Thursday, November 23, 2017

Remember to TWEET.TEXT.FACBOOK.EMAIL for the Ancestors Nov. 22-24, 2017

Enjoy this day of Remembrance and Thanksgiving. I just got this lovely tribute:

Join ICCAAMP on this first Annual Tweet.Text.Facebook.Email for the Ancestors: Nov. 22-24, 2017

Join ICCAAMP on this 1st AnnualTweet.Text.Facebook.Email Social Media Black Friday Blast for the Ancestors: Nov. 22-24, 2017

1.  Wed.-Thurs., Nov. 22-23, begin sending warm-up tweets, texts and emails. 




2.  The image on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and TEXT and EMAIL is our Adinkra logo: Nyame Dua (which is the altar for ritual). Also post the brochure on FACEBOOK  and attach to emails.   

 "Fawohodie" Freedom, Emancipation, Independence
3.  On Black Friday, Friday, Nov. 24 the message changes: we will Tweet, post on Facebook:


The Andinkra changes to "Fawohodie" or Freedom, Emancipation, Independence.
If there are local events to highlight, I would put them on the Facebook post, especially alternatives to spending with the capitalists.   

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

22nd Annual MAAFA Commemoration

Maafa Commemoration 22
By Wanda Sabir

What I loved this year was all the celebratory dancing from just before our ancestors crossed into the unknown territory, to landing on these shores and celebrating life and the possibility of freedom which remained physically just beyond reach for centuries.

In small steps as we regained agency over ourselves, even if our bodies then and now continue to be exploited, liberation was a bit sweeter.

Dancers leaped into the air as if to fly home to the ancestors along the West Coast of Africa where so many were detained in conditions too horrible to imagine, yet we must imagine and remember to heal from a trauma—the MAAFA which continues to haunt our gene pools. At the beach that morning Brother Clint, Sister Lola, Brother Kwalin and Lady Sunrise led the primal cry, a sound pulled from within, from the depths – the moan where we felt multiple aches, bruises bandaged were uncovered, the sores aired, the blood allowed to drip into the sand.

Even our sorrow is beautiful.

For the first time in the 22 year commemoration the people danced the Wolosodon as drummers evoked the energies of those gone before. It was beautiful watching both adults and children, young and old, prepare for the journey as our ancestors did.  Jazz began at the dungeon site and the improvisational dance that is black life continues to shape the landscapes we terry on briefly before legislated elsewhere.

It is difficult to be black in America, perhaps elsewhere too, but we have our ancestors— black deities and angels who not only have a say but control what is unseen. This is where true power lies, so we danced for those spirits whose lives cycle or course through our veins born and yet to be born, present that morning, present always—no further away than a libation or call.

Led by Sister Ava, we danced the Wolosodon along the path leading to the Doors of No Return and Dundunba – the “Dance of the Warriors” when we made it through the horrific sea journey to shore. Later that morning we learned how to channel our energies into fearlessness – Mu-i –a martial arts form based in Maat led by Zochi.  Mu-i followed the Ritual of Forgiveness where we released those burdens we no longer felt necessary to carry any further. With each rose petal we filled a hole and dropped the items inside and then covered the hole so that none would escape to re-infect our aura.

Fleet Week ended that day, a day honoring war.  We honored peace. Those people on the beach who
were not invited respected our ceremony, inquiring afterward of Brother Clint, how it went. (Last year someone called the police who told us the use of amplification on the beach was not permitted. This year we were finished before the park ranger trucks came through.)

There were many obstacles in the way this year most of them on the road to the beach where the waves were mighty.  Both sun and moon were in the sky together Sunday morning witness to the four heart shaped Mylar balloons guests released from the circle – I just hope no bird choked on the remains of the offering.

Theo had a flat tire on the Bay Bridge while Brotha Clint ran into a horrific car accident en route from Vallejo.  Sister Taliba whom I met at the world premiere of Donald Lacy’s film, Hidden Treasure earlier that week, lost all her keys and had to leave her car in Oakland and hire a locksmith to get into her home.

