.

Sep 30, 2007

Brenda King addresses the 1st Black European Women's Congress in Vienna



Read one of the many press stories about the congress here.

Sep 29, 2007

Kongress schwarzer Europäerinnen: "Wir wollen uns vorwärts bewegen"

Von 27. bis 29. September tagt der erste EU-Kongress schwarzer Frauen in Wien - mit brisanten Diskussionen

"Diese Frauen sind Akademikerinnen, und sie sind von ihren Ehemännern abhängig – und das in Zeiten der Emanzipation", kritisiert Beatrice Achaleke, Obfrau der österreichischen Schwarze Frauen Community und Initiatorin des ersten EU-Kongresses schwarzer Frauen, der bis Samstag unter der Schirmherrschaft von Nationalratspräsidentin Barbara Prammer in Wien tagt.

Überqualifiziert
Achaleke spricht von Afrikanerinnen, die vielfach hoch qualifiziert nach Europa kommen, hier aber erleben müssen, dass ihre Bildung nicht geschätzt wird – und, im Falle Österreichs, noch tragischer: Dass die einzige "geregelte" Arbeit, der sie als Asylwerberinnen nachgehen dürfen, die Prostitution ist.

"Das ist ein Problem, das so bald wie möglich gelöst werden muss", meint Eva Glawischnig, dritte Nationalratspräsidentin, und erntet dafür Zustimmung von Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, die dem parlamentarischen Gleichbehandlungsausschuss vorsteht: "Asylwerberinnen müssen legal hier arbeiten dürfen", fordert Heinisch-Hosek, und stellt sich damit gegen die Linie ihrer Partei (SPÖ).

"Wir sind unsichtbar"
Die Anliegen der rund 120 Delegierten aus 20 Staaten gehen jedoch weit über die Asylproblematik hinaus: "Wir wollen uns vorwärts bewegen, an allem teilnehmen, wir wollen uns politisch engagieren", fordert Achaleke – und Mitdiskutantin Ama Mazama, Professorin für Black Studies an der Temple University in Philadelphia, zählt auf, was die schwarzen Frauen daran hindert: "Erstens sind wir unsichtbar", sagt sie, und zeigt auf die Wände des Pressezentrums im Parlament, wo künstlerische Porträts weißer Frauen prangen. "Zweitens sind wir eben Frauen, und werden somit als sexuelle Objekte definiert", fährt sie fort.

"Und drittens haben wir Kinder zu erziehen – in einer Gesellschaft, die ihnen feindlich gesinnt ist." Mazama weiß, wovon sie spricht. Bei der Erziehung ihrer eigenen Kinder hat sie Konsequenzen gezogen: Ihren Sohn unterrichtet sie selbst. Warum? "Schulen sind ein Abbild der Gesellschaft, und diese Gesellschaft ist rassistisch. Ich will, dass mein Sohn nicht das Gefühl bekommt, nichts wert zu sein", erklärt Mazama. Dass ihr Sohn dadurch in eine soziale Isolation geraten könnte, glaubt Mazama nicht: Zehn Prozent der schulpflichtigen Kinder in den USA würden mittlerweile zu Hause unterrichtet. Im Verein würden diese Kinder gemeinsam Kurse besuchen, dem Schulunterricht aber fern bleiben: "Wir wollen den Kindern Anfeindungen ersparen."

"Eindringling"
Dass diese nicht immer verbaler Art sein müssen, weiß Daphne Sandberg von der Schwedischen Frauenlobby ROKS zu erzählen: "Wenn ich in Wien herumlaufe, fühle ich mich nicht sicher", wundert sie sich, die den Vergleich zu anderen europäischen Städten hat: "Ich fühle mich hier irgendwie als Eindringling".

"Nur ganz wenige Beschwerden, die bei uns einlangen, kommen von schwarzen Frauen", entgegnet Heinisch-Hosek, die sich auch als "Ombudsfrau" für Rassismusopfer sieht. Achaleke, die angibt, selbst mehrmals Opfer rassistischer Übergriffe gewesen zu sein, glaubt, einen Grund zu kennen: "Natürlich kann ich mich damit an Sie wenden. Aber was passiert dann?" Was fehle, seien wirksame gesetzliche Sanktionen – und "Meinungsbildner, die sich öffentlich gegen Rassismus stellen." (mas, derStandard.at, 26.9.2007)

Sep 28, 2007

When Sisters from 16 Different EU Countries Get Together, Good Things Happen!

I made it to Vienna for the 1st Black European Women's Congress and I am so grateful to be here. Unfortunately the hotel does not have a wireless connection and I am having connection problems using the cables, so I cannot blog live and share the photos and videos I have taken (yet), but in a few days you will be able to see what words can barely describe: sisterhood is a wonderful thing.

Imagine a room full of intellectuals, activists, artists, mothers, students and others who want to make Europe a place where black women (men and of course children) are treated with respect, given fair access to jobs, where their education and accomplishments are acknowledged (but not considered novelties). The Europe we invision is truly competitive in the global arena because it is inclusive and thus benefits from the talents and diversity it has, to truly become an economic leader.

