Mission | Background | Team | Structure | Finances

The event “US-Africa Solidarity in the 21st Century: A Strategic Discussion” included 49 participants, traveling to Kalamazoo from 13 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and from four African countries.

The US-Africa Network is grateful to have a dedicated team of volunteers who are passionate, talented, and creative. In 2013, for example, more than 30 consistent participants in the USAN contributed at least 1,800 hours in volunteer time. In 2014 and 2015, USAN has also depended primarily on volunteer participation. When possible, this has also been combined with a limited number of short-term part-time staff positions.

Coordinating Committee:

Communications Committee

Finance & Fundraising Committee

The US-Africa Network has also included a Support Committee, which is made up of supporters of the US-Africa Network who provide occasional advice and assistance for Network activities. The organization of the Kalamazoo Consultation was also assisted by an organizing committee.

Members of Committees:

Briggs Bomba, Coordinator, Project Director for Zimbabwe Alliance, Trust Africa

Briggs Bomba works for TrustAfrica as the Project Director for Zimbabwe Alliance, a donor collaborative that works to promote a vibrant civil society and democracy in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe Alliance engages and supports local initiatives through grant making, capacity building, networking and international solidarity. Previously Mr. Bomba served as Director of Campaigns for Africa Action in Washington, D.C. He holds a Master’s Degree in Social and Applied Economics from Wright State University (Ohio, USA). He has served on the steering committees of the Zimbabwe Social Forum and Southern Africa Social Forum and serves on the board of Jubilee USA. A leading analyst on democracy and economic development in Africa, Mr. Bomba has appeared on CNN, BBC, World Focus, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CBC, Press TV, Al-Jazeera, Voice of America, SW Radio Africa, KPFA, WPFW and Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Keeping Hope Alive radio show. His commentary and analysis has appeared in Alliance Magazine, Foreign Policy in Focus and Pambazuka News, among other outlets.

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Rufaro Gwarada, Development Manager, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote
Rufaro Gwarada is an US-born Zimbabwean who spent the formative years of her life in Zimbabwe before moving back to the United States for college in 1999. She is committed to development in Africa that is rooted in gender equality and the realization of women and girls’ rights as well as the continuum of civic engagement and governance. Rufaro is development manager at San-Francisco Bay area-based Mobilize the Immigrant Vote and served as interim coordinator for the Sub-Saharan Africa program at the Global Fund for Women and a consulting content developer and advisor at AfricaSpeaks4Africa, an e-zine showcasing African voices. Previously she was grants manager at Camfed, an international nonprofit supporting girls’ education in five African countries; served as an UN online volunteer researcher and writer for OECD’s Wikigender project; and has volunteered as an HIV educator and tester. Rufaro is also interested in neo-Diasporan African women’s movements and African philanthropy.

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Heeten Kalan, Senior Program Officer, New World Foundation

Heeten Kalan works as a Senior Program Officer for the New World Foundation where he manages the Global Environmental Health and Justice Fund and the New Majority Fund. He also oversees the Foundation’s Pooled Fracking Fund and works closely with allied funders ad donors on issues related to fossil fuels and climate change. Between September 2006-2008, he served as Program Officer for the Panta Rhea Foundation where he focused on ecological justice issues. He works closely with many South African environmental justice organizations and since the fall of the apartheid regime, his activism has centered on heightening awareness of the links between the environment and all aspects of health, and the broader socio-economic consequences of unjust environmental policies. He received his Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was able to merge his interests of environment, human health, human rights and planning. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College. Kalan Chairs the Board of the South African Development Fund.

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Nunu Kidane, Director, Priority Africa Network (PAN)

Nunu Kidane is from Eritrea; she’s lived and worked in the San Francisco/Bay Area for over two decades. Since graduating from U.C. Berkeley, she’s worked and written extensively on Africa policy developments topics related to HIV/AIDS, debt cancellation, migration, resource extraction, land rights/human rights and racial justice. Nunu is founder and a member thr board of Priority Africa Network (PAN), an organization that provides advocacy on Africa and works directly with diverse grassroots African communities in the Bay Area and beyond. Nunu received the “Champion of Change Award” from the White House in 2012 for her work with diaspora groups.

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William Minter, Editor, AfricaFocus Bulletin

William Minter has been a writer, researcher, and activist since the mid-1960s, focusing particularly on southern Africa and international issues. He studied at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria in 1961-62 and taught in Tanzania and Mozambique at the secondary school of the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) in 1966-68 and 1974-76. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology and a certificate in African studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is the author of a number of books, the most recent being the co-edited No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists over a Half Century, 1950-2000. Minter worked as a writer, editor, and researcher at Africa News Service (now in Durham, N.C. in 1973 and 1976-82. Based in Washington since 1982, he has combined personal research and writing with contract work for a number of organizations, including policy analysis, writing, and development of computer-mediated communication tools. This has included work for Africa Action and its predecessor organization, the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), from 1992 through fall 2003, and for the affiliated Washington Office on Africa (WOA), from 1992 to 1997.