I was still at the beach at 2 p.m. when she called and I went back to look for red rose petals where she might have buried her keys during the Ritual of Forgiveness. I kept finding blue items—a blue sliver of wood, blue bottle cap with a bare foot on it, a blue wrapper for bottled water, but no rose petals anywhere.

For the second year in a row, the Black Women’s Media Project, Sacred Space and the Health and Human Resources Center chartered a bus for East Bay pilgrims and this year they numbered about 40-50. Once again there were many first timers. Big ups to Colette Winlock, Lola Haneef, Lady Sunrise, Brenda Byes and their team members.

During the talk back, ritual attendees spoke of how they measured their year from October to October. We will have to get them to join us for the June Libations for the Ancestors at Lake Merritt in Oakland too. The Second Saturday in June at 9 a.m. (PST) is the International Libation for the Ancestors. It is a global libation: lists all the places where libations take place.

Brother Neter Aa Meri erected his ancestor altar, a masterpiece as usual; however, this year I also made a community altar which grew as one brother placed a candle from Ethiopia, sisters put candy and other items for Yemanja. I had candy and bubbles for Esu Legba. I liked the idea Dhameera Ahmad’s family introduced at her memorial to blow bubbles for the ancestors.

I haven’t figured where to put the bubbles as a group activity.

We remembered the three Iyas or community mothers who made their transitions this year: Queen Mother Makinya Sibeko Kouate, Hajja Dhameera Ahmad, Iya Jacquelyn Hadiah McLeod.  Another person the community mourns is Baba Dick Gregory.  That morning as I drove behind the slow 5 McAllister bus, I was thinking about Hubert Collins (d. Dec. 2016), my dear friend who would always show up when called with his camera and then make me these lovely albums.

My first cousin Kevin Clark (58) died that week in New Orleans. He was my Uncle Arthur’s son. New Orleans was spared Hurricane Nate’s fury, but Gulfport was not.  Mobile and Biloxi were Nate touched down suffered major flooding. I have people these places too.

I was also thinking about Great Aunt Olivia Samaiyah Beyah Bailey (d. Jan. 2017), who at 98 was not about to live in a world with Trump as its leader. She literally “dropped the mic.”

We poured libations for those impacted by the California wildfires and those in Mexico who died in the earthquakes and for the many affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose . . . then Marie, especially those in Puerto Rico and Dominica and the Virgin Islands.   Just before Sept. 30 there were over 15 tropical storms that turned into hurricanes.  September 30, 13 named storms, eight hurricanes, and five major (Category 3 or stronger) hurricanes had formed in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. This is an historic hurricane season.

Presently Bay Area air quality is impacted by the raging fires burning in Napa, Sonoma, San Rafael, Yuba City, Ukiah, Mendocino. 100,000 acres burn, 1000s are displaced, there are deaths.  Here is a link to updated news coverage at and LATimes.  We had people at the commemoration from Redwood City, Sacramento, Antioch, Vallejo, Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland.  There were many who were planning to come and sent poems instead like Sister Makeda who sent Sterling Brown’s Strong Men read by Karla Brundage.

There were many people present for the first time like Thomas Simpson, AfroSolo founder. Don’t miss his program, Oct. 19-20. Visit  I was so happy to see Dr. Gail Myers, Freedom Farmers Market, a sister who is lifting up black agarian culture, the literal Roots Culture colonized in city states.  She is hosting a program at AAMLO, Friday, Oct. 13, honoring the legacy of Dr. George Washington Carver called Circling Back. The free program beginning at 6 p.m.-8 p.m. will feature films about black farmers, a panel, and poetry.

We forget black people are the original migrant farmworkers, they called us sharecroppers then, but there was nothing shared. Exploited black folks swindled out of land and livelihood ended up in barren cities where they grew Victory Gardens when the war made such shows of patriotism fashionable. But even before this black folk were growing food so they could eat, they were growing food so the kids could stay well, families could stay well, ‘cause there were no medical plans, just burial policies.