Okay, I am back to one of the many working groups. More later!

Sep 26, 2007

Something special starts tomorrow


I will be blogging live, or at least reporting daily from the 1st Black European Women's Congress in Vienna tomorrow through the 29th. Look for photos and perhpas videos to accompany my reports. Wien, here we come!

Sep 24, 2007

Dallas South Blog





10 Opinions/Observations from September 20th rally in Jena, LouisianaPosted by Shawn Williams on September 23rd, 2007





I have had a chance to collect my thoughts since last Thursday's historic rally in Jena, Louisiana, and I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts about the events of the day.



1. Black is Beautiful



dew.JPGThe suggestions that everyone wear black made the visual impact of last Thursday even more stunning. As far as the eye could see at any time in any direction folks were dressed in black



crowd.JPGOnce we made it close to the courthouse, the crowd was so think we could hardly move. But at no point did the situation seem dangerous in any way.



There were many times when my companions and I had to retreat because the people flow was at a stand still. I don't trust any of the estimates under 30,000, and 50-75K is probably more realistic.



2. We Trashed Jena



The Jena rally was a peaceful protest, but the day's events produced a lot of trash. For any future gatherings such as this, there would need to be lots more trash cans in place.



I was on one of the last buses out of Jena, and it was left pretty much like it was found; with the exception of trash all over the streets. Most of the trash consisted of water bottles discarded by attendees.



3. Emergency Response/Red Cross were on Point



cross-2.JPGThe American Red Cross was in full effect last Thursday as were local emergency response teams. It was hot! There were a few people who passed out due to heat related complications. The Red Cross handed out free bottles of water throughout the day.



4. A Deviation in the Program



There was a point in the afternoon right after Jesse Jackson spoke when it seemed like no one knew what was next. Many folks were looking for Rev. Sharpton and Michael Baisden, but as far as I know they were in were in Alexandria.



While a march went on in Jena, there were others who left for some type of concurrent event in Alexandria. I heard Rev. Jackson say "we are going to march to Ward 10 park as was planned." (twice)



At last I heard, Rev. Sharpton was on his way back to Jena, but I never saw him and I don't know if he ever made it. I still don't know why there was a separate event going on in Alexandria.



pq.JPG5. College Students represented



There were so many young faces in the crowd last Thursday. Kids were sporting their college gear, frat letters, and school colors. They did more walking and shouting than anybody.



5a Black Colleges Represented



The majority of college buses and vans I saw were from HBCU's. I saw no (visual) representation from Texas A&M, University of Texas, University of Houston, or others though Texas had a large contingent of protesters.



6. Rev. Jesse Jackson still knows how to hype the crowd



In the hot Louisiana sun, Rev. Jackson inspired the thousands who were gathered in front of the LaSalle Parish Courthouse. He was rapping and rhyming as usual, but the people still love him. One of my friend looked at me and began quoting Jackson word for word as he spoke. We laughed, but his words were still timely and relevant.



res2.JPG7. Jena was about what I expected



As we drove in on Hwy 8 Thursday morning, the town was exactly like I had pictured in my mind. As we neared Jena, one of the first things we saw was a house flying an American flag and a Confederate flag out front. Just down the road was a triple-wide church. The courthouse was on Courthouse Road and the high school was on High School Dr.



ladies1.JPGThere were a few locals outside observing all the happenings from their front yards. One man read a Bible, another began his daily walk as the rally shut down for the day.



The ladies pictured at the left seemed to just take it all in stride. I did see a couple of houses who were allowing marchers to come inside, but I didn't check the extent of what was really going on.



There were a lot of folks who had tape up around their property to discourage folks from walking in their yards. You can see this in the above right picture.



band.JPG8. The Jena High School became a pilgrimage site



For some reason I didn't figure that I would make it to the place where it all started while I was in Jena. But as the day progressed people began migrating towards Jena High School.



tree.JPGIt was about a mile and a half walk from the courthouse, and this was the first time I realized just how many people had come to town for the rally. The entire street was packed with black folks wearing black.



I plan to devote a post to my experience at Jena High School, but it was quite impactful. The courtyard where the tree once stood was so small.



Not only was the tree gone (left), but there was very little evidence that it had even been there. It began to sink in that everyone in a school this size would know each other, and all of the acts that are chronicled in this saga were more intimate than I had originally imagined.



kids.jpg9. White folks rallied for the Jena 6 too



I'm not sure how it translated to T.V., but there where a number of white folks in Jena last Thursday. Some seemed to be children of the 60's who were reliving their radical roots from the past. Others were hawking anti-Bush books, newspapers, and posters.



There were also young people who seemed a little uneasy with this unfamiliar territory but glad to be there none the less. But none of them seemed to get the memo about wearing black.



10. On 9/20/07, we drove the media agenda



gma.JPGIt is not lost on me that had it not been for the Jena 6 rally, O.J. Simpson would have been the biggest story in the news that day. It seemed like every television station from the South and Southeast was represented with a news truck. Cameras and anchors were all over the place.



tony.JPGMartin Savidge of NBC alerted me to the fact that President Bush had made remarks that day regarding the Jena case. As the day progressed, I'm told that the coverage continued to increase.



ricky.JPG Having the unique prospective as both a blogger and a rally participant, I was asked to conduct a number of interviews throughout the day from Seattle to New York. Ricky Smiley recorded his radio

2.



