Friday, December 30, 2011

Join Us at the Underground Railroad 0n Dec. 31, 2011 for the first annual WATCH NIGHT

"WATCH NIGHT"  December 31

"Bringing HOPE and FAITH into Reality"
Join Us For a Cultural Filled Evening of Poetry, Art, Music,Video Presentations, and Community Dialog & Strengthening.
Remembering, Commemorating, and Connecting the Dots of African/Black History to the Spirit of Resistance and Freedom Today.
Sat. December 31, 2011
8:00p.m. - 1:00 a.m.
Admission $10.00
*Admission Includes Dinner*
Proceeds Benefit The Continued Work of the Underground Railroad Cafe & Educational Center

The Underground Railroad
Educational Center
16-18 East Union Street
Burlington, New Jersey 08016

For more information contact: nationalmwm@aol.comnn
or 267-636-3802

Co-sponsored by the National Million Woman Movement Historic Preservation Society (PA and NJ)

History of WATCH NIGHT:
There are two essential reasons for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American communities, congregations, etc. Many of the Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve." On that night, Americans of African descent came together in churches, gathering places and private homes throughout the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863, and according to Lincoln's promise, all slaves in the Confederate States were legally free. People remained in churches and other gathering places, eagerly awaiting word that Emancipation had been declared. When the actual news of freedom was received later that day, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God.

But even before 1962 and the possibility of a Presidential Emancipation, African people had gathered on New Year's Eve on plantations across the South. That is because many owners of enslaved Africans tallied up their business accounts on the first day of each new year. Human property was sold along with land and furnishings to satisfy debts. Families and friends were separated. Often they never saw each other again in this earthly world. Thus coming together on December 31 might be the last time for enslaved and free Africans to be together with loved ones.

So, Black folks in North America have gathered annually on New Year's Eve since the earliest days, praising God for bringing us safely through another year and praying for the future. Certainly, those traditional gatherings were made even more poignant by the events of 1863 which brought freedom to the slaves and the Year of Jubilee. Many generations have passed since and most of us were never taught the African American history of Watch Night. Yet our traditions and our faith still bring us together at the end of every year to celebrate once again "how we got over." and the continued fight for "REAL" Freedom.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


By The Newport Newservice

hosting an “open” celebration on the last day of Kwanzaa, January 1, 2012

All contributors (, supporters and Patrons of the
products and services of UBUS Communications Systems are invited to attend
and participate.

UBUS Communications Systems was founded in Harlem, N.Y. in 1973 as a
multiple, independent, media business/cultural expression. In the 1990’s,
a tradition was established as “open house” on the first day of the New
Year: Imani Day.

This year will feature a surprise special guest, but all children, as well
as adults who’d like to participate are given time at the microphone.

Family, Friends, Patrons & etc. are coming from far-away places to bring
in the New Year; Alike Hazziah & her daughter Ahyanna: Charlotte, N. C.;
George & Alesia Stone with family Louisburg, N. C., Deja
Khalifah-Jenkins, New York City; and of course the Tidewater cities in
Virginia will be widely represented: Constance Singleton and her writer
Daughter Chrystal (“Bullet Proof Rose”), among them will be there.
The “Open House” will be from 12 to 5 P.M. Call 434-378-for directions.

Admission? Free Will offering accepted at the library, but preferably in
advance or – the street address for GPS systems
the library is: 26070 Barhams Hills Road - Drewryville, VA 23844. But
it is best to come I-95, if coming from North of South to Virginia; or
within the Tidewater, Virginia area, come via 58 East or West towards the
above address, then call 434-378-2140.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Call For Black/African Girl Artisans - Vocalist, Dancers, Musicians, Visual Artist, Poets etc.

Original Million Woman Music, Arts and Enter/Edu-tainment Divisions

Announces A Call For Black/African Girl Artisans:
Females *Girls and Teens* of African Descent 7-17 who are talented, creative, skillful and serious, and who want to share, showcase, and further advance their artistry while learning more about African history, culture, traditions, community responsibility, and the fight for Freedom and Justice.

Vocalist, Dancers, Musicians, Visual Artist, Film/Videography, Writers, Spoken Word/Poets, Designers, etc.

To provide a wide range of artistic advancement opportunities to young Black/Africana females regardless of nationality, religion, economic background. Activities and primary focuses are grounded in an variety of art and culture from an African perspective that is aligned in a safe, holistically healthy, and inspirational environment, along with appropriate peer interactions and camaraderie, and positive self-esteem, personal, and skills development.

Interested and qualified participants in addition to finalist will have the opportunity to perform at the Burlington, NJ, 2012 "Underground Railroad and Black/African Holocaust Conference", The Juneteenth Observance, and Million Woman March/Movement "Africa 2012" related events.