Black people’s labor didn’t just build this country, we also fed it and made it fat.

Dr. Myers brought along her friend, Alice Walker. I was so happy to see Ms. Walker. I remembered the semester she was the topic of my freshman comp class. We read the biography, hot off the presses: Alice Walker, A Life.  We also read The Color Purple and went on a field trip to see the musical starring Oakland born and raised, Latoya London. We also went to see the stage adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Bluest Eye at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. It was directed by Stanley F. Williams.  Both are stories about black girls.  Morrison’s story is a bit more tragic. The lesson is the same: black girls are at risk and we have to pay attention and keep our girls safe.

A student who also loved her work and I followed Alice Walker to Whole Earth Expo from our Alameda classroom to San Francisco where she spoke and signed books.  I wanted my protégé to meet her.  I remember when I saw Ms. Walker at the Howard Zinn event where famous writers, historians and activists read from his Voices of a People’s History of the US.  Alice Walker, his former student, was one of the participants. After she read, I was seated with a couple of VIPs, Marina Drummer and Robert H. King, so I went to the reception with them. (The event was at King Middle School, the school my daughter TaSin graduated from).

In any case, Ms. Walker was excited and asked me if I had a copy of her latest book, We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For. When I told her no, she then took a copy from the basket her assistant was carrying and gave me one.  I made that book my textbook for the next couple of years. I kept following her to La Peña when she was a part of an event for the Cuban 5 at a book release: Letters of Love & Hope: The Story of the Cuban Five Paperback by author, Nancy Morejon, editor, Alice Walker.

I also saw her again at a wonderful film screening about the literacy campaign President Fidel Castro, her friend launched.  This was before Kennedy attacked the island during a battle called, The Bay of Pigs. I saw her at the Museum of the African Disapora (MoAD) when she was in conversation with the author of Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route by Saidiya Hartman. I would have an entirely different view of the book after leaving Elmina City with Imahkus Njinga OkofuOne Africa. According to her, the book is a distortion of the legacy of African American who live in Ghana. She shared a letter she who outlining the inaccuracies.

I saw Ms. Walker again at Laney College in the audience at a Playback Theatre event. One of my students at that time who was a part of the professional troupe, invited me to attend.

I have a photo of Ms. Walker in my bedroom – yep. Can’t make this stuff up (smile). I am a super groupie – from Temple of My Familiar onward, but she would never notice. I hope.  Her partner would recognize me and smile after I introduced myself to him the first time at MoAD.

I am fine admiring her legacy from a distance.  Seeing her Sunday, October 8, is an opportunity to write all these things down that I have been holding (smile).

Perhaps the most special time I was able to see her was at the African American Art and Culture Complex when there was a program for the Californian Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) when Hamdiya Cooks was the director. Hamdiya said that Ms. Walker had her over to tea when she was released from prison.  I think Hamdiya shared that story when she introduced Ms. Walker.

All her life Alice Walker has been showing up.  She showed up at Dr. King’s funeral and a week later lost the baby she was carrying along with her will to live. However, she soon shook herself from the apathy and continued the work King had inspired her to start.

A few years ago, her friend Jacquelyn Hairston composed a libretto to her poem, “Why Peace is Always a Good Idea.”  It was performed at AfroSolo and Alice Walker read the poem at a concert preview at the Burial Clay theatre. The AfroSolo event August 2011 was prelude to the Carnegie Hall performance in Feb. 19, 2012—Hairston’s conductor debut with a 300 voice choir. She returned again in 2016.

Maafa 2017-2020

Back at the beach, the waves were high and when I finally went to offer prayers to the ancestors, I was caught unaware by a waves which soaked my shoes, not once but twice. Hassaun who’d walked with me there, said, “the ancestors want your attention.”  Well they certainly got it. I am still focused on the ancestors and have begun to think about next year.

We are inching towards 2019 which marks the 400th anniversary of the first Africans to set foot on English American soil in indentured servitude.  While white people also served as indentured servants, their servitude had a terminus, black people would be held indefinitely.