Tags: | |

Taking Care of Business in Sweden part 2


Daphne is designing and making delicate, beautiful handmade jewelry in southern Sweden. I picked up a pair of earrings and a necklace from her in the early days of her business to wear to a formal dance. I'm looking forward to adding to my collection.


Painting by Evangelina Diego

Daphne says: From my mother I inherited a passion for pearls. I chanced one day on a small shop in New York City where beads were sold and found one of the sales assistants making a beautiful pearl necklace. For my wedding I returned to the same little shop and placed an order for the necklace that I imagined for months.

My pieces are inspired from the women I have met over the years living in 6 different countries on 2 continents.

See her collection here and pick up something wonderful today.

Sep 23, 2007

After the Jena 6 March, Now What?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket



by The Francis L. Holland Afrospear Blog, via the Afrosphere Associated Press (AAP)

Here's an interview with the AfroSpear's Shawn Williams, Dallas South Blog, that will appear in the Dallas Morning News (largest daily in Dallas) this Saturday.

Like many public events these days, this week's Jena rally came together largely through the efforts of bloggers. One of them was Dallas resident Shawn Williams, 33, who helped spread the word through his Dallas South Blog (www.dallassouthblog.com) .

In an e-mail interview with The Dallas Morning News Friday, the pharmaceutical salesman and member of Friendship-West Baptist Church reflected on his blog and the Jena rally:

The News: Give us the background on the Dallas South Blog. Did you create it? What is its aim?

Mr. Williams: I started Dallas South Blog 15 months ago as a way of expressing myself, but as the site has evolved, the goal is to promote positive images of African-Americans to contrast the negative images put forth daily in the popular press.

The News: Have you been involved in other civil rights movements or protests before?

Mr. Williams: I think the movement is ongoing. Since college I have been aligned with these types of issues in some form or fashion, but most recently I worked to rid our neighborhood of a sexually oriented business that was being built in walking distance of a charter school.

The News: What was your role in this week?s trip to Louisiana?

Mr. Williams: Besides helping to get 1,000 folks that left from our church on the right bus, I was just a participant. I marched, I listened, I shouted, but mostly, I was there in support of the young men who stand accused.

The News: Did you network with other bloggers?

Mr. Williams: I am a member of the Afrosphere Bloggers Association . We had day of Blogging for Justice on August 30th, where many of us blogged about Jena at the same time.

The News: How will Thursday's event advance the civil rights movement?

Mr. Williams: No one can answer that. I am hopeful that the African-American community will commit to seeking justice and equality for the long hall. Cases like this happen all over the United States. We must use this energy to highlight injustice and to take responsibility for our own community and our own future.


End story by The Francis L. Holland Afrospear Blog, via the Afrosphere Associated Press (AAP)

The latest: Bail was denied Friday for a black teenager whose arrest in the beating of a black classmate led to this week's huge civil rights demonstration in the central Louisiana town of Jena, according to the father of one of his co-defendants. The bond hearing for Mychal Bell, one of the group known as the Jena Six, was held this afternoon in a juvenile court in Jena. Lawyers would not comment because juvenile court proceedings are secret. But John Jenkins, the father of one of Bell's codefendants, said Bell's bail request was denied. Bell's mother left the courthouse in tears and refused to comment. A man accompanying her said, "Denied" as they walked out.

Source: AP

Francis says: Just as Governor Orvil Faubus tried to bar the doors to the desegregation of Arkansas High Schools a half century ago, even in the face of a Federal Court order to desegregate, so the Jena courts seem to be in full revolt against the wisdom of the Louisiana 3rd District Appeals Court. The Junvenile Court, like Jena itself, is intransigent and unreconstructed.

In the AfroSpear, we've got to hang that town with its own nooses in the court of public opinion.

When an appeals court orders overturns a conviction, and then orders a lower court to hold a bail hearing, the appeals court is normally saying, "Let this person go, or at least set bail that the person is able to make." But appeals courts don't say that directly. They give the hint to the lower court, so that the lower court can maitain its dignity by coming to the right conclusion after a nudging.

In this case, the Jena local courts don't listen to nudges, even when the come from higher courts whose decisions are the law of the land, and whose suggestions and guidance are meant to be heeded.

If I could read the decision of the Third District Court of Louisiana, I could make this argument more effectively, based on that Court's own ruling of last week.

In any case, now we got to turn up the heat, emphasizing in our blogs that the Jena local courts are in full revolt from the Louisiana justice system and demanding federal intervention (which seems to be coming in the form of Congressman Conyer's Justice Committee hearings, which will increase the national focus and pressure.

We've got to turn this case into a trial of justice in Jena and of justice in America itself, demanding to know, in various forums, what America will do to right this injustice.

Sep 21, 2007

Demonstrators descend on Jena

By Howard Witt

Tribune senior correspondent

9:11 PM CDT, September 20, 2007

JENA, La.

