SINCE the beginning of March, an initiative to ‘reclaim and rebuild a grassroots solidarity movement’ connecting Africa and the US, has been progressing around America.
The aim of Farafina: The Black Link Tour is to get Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora to ‘take the lead both for their own sake and for the future of humanity and the planet,’ according to a statement by the organisers of the tour.
Priority Africa Network, an organisation based in Oakland, California with
a mission to ‘build intergenerational bridges within the African Diaspora to advance
Pan-Africanism ideals that enable an inclusive and equitable society for all people’ and Dakar-based Kuumbati are spearheading the tour.
It took off in Selma, Alabama for the commemoration of the 58th anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’, the historic occasion on March 7 when 600 civil rights activities marched in support of voting rights for African Americans.
When they got to the Edmund Pettus bridge, the activists were attacked by law enforcement officers who drove the marchers back, leaving scores bruised and battered.
But the movement eventually forced the US government to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that gave African Americans the vote.
‘The march remembers Alabamians who peacefully but fiercely fought for the right to vote,’ the organisers’ statement said.
‘At the march, and throughout the time of commemoration, we invoke the spirit of those whose struggle and life paved the way.
‘We thank them for their work, leadership and sacrifice.’
President Joe Biden was in Alabama for this year’s commemoration of the 1965 march.
The Black Link Tour has also taken in cultural, educational as well as social interactions around the US: in California, Tennessee, Washington DC, North Carolina and New York where it will end this weekend.
Coumba Touré (pictured above), who is the founder of Kuumbati and one of the leading lights of the tour, told Africa Briefing: ‘It is very important to make a connection between Africans on the continent and Africans in the Diaspora because we share the same type of struggles against white supremacy and exploitation and the dismissal of our lives.’
She acknowledged the ‘many years of solidarity between communities of Africans in the Diaspora and Africans on the continent’.
Touré noted the strong contribution to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa by members of the African Diaspora, and earlier support for the independence of African countries.
‘We need more today’, she said.
Touré is a children’s book writer and storyteller.
She organises artistic events targeting children through her production house, and the Falia Association, a collective of educators and artists.
She also designs popular education programmes focusing on women and children.