There is a bill: H.R.1242 - 400 Years of African-American History Commission Act which passed the House in May 2016, but did not pass the Senate to date.  Everyone should lobby the Senate to adopt and pass the bill so the resources become available to those of us doing the ancestor commemoration work.

(Sec. 3) This bill establishes the 400 Years of African-American History Commission to develop and carry out activities throughout the United States to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Africans in the English colonies at Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619.
The commission must:
·         plan programs to acknowledge the impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination had on the United States;

·         encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, and economic organizations to organize and participate in anniversary activities;

·         assist states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration; and
·         coordinate for the public scholarly research on the arrival of Africans in the United States and their contributions to this country.

(Sec. 5) The commission may provide: (1) grants to communities and nonprofit organizations for the development of programs;

(2) grants to research and scholarly organizations to research, publish, or distribute information relating to the arrival of Africans in the United States; and

(3) technical assistance to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration.
(Sec. 7) The commission must prepare a strategic plan and submit a final report to Congress that contains a summary of its activities, an accounting of its received and expended funds, and its recommendations.
(Sec. 8) The commission shall terminate on July 1, 2020.
(Sec. 9) All expenditures of the commission shall be made solely from donated funds.

Monday, May 22, 2017

12th Annual San Francisco Bay Area Libations for the Ancestors, Saturday, June 10, 9 AM

International Libation for African Ancestors of the Middle Passage, Saturday, June 10, 2017, is at Lake Merritt in Oakland, E. 18th Street at Lakeshore Drive @ the fountain. (Video from Maafa Ritual 10/9/2017. Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.)

Wear white, bring instruments, something creative to share like a poem or story from your ancestral treasure chest.

We start at 9 AM sharp as others are remembering African Ancestors of the Middle Passage this weekend as well. Visit for more information.

Processing through the Doors of No Return @ Maafa Commemoration, October 9, 2016©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Waiting for everyone to make it to the other side.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Blessings at the Altar before crossing the water to the other side.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Chained, we shuffle along to a place we cannot imagine.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved

We are the music.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved

We were the color in the rainbow that morning.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Three sisters.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

The drummers.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

They travel to the otherside together, one of the few who were not separated.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

We are still here!
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Navigating the turbulence.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Deep conversations.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

The Sisters recognize the beauty in each other.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Traveling to the other side.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

The rainbow below.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

I am here.
©Wanda Sabir. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

MAAFA 2015: We Remember African Ancestors of the Middle Passage

As we walk through the Doors of No Return, we are shackled symbolically – this is what the rope represents. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

As we walk through the Doors of No Return, we are shackled symbolically – this is what the rope represents. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

The 20th anniversary of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Maafa Commemoration, Sunday, Oct. 11, was really lovely. The day was slightly overcast, and when I arrived there was a drumming circle, with Afrikans dancing and singing. The lit walkway leading to the Doors of No Return and the shrine before the ocean was inviting, yet no one seemed anxious to make that journey – we knew where that path lay and were not looking forward to the turmoil – so the children of the children of the children of that time long ago stayed on the shores and watched the sea.

The sea foam covered the edges where the ships departed. Caked foam spread where the spirits of our ancestors rose higher than buildings and marched toward us all morning. Several times during the ceremony the tide actually entered the circle and wet our feet. This was a first.

The foam from the waves was really thick on the shore. Several times during the ceremony the tide actually entered the circle and wet our feet. This was a first. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
The foam from the waves was really thick on the shore. Several times during the ceremony the tide actually entered the circle and wet our feet. This was a first. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

We started the procession once the sun rose at 7 a.m.; the journey was long yet everyone was patient, both the freed and captive and those on the precipice waiting and wondering where they were headed.
As I mingled with the captives like a spirit or familiar, I noticed a patience and loving kindness among everyone there, as we knew we could not continue until all of us had made it, however long that took – and that was OK. The roar of the ocean was tremendous, overwhelmingly tremendous. The ancestors were with us and there was no denying it.

