Washington, DC—On Wednesday, April 3, 2019, Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will be speaking at the ‘No to NATO; Yes to Peace’ Festival, an event which the Coalition has officially endorsed.
The ‘No to NATO; Yes to Peace’ Festival is a weekend of activities that are being held by World BEYOND War to unwelcome the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as they meet in D.C. on this same weekend to mark 70 years since their creation.
In an email requesting the Black is Back Coalition to endorse the festival, World BEYOND War stated:
“NATO is the largest military alliance in the world with the largest military spending and nuclear stockpiles. While claiming to “preserve peace,” NATO has violated international law and bombed Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya…We’re calling for the abolition of NATO, the promotion of peace, the redirection of resources to human and environmental needs, and the demilitarization of our cultures. Instead of celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary, we’re celebrating peace on April 4, in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against war on April 4, 1967, as well as his assassination on April 4, 1968.”
In his response letter informing World BEYOND War about the Black is Back Coalition’s decision to endorse the festival, Chairman Omali Yeshitela stated:
“The name of our Coalition is testimony of our opposition to imperialist war and to the different organizations and institutions of war employed by the U.S. against the countries and peoples of the world.
September of 2018 marked the 9th year of the founding of our Coalition that is comprised of individual members and more than 11 different black organizations and institutions from throughout the U.S., with affiliate organizations based in black communities in Europe.
Despite the fact that the Black is Back Coalition is currently organizing for our third successful electoral school to occur in St. Petersburg. Florida on April 6 and 7th with the anniversaries of the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Bobby Hutton of the Black Panther Party in mind, we look forward to the possibility of endorsing and participating in the anti-NATO events you have scheduled for April 3-4.
In addition to our opposition to NATO, our Coalition is interested in endorsing and participating in your event because of the historic estrangement between the mostly white led peace movement and the struggle for black freedom.
It is in this vein that the Black is Back Coalition calls on you to add opposition to the United Nations colonial occupation of Haiti to your stated demands. The occupation of Haiti has had devastating consequences for our long-oppressed people on that island…We will recognize your ability to extend your opposition to UN colonial occupation of Haiti and your hand to a coalition speaker on your platform as an endorsement of the struggle of black people for genuine liberation.”
Creating unity between black and white peace movements
World BEYOND War has since added Chairman Omali to the list of speakers on their program, who will be presenting the Coalition’s stance on the colonial occupation of oppressed peoples territories done by both NATO and the United Nations.
White-led peace organizations have historically ignored the plight of African people and have long remained silent on the imperial wars waged against us, around the world including in the Caribbean and the Continent.
White-led peace organizations have also historically avoided working with black-led peace organizations and instead have chosen to work with so-called black-led peace organizations that were working under the leadership of the white left as poor substitutes.
The Coalition’s presence at the festival and our introduction of criticizing the United Nation’s colonial occupation of Haiti in conjunction with criticizing NATO can possibly represent a new beginning of unity between African and white movements, and a great leap in our joint efforts for an end to all unjust wars by NATO or any other power that is hostile to peace, freedom and human life.
The Coalition is calling on all African people to come out to this festival in support of the Coalition and our addition to the “No to NATO; Yes to Peace” program!
Join the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations
U.N. out of Haiti!