Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Garifuna National News:* "Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Women’s Constitutional Assembly" (2011-07) [link]
* "Observations on the State of Indigenous Human Rights in Light of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in HONDURAS" (2010-04) [link]

"A mandate for a Garifuna nation"

2014-04-16 by Wellington C. Ramos, posted at []:
Born in Dangriga Town, the cultural capital of Belize, Wellington Ramos has BAs in Political Science and History from Hunter College, NY, and an MA in Urban Studies from Long Island University. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science and History

On the 11th, 12th and 13th of April 2014, Garifuna people from the countries of “Yurumein”, now known as St Vincent and the Grenadines, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Belize and the United States, came in large numbers for the first Garifuna Nation Summit. The purposes of this summit was to receive a mandate from the Garifuna people to form a Garifuna Nation, to receive updates on the state of affairs in the communities where the Garifuna people live worldwide, to establish a framework for the Garinagu people to work in concert with each other on a daily basis and to have the structures and institutions in place to help solve their problems.
Prior to this summit, invitations were sent to all the government representatives in the countries mentioned above and only two countries responded and they were Belize and Yurumein St Vincent and The Grenadines. Representing St Vincent and the Grenadines were two Garifuna representatives: Honourable Senator Jomo Thomas, a Garifuna as well, and Honourary Consul Cardin Gil, representative for St Vincent and the Grenadines for the City of Los Angeles, CA.
The first event was the “Welcome Reception”, which was held at “Casa Yurumein” in the Bronx and the host was Ms Mirtha Colon, a Garifuna activist and president of the Hondurenos Contra El Sida organization in New York City. The representatives of the Garifuna Nation began the ceremony by outlining their purpose, goals and objectives and then after that was concluded they welcomed their brother Senator Jomo Thomas to his family.
When Senator Jomo Thomas began speaking one could see the impressions of amazement in his face and the emotions coming from him to see his people. He spoke about the concern his government has for the Garifuna people in this Diaspora, the efforts they are making to seek justice for the genocide committed against our people and a renewed effort by his government to grant citizenship status to all his Garifuna people who reside in the Diaspora countries mentioned earlier. The representatives of the Garifuna Nation and our Garifuna people listened carefully to what the senator had to say.
After the senator concluded his remarks, I responded, being the current director of governmental affairs and associate president for the United States for the Garifuna Nation. I told the senator that a letter was written to his prime minister in March of last year on behalf of the United Garifuna Association Inc. stating our position on reparations and to date we have not received any response. He replied by saying that his government was in communication with an individual who they thought was representing all the Garifuna people from the United States but now with his presence in New York City, he has come to the conclusion that such is not the case and he will inform his prime minister.
The summit continued on Saturday and the following representatives arrived: Belize’s Ambassador to the United Nations Her Excellency Lois Young, Assemblyman Pichardo, Senator Rivera, City Councilwoman Carmen Arroyo and a representative from Councilman Andrew King’s office.
The Belizean Ambassador Her Excellency Lois Young spoke about the vital role that the Garifuna people play in the development of her country Belize. She also named some prominent Garifuna individuals who have served in the government of Belize and have contributed in other areas, such as Dr Theodore Aranda, a former leader of the United Democratic Party, the Christian Democratic Party and a minister of health in the People’s United Party administration; Russell “Chiste” Garcia, a former minister of agriculture and fisheries; Sylvia Flores, minister of defence and human development in the People’s United Party administration; Michelle Arana, a current Supreme Court judge; Andy Palacio, a Belizean musicial icon now deceased; Pen Cayetano, a musician and artist, the founder of the Garifuna music now know as Punta Rock; Anthony “Garincha” Adderlly, a footballer; Nathaniel Cacho, a former financial executive with the World Bank at the United Nations; Sherman Zuniga, Commissioner of Police, and other individuals. All the other elected representatives were given the opportunity to say a few words to the audience.
On Sunday, the summit continued with the history of the Garifuna people’s trials and tribulations by a famous Garifuna anthropologist, Dr Joseph Palacio. His presentation was about how the Garifuna people came about, their struggles, the current situation they face today in the countries where they live and what are some of the possible solutions to some of their problems moving forward towards nationhood. While Dr Palacio was speaking, the Garifuna people were paying attention and taking notes. Some of the information he was relaying to his Garifuna people was new to them. They were all impressed with his in-depth knowledge of his people’s history.
He was followed by a Garifuna activist, Bernardo Guerrero, from Lemun, Honduras. Activist Guerrero spoke about the struggles his people are currently going through in the country of Honduras to maintain possession of their lands. He stressed that the Garifuna Nation is the best thing for the Garifuna people worldwide because in every country where they live their basic human rights are being violated, especially when it comes to land issues.
From the time the Garifuna Nation leaders, namely, myself, Jorge Castillo, Ruben Reyes, Joseph Guerrero, Quisa Gonzalez, Sandra Colon, Carla Garcia, Thrish St Hill and Hubert Bailey started to lobby support for this movement, they decided to reach out to all the Garifuna organizations worldwide.