Our elders were present 20 years later and, though I could not capture it on film or tape, I will never forget the stories people told of who was not there – the missing, those who had departed too soon and those who were struggling to remain on this side of the precipice. We did not forget and have not forgotten any of them. I think the time is certainly ripe for doing the rescue work.

As the circle formed and we moved closer together, Zochi started the liberating movement meditation he called Mu-i Taiji or fearless within divine. He led us through the 10 centering intentional affirmations which are, he says, “grounded in the work of self-cultivation and social activism.”

The procession took at least an hour for everyone to go through the Doors of No Return, where on the other side there was a chain of shackles (rope) which symbolizes captivity. I had time to greet everyone as they progressed through the horrors of the Middle Passage. The drummers who played outside the Doors were really strong and powerful.

The elders embraced the youth in multiple concentric circles. We wanted to let them know we hold them up and support them, that they were not alone. Sister Omitola Akinwunmi meditates. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
The elders embraced the youth in multiple concentric circles. We wanted to let them know we hold them up and support them, that they are not alone. Sister Omitola Akinwunmi meditates. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

Everywhere I went I felt the preciousness of the moments, whether that was a conversation with a brother who had been at the ceremony 20 years ago, or meeting a sister and her husband from Sacramento, the woman a former classmate from Visitation Valley Junior High, where we were both students in seventh grade.

The red flowers were given out for the Ritual of Forgiveness. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
The red flowers were given out for the Ritual of Forgiveness. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

Later at the Egungun program at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, I met another classmate from that period in my life. I was 37, 20 years ago, when Rev. Donald Paul Miller and I started this community celebration of our ancestors. Now, in its 20th year, the need is greater than ever, not just to honor our ancestors, but to preserve life.

This commemoration we looked at our legacy as a people and how we have a legacy of forgiveness and love, a legacy we are not allowing to come forward when we kill or hurt one another. What Dr. Nobles calls suicide (when we kill each other) is not a part of our legacy as a people.

Brother Tahuti was present at the ball named in his honor. Sister Adama Fulani Mosely did a really special dance with a masked egun (ancestor). The Egungun spoke to us multiple times; one of his messages was to love one another.

Paradise hosts the Tahuti Ball for Brother Tahuti, who would surely have joined us for Maafa again this year; instead, he joined the ancestors in June. His presence was felt at the ball. – Photo: Wanda Sabir
Paradise hosts the Tahuti Ball for Brother Tahuti, who would surely have joined us for Maafa again this year; instead, he joined the ancestors in June. His presence was felt at the ball. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

The program featured musical and poetry performances. I couldn’t stay for the entire program, but it was really lovely. Paradise knows how to throw an ancestor party.

Visit to see more photos. Please complete the questionnaire. We are also looking for 20th anniversary reflections to publish on the website. If anyone took any footage, especially of the drumming, please send to

Maafa 2015 talk

Every year, I prepare a talk. This year was no different. However, like last year, I didn’t feel compelled to share it, since everyone in this expression, where we passed the microphone around the circle, expressed what I’d planned to share and more. There are a few action items in the reflection, which is why I want to share it now (smile).

One cannot think about John Coltrane (Sept. 23, 1926) and not reflect on “A Love Supreme,” recorded with Elvin Jones on drums, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and, of course, Coltrane on tenor saxophone in 1964. The suite, divided into four movements, includes “Acknowledgement” (which contains the chorus – “A Love Supreme”), “Resolution,” “Pursuance” and “Psalm.” When I reflected on “Psalm,” for which Coltrane wrote the words, I thought it perfect for this year’s commemoration. With Brother Larry Douglas on trumpet, with Brother Bryant Bolling singing the song with us, we committed the words to heart that morning.
I noticed a patience and loving kindness among everyone there. The roar of the ocean was tremendous, overwhelmingly tremendous. The ancestors were with us and there was no denying it. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
I noticed a patience and loving kindness among everyone there. The roar of the ocean was tremendous, overwhelmingly tremendous. The ancestors were with us and there was no denying it. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

