zayid Muhammad.
“Pinckney was not only that church’s beloved pastor, he was also a state legislator who got out in front of the highly contentious issue of police brutality, when he unified area elected [officials] to insist that all police officers wear body cameras as a basic, but critical, reform, in light of the videotaped police killing of [Walter] Scott in South Carolina.
“That reform, to his credit, passed, in spite of that area’s deep, dark baggage of racial oppression and terrorism.
“That reform was bound to have engendered some very real enemies, seen and unseen, as a consequence.
“We have to ask: ‘Was this man’s killing in particular a message to Black leadership, saying, do not dare get serious about pushing for serious police reform?
“We just wonder, if Rev. Pinckney were white, would this tragedy be dismissed simply as a crazed ‘lone gunman’ gone off on a rampage?”
The NAVC then insisted there be a full and complete federal investigation of the case along those lines.
They then related Pinckney’s police reform efforts to [Newark, NJ] Mayor Ras Baraka’s local police reform efforts. Mayor Baraka created the first civilian review board in the country to have subpoena power over the Newark police. He did this just several weeks ago by executive order.
“We cannot understand why Black electeds in cities allover the country have not applauded this move and have not followed his lead and done so in their own cities.”
The statement also challenged Black elected officials to emulate Pinckney’s leadership and Newark Mayor Baraka’s leadership on the issue of police brutality.
The NAVC also demanded that federal security anti-terrorism efforts be expanded to provide greater protections to elected officials pushing for police reform. The full text of the statement is annexed…
*Newark will be the site for a national march against police brutality on July 25th…
Statement from the UNIA-ACL
The Tragedy of White Hatred and Injustice in South Carolina
By Shaka Barak, Minister of Education 06-21-15
For over 100 years the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA & ACL) has been trying to protect our race from the crimes against them, by whites and other alien races, not only in South Carolina, but all over the world. We wrote in our governing constitution and bylaws a provision that states our desire to establish commissionaires and agencies in the principle cities and countries of the world for the representation and protection of all Africans and people of African descent, irrespective of nationality. What has happened in South Carolina was bound to happen, and unfortunately will continue to happen more frequently and on a larger scale if we don’t unite. It happened in the United States to African men after World War I, when they returned to America from shedding their blood for so-called democracy. This was a time when African GI’s returning from the battle fields in France, wounded and battle torn, were lynched in their uniforms. Africans loved America so much that they not only lined up to fight for America, but the masses immediately raised hundreds of thousands of dollars by purchasing war bonds. This love was because of the promises of freedom, justice and equality President Woodrow Wilson alluded to when he said it was a “war for Democracy.”
During that WWI period from 1914-1918, and after, three United States Presidents were members of the Ku Klux Klan, including Wilson, Coolidge and Harrison. From the founding of the UNIA & ACL, by the Honorable Marcus Garvey to the President General the Honorable Senghor Jawara Baye, knowing how white supremacy destroys the minds of white people, they have tried to prepare our race so that we wouldn’t have to face these atrocities, but be so united and strong no white or any alien race would dare lay their hands on a Black man or woman anywhere in the world.
Since the Honorable Marcus Garvey has passed June 10, 1940 what has our race done? We have abandoned Universal African Nationalism and allowed the alien races who have attacked us since we became vulnerable 400 years ago, to now lead us. These whites and their surrogates have not sought to lead us on the course laid out for us in our constitution, and the course taught by the foremost Black Nationalist the Honorable Marcus Garvey and all his successors, but away from Garveyism. The others have led us away from Garveyism and nationalism on a course they would direct called integration because they could control that course. We have been on a course that would not lead to; racial pride and love; not to self-reliance; and not to self-determination and not to self-government. Without the proper preparation in South Carolina and other parts of the world, we were not ready to protect ourselves. Scattered throughout the world as a disunited race, in this weak state, we have been, could be and will be easily massacres by the enemy from without and the enemy’s surrogates from within. The divide and rule tactic is being used against us on every continent on earth.
We must understand the lesson of Marcus Garvey, and you can only get that truth in the UNIA & ACL. We had more respect as a race in 1920, by that generation of alien races than at any other time in America. Under the UNIA & ACL we were seen as more serious, bolder, and aggressive and determined when it came to pursuing our human rights. We had more measurable success as a race, when we built and supported our own Universal Grocery Stores, and Universal Restaurants. When the UNIA & ACL members launched the Black Star Line Steamship Corporation, it gave the then estimated 400 million Africans and people of African Descent pride, in that an accomplishment, but it also made other races either jealous or fearful as they saw the BSL as a competitor in the maritime industry.
One-hundred years later the same organization that launched those ships and gave our race the restaurants and grocery stores is still alive and pleading with our race to join us at the UNIA & ACL 58th International Convention. This is the place where we can come together and build the right economic, educational, and political structures to address all the problems of the 1.2 billion members of our race at home and abroad. We did not solve all the problems in the 1920’s because we cannot undo 400 years of slavery and colonialism in less than 175 years of emancipation, especially with powerful white forces fighting us with the deadly tools of their civilization every step of the way. We have not given up but are on the same course to get our people to replace the feeling of hope with the feeling of confidence. We need the confidence that makes us believe, to a man, that whatever other races and nations have done we can do. We need confidence that we can build and maintain a racial hierarchy, and a 1.2 billion member and growing racial empire.
