On Sat. Mar. 31, 2007 at White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, NY from
for the African Union 6th Region Representatives was held.
The African Union, whose main purpose is to establish a United States of Africa,
invited Diasporans to participate as voting members in its discussions and decision making. The invitation comes with a multi-tiered task, the
first of which is to organize as a
community to elect two Representatives and up to six Observers, state by state in the US, in Europe, Central America, South America, Brazil,
Canada andthe Caribbean. All elected representatives must be in place byDecember, 2007.This
is thesecond and last deadline.
Almost 100 people from every segment of the population came, from the backbone of our coummunity
- the everyday grassroots folks, to community activists, church goers, Muslims, Rastafarians, labor unionists, pacifists,
"Buppies", nationalists, entrepreneurs, college students,
mothers, and fathers to give "feet" to the African Union initiative.
process and announcements were delivered by Prof. David L. Horne and KumasiPalmer of the PAOC (Pan African Organizing Committee), and
Ras Nathaniel representing WHADN (Western Hemisphere African Diaspora Network).
(Prior to this gathering, the New York community
heard the call and committed to the invitation by holding a gathering on January 6, 2007, spearheaded by Elder Adunni Tabasi of Staten Island and the Nkwanta Project to select a Community
Council of Elders and call for nominees.)
The event started slowly with presentations from Education Campaign Director, Ras Nathaniel Blake of WHADN and Elder Adunni Tabasi regarding the Nkwanta
Project, which is a Ghanaian land
grant to Diasporans. See Ghana Nkwanta Project website at: http://nkwanta.tripod.com.
Candidates for Representative were Elder Lumumba Grant (Harlem),
RAS E.S.P McPherson of ENF(Ethiopian National Federation)
and Nova Felder (Harlem). Observer Candidates were Bakary Tandia (Mauritania) and Nova Felder. It must be stated that Nova Felder is a youngman and the son of community activist and scientist,
Dr. Jack Felder. It became crystal clear as
to why this young man received nominations for both positions when he took his seat and held his own at the Nominees table.
At approximately , the proceedings picked up
speed and commenced with Baba David Sankofa calling
the forum to order by introducing Moderator and Election Chairperson Sis. Carmen Collymore. The approval was given by the Elders to continue and Sis. Collymore outlined the agenda for the event. After introductions of the Community
Council of Elders/New York and the Nominees, some audience members took exception to the election by posing questions about the official African Union mandates,
their invitation to the Diaspora, election guidelines and
some of the 25 people who had been nominated.
Bro. Ras Nathaniel and Sis. Collymore answered all questions patiently and deftly.
After clearing up the facts that:
1. this information has been known since at least 2003, but hoarded away from the community,
2. that the Diaspora has already missed one deadline regarding the
election of Representatives and
3. out of 25 male and female nominees only 4 males accepted or were
based on the agreed upon Minimum Qualifications,
none of whom the audience was critical of, it was understood by the
audience that the election had to take place. There was a request for
more information about the election guidelines etc., and once that was
presented, all doubts seemed to be allayed. The call to hear the
candidates was made.
Mother Melva Franklin stood regally to pose the first question. Four more Elders asked the rest of the agreed-upon pre-selected
questions for each candidate to answer. The timekeepers
allotted five minutes for opening statements and three minutes for each answer.
Following this, the community posed their own questions ranging from Zimbabwe, thedefinition of Pan African, personal character, candidates' qualifications to be strong-willed
and independent thinkers, global
warming, knowledge of world history and African history, self-sufficiency, pressingagenda items once at the AU table, and a vision for the community.
At the ballots were distributed and
the voting began. The community was more than willing
to participate in the tally and count. From the college-aged to middle-aged to Elders, there were 5 volunteer vote counters, 5 observers and 3 Election Committee
members working intently to insure that the results
would be fair and accurate. During the count, the community engaged in fellowship and networking. It was noted that Elder Elombe Brath, a respected, dedicated long time community activist and President of the
Patrice Lumumba Coalition and Grandassa arrived
at this point, clearly stating that he was not there to take part in the election process.
With the tally completed, the final results were:
- Representatives ---- Elder Lumumba Grant and RAS McPherson
- Observers ---- Nova
Felder of Harlem and Bakary Tandia of
As flowers were presented to each warrior/winner to say congratulations and thank you, the Brothers stood
tall, proud and ready to accept their responsibilities as African Union 6th Region New York Representatives and Observers.
The community greeted them with applause, smiles, A-shes, drumming and sounds of victory. Elder Thutmoses Powell (CCOE/NYand
UNIA) led the Garvey charge and a brother ended the election with a spiritual offering. Elder Tabasi was presented with a
gift from Ras McPherson honoring her work and Earthday.
Special thanks to:
1. AU 6th Region Organizer Prof. David Horne of California for his
diligence in making sure our people are a part
world stage by pushing to meet the AU invitation deadline,
2. The Reverend Cooper, of WhiteRockBaptistChurch and his members,
for their unending cooperation in providing a meeting place month
after month for this important initiative;
3. Election Committee Members, especially
Linda Fletcher, Internet and Public Relations,
Iman (Uqdah) Hameen, Media and Organizing Committee,
Dacca Shabazz, Media and Flyer Distribution,
4. Ras Nathaniel Blake for acting
as AU/ WHADN Liaison and Education
5. CCOE/NY Elders and
6. Amsterdam News, NY Beacon, BronxNet and BCA for the public
to all community members for making this a success. It is done!
Submitted by Sis. Iman Uqdah Hameen 2007
Elder Mother Melva Franklin
The audience/participants knew and understood that the Election had to take place.
There was a request for moreinformation about the election guidelines etc. and once that
was presented, all doubts seemed to be allayed.