By Tashi McQueen,
AFRO Political Writer,
On April 19, the State of the Black World Conference V (SBW) kicked off with an opening panel discussion where African dignitaries and organizer, Ron Daniels, gave an overview of the five-day session.
“This is conference number five,” said Daniels. “We began in 2002 in Atlanta, Georgia, and then on to New Orleans in 2008, Washington, D.C. and in 2016 and last spring, the World Conference was in northern New Jersey. Now we’re here
] at the right time.”
SBW is an international conference that will take place from April 19 – 23 under the theme “Global Africans Rising, Empowerment Reparations and Healing.”
“On the agenda is a special session for Haiti,” said Daniels. “There’s a deep crisis in Haiti so they’re going to be meeting while they’re here. The former minister for Haitians living abroad is with us, the Hon. Leslie Voltaire.”
The Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public law organization, reveals that the crisis in Haiti comes from political turbulence where democracy is dying out. There are no longer any democratically elected officials running the country, instead violent gangs dominate the daily life of Haitians through warfare, sieges, and theft. President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti was assassinated in July 2021 instigating said political uproar.
The first day included conversations about the state of democracy and development in Africa, the Caribbeans and descendants of Africa.
Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P.J. Patterson, gave a powerful opening statement for the conference.
“There have been recent setbacks in trends over several decades towards democratic expansion and deepening it on the continent of Africa,” said Former Prime Minister of Jamaica, P.J. Patterson. “Almost 70 percent of the continent’s population live in a country where the security and the rule of law environment is poor.”
He spoke about the reality of American politics that African Americans should
“Please realize that the ‘We the people’ in the American Declaration of Independence did not include slaves who were not regarded as persons but as property. A country without its history, is a tree without roots.”
Though the peak of people was expected on day two, the intimate opening session received a great turnout.
The Caribbean conversation addressed the region’s vulnerability and how it has become dependent on tourism, which Covid-19 has exposed according to panelist David Comissiong, ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
“The Bridgetown initiative will support developing countries,” said Comissiong.
“Our future is not with America, but with Africa,” said Comissiong. “We are on the move.”
Daniels also outlined a women’s session will be focused on a conversation about deepening our understanding of the Columbian struggles for Black people.
“All we have seen are failed systems,” said Dr. Julius Garvey, conference honorary chairman, “Systems that have created perpetual war, pandemics and climate crises.”
“We need a new paradigm,” continued Garvey. “African humanism is the only paradigm that’s needed, and that’s the only thing that will allow us to live together in peace and prosperity.”
New Jersey attendees, Carlton and Habiba Soudan, shared what stood out to them during the opening session.
“Reparations, let’s repair the world,” said Habiba Soudan.
“I don’t see enough young people here,” said Carlton Soudan. “This movement has been in existence for a long time and we have to find a way to bring our children out and redirect them to what’s going on here.”
Tashi McQueen is a Report For America Corps Member.