I am writing this piece on behalf of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and
Reparations as an introduction for the letter provided by the Vice-Chair, expressing our support
of Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party and Chair of the
Black is Back Coalition, and our condemnation of recent actions taken by San Diego State
Chairman Omali Yeshitela was invited to be a speaker at a Reparations Summit, being held in
April of this year, by a group of students who are clearly aware of his work and dedication to
forwarding the demand for reparations to the black community and entire African nation.
San Diego State University has since applied pressure to the students organizing the event to
get them to uninvite the Chairman. They made claims that Chairman Omali Yeshitela is
“antisemitic,” because of his criticism of Israel and his support of Palestine and Palestinians.
Ava Muhammad of the Nation of Islam was also an invited and uninvited guest of the
Reparations Summit and was also deemed “antisemitic” because of her support of Palestine.
The Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition, under the leadership of the Vice-Chair
Lisa Davis submits the letter below as evidence of the Coalition’s solidarity with both Chairman
Omali Yeshitela and Ava Muhammad and our condemnation of the actions of San Diego State
Secretary, Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations.
Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations
The Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations condemns San Diego
State University’s attack on Omali Yeshitela, The African People’s Socialist Party and the Uhuru
Movement. We condemn the banning of Omali Yeshitela, the Chair and co-founder of the
African People’s Socialist Party, from participating in the upcoming Slavery Reparations Summit
to be held in April of this year.
In an attempt to control the reparations discussion and to smear Omali Yeshitela, SDSU
representatives have begun a ruthless, baseless smear campaign, falsely accusing him of being
a holocaust denier and of being anti-Semitic.
This is large in part due to his strong and uncompromising condemnation of Israel (Occupied
Palestine), and the actions of SDSU to ban him reflects a growing movement in academia to
censor and expel from educational institutions anyone critical of Israel.
In fact, in New Jersey, there is currently a bill, SB 4001, which expressly forbids criticism of
Israel in the education system, including not agreeing with its right to exist on the land taken
This coalition takes the position that Israel is a State, and as such, criticism or condemnation of
it is fair game, just as it is with any other government in the world.
As the Chair of the APSP and the Chair and Co-Founder of the Black Is Back Coalition, Omali
Yeshitela has committed his life to the revolutionary cause of fighting for Black Liberation and of
overturning the bloodletting legacy of colonialism, which is fueled by the pathology
demonstrated in Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “The White Man’s Burden,” whereby Europeans
believe that it is their birthright to destroy, plunder, divide and steal the resources, including the
land, from non-white people the world over.
Yeshitela has written a body of work exposing the ruthlessness of imperialism, while masterfully
deconstructing the colonist mentality, ripping it to shreds and laying it bare.
From implementing the first global Reparations Tribunal in 1982, helping to establish
organizations committed to reparations (including organizations of white people), to launching
the first political candidates to run for office on a reparations platform, he has made significant
contributions to advancing this cause.
We also condemn SDSU’s attack on Ava Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, who was also
We believe in self-determination and that as African people, we are the ones to set the
parameters and choose the narrative when it comes to our people, our issues, and our
Moreover, we believe that every African person has a right to participate in all discussions about
In a statement the university issued in December, it states that they received input about its
decision to ban speakers from community members, faculty, staff, Jewish leaders and the
SDSU Hillel Center.
The Black Is Back Coalition decries the hypocrisy of members of any group who have been the
beneficiaries of vast restorative measures for crimes committed against their people to interfere
in any way with African people’s right to self-determination.
And we maintain that every black person the world over has a right to participate in discussions
pertaining to the crimes of terror committed against our people for hundreds of years.
Lastly, in addition to SDSU’s egregious actions to ban Omali Yeshitela and Ava Muhammad,
they are now engaging in a shameless attack against the black student organizers of the
After receiving strong pushback from the community, SDSU is now trying to save face by
backing away from their position and by putting the blame for banning the speakers solely on
Here is statement SDSU issued in December 2019:
“We understand recent concerns about a student-led proposal approved for Student Success
Fee (SSF) funding. The student has since opted to revise the program, and those speakers will
not be confirmed to speak at SDSU. The university supports the student’s decision. The
student’s proposed speaker list previously included those who have espoused anti-semitic
rhetoric in the past. We strongly reject anti-semitic, and other disparaging messages and
actions. SDSU will offer support to the student organizer to ensure that the original basis for the
event – a critical exploration of slavery and reparations – can proceed.
At SDSU, we appreciate input from our on and off campus community members, including
faculty, staff and Jewish leaders. This input and collaboration have helped the university to
directly address the concerns raised. SDSU is also in active conversations to help ensure
members of its Jewish community are supported, has revised the review and approval process
for student events and is looking to expand diversity training. Additionally, the SDSU Hillel
Center has been a proactive and supportive partner and we value their continued close
Any effort that serves to further societal division is antithetical to what SDSU values. We are a
diverse community, and it is our diversity and the preservation of an inclusive environment that
creates our greatness.”
This statement resulted in serious pushback from political organizers in the APSP, the
International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and Union
Because of this, SDSU was forced to change their initial statement to:
“We would like to address misinterpretations about a planned, student-led event at SDSU.
Campus administrators have affirmed since the fall 2019 that the university supports the
student’s decision to host an event and continues to offer support to the student through the
campus event management process.
Proposed speakers were never cancelled or banned or banned by SDSU. Any characterization
that SDSU bans speakers for any student-led events is incorrect; this is not an institutional
practice in accordance with our responsibility to and sincere value in upholding free speech.”
How dare the university exploit these students and throw them away in this manner. The
students are not tools to be used for political gain or cowardice.
We join the African People’s Socialist Party in making the following demands:
1. Tell the SDSU office administrators to stop the attacks on Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the
2. Tell the SDSU office administrators to release a statement of apology for attacking black
3. Tell SDSU office administrators they have no right telling black people who we can choose to
represent us about reparations
Originally the SDSU conference regarding slavery and reparations was set to happen sometime
in April, however, with the eruption of struggle around this smear campaign against Omali
Yeshitela and Ava Muhammad, they are wavering on the date.
The African People’s Socialist Party is planning a reparations conference for whichever day the
SDSU decides to have theirs.
We are calling on our members, comrades, supporters, and all people who stand for freedom to
join us by calling SDSU, telling them you stand with Chairman Omali and the Uhuru Movement
and to stop the attacks on Black Liberation!
Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations.
Office of the President
President Adela de la Torre
Office of the Provost
Associate Vice President Hector Ochoa
Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Associate Vice President J Luke Woods
Office of Student Affairs