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Burning Spear News

Fifth Ward Garden growing by onions and tomatoes 

HOUSTON-During the March 14 “Time to Till” event, members of Houston’s All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) came with shovels, tillers, hoes, rakes, and an assortment of other garden tools. The Fifth Ward Community Garden and Food Co-Op was only an idea of its organizers.

Uhuru Pies – The Taste of Freedom! 

Uhuru Pies 2010 Press Release

Uhuru Pies – The Taste of Freedom!

30 Years of bringing social justice home for the holidays

Oakland, CA The African Peoples Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) announces Uhuru Pies 2010, the 30th annual Uhuru Pies™ holiday sale fundraiser. From November 19 – November 24, Uhuru Pies will offer five gourmet pie flavors on sale for $12 - $20 each in Northern California. All proceeds benefit projects of sustainable black community economic development.

First sold in 1981 in Oakland, California, Uhuru Pies are a sweet and socially-conscious tradition during the holiday season. Families, groups, student organizations and individuals come together to produce and sell Uhuru Pies, taking a collective step forward in transforming the world.

Uhuru Pies has always supported African community development in African hands in cities in the U.S. and around the world. This year’s event is especially important for the future of African community development. The worldwide economic meltdown and rising unemployment continues to create an unprecedented loss of wealth and misery in countless working class communities, especially black communities.

Proceeds from Uhuru Pies will benefit the economic development projects that the APEDF is developing as a component of African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI). AVSI is a joint effort of two Uhuru institutions, both the APEDF and the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project. AVSI is countering the failure of current economic institutions by building community-based self-sustaining institutions of economic self-reliance and empowerment.

Thanksgiving in March??.....We are starting now! The 2010 Uhuru Pies Event promises to be the most exciting year ever. The goal is to sell 2500 pies. We are calling on every sector of our community to purchase and contribute.

Everyone can play a role with Uhuru Pies:

        Corporations and businesses can sponsor the fundraiser through direct donations and promotional support. Uhuru Pies make great appreciation gifts for your staff, vendors, and business partners. 
        Farmers and growers and food distributors can donate quality, locally grown ingredients.
        Individuals can join us selling pies, - set your sales goals now.  Schedule a pie tasting, have an Uhuru Pies outreach organizer present to your group.  Join us coordinating a pie sales table in your part of the Bay Area.
        Trained and aspiring bakers: learn about the Uhuru Pie Baking Academy™. You can coordinate hundreds of baking volunteers to bake perfect pies every time, or volunteer your facility and team to make delicious pies. 

Attend one of the upcoming pie meetings or contact us to participate. Become part of the 2010 Uhuru Pies team today!

APEDF provides economic development in the African Community

APEDF recognizes the solution to a virtual economic quarantine is putting the resources back in the hands of the people; providing opportunities for African people to produce and benefit from their resourcefulness and creativity.

In 2009, the fundraising focus of the APEDF and Uhuru Pies was the construction and development of a commercial kitchen in the national Uhuru House of St. Petersburg, Florida. As the project nears its completion (June 2010), APEDF looks forward to this model of economic sustainability to flourish as an enhancement both to the meeting and hospitality capabilities of the Uhuru House, known as the “Embassy to the African World”, as well as providing an affordable, professional facility accessible to community-based caterers, new entry vendors and food nutritionists. Trainings and classes will be offered for a nominal fee.

In 2010, the second phase of institutions initiated by the APEDF will be the development of a professional recording studio also under the roof of the national Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, Florida. The studio will cultivate the enormous cultural talent and musical creativity that has always existed in African communities. African artists will have an outlet to experiment, produce, and distribute their own works, raising and reinvesting resources back into the community and contributing to the sustained mission of the APEDF.

Remember – Uhuru Pies only available in November of 2010

In a measure to consolidate the many faceted efforts of Uhuru Pies and to enhance other aspects of the APEDF, including the December online auction and volunteer appreciation activities and events, Uhuru Pies will only be available in November, just prior to Thanksgiving.

To our wonderful December pie enthusiasts: we ask you to bring your appetite early this year! As we mobilize to get our pies everywhere, all-at-once, from Santa Cruz to Santa Rosa, we want everyone to know though the pies taste great – it is the cause that counts.

Join us this year as we roll up our sleeves, get busy, and give back to Africa! Anyone interested in joining being a part of Uhuru Pies is invited to attend the launch meeting on March 28, at World Ground Café (back room), 3726 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland California 94619. The launch meeting takes place from 10 am to noon. Contact Uhuru Pies at 510-625-1106 or by e-mail at [email protected]. More information available at

Uhuru Pies are 9” deep dish, home style, baked fresh & made with organic, transfat-free vegan pie shells, and high-quality natural ingredients. The apple pies are made with locally-grown California, organic Granny Smith apples.

