Reporter's Recap: International Decade for People of African Descent Summit in Guyana

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Members of the Opening Day’s Panel to Address the International Decade for People of African Descent 2018 Summit. Vice-President Dr. Carl Greenidge is third from right.

[Pan-African Notes]

The International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) held its 2018 IDPAD Summit in Georgetown, Guyana, at the Marriott Hotel on March 8-11, 2018.

While Dr. Norman Ng-A-Qui, the Summit’s Director of Communications gave the Welcome Address he also introduced the Opening Ceremony’s Master of Ceremonies Mr. Vincent Alexander. Mr. Alexander in turn introduced Honorable Dr. Carl Greenidge, Member of Parliament and Vice-President of the Republic of Guyana who gave the Opening Remarks and representing President David Granger, on a visit to India attending matters of state.

Mr. Greenidge emphasized the role of the IDPAD Assembly in Guyana is to coordinate the work of African organizations in Guyana for an interface with the government. Together they seek to promote and protect the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of African people and work for the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

As such, African people must speak for themselves, for as “Elder wisdom” has held, “Until lions get their share, historians will always favor the hunter.”

Dr. Hillary Brown stressed the need for a “concrete program of action” to work for the elimination of racism. There has been a blatant disregard for the humanity of African people. Tremendous crimes have been perpetuated against people of African descent.

The first two days, of which this writer was in attendance featured the Opening Ceremony and the first full day. These were followed by two additional days of Keynote Address on such matters as “Business and Finance;” “Health and Wellness;” Education and Culture;” “Human Rights and Geopolitics;” and “Information and Technology.” There were “Subject Matter Experts” and “Open Session Round Tables” that further explored the issues. A gifted young Faith Harding recited a moving Spoken Word quoting Bob Marley that the Conference “Get Together and Be All Right!”

While a number of speakers had their say including Dr. Hillary Brown, Program Manager of Culture and Community Development – Caribbean Secretariat; Dr. William Adu-Krow, PAHO/WHO Representative; Ms. Brigit Gerstenberg, Senior Human Rights Advisor United Nations, Jamaica; and Dr. Melissa Varysyk, Chairperson IDPAD Summit 2018 Committee member, compelling presentations were made by Panel members who addressed the overall theme of the Conference, “Where We Are, Where We Need to Be, and How Do We Get There!” Additional summits are scheduled for 2020 and 2022 before the final culmination in 2024.

Its was generally agreed, there is need to seek Reparative Justice within the framework of the 10-Point Action Plan adopted by Caribbean heads of government, recognizing there are 200 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere. Given there are some 200 million Africans in the Western Hemisphere, the Movement is International and thus, the Action Plan agenda is doable.

The Coordinator for the Morning Panel for the Theme: “Where we Ought To Be” was Ms. Ambolike Belle: She first introduced:

Dr. William Adu-Krow was the first Black to head a hospital. He reminded Kwame Nkrumah’s dictum, “The independence of Ghana is meaningless not only of the African continent, but also the African minds” must be liberated. In recognition and support of International Women’s Day, he reiterated elder African wisdom, “When you teach a man you have taught an individual. If you teach a woman, you teach a nation.” He descried “Pushback” he experienced when he became Executive Director of his Hospital. Many responded questioning who is he, a black to head a hospital? The sad fact, the most vocal of such persons were Blacks. These people fell into what a later speaker described herself as a “former” but now “Recovering White Supremacist.” That is to say, she once believed not only that White People were superior but they were more beautiful, wiser and could do anything. Fortunately, her mother gave her a Black Doll and reminded her how beautiful she truly was.

Nevertheless, Dr. Adu-Krow then offered an analogy to view the current situation, vis-à-vis, “Inequalities and Ethnicity.” He stated: Take for example, Cervical Cancer Screening which is open to all. This is universal. But, if one group is more prevalent, then universal screening is not necessarily effective. Intercultural approaches are important. If a malady affects 1 in 8, then we have to ask why this one. Therefore, a number of things must be considered. (1) support the production of data; (2) consider comparative studies; (3) social factors must be taken into consideration; (3) credence must be given to ancestral knowledge of medicinal properties; etc. He further described an injury he suffered on his knee and how despite the best doctors he could not bend his knee. His father then took him to a Ghanaian “traditional Doctor” who mixed a potion, administered it and within three days his knee was able to be bent.