For more information contact: or call: 267-636-3802
All inquiries regarding this project must be directed to the National MWM Headquarters

All Applicants must have approval of parent or guardian before acceptance into program

" Information & Sign-Up Meeting "
Fri. December 23, 2011 @ 7:30 PM at: 

The Underground Railroad Cafe, Art Gallery, & 
Educational Center
Located at:

16-18 East Union Street
Burlington, New Jersey 08016

General Operation Hours
Open Wednesday - Saturday:
12 Pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday: Call for special events

The Cafe is also available for rental for meetings and small events .
Ms. Louise Calloway - Executive Director

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Afrika Speaks with Alkebu-Lan 12/12/11 - Is the British Police Force Corrupt and Racist?

Afrika Speaks with Alkebu-Lan 8pm-11pm 12/12/11 - Is the British Police Force Corrupt and Racist? pt 2

Our Special guests are: Stafford Scott, a consultant on racial equality and community engagement and an organiser with the Tottenham Defence Campaign.  He was also co-founder of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign in 1985 and recently stepped down from the  community panel monitoring the investigation into the death of Mark Duggan, who was killed by police in August. Superintendent  Leroy Logan MBE has been with the Metropolitan Police Service for over 28 years.  He is currently Olympic Policing Co-ordination Team and is a former Deputy Borough Commander of Hackney in London.  Supt. Logan is also a founder Member and Past Chair of both the National and London Black Police Associations and is currently on the Executive of the London association.  In 2007 he founded Reallity, a social enterprise that works towards building capacity and capability in young people through faith based mentoring, working in partnership with likemended statutory / non-stautory organisations and individuals.  A representative from the IPCC (invited)
Is the British Police Force

Corrupt and Racist? Pt 2
Afrika Speaks with Alkebu-Lan,
Voice of Africa Radio!
      MONDAYS 8pm-11pm
(Repeated Wednesdays 9am-11am and 12midnight –am)
4-6pm Eastern Caribbean Time
12-2 pm Pacific Time
3-5pm Eastern Standard Time
3-5 pm Daylight Saving Time
Hear weekly discussions and lively debate on all issues affecting the Afrikan community, at home and abroad.
We talk it straight and make it plain!

This weeks show Monday 12th Dec 2011

Afrika Speaks with Alkebu-Lan this week continues with an examination of  racism and corruption with the UK police force.  Listeners will recall that part one dealt extensively with the case of the wrongly imprisoned Cardiff 3 and the recent collapse of the £30m trial of 8 former South Wales police officers who undertook the original investigation and were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The trial was halted, when it emerged that some key evidence was either “missing” or destroyed.  This event is only the latest episode of questionable practice that seems to run through the UK police service.  In fact, according to a 14/02/10 Guardian article by Sandra Laville “the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)is assessing the scale of corruption within the British police after concerns were raised by senior internal investigators.”

If the SOCA assessment is ongoing it will presumably include the suspension in Mosiah (Aug) of Cleveland Police's chief constable Sean Price and his deputy Derek Bonnard as a result of their arrest pending an investigation into allegations of fraud and corruption in the service.  The same investigation also prompted the resignation of the Chairman of the Cleveland Police Authority, Cllr Dave McLuckie.

To illustrate the fact that that corruption is not limited to the provinces, the biggest recent casualties were the UK’s top policeman, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates who both resigned in July in the wake of the ongoing press/phone hacking scandal and the questionable relationship they had with senior officers the News International group.  In spite of Stephenson’s declaration that: “I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact.” He was unable to whether the storm caused by his association with Neil Wallis, former deputy editor of the now defunct News of the World (NOTW), later hired as a PR consultant for the MPS, who was arrested as part of the new investigation into phone hacking.  For his part, Yates became increasingly under fire for overseeing a woefully inadequate 2009 review into the original 2006 phone hacking investigation in which he suggested that no further action be taken as well as his failure to take adequate action against officers who were known to have illegally accepted bribes.  One victim of the NOTW hacking, former Army intelligence officer Ian Hurst was damning of the MPS: “Fundamentally, what lays behind this whole cesspit - not since 2006, it predates it by many years before that - we're dealing with institutionalised corruption. It's endemic within the Metropolitan police and that has to be dealt with."

A few weeks after Stephenson’s resignation Bro. Mark Duggan was shot and killed by police marksmen.  Not untypically in cases of Afrikans dying at the hands of the police, a campaign of misinformation ensued (aided and abetted by a willing media and assisted in the early stages by the Independent Police Complaints Authority - IPCC) that characterised Duggan as a notorious gangster who engaged the police in a gun battle.  The reality is that Duggan had no previous convictions, the only shots fired were police shots and no forensic evidence has been that he was carrying a gun.