Drawn by the disturbing symbol of three lynching nooses dangling from a tree and greeted by Confederate flags displayed along their route, tens of thousands of African Americans poured into this racially tense Deep South town Thursday to stage the largest civil rights demonstration in years against what they regard as glaring racial injustices here.

Protesters from across the nation cheerfully defied obstacles placed in their way by town officials, such as a line of portable toilets put directly in front of the courthouse steps where the demonstration was held. They celebrated what Rev. Al Sharpton described as the birth of a "new civil rights movement for the 21st Century," driven by black Internet blogs, e-mail and talk radio more than any traditional civil rights leader.

Many of the participants traveled 20 hours or more by bus from both coasts and even Alaska to arrive at dawn for the peaceful, six-hour rally, which featured Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King III, radio personality Michael Baisden and dozens of other black leaders and celebrities.

"The civil rights movement is finally catching up with Jena," declared Ella Bell King, 59, a resident of Alexandria, La., who slept overnight with other family members in front of the courthouse. "Something like this should have happened here 40 years ago."

The protesters came to decry the prosecution of the Jena 6-six black high school students who were initially charged with attempted murder for beating a white student last December, even though the student was treated and released at a local hospital. The charges were later reduced to the lesser felony of aggravated second-degree battery.

The demonstrators came as well to criticize the decision of the local district attorney, Reed Walters, not to press similarly serious criminal charges against white youths who attacked blacks.

And they came to defy the symbolism of Jena's "white tree"-a shade tree at the high school, traditionally reserved for whites, where, as the Tribune first reported last May, all of Jena's troubles began. Read it all here.

Sep 20, 2007

Update from Jena



AfroSpear bloggers helped push the Jena 6 story to the forefront of the national and international media.



Shawn is just one of the AfroSpear bloggers on the scene.



We are witnessing a great thing here. People are sick of the injustice in the so called greatest country in the world. The folks in Jena didn't think people would care about the fate of a high school student, especially a black one.



People even closed up shop. Wouldn't you think they would stay open and make tons of money? One shopkeeper said they just didn't know what to expect. I guess they expected a riot. Where are folks going to eat?

Stay tuned for more updates!

Taking Care of Business in The Netherlands part 2

Here is why, if you haven't already, you need to check Ellen and her Coloured Goodies out! I'm obviously a big fan: she created the logo for my blog AND social network (ladies only please).


From Suriname, to Brussels, to LA

My girl Ellen in the Netherlands shared this video of her cousin with me. Before going to the States Concita's experiences included living in Brussels as an Ambassador's daughter.

Sep 19, 2007

Bloggers inspire new civil rights wave-Jena 6 protest nurtured on Web

By Howard Witt | Tribune senior correspondent
September 19, 2007

JENA, La.—There is no single leader. There is no agreed schedule. Organizers aren't even certain where everyone is supposed to gather, let alone use the restroom. The only thing that is known for sure is that thousands of protesters are boarding buses at churches, colleges and community centers across the country this week, headed for this tiny dot on the map of central Louisiana.

What could turn out to be one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in years is set to take place here Thursday, when Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, popular black radio talk show hosts and other celebrities converge in Jena to protest what they regard as unequal treatment of African-Americans in this racially fractured Deep South town.

Yet this will be a civil rights protest literally conjured out of the ether of cyberspace, of a type that has never happened before in America — a collective national mass action grown from a grass-roots word-of-mouth movement spread via blogs, e-mails, message boards and talk radio.

Read the full story here.

Sep 17, 2007

Black Bloggers Are Sick of BET and 'Gangsta Crap' Music


For Immediate Release

Black Bloggers Are Sick of BET and 'Gangsta Crap' Music

(New York): Black Bloggers have united to battle mainstream music and entertainment fat-cats who profit off the stereotypical, sexist, and racist exploitation of African American people. Their main targets are Black Entertainment Television (BET), who they call 'Black Exploitation Television', and gangsta rappers such as 50cent, Snoop Dog, The Game, and Cam'ron. These artists produce music bloggers have branded 'gangsta crap'.

Gangsta rap regularly glorifies sexism, the n-word, profanities, violence, drug use and dealing, sexism, and the dehumanization of Black men and women. Gangsta rap videos and stereotype-filled shows are the programming staples of BET.

"BET and hip hop have gone down hill. They were once inspirations. Now they purvey some of the most harmful anti-Black sentiments you will ever see or hear, and this has become a representation of mainstream Black culture," says Bronze Trinity of the Afrosphere Bloggers Association (ABA). ABA is coordinating the Afrosphere Accurate Images campaign against BET and gangsta rap.

ABA member, Wayne Hicks criticized, "BET was an inspirational idea when it was first created. Tremendous shows providing news and information for the Black community. Today, BET is an embarrassment for the Black community. It is something that we hide from our children. Enough is enough".

