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NCOBRA Conference on Reparations highlights the need to organize and build

Photo taken by James Cox of The Burning Spear
CHICAGO—The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA) held its 22nd annual national conference in Chicago on June 24-26, 2011.
 
This year's main goal was to solidify NCOBRA's infrastructure, maintain the righteous struggle for reparations and to hear from new voices to help assemble and define a reparations package.
 
The theme of the conference was Bambalela -Jitayarishe “Never Give Up- Be Prepared” for Reparations Now!
 
The conference included a town hall meeting, workshops, a bus tour, ceremonies, cultural entertainment, planning sessions, elections and board meetings.
 
The conference opened with ceremonies honoring our African ancestors.
 
Jumoke Ifetayo and Mansong Kulubally helped us to recall some of our warriors from the past and places of historical importance.
 
The names of Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer and many other deceased African warriors were called out during the libation ceremony.
 
Artifacts, such as soil near the former residence of Marcus Garvey's home and soil near slave castles were used to help us feel the history of our struggles.
 
Pauline Whyte gave an introductory workshop on how to trace your genealogy.
 
Other workshops addressed how to heal the effects of oppression, including the five "injury areas" of wealth and poverty: criminal punishment, wealth/poverty, peoplelhood, health and education.
 
This included presentations of the International Year for People of African Descent, political prisoners' liberation efforts by the Jericho Movement, Reparations for tortured Illinois prisoners by attorney Stan Willis, Ron Carter of The Black Wall Street, Phillip Jackson's The Black Star Project, Dr. Webb Evans' Buy Black Campaign, Israel McCain's firefighters' lawsuit, Timuel Black's black Chicago's history, Ayiti (Haiti) report by William BalanGaubert, Black Farmers by Reverend Al Sampson and Rose Saunders, Healing the Wounds of Oppression by Wekesa & Efia, an update on New Orleans and Connecting the Psychological Trauma to Physical Illness by Dr. Terry Mason.
 
Other speakers and entertainers included author and activist Haki Madhubuti and Hip Hop artist Brother J of X-Clan.
 
The town hall meeting
 
The town hall meeting theme was National Minority Rights, Human Rights, Sovereignty and Self-Determination as Reparations.
 
The moderator of the town hall meeting was Glen Ford of the Black is Back Coalition, and the Black Agenda Report.
 
He spoke of the need to push for reparations no matter who is in the White House, despite U.S.
president Obama's claim that there is no black America.
 
We have to continue to challenge the legitimacy of those who rule the United States and Europe in the minds of our people.
 
Attorney Adjoa Aiyetoro, co-founder of NCOBRA gave a presentation about the hypocrisy of the U.S. calling itself a democracy because of enslavement, Jim Crow and many other inequalities against Africans.
 
And until we win reparations, it is our responsibility to respond and discredit the U.S.'s claim that it is a democracy.
 
Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People's Socialist Party and the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace, and Reparations explained how this country was made from stolen land, stolen labor and stolen resources by people who came from a poor, starving and unfree Europe.
 
Sovereignty was taken from the original inhabitants and reaped upon the thieving aggressors.
 
Now, people are fighting back and want their own sovereignty, along with the people of Egypt,
Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
We should join this forward motion and challenge this setup that's based on stolen land, stolen labor and stolen resources.
 
Reparations will come as a consequence of a social movement that we build, demanding freedom for our people, and being able to deliver consequences to those who have stolen everything they have, Chairman Omali said.
 
He stated that the power has to be built and put in the hands of the people.
 
Dr. Farid Muhammad of the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM) gave a presentation that he said would provide insight into an operational platform for reparations within the context of the United Nations protocol of operations and also International Human Rights protocols.
 
The IHRAAM study titled "The National View of African Americans on Self-Determination" gives insight into the social, political and contextual realities we have to contend with in order to convince and educate our people to support the reparations movement.
 
Ahmed Saadiq of the North American Reparations Task Force (NARTF) commented that when the United States government ended their talks with us on reparations, such as the Durban World Conference Against Racism in 2001 and 2009, it was time for action; that we should approach our allies and all those who would support our cause with the knowledge that the United States government is the most hated government on the face of this Earth.
 
Dr. Conrad Worrill of the Jake Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern University and the Chairman Emeritus of the National Black United Front (NBUF) spoke of the history of the reparations movement and the need to rebuild, unify and put energy back into the movement.
 
General Rashid of the Republic of New Africa (RNA) spoke of the need to get land in order to achieve sovereignty, and spoke of the formation of the RNA as a government in Detroit, Michigan in 1968.
 
The question and answer session addressed the need to get the masses of Africans into the movement, the need to become a broad coalition and the need to convince everyday African people the importance of our cause; the need to relate the struggle for reparations to the people's everyday struggles.

REPARATIONS NOW!!
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