As the United States government broadens its military presence in Haiti and foreign non-governmental organizations increase their control over government and social service operations on the island, concerned African people are convening in Washington D.C. to organize a coordinated African response to this and other crises faced by Africans in Haiti and around the world.
From July 10-14, community activists from throughout the U.S. and the world will converge for the 5th Congress of the African People's Socialist Party, an organization with philosophical roots in the teachings of Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X.
Organizers of the Congress cite the parallel living conditions of Africans in Haiti and Africans living within the U.S. as evidence of the need for worldwide African unity.
Under the banner of "One People! One Party! One Destiny!" the Congress will be convened by African Socialist International Chairman Omali Yeshitela, a veteran of the African liberation struggle.
Addressing the Black is Black Coalition at a National March to Defend Haiti in Miami, FL, Chairman Yeshitela said, "Haiti cannot succeed alone. Haiti is a part of the African world... If they put their hands on Haiti, they need to have to fight Africans all over the world."
The 5-day meeting will include a workshop focusing on Haiti, with a presentation by Alex Morley, an attorney from the Bahamas with expertise in labor law and the struggle for democracy in Haiti. A member of the Black is Back Coalition, Morley is co-author of the group's resolution to defend Haiti, which demands that the U.S. and France pay reparations, remove all foreign troops, release all detainees, remove trade restrictions and repudiate the discriminatory Wet Foot/Dry Foot Policy.
Also speaking will be Dr. Aisha Fields, a physicist and Director of the All African People's Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP). Immediately after the January 12 earthquake, AAPDEP joined a worldwide African relief effort to provide material support to Haiti and called on Africans around the world to unite with the struggles of Africans in Haiti.
A broad spectrum of black leaders will address the Congress, including Diop Olugbala, APSP-USA member, Malik Zulu Shabazz, Founder of Black Lawyers for Justice and Chairman of the New Black Panther Party; Jackson, Mississippi City Councilperson Chokwe Lumumba, Chairman of the New Afrikan People's Organization; Glen Ford, Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report; Efia Nwanganza, veteran of SNCC's Atlanta Project and leader of the Malcolm X Grassroots Center for Self-Determination in South Carolina; Nellie Bailey, leader of the Harlem Tenant's Council; MOVE Family member Pam Africa, leader of the campaign to free Mumia Abu Jamal; Lawrence Hamm, Chairman of New Jersey's People's Organization for Progress; and Queen Mother Dorothy Lewis, a lifelong fighter for reparations to African people.
According to Chairman Omali, "The worldwide economic and political crises we are witnessing today present a great opportunity for black people everywhere to take back the power to control our own destiny as a people. African workers must organize ourselves into our own independent organization and prepare to govern."
International allies of the black freedom struggle will also be present at the Congress, including Marcos Garcia, the Labor Attache of the Venezuelan Embassy; Ernesto Bustillos of Union del Barrio, a Chicano-Mexicano rights organization in southern California; and a representative of the Nicaraguan Embassy.
The Congress will take place at the Kellogg Center, located at 800 Florida Ave. NE on the Gallaudet University Campus in Washington, D.C. and is open to the public. For more information or to register, visit apspcongress.org or call 727-821-6620.