ABA bloggers want widespread changes in the television and music entertainment industries. They want BET to stop airing videos where half-naked women are objectified, Black men are shown as 'thugs' and 'pimps', and street violence, illegal drugs, and gang activity is glorified. The want the n-word and sexist epithets to be be censored when children under 18 are likely to be watching. ABA also wants radio stations to stop playing racist, violent, and sexist music, for mainstream record labels and artists to stop producing such music, and for positive/conscious hip hop to become the mainstream. "It's time to rise above the corrupted caricatures painted onto the Black community, and reach within ourselves with self love and respect", says ABA blogger Daz Wilson.

However the bloggers understand the fine line between artistic expression and free speech. Carole took a pledge against racist and sexist hip hop on her blog but stated, "I believe that artists and performers are free to speak their own minds. I'm not against free speech. But honestly, I wish there are folks who were a bit more responsible in their speech to kids because most kids are pretty undiscerning".

The non-profit blogger group is battling media executives and multi-millionaire artists using internet activism in the form of blogs, message boards, email, and online petitions. On the ABA website http://solutionsforourpeople.wordpress.com, the group suggests taking a pledge against sexist and racist hip hop, buying conscious hip hop from artists like Common, Mos Def, and Talib Kweli, advertising conscious artists on blogs, and requesting more radio play time for these artists. They also
provide anti-BET stickers, instructions to boycott radio, television, and website sponsors, and numerous petitions so bloggers can show their support.

This is not just an American concern according to ABA member Adrianne, "Living overseas allows one to see how influential American pop culture is. Even in Sweden I see the young kids listening to and emulating the hip hop performers. Black artists do not need to export negative images of Black women around the world". Other international members have reported stereotypes and negative behaviors caused by gangsta hip hop and television programming that is broadcast around the world.

ABA strongly supports recent activism of other groups such as What About Our
Daughters blog, the Enough is Enough Campaign, and the National Action Network's Day of Outrage Against the Music Industry. "The time has come for us to take back our image and for Black people to accept responsibility for the role they play in denigrating our own image," proposed Bronze Trinity.

Contact Information: The Solutions Blog
http://solutionsforourpeople.wordpress.com
Bronze Trinity at bronzetrinity(at)hotmail.com
Adrianne at http://blackwomenineurope.blogspot.com/
Carole at http://www.darkparables.blogspot.com
Daz Wilson at http://www.ultravioletunderground.com
Wayne Hicks at http://electronicvillage.blogspot.com/

- 30 -

ooVoo World

Adrianne George, winner of the Best International Blog in the 2007 Black Weblog Awards, has been posting about her experiences as she tries ooVoo for the first time on her communications and marketing site AG Communications. Read more here.

Uncomfortable Truths-the shadow of slave trading on art & design-200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade


2007 marks the bi-centenary of the parliamentary abolition of the slave trade. It is a landmark year, not just in British history but in human history, signalling the end of 400 years of slavery. To commemorate this the V&A is running a number of activities throughout the year.

1. A series of contemporary works in the Museum's galleries and public spaces raise questions about the haunting and ambiguous legacies of slavery.

2. As part of Uncomfortable Truths there will be a number of activities and events including talks, tours, films, poetry and music throughout 2007.

3. Five collections-based, celebrity led trails are running throughout the permanent galleries from 20 February to 31 December 2007.

4. The Uncomfortable Truths Discussion Board is open to all and we hope that it will enable and encourage an open debate on issues related to the transatlantic slave trade and art and design.

Sep 16, 2007

Video chatting with Sandra

I absolutely L-O-V-E ooVoo. Sandra in the Netherlands and I use it to keep in touch and plan big things (I'll let you know what we're up to soon). If you have friends and family in far away places, I highly recommend using ooVoo to see each other when you chat.

Sep 15, 2007

Jena 6 Update-Louisiana judge tosses conviction against teen tried as adult


A Louisiana appeals court Friday vacated the remaining conviction of a teenager accused in a violent, racially charged incident in Jena, Louisiana, his attorney said. Mychal Bell's defense team will be filing a motion to get him out of prison.

Bob Noel said the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lake Charles threw out the conviction for second degree battery against Mychal Bell, saying the charges should have been brought in juvenile court.

"We're happy now, but tomorrow is another day," Noel told reporters.

The future of the case against Bell is up to the district attorney, who must decide whether to refile the charges in juvenile court, Noel said.

"We have to wait and see what the other side's going to do, how they're going to react," he said.

Bell's defense team would be filing a motion to get him out of prison, where he has been since his arrest in December, Noel said.

"The primary concern is to get Mychal Bell out of jail and into school where he needs to be," he said.

Bell, who is now 17, was 16 at the time of the fight in December 2006.

Earlier this month, a district court judge vacated a conviction for conspiracy to commit second degree battery, saying that charge should have been brought in juvenile court. He left standing the second degree battery conviction, however.

A sentencing hearing that had been scheduled for September 20 is now off, he said.

Hear some reactions to the thrown-out convictions.

Source

Michelle Obama in London update for non-US residents

Amendment to the rule on non-US guests: At all price levels they are able to attend if the contributions have come from the account of US passport holders. As admission to all events will be determined by the confirmation of payment email printout, the recommendation is that you and your guests arrive together or that you send a copy of said receipt to each guest. Their names will have already had to have been registered and, for security purposes, they should bring a picture ID.