“The Psalm” speaks to the four little girls killed early morning, Sept. 15, 1963, while they prepared for a church service, in Bombingham (oops, Birmingham), Alabama. It also speaks to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the same year Mississippi’s NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old Medgar Evers, is shot in his driveway that June 1963. “A Love Supreme” is composed the year of Freedom Summer and the Freedom Democratic Party headed by Fanny Lou Hamer (1964). Even though the Democratic National Convention refused to seat the delegation, Hamer and the delegates stood firm. Love is also what kept those families on the battlefield when the bodies of James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, were uncovered.

Love is not abstract, it is personal and tangible. It is legislation like the Civil Rights Act (1964); it is also a conviction in the Oscar Grant case (2010); clemency in Geronimo ji jaga’s (1997). When you love someone, that person can count it and measure it, save it for days when all he or she has is toast and nothing to spread on it.
On the other side of the Doors of No Return – Photo: TaSin Sabir
On the other side of the Doors of No Return – Photo: TaSin Sabir

At such times love makes the dryness disappear. Love helps us remember plenty when scarcity surrounds us. Love is honey when we have to swallow so much daily in environments where Black people are not welcome in majority politically constructed public spaces.

This love supreme gives us agency; it is the trust we have in ourselves and in a creator who is in charge. This love makes it possible to not only function, but thrive in the most horrendously stifling circumstances.

This is what love will do for a person; this is what love will do for a people. Again, love is not abstract. Black people participate in the world that is more than what we see tangibly. We know there is more, but at the same time acknowledge what we see as also important and, out of respect for this, we acknowledge the presence of both matter and spirit.

John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” is an acknowledgement of the presence of the creator, a Mother-Father-God, and our participation in this love. The love is strong because we are here, our ancestors are here, jinn and men are here. Even Satan is here making trouble for the disbelievers like it does, but we don’t worry, because we have each other this morning and forever after … and this love is supreme.

Afrikans filled Ocean Beach in San Francisco, a shore far from the original Doors of No Return, reflecting the forced disbursement of Black people around the globe. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
Afrikans filled Ocean Beach in San Francisco, a shore far from the original Doors of No Return, reflecting the forced disbursement of Black people around the globe. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

Last Maafa Commemoration, I made a friend. I think we were friends before the Maafa Commemoration, but last October when Kwalin proposed to Delene and she said yes – well, that was pretty special. He is about the age of my older daughter and I learn a lot from him. I am happy that the young couple moved here from Atlanta to California. Our community is richer for the gift of their presence and my life is richer for knowing Kwalin, systems analyst, and Delene, physician.
This summer, I made another friend; her name is ChE. She is a multidisciplinary choreographer and I met her at Armstrong Park in New Orleans. Her dance company performed in Congo Square at a healing ritual for New Orleans on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. ChE is younger than my younger daughter, but when we met and started talking and I learned that she lived in Oakland; we promised to touch bases when we returned. I called her and she returned the call. She is participating in the protest in Oakland at Lake Merritt the day we are at the beach. The new Oaklanders have complained about drumming at the lake. These transplants want the drumming stopped.
Again this year, we welcomed Delene, a physician, and Kwalin, a systems analyst, transplants from Atlanta. He proposed to her at last year’s Maafa. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
Again this year, we welcomed Delene, a physician, and Kwalin, a systems analyst, transplants from Atlanta. He proposed to her at last year’s Maafa. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

I give you these two examples of two new friends to illustrate love. Love is the person you open your heart to and befriend. It is that simple. Love can be counted and measured and, then again, it cannot. We don’t count the ways; we just do it. Today, I want everyone to meet two or three new people and exchange email addresses and phone numbers and call each other in one month to see how the other person is. Ask the person what he or she has been doing to stay free in a society that wants to ship Black people back to Africa, no – back to the plantation, no – I mean into servitude – prison.