Uhuru Movement launches the African Village Survival Initiative 

Food, water, energy and self-sustaining economic institutions in the African community are the focus of the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI), the Uhuru Movement’s recently launched programmatic response to the impact that the current imperialist economic crisis is having on the African community in the U.S. and around the world.

AVSI is a joint effort of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) and the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF), two organizations with track records for transforming the conditions in African communities throughout the U.S. and on the continent of Africa, building institutions, programs and campaigns.

Through AVSI, the Uhuru Movement is organizing local committees in African communities throughout the U.S. in order to:

1. build networks of individual and collective African community gardens

2. promote the use of rainwater harvesting and simple water purification techniques for domestic purposes and garden irrigation

3. organize collective bulk food-buying clubs

4. develop self-sufficient economic institutions

5. provide regular community workshops on such topics as renewable energy, organic gardening, rooftop gardening, water purification, ecological sanitation and other appropriate, sustainable technologies

6. network with other like- minded people and organizations

7. promote sustainability- using practices that sustain the people and land for generations to come.

AVSI kicked off with daylong conference

AVSI was launched on March 22, 2009 with a daylong conference at the St. Petersburg, Florida Uhuru House, the headquarters of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP). The AVSI founding conference, part of which aired live on, opened with an overview presentation from Ironiff Ifoma, Director of Finance and Economic Development for the African People’s Socialist Party and President of APEDF.

A dynamic powerpoint presentation by Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) helped to lay the basis for the development of AVSI by providing the Uhuru Movement’s analysis of the rise of parasitic capitalism and the current economic crisis as both being rooted in attacks on Africa and African people.

The conference also featured a presentation from AAPDEP Director, Dr. Aisha Fields, and workshops on various models of backyard vegetable gardening from African master gardeners and local permaculture proponents.

The Village must come together!

With the slogan “If we combine our efforts, we’ll come out stronger!” AVSI works against the capitalist concept of “every man for himself” and instead seeks to win Africans back to building real community recognizing that the village must come together to get through this crisis!

Already, subprime mortgage schemes targeting the African community have cost Africans in the U.S. tens of thousands of homes and hundreds of millions of dollars in combined wealth. African unemployment, homelessness and poverty are skyrocketing, even as energy and food costs soar, and it is almost certain that these conditions will worsen as the economic crisis continues to unfold.

In true form, the U.S. government response is not to develop programs that would provide relief to the people, but instead to offer up trillions of dollars to Wall Street and millionaire corporate CEOs.

The Uhuru Movement understands that we must not work to solve the crisis of imperialism but that we must organize and help to provide solutions for our people who suffer as a result. Therefore, key to AVSI’s work and success is to win the understanding of the masses of African people that it is not in our oppressor’s interests to solve our problems — problems that they created. Rather, we must pull our village together and share our vast knowledge, resources and skills in the critical areas of food, water, energy and economic development.

AVSI organizes community and collective gardens

AVSI brings African farming and gardening skills back to the community by building networks of organic backyard and collective Uhuru “freedom” gardens. An economic development component will be establishing African Farmer’s Markets with extra produce from the gardens.

In St. Petersburg, AVSI has already established a growing collective of organic backyard gardens where Africans share tools, labor, knowledge and seeds. A variety of greens, cabbage, lettuce, onions, carrots, mangos, eggplant, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, okra, squash, pineapple, beans and more are being grown and the harvests are plentiful.

The Tyron Lewis Memorial Peace Garden, established by the Uhuru Movement as a memorial to 18-year-old Tyron Lewis who was murdered by St. Petersburg police in 1996, is being revived as an Uhuru Freedom Community Garden where members of the local community participate in the collective growing of tomatoes, peppers, greens and other vegetables.

Ground has been broken at a second community Uhuru Freedom Garden on land donated by a member of the St. Petersburg backyard collective. This garden will be used for an AVSI summer program that will offer area youth an opportunity to learn gardening and other skills related to the initiative.

While growing organic gardens and going “green” have become fashionable for some and have been put forward as a way in which imperialism can rescue itself from its economic crisis, AVSI engages in such activities as a means of creating healthy independent, sustainable African communities.

Rainwater harvesting and renewable energy

AVSI addresses the critical needs for water and energy independence with a program for rainwater catchment, installing wells, water purification systems, and developing the model for green sustainable energy.

Where appropriate, AVSI promotes and helps participants set up rainwater harvesting systems for garden irrigation and other household purposes. Simple well-building techniques, rainwater harvesting and water purification, renewable energy and other workshops are offered once a month at the St. Petersburg Uhuru House.

Economic self-reliance

Through AVSI, the Uhuru Houses are being positioned as the working centers for African economic development. The St. Petersburg, Florida Uhuru House has the infrastructure, and we are now working to outfit our recording studio as an economic institution of international African culture and create a fully equipped commercial kitchen for community based economic development projects.

