ORGANIZING BEYOND THE MILLIONS FOR REPARATIONS MASS RALLY
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (May 14, 2003)
The momentum gained from the successful Millions For Reparations Mass Rally, held on August 17, 2002 in Washington, D. C. must be continued in our day-to-day grassroots organizing work.
It is the responsibility of the more than 50,000 people who attended the rally from 66 cities and 38 states across the country to keep the spirit of the Reparations Movement alive no matter what issues are propelled in the mainstream media.
This responsibility must also be assumed by the thousands of African people in America who viewed the rally on C-Span and those unable to attend, but had reparations events in their cities in support of the Millions For Reparations Mass Rally.
We must not let the media put us to sleep with the issues they bombard us with. We must intensify our organizing for our just demands for reparations.
In the December 12th Movement Reparations Document distributed at the rally, a profound point was made: Todays Rally occurs within the historical context of 400 years of struggling for justice and genuine freedom for our people. The legacy of the freedom fighters and organizations that fought and continue to fight this good fight have collectively contributed to our clarity on the line of march, the necessary tactics, and understanding of on who does this battle depend?
Further, this December 12th Movement Document exclaimed, Therefore it is with clarity that we must return to the scene of the crime. Yes, because we are perfectly clear it was/is a crime, and the 2001 U N World Conference Against Racism, in Durban, South Africa, removed any doubt of the type and magnitude of the crime it was/is, by its declaration that the Tran Atlantic Slave Trade Was A Crime Against Humanity. And as such, crimes against humanity have no statutes of limitation. The crimes committed against our people have no parallel in the annals of human history. They have no historical precedent.
At the recent NBUF Central Committee Meeting held in Kansas City, Missouri on October 11th and 12th, we decided to move forward, over the coming months, with two specific organizing strategies to help fuel the momentum gained by the Millions For Reparations Mass Rally.
Strategy I: The Houston Chapter of NBUF provided us with an idea that NBUF will begin implementing in all our chapters across the country. This idea will become known as the Elected Official Reparations Survey Scorecard.
We have devised a letter that will be sent to elected officials throughout America. This letter states the following: As you may be aware, there is a national debate taking place over the issue of reparations for the horrific crime against humanity, the enslavement of African people and its vestiges. We are conducting a survey to determine exactly where governmental representatives stand. Please complete:
1. Do you support Congressman John Conyers H. R. 40 Bill, which proposes that a commission be formed
to study the impact of the enslavement of African people and its vestiges, which would explore various remedies?
Yes ___ No ___
2. If this commission concluded that reparations were appropriate in some form-compensation, land, educational opportunities, etc., would you support the commissions recommendation?
Yes ___ No ___
A non-response by Wednesday, January 15, 2003, the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be taken as a NO!
The result of this NBUF Elected Official Reparations Survey Scorecard will be published and made available to the community so that we can be clear on where elected officials stand on the question of reparations for African people in America.
Strategy II: NBUF will launch Phase IV of the NBUF Petition/Declaration Campaign. This petition campaign is a continuation of the NBUF Genocide Campaign of 1996-97, where we were successful in gathering 157,000 signatures from African people in America who agreed that the United States Government committed acts of genocide against us. We traveled to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland in May of 1997 and officially filed our genocide petitions.
The acts of genocide by United States Government continue, which has spurned NBUFs continuation of this campaign. It is clear to NBUF that Our continued Genocide Demands Reparations.
It continues to be obvious to NBUF that the scheme revealed by Gay Webb in his controversial newspapers series, in the San Jose Mercy Newspaper, in August of 1996 is still at the heart of the Prison Industrial Complex epidemic in America.
Webb revealed in his articles, Dark Alliance that this was a scheme involving an agency of the United States Government, which targeted people of African descent for the distribution and sell of a deadly drug, crack cocaine a scheme that has far reaching, cataclysmic impact on the African Community across the country as witnessed by the recent report Cellblocks or Classrooms? The Funding of Higher Education and Corrections and Its Impact on African American Men. The Justice Police Institute, a Washington based public interest group conducted the report.
The report cited that the get tough on crime measures including mandatory sentences, the prison population has exploded, quadrupling from 500,000 in 1980 to 2 million in 2002.
The African American community has borne the brunt of our expanding correctional policies, the report recalls. When more than a million new prisoners were added between 1985 and 1997, the report notes, 70 percent of prison growth came from the addition of new African American and Latino prisoners. It should be clear that this trend is tied to the genocidal crack cocaine phenomenon in America.
The NBUF Genocide/Reparations Petition, will, once again, be submitted to the United Nations in September 2003, in conjunction with the United Nations Reparations March.
Lets keep the spirit of the Millions For Reparations Mass Rally alive! BLACK POWER!
National Black United Front (NBUF)