Today’s leaders on the other hand have confidence in the white man, his just-us system, his military, his Supreme-mist Court, and his economic system. They find it hard to imagine a nationalistic program ran and controlled by and for Africans. So without the proper vision we see what has happened in South Carolina also happening in Libya, after Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi was assassinated. It happened in Egypt, when President Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak Mabarrack was disposed. It happened to Africans in Syria, when Bashar al-Assad leadership was undermined. Africans are lured to sleep thinking it’s safe in the world without their shield of Universal African Nationalism to protect them in case things go south, which often happens. Let us remember, forget Black Wall Street in Tulsa Oklahoma, when all seemed well until that faithful evening when whites dropped bombs on innocent African in the Greenwood District.
Atrocities against our race instigated by whites are happening in Nigeria, in Angola, in South Africa, in Brazil, in Austria, in India, and in the Dominican Republic. Why are they happening in the far corners of the earth? It is because we lack unity. The UNIA & ACL can build its divisions all around the world, but to make that happen, and to show how it all that make sense we must come together at the 58th International Convention, and meet face to face. We must see those delegates not only from South Carolina, but see those who represent the members of our scattered race all over the world. We realize that the problems facing the Africans in Brazil cannot be solved by the Africans in Brazil alone. If the Africans in Brazil, Mexico, India, Japan, China, France, Spain, Germany and other countries, don’t unite, then they will be destroyed by being isolated and picked off one by one.
European countries, and states in the US are being led by their bankers into bankruptcy, and they will use the African as a scapegoat that will lead to whites rioting and massacring the Africans among them. The basis for a race war is when most whites are led to believe that, if there are jobs, they need to take those jobs even if it means murdering Africans and scaring them out of certain cities, and urban areas. It has been done before, because up until President Barack Obama, America has had nothing but racist white presidents that inherited a racist system of government. They have been men, backed up by white women, who nursed their babies with the doctrine of the survival of the fittest, and manifest destiny”. What they did to enslave each other, the indigenous populations worldwide, and the African is a long forgotten part of their history. They pursued the acquisition of wealth, land and power by any means necessary with the belief those future generations would either forget or forgive the acts of genocide and extermination. The white man especially hopes the victims of his barbarism forget or forgive.
Let’s take a close look at South Carolina, and how easily the white race has murdered other weak and unprepared nations in the past and the present. There were over 20 different native tribes in South Carolina before the white man came there from Spain in 1521. These so called Indians were not only the first there but in the majority until they were murdered or forced off that land. South Carolina has always been the leader of the racist southern states. It led southern states to question the Union, build southern nationalism, support slavery, seek a southern literature, seek southern religious nationalism, seek a southern nation through succession, and pushed for expansion through the ideology of “Manifest Destiny”.
In 1817 an independent African Association was organized in Charleston, South Carolina because Africans were tired of white preachers conducting their religious affairs. In 1817 the Immanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed by Moorish Brown with 1000 organizers. Seventeen years prior in 1800 Denmark Vessey an AME member, who was freed in 1800, the same year the 24 year old Gabriel Prosser organized a rebellion, the same year Toussaint l. Overture organized the Haitian revolution, and 4 years after in 1804 the Underground Railroad was formed. So Vessey saw 6000 Africans leave white churches and go to the AME. Vessey also saw the founding of the American Colonization Society with the intent of taking free Africans to Liberia. Vessey seemingly had his mind made up to reject that offer and fight for freedom against the injustices in his own way. For just one example of these injustices, whites first had 469 Africans who wanted to pray, arrested in 1817 under false charge of disorderly conduct. Then they invoked the 1800 law prohibiting the assembling of enslaved Africans without a white person present. Breaking this law led to 140 free Africans being arrested, and the Bishops and ministers had to either go to jail for one month or leave the state and others were given the choices of 10 lashes with a whip or pay a $10 fine each. White legislators rejected any appeals made by Africans to conduct their own independent worship services. Enslaved Africans in South Carolina could not gather in groups of more than seven and sometimes even funerals were under suspicion.
The United States also embraced nationalism, especially when John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was Vice President. The founding fathers were nationalist. A Noah Webster of the famous Webster’s Dictionary was a nationalist who published nationalist educational material such as the American Reader, American Grammar, American spelling book and the American dictionary of the English Language. Likewise, at Harvard College in 1818 Edward T. Channing delivered an address entitled “Literary Independence.” America he said, “must establish a domestic literature upon what is peculiarly our own, our scenery, our institutions, our modes of life, our history and the antiquities of our country. “By 1810 to 1820 Blacks had surpassed whites in South Carolina. South Carolina was the spokesman for the slave holding states. A well-known nationalist and defender of slavery was Thomas Cooper, President of South Carolina College.
The deeper the south, the stronger were the UNIA & ACL Divisions. We had divisions in Anderson, Beaufort, Charleston, Chehan, Church Parish, Coosaw, Island, Georgetown, Green Pond, Labaco, Lake View, Midland Park, Mount Holly, Pineopiolis, Rock Hill, St. Andrew, Strawberry, Union Heights, and Yemassee. Had we maintained our divisions in South Carolina, there would have been no way [Roof] could have gotten into a prayer meeting where our elders and children were. We would have scanned him, frisked him, disarmed him, and then fed his behind to some alligators in a swamp, and told the police where to look for any of his remains.
In conclusion, the UNIA & ACL under President General Senghor Baye sends condolences and sympathy to those who lost loved ones in the mass murder by the white man Dylann Roof, of Columbia South Carolina. The names of those Africans he murdered include Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lee Lance, Daniel L. Simmons, Susie Jackson, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton. We will be extending an invitation for the family members, the church members and citizens of Charleston, South Carolina to send a delegate to attend the UNIA & ACL 58th International Convention. Inquiries can be made to Shaka Barak, UNIA & ACL Minister of Education, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or those designated by the President General Senghor Baye.