Also, after making your contribution, please check your Spam Folder if you haven't received your confirmation as all contributions will be confirmed via email without fail.

As a reminder, the link to the $2300 and $1000 reception is:
https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/london1015

And the link to the $100 event is:
https://donate.barackobama.com/page/contribute/MO1015

A word of advice in relation to the $100 event: for venue and security reasons this is going to have to be kept at c.200 attendees. Notification will be going out today via Democrats Abroad UK and are expecting places to be taken up quickly.

Sep 14, 2007

Sites of Memory - 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade


The English Heritage Organization has put together a tour in England related to the abolition of the slave trade.

"When the stories behind our local streets and landmarks are told they can give us a glimpse into the history on our doorstep. The late 16th to early 19th centuries - the period of Britain's most active involvement in the transatlantic slave trade - have left a wealth of evidence in records and the historic environment that today tells the story of anti-slavery campaigners from all backgrounds, of those who grew wealthy on the trade in human lives and also of those who were themselves slaves in England but nevertheless left their mark on history."

So far you can choose from The Slave Trade and Plantation Wealth, Black Lives in England, and Abolitionists.

Note: All the sites identified in this guide can be seen from public spaces, though not all are open to the public. Contact details are given where possible. Please check access details before visiting.

Find out more here.

German Schools and Universities Don't Teach Black History

Bill shared this with me from his friend Jörg Wolf's blog, Atlantic Review:

Every February, millions of Americans and Canadians celebrate Black History Month, sometimes referred to as African-American History Month or African Heritage Month. While the month-long series of events discusses oppression and prejudices against people of color, the main aim is to recognize the rich history and culture and significant contributions to society made by people with African heritage.

Germany has a long black history, but only few people know about it and it is not taught in school. Read on here.

Sep 13, 2007

While you're in London - Inhuman Traffic: The Business of the Slave Trade (more on the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade)


This small exhibition explores how the Transatlantic Slave Trade functioned.

It covers more than 500 years, including the Parliamentary Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1807.

It features resistance leaders including Toussaint l'Ouverture, Olaudah Equiano and Nanny of the Maroons, and their continuing legacy of the struggle to end enslavement.

Admission free
Until 6 April 2008
Room 69a at the British Museum

$100 Obama Fundraising Event with Wife Michelle in London 15 October

Here's the update I've been hoping for from Candace:

Dear All,

Many of you have known this was coming, some of you have not, but finally I can announce the weblink for registration and contribution to the $100 Michelle Obama event. Please note that admission to the event will be the printout receipt and your passport or green card. I do realize that some of you have neither, but I'm hoping that you have friends that might be interested and qualify. And, yes, please feel free to spread the word far and wide!

All best wishes

Candace

Sep 12, 2007

Reducing the Charge to the Highest Crime


Brother Eddie in Texas tells it better than I ever could:

Jena Prosecutor Breaches Stratosphere of Irrationality

by Eddie Griffin

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Star-Telegram caption reads: “Another charge reduced in 'Jena 6' case” (09/11/07). It appears that LaSalle Parish, Louisiana is rapidly gaining becoming the Idiot Capitol of America.

Think about it. It is not enough to charge six African-American high school youths with “attempted second degree murder” for a school yard fight, but to reduce the charges to “aggravate battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery” is proof positive that District Attorney Reed Walters is out of his mind if he thinks that he can mix and match contrived criminal charges to his own likings.

If “attempted second degree murder” don’t fly and he can’t try the kids as adults and give each of them up to 50 years, then Walters simply does the next best stupid thing: Charge them with “aggravated battery and conspiracy” and give them up to 15 years. Read on here.

Sep 10, 2007

Black Austria


Here is a really cool website in Austria, and the photo above is of the people that put it all together.

La Bouche Du Roi


Image: La Bouche du Roi, by Romuald Hazoumé

La Bouche du Roi was created between 1997 and 2005 by Romuald Hazoumé, an artist from the Republic of Benin, West Africa. Literally translated as ‘The Mouth of the King’, the title refers to a place in Bénin from where many thousands of slaves were transported to the Americas and the Caribbean.

However, La Bouche du Roi is primarily a warning against all kinds of human greed, exploitation and enslavement, both historical and contemporary. A profound and thought-provoking artistic statement by artist Romuald Hazoumé, it is made from a combination of materials, including petrol cans, spices, and audio and visual elements, the artwork’s arrangement recalls the famous 18th-century print of the slave ship, the Brookes, which was used to great effect by Abolitionists.

A recitation of Yoruba, Mahi and Wémé names, the terrible sounds and smells of a slave ship, and a video of black market petrol-runners in modern Benin are other elements which combine to make La Bouche du Roi a truly remarkable and thought-provoking work of art in which the connections between past, present and future are made profoundly real.

Bristol’s City Museum
15 September – 28 October 2007

Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle
10 November – 3 February 2008

Horniman Museum
5 December 2008 – 1 March 2009

Sep 9, 2007

German Artist Commemorates Black Holocaust Victim


More great information courtesy of Bill.

