The 'Business and Building' International Affairs Initiative: "The United States Of Africa-Diaspora Advocacy Group"

Something very important crystallized for me, while speaking with Mr. Randall Robinson, last week on my program on The Black Coffee Channel. It was the need to find a means by which we can better connect the Caribbean to what we were already considering in our international Initiative. Following a suggestion by Raghib Muhammad, our Initiative Director, I asked Mr. Robinson, at the conclusion of our interview, if he would agree to serve informally as the adviser to the "United States of Africa Advocacy Group." He kindly and graciously agreed, and is awaiting our next steps and decisions.

Please take the time to listen to the interview of him on my September 12th program (Part II). His spirit is telling about where we are, the time, and what must be done - in the Diaspora as well as Africa.

And be sure to purchase his book, An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President from Karibu Books.

Haiti's current condition has much to do with our level of disunity throughout the Black world, among other factors.

Since that time, I have added the word 'Diaspora' to the working title of our group. The discussion and analysis of what is happening to our people in the Caribbean; the great presence of those in America who have immigrated from the West Indies (I myself am from a Mother born in Panama and raised in Jamaica) and Africa; all require greater connection to what is underway in the effort to bring the 50-plus nations of Africa together in a political, economic, and military union.

Perhaps, I thought, a greater connection and inclusion of the affairs of at least the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, would open the door to greater connection to the descendants of Africa, scattered around the globe. For sure, we could also look at Canada (Montreal and Toronto, alone) various nations of Europe, Asia, and Central and South America for obvious cultural, economic, and political linkages.

On the latter point, the nations of Central and South America, I received a wonderful e-mail from one of our viewers in Brazil, with whom I have periodic contact. As with many individuals, who I never name (you would be surprised at who), this person thanked me for the personal and economic benefit they have received as a result of an article, writing, or subject matter we have linked to or covered at Here is what they wrote to me yesterday morning:

"As you can see its almost been two years since I sent this e-mail. THANKS to your web-site Ive been able to expand my desire to open a tourist company here in Brazil. Through your web-site(links) I got in contact with the

A national organization of African-American scuba divers based in Wash.D.C. Because of your web-site Ive expanded my idea to scuba diving which will encompass both Black and White scuba divers. But in the case of Black divers I can offer them diving and Afro-Brazilian culture. There is a brother by the name of Dr.Jose Jones who founded NABSDIVERS who is my mentor. He is in D.C. Im sending you an article about him that you will find quite interesting it is titled "Black Living Legend". I get all of my BLACK NEWS from your web-site. Cant live without it. When I come to D.C. I hope we can hook up... I accidentally ran into your site when I was reseaching some Afro-Brazilian info. back in 2005... Again, thanks for your response. If you ever come to Sao Paulo,Brazil or you know of someone who is coming I would be more than happy to show you or them around. Tchau!!!"

Those who know my spirit, sincerity, and motivation, understand that it is e-mails like this, more than anything else that confirm for me the timeliness, helpfulness and relevance of what we are doing at I consider these kind of reactions part of my spiritual reward. Anything I can do for another person that enables a good work and their own development is payment in and of itself. The Holy Qur'an describes it more as a principle, essentially that he or she who aids in the production of a good work, shares in its consequences.

A very dear Brother and friend of mine paid me a high compliment years ago. Apparently one his friends (who I later became acquainted with and now have great respect for) was questioning my motivation for, as well as my obvious love for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,and Black nationalism, in general. They could not reconcile the imagery, stereotype or real impression they had of the Nation of Islam with

And while very familiar with my non-stop attention to the unity of Africa, and those of us in the Diaspora with it, they found it hard to include me as one that they could more comfortably classify as African-centered. My friend told me that, in defense of me, he told his friend, "If there is anything I can say about Cedric, it is that he is definitely a Pan-Africanist!" I bust out laughing, because to me, that fact is so obvious, in my heart, mind and intent.

I thought about this issue of labels and differeing 'schools of thought' over Africa more recently while reading Peniel E Joseph's narrative of the Black Power Movement, Waiting 'Til The Midnight Hour. He brilliantly chronicles the debates between 'Black cultural nationalists;' Black political nationalists;' Black Marxists;' and others over the subject of Africa and whether or not, and/or how to relate to her. Key personages, among others, to study in this regard are Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Brother Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and Amiri Baraka.

We are still operating under the effects of their disagreements, although many are unaware.

This is one of the reasons why I have worked so hard to create a forum where all such viewpoints on Africa - from the romantic to the excessively critical - in our community are welcome and considered. I recognize the unfinished business, at hand.

I also see the opportunity for us to leverage our unity - after having a lawful dialogue and spirited debate - into organized, operational advocacy, without Bono's help (smile).

So, in our Group, to be solidified at our October 26th meeting in Washington, D.C. we intend to discuss, debate, plan and take action steps on issues affecting Africa; and determine how we want to encourage, support, critique, and hold accountable the African Union as it moves forward with its wonderful idea, and wrestles with how to connect it better with the Diaspora.

Many of the leaders of Africa have openly stated that the Diaspora is not as involved in the "United States of Africa" effort as it should be. We are here to offer ourselves to correct that oversight, mistake or error, and make up for apathy, ignorance, and confusion in Black America regarding our mother continent.

We have formally invited The African Union Ambassador to the United States, the Honorable Amina Salum Ali of the United Republic of Tanzania to speak at our gathering and join us.

So, if you have a passion for Africa, a desire to see her rise from her current condition, and want to do more than just respond and react to 'bad news' concerning her, please do register for our Weekend ( so that you can help us to become a tangible factor of power in the relationship between Africa, Black America, the Caribbean, and the broader Diaspora.

If you have been a viewer for virtually any length of time, you are qualified and armed with enough knowledge and information to - along with your own talents, skills, and interests - bring something to the table and make a valuable contribution.

We and our sufering people need your involvement.

We have to get off of the sidelines, in a proactive and informed way, where Africa is concerned.

As I write this, there are reports of Cuba and the African Union working to strengthen their ties.

What should be our interest in this, as The United States of Africa-Diaspora Advocacy Group?

See You in D.C., October 26th - 28th.

Let's build.

Cedric Muhammad

Tuesday, September 18, 2007