So far they have been successful in recruiting the following organizations: the United Garifuna Association Inc. of New York, The All People’s Foundation Inc. Chicago, IL, YUGACURE of New York, Hondureno Contra El Sida New York, Garifuna Hope Foundation Los Angeles, CA, The Chatoyer Project Los Angeles, CA, Organizacion Negra Guatemala (ONEGUA) Livingston and Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, Garifuna Cultural Day Mass Committee (GCDMC), Garinagu Lun Awanseruni Chicago Illinois, Hamalali Wayunagu Dance Company, Coalicion Social Garifuna Hondurenos En Texas Inc., Grupo Folklor Garifuna Wafagua, Organizaciones Patronales USA (OPUSA), Sociedad Hondurena Activa De New York, Mujeres Hondurenas Organizadas En New York (MHONY Inc.), HONGUA Seattle WA, Gemelos De Honduras, Comite De Defenza De Tierra Del Triunfo and Garifuna Heritage Center For The Arts and Culture Inc.
There are more organizations that registered to this organization during the summit and the information can be obtained by contacting the organization.
After activist Guerrero spoke, the Garifuna Nation summit continued and several motions were put forward and approved. They were:
1. To give the Garifuna Nation the mandate to go ahead with the establishment of a nation;
2. That the Garifuna Nation must form a committee effective immediately to accept sample symbols of a nation, such as a coat of arms, flag, national anthem, pledge, an animal, plant and other related national symbols;
3. The Garifuna Nation current executive body act as their representatives in carrying out all the functions that are required to become a nation; and
4. That the goals and objectives of the Garifuna Nation be carried out on the Garifuna people’s behalf.
The summit was then adjourned until April 2015 in Roatan, Honduras.
When the summit was concluded, the Garifuna people started to greet each other to discover how they are related and which family they belonged to, which is a custom of the Garifuna people when they gather together. The members of the Garifuna Nation, other organizations and the people who attended were extremely happy and delighted with the outcome of their first summit because now they are more than convinced that their people have given them the mandate to go full speed ahead with the accomplishment of a Garifuna Nation.
Question from Vinci Vin:
Mr. Ramos: This is a quite interesting report and development. The participation and input of my compatriots: Jomo Thomas and Cadrin Gill are well-noted. However, my question is: What physical territory (land mass) has the committee identified for the establishment of this renewed nation? We all acknowledge that St. Vincent and the Grenadines, particularly the island of St. Vincent is the ancestral home of the Garifuna people. But the present SVG nation's constitution has no mention of entertaining a Garifuna nation within SVG or of replacing the present SVG nation that was established on October 27th 1979 with a Garifuna nation. So would this Garifuna nation of which you speak be a nation only in concept and not one possessing physical land space?
We know that Indian tribes in the USA occupy sovereign land masses in the USA called Reservations. But those reservations are quite different from the land that were set aside for the Caribs/Garifuna at Greiggs, Sandy Bay and Fancy on St. Vincent. At the moment, there are still "Crown Lands" in SVG that the Garifunas can potentially lay claim to. But the SVG government is rapidly selling off these properties to foreigners in order to finance developments such as the Argyle Airport. So would any movement towards reclaiming our Garifuna real property birthright lead to frictions between the Garifuna people and the political establishment in SVG?
Frankly speaking, there is no better place for the establishment of a Garifuna Nation than on SVG or Yuremein as you call it. However, we must tread lightly and be circumspect in our dealings/initiatives to insure a peaceful and positive outcome in our quest to right the wrong of the European pirates and re-establish the homeland of our ancestors.
In full support of your national initiative.
Your Garifuna brother,
Vinci Vin
Response from Wellington C. Ramos:
Dear My Garifuna Brother Vinci Vin,
I am so happy and pleased that you asked this question about what physical land we will be able to administrate as a nation. Like you rightly mentioned the country of "Yurumein" now known as Saint Vincent & the Grenadines is the rightful homeland for all the Garinagu people who were forcefully removed from their without due cause and those who remained and were born in this country up to today. There are several political models of nationhood and we have examined all of them but have not decided on any yet.
The name of the country was changed by the British and they also passed several decrees to stop our people from practicing their culture. Which means that there are grounds for us to consider Restoration of our nationhood because the evidence is available for us to support this just claim.
We have are not extinct people which the British had intended for us to become. Our culture is still alive and kicking we just need to re-energize our resiliency, courage, boldness and will.
Recently, I had the opportunity to watch the Video titled "A Stolen Nation" now known as "Diego De Garcia" where the Americans and British have a huge military base in the Indian Ocean. The Chagos Island people experience is similar to our people's plight. They only number about 4,000 people and this happened in 1963. We number about 400,000 people and our removal took place in 1797. The Chagoan people are fighting to regain back their nation state and they are close to getting it back. Constitutions are living documents and the could be amended or replaced to the convenience of nations as being displayed by the most powerful nations of the world over time.
Send me an Email at: wramos451 ( and I will send it to all the Garifuna people in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines to watch through you.
Your Garifuna Brother,
[signed] Wellington C. Ramos

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The "Jackson-Kush" Plan for economic emancipation of the nation of New Africa

New Africa [link], a nation captive in the USA!

