Burning Spear News
Black Power Blueprint Phase I Fundraising Drive A Huge Success!
African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) Office of Reparations and Economic Development Director Kitty Reilly (center) and Project Director Ticharwa Masimba (second from left)
Thanks to you and the overwhelming response from nearly 400 supporters, the Black Power Blueprint online fundraising drive successfully reached its goal for the project’s first phase, raising $25,000 in donations and reparations for the renovation of the Uhuru House at 4101 West Florissant in St. Louis.
The crowdfunding drive was officially launched on December 8, 2017 in a unique project led by African People’s Socialist Party’s Deputy Chair, Ona Zene Yeshitela based on the vision of Chairman Omali Yeshitela that the “economic and political are one.”
Scores of volunteers from throughout the city and the Midwest region also participated in workdays─ often in the bitter cold of the St. Louis winter.
By the end of February with donated resources, volunteer labor, and crews of African workers, the Party unveiled the stunning new face of the building, under the leadership of Deputy Chair Ona and her dynamic team, including Project Director, Ticharwa Masimba and African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) Office of Reparations and Economic Development director, Kitty Reilly.
The world watched as the Uhuru House was remodeled from an abandoned 3-story, 9,000 square foot structure with crumbling brick walls, broken windows and a rotting roof and floors into a gorgeous, state-of-the-art political and economic hub─ the first phase of an ambitious program that will profoundly transform the entire community.
As one of the most dynamic fronts of the Party today, the Black Power Blueprint is a multi-faceted, anti-colonial self-determination project in the impoverished and devastated O’Fallon neighborhood of St. Louis that has galvanized an outpouring of support, solidarity and reparations from throughout the U.S. and the world.
In the city where fierce African working class resistance rose up after the police murder of 18 year-old Mike Brown on August 9, 2014 on the streets of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, the African People’s Socialist Party took the struggle beyond protest by building a movement to permanently bring political and economic power into the hands of the impoverished African community.
In his 2017 Political Report to the African People’s Socialist Party Plenary, Chairman Omali Yeshitela called on the Party and African people “to begin grabbing up properties that have been abandoned and degraded in our community” where “African workers experience general economic quarantine by the colonial rulers.”
About a year ago, Deputy Chair Ona Zene came to St. Louis and began to purchase abandoned and run down properties in the North Side African community.
In addition to the Uhuru House, the Black Power Blueprint properties and projects include plans for a community garden and a One Africa! One Nation! open-air marketplace across the street from the Uhuru House, where two condemned buildings must be demolished in order to meet these goals.
Raising $20,000 for the demolition of those buildings is the next phase of the project, through a fund drive launched March 16, 2018.
Also included in the Black Power Blueprint is the beautiful building on 3723 Goodfellow Avenue which will be transformed into the Uhuru Jiko Kitchen with a bakery, cafe and community kitchen as well as the headquarters of the Party’s Uhuru Foods and Pies─a Black Star Industry building commerce by and for African people worldwide.
The Jiko Kitchen will also be home to the African Independence Workforce Program providing job training for African people returning to the community from the clutches of the brutal U.S. colonial prison system.
The Jiko is phase three of the program, scheduled to launch in June of this year with a fundraising goal of an additional $200,000 to uplift the space to first-rate facility worthy of the African working class!
Black Power Blueprint Reparations Campaign
Between the December 8 launch through the end of February, the Black Power Blueprint Reparations Campaign held weekly Friday night web events on a myriad of important political topics, generating resources from enthusiastic supporters.
Dynamic Uhuru House work days were also live streamed featuring interviews with participants and volunteers and walkthroughs of the building.
These mass events brought in over $25,000 with donations ranging from $5 to $1,000, all of which were profoundly appreciated. Other fundraisers coordinated by the committee brought in an additional $9,000.
The Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) has committed to raising $50,000 this year as a stand of white reparations to the Black Power Blueprint and Uhuru Foods and Pies is making a pledge to win mass support to sell 10,000 holiday pies for Black Power Blueprint in the fall of 2018.
We salute all the talented and dedicated Comrades who participated in the coordination of the fundraisers so far: Kyle Wyss, Renee Nassar, Rhya Fogerty, Virginia Wilson, USM Chair Jesse Nevel, Jackson Hollingsworth, Starr, Kitty Reilly, Maureen Wagener, Bakari Olatunji, Pete Yaruschuck, Cara Locke, Lisa Watson, Sealli Moyenda, KC Mackey and Ruby Gittelsohn, among so many others.
For white people, this is a profound opportunity to recognize that our access to social wealth, prosperity, property, jobs and education come at the expense of a system built on the backs of the stolen labor, land and resources of African people for more than 600 years.
Contributing resources to the Black Power Blueprint as white reparations to African people is a concrete stand that lets us join the forward side of history, to be part of a future in which all humanity can live and thrive, not one at the expense of others.
You can join the Black Power Blueprint Reparations Campaign or any other aspect of the work by emailing us at [email protected]
Let’s make our Phase II goal of $20,000 as quickly as we can, so the buildings can be torn down and the One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace can be a reality starting this spring!
Once we complete phase two, we are heading straight into phase three, raising $200,000 additional for the completion of the Jiko Kitchen early next year.
Unity through Reparations!