Next, Dr. Anthony Browder spoke of “forbidden knowledge” kept from the African people particularly in the work of two Guyanese authors, George G.M. James and Ivan Van Sertima who wrote, Stolen Legacy and They Came Before Columbus, respectively.

There are emerging new concepts and ideas that will allow us to free our minds. We must redefine what education is. What culture is.

“The idea we were born in sin is a false idea.” I have learned never say anything in public unless you can back it up with at least four sources. No one died for your sins.

We must center ourselves in an education that is Africa based. We must share with people who need to know. Times are shifting. Times are changing. A new consciousness is emerging. We live for the future. We live for our children.

The new museum in Washington, DC cost 15 Million dollars. It articulates the history of African people.

200,000 years ago, African people roamed East Africa. 60,000 years ago, people left Africa to migrate to Asia and Europe. That meant, the first people in both Asia and Europe were Africans. 35,000 years ago, people began crossing the Bering Straits. Recently scholars have found the genes in Africans that mutated 8-7000 years ago to become Europeans. So, Africans had a head start of 192,000 years. That is to say, for 192,000 years Africans were the only people on the earth.

African history and African education is the earliest.

We must debunk the myth about African Reality. Finally, he promised to discuss the new movie, Black Panther, at a later setting.

Next and importantly, in introducing Dr. Julius Garvey, the Moderator Ms. Ambolika Belle pointed out, “Amy Jacques Garvey told Julius Garvey who his father Marcus Garvey was!”

Dr. Julius Garvey then addressed the gathering and felt it “Good to see so many intelligent and warm faces.”

Africans were the only human being on earth for 150,000 years. From then on it was a negative experience.

Everything is in Egypt. We have gone in the wrong direction.

The Honorable Marcus Garvey reminded, “A people without a knowledge of their history is a people without roots.” He also, “Inspired Africans to redeem Africa.”

He pointed out, Marcus Garvey had a Six-Point Plan:

1. The Unity of all Africans;
2. Development of a nation state in Africa;
3. Self-reliance on the part of African people.
4. Economic policies and procedures to favor Africans;
5. Education to emancipate Africans from mental slavery;
6. Culture as the milieu instrument of change – encompassing titles, symbols, propaganda, parades.

Garvey made it clear there is a difference between a vision and a Dream. African minds have been conditioned by 500 years of European oppression.

We must recognize what we must do to reach the promised land. We face extinction. God in nature. Out of our own creative genius we make ourselves what we are.

We are equipped with spiritual purity. Amon, Ptah, Ra – Spiritual Unity

These ideas and cosmology that existed at least 4000 B.C.

The African mind has been awakened.

We must have a clear purpose in life, a strong sense of purpose. Wisdom. Know oneself.

The ANKH is a mirror of the mind.

Heru = We become the change we want to be.

A way of life

Harmony with ourselves

Lead by example, working little people, settle example

We the people must rise up.

We must decide what we want to accomplish.

We must have a vision and implement it. This the true revolution.

There must be a revolution in consciousness and spirit. In fulfillment we must have:

ONE GOD, DESTINY, LOVE, AIM. TEACHNG HAS TO BE PURPOSEFUL

Dr. Anthony Browder among part of the audience listening intently to presentation on the issues at the 2018 IDPAD Summit in Georgetown, Guyana.

The civil rights activist Ms. Faya Ora Rose Toure acknowledged, “Where we should be today, is not where we are.”

“We face the problem of mid-education. We must tell the children about who we are. There has been a lynching of the mind, in addition to the neck.”

Ms. Toure claimed to be “Recovering white supremacist.” She insisted, “I never thought white people were smarter than I am. I thought they were more beautiful. Neither the civil war nor the civil rights movement but only Marcus Garvey challenged white supremacy.”

The white race is the most important, smart, most beautiful. The most dangerous white supremacist are black people who believe white people are superior.

We are not where we ought to be because of white supremacy. There has been that lynching of the mind. We are still sick from white supremacy. We are still choosing white dolls.

Where we should be?

1. In every school

2. There are prisons that exploit Africans

3. I know Africans will be saved.

4. Black Lives will matter

5. Reparations.

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