PREPARING FOR THE BLACK POWER CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (November 7, 2000)

The Black Power Conference in support of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, that will be held in Chicago, Illinois, November 17-19, 2000 is picking up steam.

Students, activists, scholars, elders and a variety of leaders in the Black Liberation Movement are preparing to participate in this most historic conference. One of the purposes of this conference is to mobilize our independent strategies as we organize to participate in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism that will be held in Durbin, South Africa, August 31-September 7, 2001.

The Legacy of the Black Power Movement and the United Nations World Conference Against Racism National Organizing Conference is being co–sponsored by the December 12th Movement, based in New York, and the National Black United Front. Seasoned veteran activists from around the country have confirmed their participation, such as Dr. Imari Obadele of the Republic of New Africa, Elombe Brath of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, Viola Plummer of the December 12th Movement, Ron Daniels for the Center for Constitutional Rights, Atty. Michael Warren, and Atty. Lionel Baptiste, and Akbar Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.

Several workshops will be presented to explore historical and continuing forms in racism in the United States in the arena of health, education, economics, the criminal justice system, and the cultural arena, among others. Additionally, a heavy emphasis of the conference will address the growing Reparations Movement.

In this context, the conference will also examine and discuss the deliberations of many African, non–governmental organizations in their participation in the first session of the preparatory committee in Geneva, Switzerland, May 1st through 5th.

This group agreed on the following issues to be major issues that should be addressed at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism. They are:

  1. African people are victims of racism, specifically the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and its ongoing affects.
  2. The Economic Basis of Racism
  3. The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade must be declared a Crime Against Humanity.
  4. Reparations are due to the African descendants of the victims of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, both in the Diaspora and on the continent; who continue to suffer egregious human rights violations.
  5. African people in the Western hemisphere are one people by virtue of common origin and circumstances and may speak as one group regarding human rights conventions and inventions, notwithstanding the need to address the specific effects of racism as impacted by location and culture.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, through the Center for Human Rights, established for three years, in 1993, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations confirmed this mandate and assigned it to Mr. Maurice Glélé–Ahanhanzo of Benin.

At its fifty–second–session, the Commission, by resolution in 1996 expressed its full support and appreciation for the Special Rapporteur’s work and decided to extend his mandate for a period of three years.

Since the establishment of the Special Rapporteur’s Office, Mr. Glélé–Ahanhanzo offices examined racism and racial discrimination in Australia, Austria, Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation, France, Israel, Indonesia, Brazil, and Italy and many other countries.

In 1997, the Special Rapporteur’s Office observed, "that racism and racial discrimination persist in various regions of the world both in their structural, economic and social form and in the form on xenophobia. Theories of racial inequality are raising their head while at the same time modern communication technologies, especially the Internet, are being perniciously employed to foment racial hatred, xenophobia, and anti–Semitism."

In this regard, the Special Rapporteur made a number of recommendations that have been approved by the General Assembly and the Commission. These recommendations are: "(a) to convene a world conference on racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and (b) to consider action at the international level— beginning studies, research and joint action immediately— over the use of the Internet as a vehicle for racist propaganda."

When we discuss racism, we must be clear on this term that is so widely used by so many people. Through our study groups, over the years, with Dr. Anderson Thompson, we have concluded that racism is "The direct and overall physical and psychological subordination and subjection of one racial group over another for the purpose of maximum political and economic exploitation which is based on the belief (supportable by religious doctrine or scientific data) that either because of heredity (genes, family) or culture (social environment) the dominant race in power is superior to the dominated and powerless race."

The manifestation of racism in the western European world has become institutionalized in a worldwide system of white supremacy. White supremacy continues to have a devastating impact on African people throughout the world.

It is in this context that African people should aggressively participate in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism that is scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2001. We must get prepared to do battle on the world stage at this conference.

When Mr. Glélé–Ahanhanzo visited the United States in 1994, he found what most African people in America are keenly aware of— "It should be explicitly acknowledged that 30 years of intense struggle against racism and racial discrimination have not yet made it possible to eliminate the consequences of over 300 years of slavery and racial discrimination, particularly where African Americans are concerned.

The conference will be held at Northeastern Illinois University Center for Inner City Studies, 700 East Oakwood Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois. The conference will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 17, 2000.

For more information on The Legacy of the Black Power Movement and the United Nations World Conference Against Racism National Organizing Conference, contact NBUF at 708-389-9929 or the December 12th Movement at 718-398-1766. Look forward to seeing you at the conference.
 


National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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