The "Stolpersteine" project of German artist Gunter Demning has marked the houses of Jewish, gay, and Jehovah's Witnesses victims throughout Germany. The first black victim will soon be honored in Berlin.

Three Stolpersteine, or "stumbling blocks," in Berlin mark the former residences of Nazi victims. For the first time, an African victim of the Nazis will be honored with one of the over 12,500 copper monument markers spread throughout Germany by a German artist to mark the former residences of Nazi victims.

The 10-centimeter-square brass plaques known as stolpersteine (or "stumbling blocks") have been set in the pavement in front of victims' houses by Cologne-based artist Gunter Demning. The markers have been almost exclusively for Jewish victims of the Holocaust, though there are some for homosexual and Jehovah's Witnesses victims of the Nazis as well.

The stone will be placed in front of the house on Brunnenstrasse in Berlin's Mitte neighborhood formerly occupied by Mahjub bin Adam Mohamed, a Sudanese man, who enlisted as a soldier in the colonial forces of then German East Africa. In 1929 Mahjub moved to Berlin, where he worked as a waiter in an upscale hotel while holding bit roles in 20 films from 1934 to 1941.

In 1941, Mahjub was arrested by the Nazi authorities and accused of miscegenation. He died in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin on Nov. 24, 1944.

The placement of the stone coincides with the release of a biography, "Truthful Till Death," about Mahjub written by Africa scholar Marianne Bechhaus-Gerst.

Although black people were not systematically murdered by the Nazis, they did suffer from persecution, sterilization, medical experimentation, incarceration, brutality and murder, according to the online Holocaust Encyclopedia of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The stones usually include the victim's name, year of birth, year and place of death -- if available -- and the caption "Here lived." They can be found in over 270 cities and towns in Germany, though Munich has not allowed them to be placed there, arguing they could become the focus of anti-Semitic activities.

In the last few months, stones have also been placed outside of Germany in cities such as Salzburg, Austria, and Budapest, Hungary, according to the project's Web site. There are also plans to commemorate Dutch Holocaust victims at the end of November. In 2006 the Polish authorities revoked an earlier decision to allow the group place some stones in Poland.

Source

Sep 8, 2007

Speaking out in Switzerland: A “foreign” concept


My soul sister Rashunda lives in Switzerland and shared this interesting piece she wrote with me. Now I am sharing it with you.

Sep 7, 2007

Meeting Place and Resource Center for Black Women in Switzerland



Mission Statement
The Meeting Place and Resource Center for Black Women is a National organisation based in Zurich. The Center serves as a platform for carrying issues concerning Black Women, their families, their integration process, and their interaction with society.

Aims and Objectives
Offering a safe space
Mobilizing and empowering Black Women
Challenging sexist and racist stereotypes by emphasising positive images of Black Women
Networking and linking up with other institutions locally, nationally and internationally
Educating, consulting and sensitising society

Location:
Manessestrasse 73 - CH-8003 Zürich - Tel. & Fax: 01' 850 75 33
E-Mail: info@BlackWomensCenter.ch

Find them here on the Internet.

Candace Reviews Obama's Dreams


Have you read Obama's book Dreams From My Father? Candace, an African American expat in London tells you why you should.

And if you haven't met Candace, check her out!

Dialogue with the Gov. of Louisiana regarding the Jena 6

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's statement re Jena 6

From Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's press office:

“I have received hundreds of calls, letters and emails from citizens concerned about the situation involving the case of the high school students in Jena, La. As Governor, as a citizen of the State of Louisiana, and as a mother, without rushing to judgment, I condemn racism in any form, and I fully expect that those involved in this case, including all parties, will act with fairness and in complete good faith.

“I must clear up a widespread misunderstanding of my authority in this case. Our State Constitution provides for three Branches of State Government - Legislative, Executive, and Judicial - and the Constitution prohibits anyone in one branch from exercising the powers of anyone in another branch. This issue is currently a matter in the Judicial System, and should those involved in this case suffer any defects, it is their right to address them in that system through the appeals court.

“Again, the oversight regarding how this case was handled, from arrest to prosecution, lies within the Justice System. Therefore, I have consulted Attorney General Charles Foti and Donald Washington, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, regarding these events in Jena. As a result, General Foti has been and is in consultation with U.S. Attorney Washington and other members of the Justice System. Regardless of the outcome of this case, the Jena community has much healing ahead of it, and I urge all those citizens to come together for the common good of their community and their state. Our children deserve nothing less.”

In response to the Gov's statement, Edie Griffin wrote the following letter. I will sign my name to this letter too (it's so well written) and email it to the Gov.

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR KATHLEEN BLANCO

Office of the Governor
Attn: Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
P.O. Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004

RE: The Healing of Jena

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dear Governor Blanco:

We are encouraged by your recognition of the problem in Jena . Recognizing that there is something terribly wrong in the prosecution of these six African-American youths may be more eye-opening than Hurricane Katrina. It is not something that will simply just blow over.

