This past weekend I attended the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) Convention in St. Petersburg, FL and I would really like to share my experience with you guys!
I found out about the convention by stumbling onto the InPDUM blog here on WordPress while searching through tags. My first impression of the site was that InPDUM was definitely my cup of tea. The Black power fist in the shape of Afrika, the words resistance, people’s, and Uhuru (meaning freedom) in the banner, and the great organization of the site immediately peaked my interest. After doing a little more exploring I saw they were having a convention in St. Pete I decided to take a chance and go, and I’m so glad I did.
The INPDUM Convention was two days long and started on Saturday at the Uhuru House. When I got there I was checked by security and then lead to the registration table where I was given a name tag and a folder full of material about InPDUM and the convention. My initial thoughts were that everyone seems very nice and friendly but also serious about being here.
Over the course of the two days I met several amazing Black activists, including the President of InPDUM Diop Olugbala and the ever inspiring Omali Yeshitela. I was engaged in several workshops that tackled important topics in the Black community like how to organize and protect Afrikan women, building for economic self reliance, and the place of LGBTs of color and their place in the Black power movement. While the turn out wasn’t huge, it was definitely enough. We ate good food, had amazing conversations, and made some headway in what we need to do to uplift the people.
Going to this convention I learned one thing and was reminded of another. First, I learned that there is a Black power movement in the Tampa Bay area and has been for a long time, just in St. Petersburg not in Tampa proper. Second, I was reminded of a very important and crucial issue that Black people as a whole need to come to terms with and solve.
We need to rebuild our communities starting with our sense of community. This can be done through engraining unifying ideas like African Internationalism and Pan-Africanism into Black people. We are so caught up in whose skin is lighter or darker, how we speak, etc. that we divide ourselves. I’m tired of hearing nonsense from people like I’m not Black because I’m Cuban. Or my friend isn’t Black because she’s from Dominican Republic. How do you think our families got to these places? You don’t have to be “African-American” to be Black, and that notion is ridiculous and counterproductive to the struggle.