"Chokwe Lumumba Talks about the 'Jackson-Kush' Plan on 'Solidarity' Site"
2013-05-02 by Donna Ladd from "Jackson Free Press" []
Doing some research just now, I ran into this interview from last week with mayoral candidate Chokwe Lumumba that I think many of you will find interesting. In it, he discusses the "Jackson-Kush Plan" and where it fits into his organization's plan "for self-determination and economic democracy

From the plan: “In order to create the democratic space desired, we aim to introduce several critical practices and tools into the governance process of the Jackson city government that will help foster and facilitate the growth of participatory democracy” [to include Participatory Budgeting, Gender-Sensitive Budgeting, Human Rights Education and Promotion for city employees, a Human Rights Charter, Expanding Public Transportation, Solar and Wind-Powered Generators, and a “South-South Trading Network and Free Trade Zone” to partner with the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) — ed.]

In the interview with Lumumba, he explains show his work in Jackson is part of a larger plan for the region:
[begin excerpt]
CL: Our plan is essentially a self-determination tactic and strategy for African people in America, particularly and specifically in the areas which are affected by the plan. We call it the Jackson-Kush Plan, because Jackson is the city that we’re in and where we are running for mayor in May 2013, while the western part of Mississippi is the Kush District.
From Tunica, which is in the northwest part of Mississippi, all the way down to Wilkerson County in the southwest, are 18 contiguous counties. All are predominantly Black, with the exception of Warren County which is 47% Black.
We’re fighting for the self-determination of that region. This type of self-determination is strategically or tactically tied to enhancing other fights of self-determination in other areas of the South.
We’ve often heard of the Black Belt South [the historic term of reference to agricultural regions in the Deep South with majority Black population — ed.], but hopefully self-determination is not only in the South. It will inspire movements of self-determination intelligently laid in other parts of the country.
[end excerpt]

Lumumba told the interview why he ran for City Council in the first place:
[begin excerpt]
Should we run? We didn’t want to give credence to an oppressive system… But we’re in a city that’s 85% Black, in a county that’s 70% Black, and in a region where 17 of the 18 counties are predominantly Black.
So we adjusted our strategy to account for the fact that people with whom we are organizing in good faith, to fight against the conditions that they are experiencing, should be entitled to put people in office and expect them to do what they wanted them to do.
We decided it was important that we run for seats, and pick those where there was a high probability we could win. So we ran for the City Council.
[end excerpt]

Lumumba says he hopes to establish an "alternative" form of governing:
[begin excerpt]
ATC: Have you developed particular forms for expressing self-determination?
CL: We have created a People’s Assembly (PA) as part of our strategy in organizing our movement. The People’s Assembly is open to the people in the area. At first we held a PA in Ward 2 because I’m the Councilman of Ward 2. Now we’re expanding it to cover the whole city of Jackson.
People can voice their complaints but more importantly, try to take control over planning for city government. This can be a base for organizing. We want it to become an alternative source of governing. What we’re doing is building an infrastructure for a liberated people.
[end excerpt]

Here he addresses his campaign:
[begin excerpt]
CL: The campaign depends upon the support of the people. But we’re not saying that in order to vote for Chokwe you have to believe in an independent party. Instead we say that in order to vote for Chokwe, you should believe that we’re moving toward a form of independence from the kind of oppressive things that we’ve had in the past; we’re moving toward a people’s form of government.
Of course we do have to confront this question of what’s going to be an independent political party. What do we want to do to rescue us from the parties that currently exist and the malfeasance which they have toward our people?
[end excerpt]

More about the "Kush District":
[begin excerpt]
CL: This is probably less of a problem in the Jackson election, the mayor’s election, than it will be as we expand into other parts of the Kush District and other parts of the state. Generally speaking, in Jackson and in much of the Kush District it is difficult to really make much of a difference in local elections where 85% of the voters are Black. But our objectives are not limited to Jackson. Our objectives are not even limited to the Kush District.
Ultimately we’re talking about expanding self-determination, expanding human rights. We’re talking about expanding socially and economically just systems throughout the state. And when you talk that talk, then voter suppression becomes a very real response.