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Prexy Nesbitt, Educator, Activist, Scholar

Prexy Nesbitt is an educator, activist and scholar – these are intertwined activities; activities that are in dialogue in Nesbitt’s life and work whether in the classroom, taking educational groups to Southern Africa, in his various publications or his commitment to creating archives from the material he has collected and produced over the years. Central to all his work has been a commitment to anti-racism. This has informed his organizing on the West side of Chicago with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s; his work with the World Council of Churches Program to Combat Racism in the late 1970s from Geneva, Switzerland; serving as a program officer for the MacArthur Foundation in the 1990s; and his work in other positions, including special aide to Chicago Mayor Harold Washington; Dean of Students , Community Engagement, and Diversity at the Francis W. Parker school in Chicago; and African history professor at Columbia College in Chicago. Nesbitt has also worked with a number of Africa-specific organizations. In 1970 he became the first field staff for the American Committee on Africa, (ACOA), organizing anti-apartheid groups in the Midwest. In 1972, Robert Van Lierop and Nesbitt founded the African Information Service and edited Return to the Source, a collection of Amilcar Cabral’s speeches. Nesbitt worked for ACOA a second time from 1976-1979, coordinating the national Committee to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa. He has also worked for the Institute for Policy Studies, the American Friends Service Committee, and Africa Action.

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Katherine Philipson, Organizer

Katherine Philipson has worked as an organizer with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and is currently active in a number of social justice organizations, including 99Rise. Prior to joining FCNL, she served as a policy fellow with Jubilee USA Network and an environmental justice organizer in Portland, Oregon. As a student, Katherine co-founded groups focused on global health and climate activism. She also interned with Tostan, a Senegal-based community development organization.
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Malik Stan Reaves, Photojournalist, Writer

Malik Reaves, currently living in East Orange, New Jersey, participated in the Southern African liberation support movement as an activist and journalist. He worked with Southern Africa magazine, as well as with the American Committee on Africa, and the Africa Information Service founded by Prexy Nesbitt and Bob Van Lierop. He lived in Nairobi, Kenya in 1980-81 while working for the All Africa Press Service, a continental news service sponsored by African and Western churches. He later worked as a writer/editor/photographer for the Methodist church’s missions agency, chronicling social development and justice issues in Africa, the Caribbean, and domestically. He has been a participant in several progressive African-American organizations, including the Black Radical Congress, anti-gentrification groups, and minority trade union associations. Reaves is the author of an ebook historical thriller based on the Southern African liberation struggle and the U.S. support movement, Beyond Southern Africa, A Story of the Fight for Freedom.

His recent photojournalism coverage (available on Demotix) includes protests, cultural events, and other community events in the New York City area, as well as proceedings at the United Nations. In January 2015 he covered the Brooklyn vigil held for those killed in Baga, Nigeria.

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Anita Plummer, Educator, Activist, Scholar

Anita Plummer is a visiting assistant professor at Spelman College. She received her Ph.D. in African Studies and Research from Howard University. Anita was awarded a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. She was also awarded the Davis Putter Scholarship Fund for social justice for her volunteer work in numerous social justice organizations in Baltimore, New York and San Francisco. For the past ten years she has worked on local and international issues ranging from environmental justice to youth rights. She participated in the American Friends Service Committee’s Africa Youth Initiative Network in Rwanda and Zambia. She is an alum of the Center For Third World Organizing’s (CTWO) Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) and worked as a youth program coordinator for the Common Roots Program at the Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco.

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Anyango Reggy, US-Africa Network Coordinator

Born to an African-American mother and a Kenyan father, Anyango spent much of her childhood in Kenya. In 1993 she returned to the United States to pursue a BA in Psychology from Eastern University; an MA in International Affairs and Development from Clark Atlanta University; and a Ph.D. in African Studies and Research from Howard University. The focus of her dissertation research was on post-conflict reconstruction and women in Rwanda. For the past decade, Anyango has been actively involved in education and advocacy on international issues. For six years, she was the Program Director for International Affairs and the U.S Coordinator for the Youth Leadership and Exchange Program with American Friends Service Committee. In addition, she has taught and developed courses for Howard University, and the National University of Rwanda’s Center for Conflict Management. She also developed the Leaders for Social Change program for Yale University, Stanford University, and Princeton University. Currently Anyango serves as the network coordinator for the U.S. Africa Network, a short-term consultant for the Solidarity Center in Washington DC, and an ongoing consultant for Oxfam International in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Contact:

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Christine Root, Project Manager, African Activist Archive Project

Christine Root works on of the African Activist Archive Project as the Project Manager based at Michigan State University (MSU). She also was Project Manager of the multimedia online curriculum South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid, Building Democracy created at MSU by the MATRIX digital humanities center and the African Studies Center. Root was active in the African solidarity and anti-apartheid movement beginning in the early 1970s. She served as Associate Director of the Washington Office on Africa from 1973-1981, and in 1983 she staffed the legislative campaign of the Center for International Policy to stop U.S. support for IMF loans to South Africa. She also was active in local organizing of the D.C. Bank Campaign and DC Divest. She served for several years in the 1980s as Political Action Committee co-chairperson of the Association of Concerned Africa Scholars of which she currently serves as webmaster and a member of the Board of Directors. In 1986, she was the lead staff person on the public employee pension funds South Africa divestment legislation on the Democratic Research Staff of the Michigan House of Representatives.

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Emily Williams, Associate Director, University of Illinois Chicago Social Justice Initiative

Emily is the Associate Director for the UIC Social Justice Initiative. Additionally she is the outreach coordinator for the Chicago Girl Talk Collective and a contributing editor for the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce. She has a professional background in education and community-based program development. Her research interests include internalized oppression, Black women’s and girls’ experiences in the PIC, and neoliberal processes of normalization. Emily first travelled to South Africa in 2010 and is interested in doing work that increases solidarity with Africa in Black communities in the U.S.

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