As the reparations debate continues to spark controversy throughout the country, hundreds of people are expected to gather in Chicago this month for one of the most prolific anti-racism conferences this decade:
"A National Call Against Racism,"
The conference serves as a precursor to the much-anticipated United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia and related intolerance, to convene in Durban, South Africa, August 31 to September 7, 2001. The first and second conference was held in 1978 and 1983 in Geneva, Switzerland, respectively.
Organizers say hundreds of students, activists, political leaders, Historians and others will gather to examine issues such as reparations and conflicting U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Their mission is to galvanize a mass base of support for a proposed resolution that identifies the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade as a crime against humanity, and set the stage for an International Reparations Movement. Additionally, participants will attend workshops on the economics of:
"The reparations movement is fueled by our ongoing efforts to organize and educate the masses of Black people on key issue," said Dr. Conrad Worrill, chairman of the National Black United Front, and a professor at Northeastern. "When the U.N. convened a conference on the plight of the world's women, preparatory committee meetings (PrepComs) were held across the globe. The United States refuses to acknowledge its human rights violations against people of color. It is the only industrialized nation in
the world that attempts to justify its xenophobia.
"Thousands of policy makers from across the world will be in South Africa next year to discuss the impact of race," he continued. "It is imperative that we organize locally enmasse here in the United States."
Added Colette Peam, spokesperson for the December 12th Movement, a grassroots activist organization based in New York, "Our relentless commitment to the struggle against imperialism has enabled us to bring the issue of human rights violations against our people to the international stage.
"Our mission is to expose these human rights violations domestically," she said. "When we gather in Chicago, we will build upon a national agenda to encourage social change and a total eradication of racism in our culture."
Organizers in the United States are calling for support of The Africa Group's", 1998 resolution calling for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to be identified as a crime against humanity. The committee is comprised of representatives of more than 22 African countries, including Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, and Senegal.
Students representing Atlanta, New York, California, Texas, Mississippi, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, and other key states will attend. The conference was announced weeks before 50 prominent U.S. civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, Arab-American Institute, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union and the National Congress of American Indians, petitioned the U.N. high commissioner on Oct. 24 to include racial profiling on the agenda in South Africa.
"In order to maintain credibility abroad and, most importantly, to render justice here in the United States, the U.S. government must address its own human rights shortcomings," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the umbrella group, the Leadership Conference on Human Rights.
Although endorsed by more than 12 African-American organizations, the Chicago-based conference is co-sponsored by the National Black United Front, the December 12th Movement and the Black United Fund of Illinois.
Speakers will include:
For more information contact: The National Black United Front at (708) 389-9929