The IPCC facilitated a community panel to monitor the investigation into the killing but has this been rocked by the recent resignations of two of the three panel members -  Stafford Scott, organiser of the Tottenham Defence Campaign, and John Noblemunn, chairman of Haringey Black Independent Advisory Group.  Scott and Noblemunn quit over their assertion that the taxi that Bro. Duggan was travelling in before he was shot was removed from the scene and returned before investigators arrived.   But IPCC chairman  Len Jackson rejected these  claims as “inaccurate, misleading and more importantly, irresponsible” and risk “undermining the integrity of public confidence” into the investigation.

However , “Integrity” and “confidence” may not be notions the Emmanuels, still grieving from the March death family member David (aka Smiley Culture), would align to the IPCC in the wake of their investigation into his death.  The IPCC regarded the four officers at the scene when the 1980s music star allegedly stabbed himself through the heart during a police raid, as witnesses rather than suspects and thus were never formally interviewed.  Indeed, according to IPCC commissioner Mike Franklin, the investigation “found no evidence that a criminal offence may have been committed.  The investigation [also] found there were no individual failings which, for the purposes of the [Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008], amounted to misconduct,” even though the singer was handcuffed after the stabbing took place.  Merlin Emmanuel, the reggae star’s nephew, said his family has reacted to the IPCC findings with "anger, resentment and resilience" and accused the body of treating them with "contempt."  The family have also only been granted access to a summary the IPCC report, rather then the full report, on the instruction of the coroner.

Although Stephen Lawrence was murdered at the hands of a racist gang of young thugs, rather than MPS, there is a widespread perception that his killers are still at large because of its “institutional racism.” The current murder trial of two the mob, Gary Dobson, and David Norris is largely due to the emergence of new DNA evidence linking them to Stephen Lawrence.  But the possibility of a conviction being scuppered by the police again reared its head in late November.  Police forensic scientist Yvonne Turner admitted in court that she inadvertently labelled the clothing with the case number of an unrelated robbery, meaning some case records had been difficult to find for up to two years and stated: "I wasn't concentrating and I wasn't focused at the stage when I wrote the case number in."   She also confessed that the errors in her notes were "very irregular."  This could be a costly admission given that the defence case is based on claims of contaminated evidence.

Even away from death and imprisonment, the Afrikan community’s encounter with the police has historically been characterised by racism - from Notting Hill in 1958 (or even 1976), Brixton 1981 to the present.  Yet it wasn’t until the publication of the McPherson Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry in 1999 that the host community had to confront the fact that the police were “institutionally racist.”  It was a situation that caused the MPS to claim that fear of being called racist subsequently hindered them from doing their job effectively.  However, the facts have never borne this out as the stop and search rates  of Afrikans, for example, have continued to increase even as the proportion of these stops leading to arrests has declined.

It could be argued that those best placed to assess the progress of the MPS in the area of race relations are those on the inside.  The Metropolitan Black Police Association is one such grouping and even they have had their challenges over the years that have caused them in the past to boycott MPS “ethnic minority” recruitment drives and which led the then Chair, Alfred John, to proclaim in February last year the force was still racist, “Without a doubt. There is no two ways about that.”  Since then a report commissioned by the Mayor of London into racism in the force has been published including 10 recommendations which, it asserts if implemented, if accepted and acted upon, “all officers and staff will benefit and that the MPS itself will become stronger and more effective.”  It is not clear the extent to which any of the recommendations have been accepted or implemented and if they were what impact it would have on the community.

So tonight wask the question again:

Is the British Police Force
Corrupt and Racist? Part 2
  1. Is Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson’s integrity “completely intact”?
  2. Why were police officers who illegally took bribes not severely dealt with?
  3. Or is corruption “endemic” within the MPS?
  4. Were Stafford Scott and John Noblemunn right to quit the community monitoring panel?
  5. Or were their actions “irresponsible”?
  6. Have their resignations “undermined the integrity of public confidence” into the investigation?
  7. What was the level of public confidence in the IPCC before the investigation?
  8. Was the IPCC investigation into the death of Smiley Culture satisfactory?
  9. Why were the police considered witnesses rather than suspects?
  10. Why have the family been denied access to the full IPCC report?
  11. Will police practice again scupper the chance of Stephen Lawrence’s murderers being convicted?
  12. What do the police have to do to be punished for bad practice?
  13. Have any of the recommendations of the Mayor’s review into racism in the MPS being accepted or implemented?
  14. If not, why not?
  15. If so, what impact as it had?

Call in on:
020 8180 2523
07961 573 883
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Skype: voiceofafricaradio
And have your say