Philadelphia Earth Uprising Fest a Huge Success; Africa’s Future in African Hands Tour Kicks Off in Philly!
This past Saturday, April 21st, 2012, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement co-sponsored its 4th Annual Earth Uprising Fest & Flea Market in West Philadelphia’s Clark Park as a kick-off event for the Africa’s Future in African Hands Tour of Nurse-Midwife Mary Koroma. Nurse Mary, along with AAPDEP tour leader Camilla Hippolyte and APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess, traveled to Philadelphia to join the all-day program of speakers, bands, poets, workshops and dancers that enhanced the popular community flea markets that the African People’s Education & Defense Fund sponsors as a monthly fundraiser in Clark Park.
The Earth Uprising Fest is an annual celebration of the earth and its people, a festival that puts forward the understanding that we have in the Uhuru Movement that there will never be environmental justice under imperialism; the Earth belongs to all of humanity, and its devastation can only end with the end of this parasitic capitalist system that sucks the lifeblood of the people and destroys the planet’s natural resources in order to continue building up a system for the few at the expense of the many.
We unite with the call being made by African, indigenous and other oppressed peoples around the world to organize, resist and break free from this system by overturning it, and we know that the only future for all of humanity, and the planet, is in national liberation for all colonized peoples. This is why we organized Earth Uprising as an Earth Day Festival for environmental justice through African liberation!
Rebirthing the Planet: Supporting the AAPDEP Infant and Maternal Health Project
This year’s theme was “Rebirthing the Planet” – a fitting theme for the event supporting the AAPDEP Infant and Maternal Health Project, which Nurse-Midwife Mary Koroma leads in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
From West Africa to West Philly, African mothers and babies suffer from the conditions of colonialism, which prevent healthy births from happening due to lack of basic medicine and nutrition, and even clean water – all elements of healthy birth that all white mothers around the world expect and take for granted whether birthing in a hospital or at home.
To a sizeable portion of the hundreds of people attending the festival, Nurse Mary spoke about the realities of the disparities in health between African people and those of us in the white community, and about the successful work she has done in Sierra Leone to deliver over 3000 healthy babies without losing a single mother or child.
The crowd appreciated the powerful presentations by Nurse Mary, as well as Camilla Hippolyte and Penny Hess, and responded generously to the call for resources, many also signing up to come to the event on Tuesday, April 24th at the First Unitarian Church, and signing up to connect with AAPDEP, InPDUM and Uhuru Solidarity Movement.
All sectors of community unite to support African self-determination programs of the Uhuru Movement
The festival brought together people from all sectors of the community, and was yet another convergence of supporters of the programs of the Uhuru Movement: customers of the popular Uhuru Furniture store in Philadelphia, vendors in the Uhuru Flea Markets, volunteers, members of the community, musicians, store owners and other supportive businesses, and other progressive organizations all came together to support the programs of the African People’s Education & Defense Fund and AAPDEP, as well as the continuing success of the Uhuru Flea Markets in Clark Park.
It was a lot of fun in the beautiful spring weather too: Music Over Matter opened the day with an African call to love our mother Earth through drumming – which Nurse Mary participated in, brilliantly drumming away!
Ronnie Williams led an exciting mass-participation soul line dancing class; Tina, a volunteer for Uhuru Furniture who carries an amazing singing voice, graced everyone with not just one but many beautiful songs throughout the day; and John Morrison of Liberation Art & Culture Works rapped his newest songs, including “Black is Back,” a song written for and performed at the 2011 Black is Back March: “Stop the Wars, Build the Resistance!”
The Gold Coast Buccaneers, a local West Philly African community youth drill team displayed their expert stepping for the crowd, in their 4th performance for the Earth Uprising Fest; and Levi of the Urban Shamans drummed and brought together Tina and other brilliant musicians for a rousing jam session to close out the day.
Speakers included Erica Mines, Philly President of InPDUM, Theresa Shoatz, leader of Human Rights Coalition and daughter of African freedom fighter and political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, and representatives from APEDF, Uhuru Furniture, APSC, Protecting Our Waters, the Henry George School, the Green Party of Philadelphia, and the Sierra Club – all of whom were present to give out information, and came to support the flea markets and donate to the programs of the Uhuru Movement.
Uhuru Solidarity Movement member Dan Raymond came down from New York City to participate in the festival, and organizers Ariel Fitterman and Ruby Gittelsohn consistently signed up North Americans for throughout the day for the June 9-10th “Occupy Imperialism: Uhuru Solidarity Movement National Conference” hosted here in Philly!
We couldn’t have asked for better weather, and the community came out in full force for this festival!
We especially want to thank all of our volunteers, vendors and performers for their hard work and support, and we look forward to next year!
From this event we move forward to the Africa’s Future in African Hands Tour event with Nurse Mary on this Tuesday, April 24th at 6:30pm at the First Unitarian Church at 2125 Chestnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia!
As the beautiful brand-new Uhuru Planet t-shirts read with a quote from Chairman Omali Yeshitela: “The Earth Must be Shared by All of Humanity!”