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WEB POSTED 09-03-2002

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A Black United Front
Barbados to host World Racism conference follow-up

(FinalCall.com) -- A follow-up meeting to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism is planned for Oct. 1–6 in Bridgetown, Barbados. The "African and African Descendants World Conference Against Racism" is open to all concerned Black people and representatives of non-governmental organizations, whether they attended last year’s UN conference in Durban, South Africa, or not, organizers said.

"It has been almost one year since the United Nations World Conference Against Racism. The conference is remembered as the place where the United States and Israel stormed out of the General Assembly rather than discuss the issues of reparations for descendants of enslaved Africans and controversies concerning the Palestinians," said Dr. Jewel Crawford, chairperson of the conference’s Central Organizing Committee.

Most importantly, it was the conference where the trans-Atlantic slave trade was finally declared a crime against humanity by 168 nation-states in the General Assembly of the United Nations, said Dr. Crawford.

"Since the declaration of the trans-Atlantic slave trade as a crime against humanity, the question looming in the minds of many Black people has been: Where do we go from here?" she said.

The upcoming Barbados conference, the first post-Durban follow-up activity for non-governmental groups, will seek to answer that question.

It hopes to inform Africans and Blacks in the Diaspora of the UN Program of Action and push the United Nations to keep commitments to eradicate racism.

The Program of Action is a number of steps recommended to world governments to uproot racism and its many branches. The Program of Action was the result of hard work by non-governmental organizations and activists, Barbados conference organizers noted. The world has finally acknowledged the plight of millions of victims of the legacy of slavery, colonialism, racism, apartheid, segregation and economic exploitation, they said.

"We have no intention of letting this document of unprecedented historical and political significance, collect dust in a file cabinet," said Dr. Crawford. "People of African descent must comprise the vanguard of leadership focused on ending racism. It is unrealistic to believe the perpetrators of racism and benefactors of economic exploitation will be devoted to Black interests."

Barbados conference organizers also argue that Africa and her children must come up with their own rehabilitation plan for the Motherland and the Diaspora. Their conference agenda includes working to devise strategies to implement the UN Program of Action; exchanging information on effective programs, policies and projects, developing new ones, and coordinating existing activities, and forming a global Pan African organization to provide a structure for continued cooperative work.

In Barbados, activists from around the world will be asked to identify and prioritize the most critical challenges for Black people. Strategies and solutions will be sought for 12 theme areas:

• Critical Programs for Youth

• The HIV and Health Care Crisis

• Business and Economic Development

• Reparations Strategies

• Educational Initiatives

• Gender Issues for Black Men and Black Women

• Political and Legal Remedies and the Prison Industrial Complex

• The Adverse Impact of Globalization

• The Role of the Media

· The Role of Religion, Culture and the Arts

• Oversight Mechanisms to Ensure the Implementation of the UN Program of Action

• The International Labor Movement

Actor Danny Glover, a human rights advocate, and Durban conference participant, is honorary chairperson of the Barbados conference.

The conference has also been endorsed by Bill Fletcher, executive director of the TransAfrica lobby. Other endorsers and supporters include the Commission for Pan African Affairs of the government of Barbados; the Barbados Tourist Authority; Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree; Dr. Raymond Winbush of the Urban Research Institute at Morgan State University; hip hop guru Russell Simmons; 100 Black Men of Atlanta and others. The meeting’s host organization is the Congress Against Racism—Barbados.

The Bandung Conference gathering of the non-White world, held in Indonesia in 1955, heralded the end of colonial rule, and the World Conference Against Racism must be a turning point in the struggle for Black liberation, Barbados conference organizers said. The African and African Descendants World Conference Against Racism AAD WCAR represents another milestone in the Black struggle and liberation process, they added.

In addition, plans are underway for an 8th Pan African Congress in the next two years.

"In the U.S., Europe and around the world, Black people continue to bear the brunt of repressive, racist policies, police tactics and the erosion of civil liberties. World events demand that conscious African people come together and devise counter racist strategies to protect and advance our communities," said Dr. Winbush.

Registration forms for the conference, available on the Internet at The Black World Today (www.tbwt.com), are coming in from all parts of Africa and the Diaspora, including from Blacks living in Europe, South and Central America, Canada and the Caribbean. Blacks in the Asian Pacific islands have also expressed an interest in attending the conference. Fundraising is being conducted to bring NGO representatives from resource poor areas of Africa and the Diaspora to Barbados, conference organizers said. Conference details can also be found at www.tbwt.com.

 


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