"Why We All Should Care About the Mayoral Race in Jackson, Mississippi"
2014-04-03 by Asha Bandele from "Huffington Post" []:
For those of us living far from the south, discussions of Mississippi may make us recall the Civil Rights Movement, some period in time we now think more likely relevant in a history book. But believing that couldn't be more wrong. On April 8 there will be a special mayoral election in Jackson, Mississippi and it has implications for all of us and here's why. Chokwe Antar Lumumba the son of the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba who was an attorney revered nationally by human rights advocates the world over and who died suddenly in office on February 25, is running. Like his father before him, Chokwe Antar believes in and has the support of his father's closest allies and citizens across the city. Together they are seeking to continue the former mayor's legacy, which was to demonstrate before the world what a people-led, democratically governed city looks like. A Lumumba-led Jackson will serve as a model to municipalities across the country.
The late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, who was propelled into office in June of 2013 by some 87 percent of the voters in Jackson, was lauded at the time of his death as having done more in eight months than many had done in eight years. In covering the late mayor's funeral, the New York Times captured his impact [] when they quoted former Mississippi governor William Winter who memorialized the mayor by saying "'Based on the stereotypes this old white man had formed about (Lumumba), I thought that he would divide our city. I was wrong. The strong leadership of Chokwe Lumumba has opened the door to a bright future for us.'"
I, as well as democracy-loving people across the nation do, support Chokwe Antar's candidacy because his work with his father as an attorney, on the campaign trail and as an foot-soldier for that which is just and compassionate, assures us that he will carry on the Lumumba legacy [].
He does not do so alone.
Chokwe Antar takes up the mantle of leadership after deep council with family and the late mayor's closest political advisors in government and life. A senior partner in the successful law firm that his father built, Antar was instrumental in defending the people of Jackson, most notably in his work to free the Scott Sisters, who had been incarcerated for some 16 years of a life sentence for their widely disputed role in a robbery in which no one was hurt and 11 dollars were reportedly stolen.
There is ground to lose if Chokwe Antar is not elected. I think of the racial profiling ordinance his father worked to pass in his role as councilman. Its application must be defended and assured. I think of the funding for improvements too long neglected roads and other areas of infrastructure that Mayor Lumumba was able to achieve through a one percent tax increase agreed to by elected officials from both sides. And I worry, having heard the news that a mural of the late mayor created out of love after his death, was painted over, reportedly because it would remind voters too much of him and unfairly elevate Chokwe Antar's campaign. We already see that without right-minded leadership, already there are those seeking to redact the voice and expression of the people -- indeed the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of speech.
Because I believe in justice, because I believe in compassion, because I believe in freedom of speech and because I believe in the demonstration of all these things, not the for-camera proclamation; and because I stand with the hundreds who gathered in the rain when he announced his run with his sister, Rukia Lumumba who declared, "My father was the guide. My brother is the light," I support the candidacy of Chokwe Antar Lumumba.
And so should you.

"Rukia Lumumba Shocked, Hurt by Removal of Mural Honoring Her Father"
posted 2014-04-04 by R.L. Nave to "Jackson Free Press" []:
Rukia Lumumba, daughter of late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and sister of mayoral candidate Chokwe A. Lumumba, wrote the following letter about the removal of a mural honoring her father. It is published here verbatim:
Open Letter to Jackson, Mississippi on the Painting Over of the Mural in Tribute to My Father, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba -
I am both saddened and disappointed to hear of the decision to paint over the mural that was created in tribute to my father, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. The mural was created by Derrick Perkins & several young artists to honor my father by displaying his mantra " One City, One Aim, One Destiny" on a city park's wall. The mural was painted prior to my brother’s decision to run for Mayor and absent my family’s request or knowledge. That is why it was especially hurtful and came as a shock to learn that the mural was painted over due to complaints, by a few, that the message of the mural was too close to my brother, Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s platform. When my father passed away on February 25th, the number of people who said publicly that he had done more for the city of Jackson in eight months than many had done in years, was innumerable. My father’s mission and vision was to ensure a city that was made ever stronger, economically, spiritually and ethically. That my brother, Chokwe Antar, has, after deep consultation, chosen to carry forward that mission, should not be disparaged.
For me and many residents of Jackson, MS that mural served as memorial and a reminder of the love my father had for the City of Jackson. It served as a constant call to Jacksonians, near and far, that we must work together to help Jackson RISE! The mural embodied my father's vision - a vision rooted in growth, unity, democracy and cultural diversity. I am sincerely grateful to Derrick Perkins & the many young artists who took the initiative to put their creative genius to work, and created such a beautiful and fitting tribute to the man I knew as Daddy and whom many others knew as friend and Mayor Lumumba. Although this is disappointing, my family and I remain encouraged and steadfast in our commitment to walk in his memory. As my father often said, "God, plus love, plus people's power equals progress."
Thank you all for your prayers and continued support.
One City, One Aim, One Destiny!
Rukia Lumumba