Become a part of AVSI today!

Traditionally, African culture is a culture of collectivism, not individualism. We are confident that if we come together as a community and combine our efforts, African people can not only survive this crisis, but we can come out stronger!

Plans are underway to immediately expand the programs of AVSI in Oakland, California and Baltimore, MD. AVSI committees can and must be built in African communities throughout the U.S.!

For more information on AVSI, or to find out how to start AVSI in your area, contact us at 727-821-6620 or [email protected],

Uhuru Earth Day Fest Draws thousands 

On Saturday April 18th the Uhuru Solidarity Movement hosted the first annual Earth Day Festival and Flea Market in West Philadelphia’s beautiful Clark Park. This Earth Day was different from any other –it was a fundraiser for the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI) a new Uhuru Movement-led project that is creating a network of community gardens and economic development institutions in urban and rural African communities. In the heat of the worldwide economic crisis that is hitting the African community particularly hard, AVSI is building real economic self-reliance.

Earth Day also set the new standard for the movement for environmental justice: it must be connected to the African working class movement for self-determination and return of the stolen resources of Africa to African people everywhere. This grassroots event was attended by thousands of people of all nationalities and walks of life, who on a sunny day in the park came out to participate in the Uhuru Earth Day Festival & Flea Market.

On the main stage, there was an entire day of community activist speakers on social justice and workshops on organic gardening and natural health. There were ongoing positive cultural performances by local musicians, over 100 vendors and info tables, special activities for children, free yoga and exercise workshops and a farmer’s market.

The featured speaker was Diop Olugbala, leader of the Philadelphia chapter of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement and a member of the City Hall 2. (CH2). The CH2 were brutally arrested inside City Hall protesting the Mayor’s budget, which allocates over $1.1 billion for police, prisons, and the court system while the schools in Philly do not have enough books to go around. In this city Africans are being pushed out of their homes through the subprime mortgage scam and the new 19% property tax hike, which targets African home owners while the white people who buy new condos pay no property tax for 10 years!

Other speakers included Dr. Michelle Strongfields of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project, Pam Africa, leader of Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal, Alison Hoehne, chair of the Philadelphia African People’s Solidarity Committee. African students from University City High School led an incredible workshop on composting. Cultural presentations included Rasheed Bey Revolutionary African poet and long time friend of the Uhuru Movement who gave moving recitations of his poetry accompanied by a young African martial artist. Musicians included Coco Sol who brought her entire band, Djo and his band Os Humanos, revolutionary hip-hop by TriggaNAM, the Gold Coast Buccaneers Drill Team and many more.

There were no corporate sponsors like those who pay for other Earth Day events, but local progressive businesses and non profits such as Philly Carshare and Dhyana Yoga supported the festival by sponsoring it financially and helping promote it to their bases. We deepened our long-standing relationship with the Food Trust Farmers’ Market who led workshops, opened up their resources to contribute to the success of this event. 10th Street Hardware, LaraBar, Ethnics Furniture, ZipCar and Essene Natural Market, juju organics, and Studio 34 were among other sponsors and endorsers.

The Philadelphia branch of Uhuru Furniture cosponsored Earth Day. Uhuru Furniture is an economic development project of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) a founding organization of AVSI. Uhuru Furniture is an institution that is popular in Philly and Oakland CA for its top quality low priced ever changing inventory. Uhuru Furniture also sets the standard for a green, 100% recycled business that is a model for sustainable economic development under African leadership. UFC brought out its active base of volunteers who carried out numerous tasks to run this large successful event.

The process of building this event brought us on to campuses such as Temple and Bryn Mawr where students attempting to deal with the issues such as the conditions on the continent of Africa and the environment are hungry for this leadership. Many students came out to volunteer on the day of the festival.

This event was clearly a product of years of Uhuru Movement work in this city. There has been on going struggle against police containment led by InPDUM since 1986 when the Uhuru Movement came to Philadelphia to build a political response to the bombing of the African MOVE organization by the neo-colonial city government. Uhuru Furniture is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and this is our 5th year of coordinating monthly successful flea markets in Clark Park.

We understand that the crisis in the world, ravaged by war, suffering, starvation, division and environmental degradation comes from an unjust economic system where white people in the US and Europe, less than 20% of the world’s population, consume over 80% of the worlds resources. The status quo unsustainable. There will never be peace until African people and colonized peoples all over the world have control over their own land and resources. The Uhuru Movement is leading the way forward!

We thank everyone one who made this event a success and call on you all to join us in making the 2010 Earth Day Fest even better.

Our next flea market is Saturday May 16th. To participate please call 215-387-0919, email us at [email protected] and check out our blog

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