By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (June 21, 2001)

The National Black United Front and the December 12th Movement have been organizing diligently to take a strong African in America delegation to participate in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) that will be held in Durban, South Africa from August 31st through September 7, 2001.

One aspect of our organizing has been an emphasis on encouraging youth and student participation. The December 12th Movement has organized a strong student and youth delegation to attend the WCAR. Most of these young people live on the East Coast.

In Chicago, NBUF has launched a WCAR Essay Contest as a method of encouraging student and youth participation. It is extremely important that students and youth be a part of all aspects of our "Movement Work." The youth are the future of our Movement. They will replace us!

As Toriono Granger, NBUF member and coordinator of the NBUF Student Sponsorship to the WCAR has pointed out, "In the spirit of the student movement of the 1960’s, the National Black United Front recognizes the importance of youth involvement in the African Struggle in general, and the demand for reparations in particular." Brother Toriono is one of the up and coming young organizers in NBUF. As an engineer, he has prepared himself well in acquiring a variety of skills to help take our Movement to the next level. In that context, Toriono explains that "NBUF will pay airfare and hotel accommodations for a high school or college student to attend and take part in this historic conference with hundreds of activists from the worldwide African Community." Further, Toriono and his Essay Contest Committee provide the criteria of how students will be evaluated. "Candidates will be evaluated and selected based upon information obtained fro the application submitted, two recommendations, and essay, and oral presentation."

NBUF, according to the Essay Committee, will be accepting applications for this sponsorship along with the required essays and recommendations through Saturday, June 30, 2001. At this time, NBUF will select five (5) finalists who will give an oral presentation of their essay and engage in a question and answer session before a panel of judges on July 19, 2001. The winner will be notified on July 23rd in time to prepare for departure to Durban, South Africa on August 29th.

The essay must be at least 700 words and focus on the issue of reparations and its relevance to African people and the significance of the WCAR. In NBUF, we think that this Essay Contest is a valuable experience for high school and college students whether they win or not. The experience of writing an essay on reparations and its relevance to African people and the significance of the WCAR requires that students conduct research on areas such as:

  1. What is "reparations?"
  2. Who has received reparations?
  3. When did African people in America first begin demanding reparations?
  4. Who are some of the leading organizations in the Reparations Movement?
  5. What is the United Nations and when and why did it begin?
  6. Why was the WCAR convened?
  7. What do African people expect to achieve by participating in the WCAR?

These are just some of the questions that students will be compelled to examine if they seriously develop and write a quality essay. NBUF has received numerous inquiries about this essay contest and we are hoping that parents, teachers, and adults in our community encourage students to participate.

For African people around the world this World Conference provides an historic and unique opportunity to finally accomplish what Malcolm X set out to do— to place before the entire world the human rights violations we’ve suffered and to propose a plan of action to resolve them.

The key issues for WCAR that we are organizing around are:

    1. A Declaration of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, Slavery, and Colonialism as Crimes against Humanity
    2. Reparations for African people in the African Diaspora and in Africa
    3. Recognition of the Economic Basis of Racism

The December 12th Movement and NBUF have been at the forefront of the struggle to bring about the WCAR and to shape the issues that we think will define success for African people. A World Conference cannot effectively address all the issues of racism. This is why we have set out the three issues above as the key ones, not the only ones. If the WCAR seriously addresses them, it will pave the way for the resolution of others.

The students and youth are the future of our struggle. Let’s support them in this Essay Contest.

See: Student Essay Contest Information

National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)

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