ALL AFRICAN/AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY
IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
SRDC Washington State in collaboration with the Pacific
Northwest Diaspora Community, celebrated African Liberation Day
on Saturday, May 28, 2011.
All African/African Liberation Day Celebration Report
by Kamau Ron Taplin
Representative, Washington State Chapter
In Seattle, Washington, on a picturesque Saturday morning (May 28th), people of African descent began gathering at a local pre-K/elementary/middle school to participate in what was billed as the All African/African Liberation Day celebration. This event was hosted by the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus of Washington State (SRDC-WA) and the Pacific Northwest African Diaspora Community.
The event commemorated the successful movement for independence from European colonial rule which occurred on the African continent during the 1950’s and 60’s. Wikipedia provides us with this brief summary of the colonial period: “During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, European powers divided Africa and its resources into political partitions at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. By 1905, African soil was almost completely controlled by European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonization by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Portugal also had colonies. As a result of colonialism and imperialism, Africa suffered long term effects, such as the loss of important natural resources like gold and rubber, economic devastation, cultural confusion, geopolitical division, and political subjugation. Europeans often justified this using the concept of the White Man’s Burden, an obligation to “civilize” the peoples of Africa.”
The All African/African Liberation Day event was indeed a celebration and recognition of the many giants of the African soil who led the way out of darkness imposed by the European. Forever to be remembered are such names as Kenyatta (Kenya), Nkrumah (Gold Coast, now Ghana); Senghor (Senegal); and Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire), Patrice Lumumba (Zaire/Congo), Winnie and Nelson Mandela (Azania/South Africa) and the many lesser known African leaders who risked liberty and sometimes ultimately their lives to live as free, self-determining human beings in the age of European imperialism. In 2011 we now know that the freedom sought was never freely given. It was hard won on the blood of millions of African men, women and children. We also now know that freedom and independence carry an enormous responsibility to vision the future while living in present day reality, to lead where the path is seldom clear and to govern by African principles which have stood the test of time for thousands of years.
The schedule of events that day brought together the African Diaspora Community as one family to celebrate freedom in Africa by way of the Arts, Science & Technology, Literature, History, Crafts and Tradition. The program opened with Drum Talk by local drummers, M’Shenga A Babu (Ancestral Messengers), which was then followed by the Pouring of Libation. This was followed by a ‘Parade of the Flags of Africa’ by community youth representing the Six Regions of the African Union (North, South, East, West, Central and The Diaspora). Back and forth through the day, we heard from Griot Elders and “New Jack” Wordsmiths representing the Hip-Hop and Spoken Word communities. The theme for the day was “Self-Reliance.” There were presentations on economic self-sufficiency and health and wellness. The highlight for the day was a special guest presentation by Yao
Khepra Felix Wilson, SRDC Facilitator for the State of New York. Brother Khepra presented an original conception entitled “Crisis Preparedness of the African Diaspora is 21st Century Pan Africanism.” In his presentation, Brother Khepra introduced the P.A.S.S. System (Prepare Autonomous Sustainable Solutions). He challenged all African people to Prepare for the collective survival of OUR people, by creating an Autonomous infrastructure that will remain Sustainable indefinitely, and ensure that future generations are empowered so that they can develop appropriate Solutions of both predictable and unpredictable crises. As a witness, I can only assure you that the Brother created serious buzz in the room. Over a week later, and people are still talking about the presentation and event.
The success of this 1st Annual Event is credited to the State Facilitator for Washington, FolashadeFarr, the State Representatives, Aline Diakite and Kamau Ron Taplin, the Council of Elders led by Cal Spates, other SRDC-WA team members (Jamal, Sonya, Kibibi, Linda, Afua, Vicki, T West) and numerous Community volunteers working within the committee structure of SRDC. A special “Thanks” is due to Anita Mwamba for her efforts in securing a fabulous site for this event. Last, but certainly not least, we give “Thanks” to Keisha Scarlett, the Principal of the Southshore School, which was the site of the event.
As principal Keisha Scarlett has great vision for the children she serves and we cannot say thank you enough for her embrace of the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus. She announced at the Event’s closing that she would like to become a community partner with SRDC!
Message from the SRDC Washington State Facilitator
On behalf of the Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus (SRDC) of Washington State, we extend greetings and gratitude for your participation in this “All African/African Liberation Day Celebration”. Our purpose is to highlight the many contributions people of African descent have made to the Pacific Northwest and the world. This year’s theme of “Self-Reliance” showcases the determination, ingenuity and perseverance with which the African Descendant Community has successfully demonstrated its ability to overcome tremendous obstacles and challenges time and time again.
Historically, again and again, physical domination was traded for psychological and economic dependence; and it is against this very dependence that the need for the African Diaspora to come together in the spirit of cooperation and community highlights this celebration. The United Nations’ resolution that marks year 2011 as the “International Year for People of African Descent” has helped focus attention on the many social and institutionalized systems of injustices and disparities to which African Descendants around the globe have been subjected. Today, we bear witness to the need for the world to address these problems and make an honest effort to involve Africa and its people toward a more just world society.
The African Union (AU) has invited descendants of Africa living throughout the Diaspora to organize among themselves as individual states, regions or countries as Diaspora delegates for future involvement in the work of the African Union. Complementing the African Union’s existing five regions (North, South, East, West, and Central) of the continent, the Diaspora represents Region Six. The collective intellectual and economic capital of the Sixth Region strengthens the AU voice on critical global issues affecting the continent. The SRDC represents one of the many voices today, a sort of echo from the past, exhorting the African Diaspora to “Do for Self” and “Be the Change You Wish to See in the African World.” Join us in creating this preferred future.
Corinne Folashade Farr, State of Washington SRDC Facilitator
Cal Spates – State of Washington, SRDC Community Council of Elders, Chair
Aline Diakite – SRDC State of Washington Representative
Kamau Ron Taplin – SRDC State of Washington Representative