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Black is Back conference calls for black unity and struggle against police state

A panel of speakers at the BIB Conference: Yusef Salem, Danette Chavis, Oronde Takuma and Diop Olugbala (L to R)
On August 17 - 18, 2013, the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations held a “Weekend of African Re­sistance”, beginning with a rally at the intersection of W. 125th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. in Harlem, New York.
 
Under the banner, “The Tray­von Martin March for Black Justice - Zimmerman is the NYPD! Put the State On Trial!”, members of the Black Is Back Coalition, fami­lies of Africans murdered by po­lice, and Africans from throughout the region gathered to proclaim that justice will never be found in the colonial courtrooms.
 
State fails to stop march
 
The organizers of the event applied for a permit at the 28th NYPD Precinct. When the per­mit remained unapproved, free speech advocates and attorneys were notified, and a call-in was launched to demand that the per­mit be approved.
 
In the early hours of Wednes­day August 14, the Black Is Back Coalition sent out a press release that stating that the rally and march would go on with or without the permit. “The NYPD’s attempt to deny us a permit is an attempt to silence the only voice of oppo­sition to and criticism of the police murder of African youth. We are marching because we CANNOT and WILL NOT let the state suc­ceed! We will march because we must see the state put on trial and the people gain power.” The per­mit was approved late in the after­noon on Friday, August 16th.
 
At 11am many of those gath­ered wore black t-shirts embla­zoned with the Black Is Back Coalition (BIBC) logo, or “NYPD KILLED 1000 TRAYVONS.” These bold shirts, banners, and speakers caught the attention of numerous people who joined the rally and the mile-long march to St. Mary’s Church, the site of the two-day conference.
 
Conference advances black freedom agenda
 
Entitled, “From Trayvon to Stop and Frisk! From COINTEL­PRO to Black Misleadership! Re­sist the U.S. gov’t war on the Af­rican people!,” the BIBC’s annual conference opened with a pre­sentation by the Coalition’s Chair­man Omali Yeshitela.
 
Yeshitela explained, “We call our Coalition ‘Black is Back’ be­cause our movements and orga­nizations over the years espe­cially since the 1960s have been literally destroyed. Those who called themselves the represen­tatives for our community were of­ten people working with the very same forces that were responsible for our problems. They would see the rage and how our people were upset, then they would misdirect our people into ways that would not help con­tribute to solve the problem but wear us out with prayer missions and marching.”
 
“Then there was the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama. When he came it was like someone put something in the water. Our community was ecstatic. It was like a savior had come. Then in Harlem during the first presi­dential debate this man came out in opposition to reparations to our people.
 
“We are at a period in history where one era is gone. Al Sharp­ton, Jesse Jack­son, they are the past. That politic is the politic of the past. Those of us who are tired of the Jesse Jacksons and the Al Sharptons pretending to represent us, have the responsibility to step forward.
 
“That’s what this Coalition re­ally allows us to do. The Coalition has provided us with general prin­ciples of unity that will allow us to unite in an anti-imperialist agenda that stands for self-determination for African people.”
 
Glen Ford, Vice-Chair of the Black is Back Coalition and Se­nior Editor of Black Agenda Re­port delivered a characteristically well-documented and eloquent presentation, this one entitled, “Trayvon Martin, black mislead­ers, and the struggle for political space.”
 
He said that, “The execution of black people by cops and white civilians is an everyday affair in the united states, just as the Mal­colm X Grassroots Movement has documented.
 
“What is special about this national outpouring of anger at the killing and at the acquittal and the demand for an answer to the question ‘what do we do about it?’ is the way black people are feel­ing at this moment. Black activ­ist organizations are expected at moments like these to provide answers to the question, ‘what do we do about it?’
 
“The fight against racial profil­ing, which is the surveillance and stigmatizing of a whole people, has to be waged in the context of community control, in the context of black power and in the context of self-determination.
 
“If we wage the fight in that way, then we will confront all of the other crises that are facing that community. Because we’re talking about the right of that com­munity’s right to police itself and to determine its own destiny.
 
A panel of speakers address­ing the topic of ending U.S. police terror included Yusef Salem, one of the “Central Park Five” recently exonerated and released from prison; Frank Graham, father of Ramarley Graham who was mur­dered by the NYPD in the Bronx in 2012; Carol Gray, the mother of Kimani Gray, whose 2013 murder at the hands of the NYPD sparked a righteous rebellion of young Af­rican workers in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Danette Chavis, police brutality activist and mother of Gregory Chavis, who was killed by police in 2004.
 
Lisa Davis, Chairwoman of the Coalition’s Healthcare Work­ing Group, delivered a scathing indictment of the denial of quality health care to Africans in the U.S. She presented the findings of the Rebecca Project charging that the widespread prescription of the controversial and potentially lethal birth control drug Depo Prevera in the black community serves a eu­genicist and genocidal agenda to prevent births among African and other colonized peoples.
 
The Coalition enthusiastically agreed to Davis’ proposal to sup­port the demands recommended by the Rebecca Project to prevent the imposition of Depo Provera in­cluding a moratorium on its use, an end to all insurance payments for the drug and the bringing up of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on criminal charges of fraud.
 
Diop Olugbala, leader of the Coalition’s Political Action Work­ing Group and President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement reported on the ongoing mobilizations of the Co­alition, which have offered a con­sistent and courageous voice of opposition to the imperialist wars – domestic and foreign – of the Obama regime.
 
Participants in the BIBC’s an­nual conference resolved to work to build the organizing capacity of the Coalition, recruiting indi­viduals and organizations to join, and especially to grow the most active and dynamic committees – the Healthcare Working Group and the Political Action Working Group.
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