In your August 30 statement, you assert a condemnation of "racism in any form". Wonderful! Racism in Louisiana should have disappeared many years ago. But putting your confidence in the hands of all "involved" parties- that they "will act with fairness and in complete good faith"- is not confidence equally shared by the African-American community around the nation nor, indeed, by the rest of the civilized world.

This thing should have never happened. This criminal prosecution should have never gone forward, considering that it was a high school problem grown out of racial tension. On whose side is the State of Louisiana and its public school system?

If justice in the state is as impartial as you alluded to in your statement, then it is the job of the governor to "insure" that everyone is treated fairly before the bar.

We agree with your assessment: The Jena community has much healing ahead of it. But the community cannot heal itself; otherwise, the situation would have never escalated out of hand to begin with.

Maybe the fact that you, at least, recognize the problem seems courageous enough. But Jena needs more than a governor with maternal instincts. Instead of urging "all those citizens to come together for the common good of their community and their state", maybe you should take charge- not like in the aftermath of Katrina- but true out-front assertive leadership for the "common good of the state".

When a community as divided as Jena cannot solve its own problems, the governor needs to either send in the National Guards, or get up off her fanny and go to Jena and call a town hall meeting.

Since September 20 is the sentencing date of young Mychal Bell and the date that thousands of people from around the world will converge on the town of Jena , this would be a politically opportune time to show the world what you are made of, as a leader.

Sincerely,
Eddie Griffin
Black Accused Support Group (BASG)

Now, you can write a letter too. Use this link to access the email form to contact the Gov. of Louisiana. And while you're at it you can complain about the rebuilding of New Orleans too. Here's the automated response. I requested to be contacted by email so it will be interesting to see if I am.



Thank you for your e-mail.
If you would like to sign up to receive messages from my office, please visit this link.

As your Governor, I look forward to hearing from you and about the ways we can work together to improve Louisiana.

Please contact my Webmaster if you would like to suggest changes to this site's design or content.

Sep 6, 2007

Corporate Counsel Women of Color Paris Event Follow Up



If you're like me you are sorry you missed this event in Paris. It was the Corporate Counsel Women of Color's first international event, but not their last. Look for details about a London event happening next summer!

Read the event follow up story now.

I'm getting excited!

For more widgets please visit www.yourminis.com



It's not long now that I will attend the 1st Black European Women's Congress in Vienna. This is a European Union directive with the main goal being the discussion of ways to improve the lives of black women and children in Europe. I'm all for that!

I recently learned that black women will be coming from Austria, Belgium, Cyrpus, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and USA to attend!

For more info see my previous post.

Sep 5, 2007

Update on the Jena 6

Things are happening with the Jena 6. Click here to read the latest.

Sep 3, 2007

African Heritage Magazine in Germany



African Heritage Magazine is a remarkably glossy magazine published in Germany to offer an important window into the world of African immigrants in Western Europe, which has a huge population of middle class Africans. Produced in the highest tradition of journalism, African Heritage Magazine offers insightful stories with a generous splash of colourful photographs aesthetically laid out in glossy pages for the delightful information, education and entertainment of the reader.

Magazine Awards
•Best African Society magazine in Germany 2006/2007
•Nominated Best African Magazine in Germany 2005
•Member Deutsche Journalistic Verband (DJV)
•Member Intercultural Media Forum, Hamburg
•Positive recognition in many media, initiatives and organizations in Germany and abroad: Search engines key word; Kenneth Gbandi, African Heritage Magazine in Germany

Check out the magazine's website to see what you think.

Sep 2, 2007

Elodie Ouedrago of Belgium helps her team win a bronze medal


En série déjà, nos filles avaient témoigné d'une forme exceptionnelle et d'une parfaite cohésion. Dans leur série, elles s'étaient joliment imposées devant la Russie, alors que la France, figurant pourtant parmi les favorites, avait été éliminée. Au passage, le quatuor belge (Olivia Borlée, Hanna Marien, Elodie Ouedrago et Kim Gevaert) avait battu le record national: 42.85 (précédent record: 43.08).

En finale, la Belgique a hérité du couloir 6, un bon couloir qui permettait de calquer sa course sur les favorites américaines et jamaïcaines. Et c'est exactement ainsi que les choses se sont déroulées. Les USA ont triomphé devant la Jamaïque et la Belgique, grâce à un ultime déboulé de Kim Gevaert a pris la troisième place, synonymme de médaille de bronze.

C'est évidemment le meilleur résultat obtenu par la Belgique dans cette discipline. C'est encore le résultat de la sage décision prise par Kim Gevaert et son entourage de renoncer à la demi-finale du 200 m. La Louvaniste a ainsi bénéficié d'un peu de repos supplémentaire. Son dernier relais a été décisif dans la finale, même si ce sont les quatre filles qu'il convient d'applaudir et de féliciter.

Au cours de cette superbe finale, Borlée, Marien, Ouédraogo et Gevaert, ont amélioré, une seconde fois, le record national, portant celui-ci à 42.75 ! Elles se sont, bien entendu, qualifiées pour les Jeux Olympiques de Pékin (c'était déjà le cas en accédant à la finale) et, désormais, ce quatuor figure parmi le top mondial.

Source

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