MD Pan-Afrikan Town Hall Set for Sat., June 24th (3-7 p) at Historic Arch Social Club

Message from Bro. Cliff …

(BALTIMORE – June 23, 2017) – The Maryland Pan-Afrikan Community is invited to attend the Maryland Pan-Afrikan Town Hall, Saturday, June 24, 3 pm – 7 pm, at the historic Arch Social Club, 2426 Pennsylvania Avenue, in the Penn-North community of Baltimore, Maryland.

I am Bro. Cliff, the Maryland State Facilitator of the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC). SRDC’s mission is to organize our communities at the local grassroots level, have the Communities determine the important issues to them and how we might deal with these issues, nominate and elect Elders, Representatives and Observers from our Community, build more effectively at the local level and determine how we will take that message to the national level where we will work with other groups across the United States, and the international level where we will join forces with other groups of Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent {“Pan-Afrikans”) around the world.

Fifty-three years ago, Ancestor Malcolm X told us to stop “taking our case from the wolf to the fox.” We’ve seen that even in the face of video evidence, from Rodney King to Eric Garner to Tamir Rice to Freddie Gray to Philando Castille, people of Afrikan descent, Black people, still seem unable to achieve justice. We have also seen that, when our anger explodes into rebellion or “riot”, often our problem is not solved either.

To us, it is organization that will ultimately either win us the justice we deserve in this system, or help us to build our own systems that we control. Part of this is what Ancestor Malcolm X also told us to do, “Take Uncle Sam before the world.”

Part of our mission is to organize our local communities and our national communities and tie them together so we can wield a collective voice that must be heard and heeded, either by the African Union (who made an invitation to us in 2003), or the United Nations (whose High Commission for Human Rights holds regular hearings, several of which have dealt with our issues), or at Pan-African Congresses that we can organize and hold ourselves, once we establish the common bonds of local, national and international organizing.

We are meeting with the Grassroots Pan-Afrikan Community to accomplish several objectives:

(1) Discuss and develop a Maryland Pan-Afrikan Agenda. What are the key issues that we, as a Pan-Afrikan Community, need to formulate plans to address? Crime? Education? Police brutality? Economic opportunity? Our identity as a Pan-Afrikan [“all people of Afrikan or African descent] people? We hope the grassroots community, those of us in our neighborhoods who may not have felt like they have been heard, those activists who have labored for years, beating their heads against the wall, to wake the rest of us up, those organizations that have a platform and program to share as a solution for our community, to come out and put all our heads together so we can build an Agenda that truly reflects our people’s needs, aspirations and capabilities so we can become all we are meant to become as a people. At that time, we would determine what Agenda items we would present to elected officials to pressure them to better serve us, which ones are things we can solve ourselves as a local Community, and which ones we can solve by joining forces with our Communities in other states and other countries.

(2) Establish and officially seat a Community Council of Elders. Afrikan tradition calls for the Elders to be consulted on important issues to the community, and for the Elders to offer wisdom, guidance and correction to us when we need it. What we need in this hostile environment is a Council of Elders who can be proactive, who can “pull us up” when we make mistakes and do wrong, who can mediate disputes when they occur before they become either matters for law enforcement, cases for the courts or long-simmering resentments, and who will be able to help us make important decisions as we organize and mobilize ourselves. Do we have such Elders, either in a Council or simply awaiting the call? We must find out, and we must recruit them, if necessary, to take a position of honor and authority to help guide our efforts.

(3) Nominate Representatives and Observers for the Maryland Pan-Afrikan Community. These are members of the Maryland Pan-Afrikan Community who would meet certain criteria [that the Community would determine] and who are seen as strong, selfless workers for their Community. We seek to build a “team” of two Representatives [who would attend and vote at national summit meetings to represent our Pan-Afrikan Agenda, to help decide on national and international courses of action and possibly to help represent the US Pan-Afrikan Community at occasional international events] and up to six Observers [who would take over for a Representative if they cannot fulfill their duties] to accompany the State Facilitator and the Elders to national and, possibly, international meetings. Nominations will be made, and then the nominees will be reviewed by the Council of Elders to ensure that they met the criteria to be Representatives. At a later date, the successful nominees, if there are more than two, would participate in a forum in which they would answer questions from the Elders and from the Community, after which the Community will vote to determine the best two to become Representatives.

(4) Discuss the next steps that we must take to better build at the local level, the national level, and internationally.

(5) Have a frank discussion about how we can bring our various activists, organizers and community leaders together in a Cooperative Coalition. There are a number of organizations, and activists across the City of Baltimore who are doing great work to educate and organize our people. Their efforts are being felt in a positive way by the people they are serving so well, but even they have a hard time reaching everyone, and sometimes these different groups run into, and unfortunately conflict with each other.

The result is a lot of effort is put out, some encouraging results are achieved, but at some point there are areas of great frustration, either in dealing with apathy or with “competition” from others. We end up beating our heads against a wall. One reason why so many of us end up abusing our heads in this way (Walls are hard, after all) is that we are working alone, without the support of each other. Personal beefs between activists and organizations need to be mediated, settled and put aside. Political and ideological issues need to be talked out. And different approaches to attaining the unity and liberation we all claim we need must be discussed so that ways can be found to allow those different approaches to work together, like a team.

Artists, businesses, scientists, media, lawyers, spiritual leaders, educators, prison activists, community activists, Elders, Sistas, Brothas, and just plain ol’ folks should be able to talk with, meet with, and build with each other and know that they all support each other. Any follower of sports knows that a team that fails to bring the different talents of its players together to achieve the common goal is a losing team.

We want to suggest a model to help build a better spirit of teamwork among our activists, organizations and leaders. And it’s about time we engaged and unified not only our Community at the grassroots, but our supposed leaders as well. Our Community will not unify when they look around them at their leaders and what they see is discord and dysfunction.

We hope you will be able to come out and join us at the Arch Social Club, 2426 Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore, on June 24 from 3 pm to 7 pm. If you have ideas, bring them! If you have questions and even doubts, don’t be afraid to voice them. But please remember that our purpose is to build some solutions that we can implement and control, and not to beat each other up, start major arguments or wallow in our misery. If you’re ready to help us determine how we will build, together, we hope to see you!

Peace and Power, Bro. Cliff Maryland State Facilitator,
Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC)
Editor, KUUMBAReport Online