A SUCCESSFUL TWENTY–FIRST NBUF CONVENTION

By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (July 21, 2000)

The Twenty–first Annual National Black United Front (NBUF) Convention was held in Brooklyn, New York, July 13th – 16th. Without question, the convention was a grand success. More than three hundred NBUF members and other key activists participated at a very high level in all the plenary sessions and workshops. The information sharing, exchange of ideas and networking was awesome.

On Thursday, the convention kicked off at the Pamoja House which is the Old Armory where NBUF held its founding convention in June of 1980. The Pamoja House is an African Centered homeless shelter. This social service agency, led by long–time New York activist, Job Mashariki, Executive Director, Black Veterans For Social Justice, gave a warm welcome and overview of the agency to convention delegates.

Additionally, at the opening plenary on Thursday, we received greetings from Professor Safiya Bandele, a founding member of NBUF and formerly the chair of NBUF’s Women’s Section. Assemblyman Albert Van, and Mwalina Abadadika’s (aka Sonny Carson) son from the Committee to Honor Black Heroes also gave greetings and messages of solidarity.

One of the highlights of the convention that was presented at the opening plenary was the unveiling of the Lift Every Voice CD that was produced by NBUF members Leon Dixon (Kansas City, MO), Khalfani Mwamba (Seattle, WA), and Clifford Sykes (Pontiac, MI). The CD commemorated the 100th anniversary of this song written by James Weldon Johnson in 1900 that has become the African in America National Anthem. The various renditions of the song on this CD are a classic illustration of the depths of African creativity.

The opening plenary concluded with the presentation by one of the leading African Centered scholars, Dr. Leonard Jefferies. As usual, Dr. Jefferies gave an inspiring and challenging speech on the connections of African people throughout the world. Dr. Jefferies urged NBUF to organize these connections into an International Black United Front.

On Friday, the convention moved to Medgar Evers College (MEC) where a full day of workshops were held that included Labor, Electoral Politics and Voting, Relationships, Incarceration and The Family,

Communications, Health Issues, and Prisons. Powerful information was shared in all of these workshops. NBUF members and other activists who presented are experts, with many years of experience organizing in these areas.

The Friday morning NBUF Convention began with an opening plenary that addressed the highlights of the movement with emphasis on the last fifty years. This was truly a profound plenary. We heard an analysis from Dr. Oba T`Shaka (Vice Chair of NBUF), Nsea Akuffa Bea (President Local 215), Rosemary Mealy (Producer, WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM), Sam Anderson (Director of Parent Advocacy Center of Medgar Evers College), and Ron Daniels (Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights). The information, historical perspectives, and analysis was so insightful that NBUF is producing a video so that all African people in America can benefit from the wisdom and historical lessons presented in this plenary session.

Also, after lunch we heard remarks from our founding Chairperson and Chair Emeritus, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, Pastor of the House of the Lord Church. Rev. Daughtry went to the archives and showed a documentary film of the early organizing days of the NBUF Chapter in New York. The film brought back a lot of old memories.

In the evening plenary, we received messages of solidarity from Sele Adeyemi from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Adeyemi Bandele of Men On The Move, Carlos Russell from the Panamanian American Community, and Sadio Diallo from the Senegalese American Community.

 

Saturday, we continued with numerous workshops including Police Brutality and Criminal Justice, Reparations, United Nations World Conference On Racism, Youth Issues, Education, International Affairs, Economic Empowerment, and African Centered Support Services for Students in Special Education.The Saturday morning plenary, convened by Karen McGowen of the Detroit Chapter of NBUF, focused on African Centered Education in the New Millennium. Professor James Small, Dr. Joyce King (Associate

Provost and Professor of Education at MEC), and Professor Matthew Mead (Department of Sociology at MEC), all gave excellent and inspiring presentations.

The Saturday afternoon plenary was what we call a "smoker." It was called "Booktalk," and it focused on examining the book, Criminalizing A Race, by our great ancestor Queen, Dr. Charshee McIntyre. Rev. Elizabeth Butler (NBUF New York Chapter) convened this session. Atty. Gerri Pickett (NBUF New York Chapter), Talibah Worrill (NBUF Chicago Chapter, Editor of On The Frontline Newsletter), Rev. Ayana Ajanaku (Director of Programs for Black Vets for Social Justice), and Sandra Dean (NBUF National Treasurer). The Sisters were profound in their presentations and throughout the plenary people stood on their feet and applauded. You would have thought you were in church on Sunday morning. NBUF will also produce a video of this plenary for everyone to view.

We closed out the convention at the Fort Greene Senior Center with a magnificent banquet that was highlighted by the outstanding speech of Dr. Mwalimu Shujaa, (Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at MEC). Seydou Njoya (Peter Carter) received the annual Maurice Bishop Award for outstanding commitment to our struggle.

We can truly say, that through the convention coordination by Jitu Weusi, Chief Founder of NBUF, we all left Brooklyn fired up and ready to continue our work in the worldwide African Liberation Movement!

 

 
National Chairman
National Black United Front (NBUF)


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