A SUCCESSFUL STATE OF THE BLACK WORLD CONFERENCE

By Dr. Conrad Worrill (November 7, 2001)

I attended the State of the Black World Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia from November 28 through December 2, 2001 at the Georgia International Convention Center. It was with great anticipation that I traveled to Atlanta to attend another important movement meeting.

Over the last thirty-years, I have participated in numerous movement meetings, conferences, and conventions throughout the world. All of these experiences have helped shape an aspect of my movement activism as we have vigorously sought to make our contributions to the on-going organizing efforts to address the multitudes of challenges facing the African world.

The State of the Black World Conference was a huge success. Fundamentally, it was a success because its convener, Dr. Ron Daniels and his State of the Black World Conference Committee, were able to conceptualize and plan a conference that attracted the broadest participation of activists, organizers, students, elders, and scholars from throughout the United States, including delegates from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Canada.

More than 1500 delegates registered and enthusiastically participated in this four day conference that had major work sessions, plenary sessions, and a town hall meeting that included the participation of Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti, David Comissong, Martin Luther King, III, and Malika Sanders. The diversity of the participants in this town hall meeting, and their insights into the numerous issues that impact on African people in America and throughout the world, set the stage for the conference.

Further, as Chairman of the National Black United Front (NBUF), we declare the conference a success. The format facilitated youth and student participants to link up with the elder activists in our movement. Specifically, a work session was conducted on the Future of the Black Freedom Struggle: An Intergenerational Dialogue. Longtime movement activists and scholars such as Askia Muhammad Toure, Dr. James Turner, Dr. Ramona Edelin, and Haki Madhubuti shared some important experiences with the youth and students who attended this session.

The questions raised by the students and youth to these veterans of our movement, provided a spark in the Youth Caucus that ignited a commitment to form a Youth Network that will continue beyond the conference. It was inspiring to observe the rise of an emerging new youth and student leadership such as Rosa Clemente, Malika Sanders, and others.

It should be obvious that without the development of our young brothers and sisters in our movement, we will seriously suffer. What was important at the State of the Black World Conference (SOBWC) is that a serious link between the elders and the youth and students was established that will help aid many of the organizing projects taking place in our movement.

One of those major organizing projects is to build on the momentum gained from our participation in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism (WCAR), held this summer in Durban, South Africa, where the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery were declared a Crime Against Humanity. The momentum of our organizing work at the WCAR was infused into the SOBWC through a special report session and a major plenary forum on reparations.

The Reparations Movement is growing and has become a mass movement. Many of the key reparations leaders and organizations participated in the conference, such as: Dorothy Benton Lewis, Hannibal Afrik, Johnita and Imari Obadele of N`COBRA; Atty. Roger Wareham and Latifa Carter of the December 12th Movement; Jo An Watson from Congressman John Conyers’ Office; Saludin Muhammad from the Black Workers For Justice; Atty. Humerto Brown of the Black Radical Congress; Bob Brown of the Kwame Ture Institute; and me, representing NBUF.

Great support was received from participants in the SOBWC for the Durban 400’s call for a National Reparations March and Demonstration, scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. on the Honorable Marcus Garvey’s birthday, August 17, 2002. This march will be called Millions For Reparations: Land for the Landless ~ Free Our Political Prisoners! We will be looking for the youth and student organizers and activists to play a significant role in making this march and demonstration successful. This SOBWC helped intensify our organizing work to build and strengthen the Reparations Movement.

So much occurred at the State of the Black World Conference that it is impossible to write about all of it in the space of this brief report. However, under Dr. Ron Daniels’ leadership, the SOBWC will "Create an Institute of the Black World as the continuation mechanism of the State of the Black World Conference and the clearinghouse for the Black World Network and Pan African Councils as a center to engage in critical research, and provide ongoing technical assistance, leadership, and skill development training for activists and organizers."

We reminded the conference participants that at the Congress of African People (CAP) meeting held in Atlanta in 1970, we declared We Are An African People! We reaffirmed that We Are An African People, at the State of the Black World Conference thirty-one years later. We Are An African People Struggling and Fighting for Black Power. The State of the Black World Conference made this very clear once again!

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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