“One Struggle, Many Fronts.” The US-Africa Network banner, designed by artists in Chicago for the Environmental Justice Tour in March, signals our common recognition that systemic racial, economic, and social injustices are both national and global. This has been a year of accomplishments in making these links. We’re writing now to ask for your financial support to build on these accomplishments.
As individuals dispersed on two continents we are involved on many fronts. #BlackLivesMatter is a slogan that applies both to the streets of the United States and to the racial and global inequality in healthcare painfully visible in the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Africa is the continent that is already most affected by climate change. Environmental injustice disproportionately hits the most vulnerable in every city and country, while those who have profited evade their responsibilities to repair the damage.
As a network, our task is to help maintain and expand connections, among people working on different fronts and among critical issues, whether they are at the top of the news or have faded from public view. Our accomplishments this year include:
- Environmental Justice: USAN tour coordinator Will Lawrence along with Emem Okon (Nigeria) and Mithika Mwenda (Kenya) traveled to eight US cities with the clear message that environmental justice requires action both in the United States and Africa. Those engaged included community and student groups, as well as groups specifically focused on Africa and on climate justice.
- Empowered Africa Forum: Co-sponsored by USAN with Howard University and other allied groups, the Forum provided an alternative venue and focus to the White House-hosted US-African Leaders Summit highlighting private investment in an “Africa Rising.” Both Americans and Africans need to challenge narrow market fundamentalism, corruption and tax evasion, and impunity for state violence. The fight for human rights, climate justice, and decent work should be common ground.
- Ebola: USAN issued a statement on the crisis on September 19. Many USAN members have been engaged in countering the panic, prejudice, and stigmatization unleashed by the epidemic, and in stressing the structural roots of the crisis in economic inequality and the failure to invest in health at all levels. While Ebola has dropped from the top of the global news agenda, the epidemic continues; the need for greater international support for the heroism of local health workers is still urgent.
Among other connections made by USAN this year: a teleconference in June with Nigerian scholar Amina Mama on gender and militarism and representation at a gathering in October in Seattle of U.S. and African food sovereignty groups. And, far too numerous to list here, there have also been a host of other initiatives, in which USAN members like all of you are involved through allied organizations in both Africa and the United States.
From the beginning our work as USAN has relied primarily on voluntary efforts, and will continue to do so. But some expenses are essential, particularly to make possible occasional opportunities for in-person gatherings, including participants coming from Africa.
Our funding has come from our own network and from a few foundation grants. To receive future grants, we need to demonstrate individual financial contributions. The percentage of our list that donates is as important as the dollar amount raised. That means YOU. Every one of you who makes a gift increases the likelihood of our getting foundation money to do the work that you believe is crucial.
Please join with those of us in USAN who believe there is One Struggle, Many Fronts. Go to https://usafricanetwork.org/donate/ NOW to make your contribution.
A luta continua,
Anyango Reggy, Malik Reaves, and Prexy Nesbitt
For the US-Africa Network Coordinating Committee