Saturday, Oct. 10, was Thelonious Monk’s birthday. He is the one who wrote “Straight No Chaser.” We want our walk to be straight, our thoughts and our actions correct, our behavior upright, not for any other reason than that’s who we are as a people.

Coltrane, Tyner, Jones – and I am not sure about Garrison – all these men also played with Miles Davis. Davis was also a genius. Yes, he had problems – hope by now he has worked them out – but when he’d turn his back to the audience to pay better attention to the music, his world, he gave us an example of how sometimes we have to just step away from the crowd, turn our backs and go inside to check in with self.

This is why we are meditating, reflecting, being still today. It is a practice we need to adopt. There is too much coming at us all the time. We have to do like Miles, turn our back to it. Miles has a song called “So What!” It is on his album, “Kind of Blue.” Sometimes as Pan Africans, Black people in a world where we sometimes wonder where we belong – we have to step back, turn our backs on the madness that tries to and often succeeds in consuming us.

Larry Douglas’ trumpet welcomed the sunrise at Ocean Beach – the iconic old Dutch windmill in the background. – Photo: TaSin Sabir
Larry Douglas’ trumpet welcomed the sunrise at Ocean Beach – in the background the iconic old Dutch windmill, a reminder of the Europeans who treated Afrikans like chattel. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

We have to remember “A Love Supreme.” We also have to cultivate an attitude that says, “So What!” “I turn my back; I refuse to participate in the nonsense. I am bigger than that because my God is the God of a Love Supreme and, within this love, I even have space for you who despise and hate me. I love myself and life itself and refuse to participate in any behaviors which distract me from A Love Supreme.”

Baldwin said this to his nephew James, who was angry. He told him that he couldn’t let the enemy make him lose his form. He is God’s image, that Love Supreme. Coltrane writes, “God breathes through us so completely … so gently we hardly feel it … yet it is our everything. Thank you, God. Amen.”

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Orleans Maafa Commemoration July 4, 2015

Carol Bebelle, Co-founder, Director, Aché Cultural Center, seated with Elder

Freddi W. Evans, author, Congo Square

Sakura Kone with poet, Oracle
Healing Energies from the planet
Shkt. Hrimgalah, Ausar Auset Society, SW Region
Maafa Commemoration at Armstrong Park, July 4, 2015

Fr. Maurice Nutt, Xavier University
(Baba Luther Gray)
Chief Warhorse, Choctaw Nation
Chief Clarence Delcour, Creole Osceolas with Serenity Peace Pigeon
Maafa  Commemoration@ Armstrong Park
Father holds child so she can see the Serenity Peace Pigeon
Chief Clarence Delcour, Creole Osceolas with Serenity Peace Pigeon
Big Queen Cherise Harrison Nelson with Carol Bebelle and Elder

Maafa Commemoration at Armstrong Park, July 4, 2015
President Obama's Washington Fellows for Young African Leadership
Mama Millie Charles, MSW (far left) (91)
Ms. Charles started the MSW program at Southern Univ. New Orleans
President Obama's Washington Fellow Honors the Ancestors at Armstrong Park, as she does in Lagos
Nubian Messengers Collective, Brooklyn, NY
Zion Trinity pours libations
Children as closest to the Ancestors

Carol Bebelle (R), Co-founder, Director, Aché Cultural Center with friend from
Selma who founded the African Diaspora Museum
Maafa Commemoration @ Congo Square
Carol Bebelle, Co-founder Director, Aché Cultural Arts Center
Carol Bebelle with friend from Selma
Child watches Serenity Birds fly off at Maafa Commemoration in Congo Square
Sister Kiss: Carol Bebelle and Rev. Denise Graves
Zion Trinity
Quess (poet) shares a story
Rev. Denise Graves offers a prayer at the Maafa Commemoration
@ Armstrong Park
Sister from Selma celebrates the Ancestors
Wood (Aché) speaks to a sister at Maafa Commemoration @ Armstrong Park
Carol Bebelle with museum curator from Selma
Sister from Selma shares a few words
Buddhist Prayer
Somersaults for the Ancestors

President Obama Fellow from South Africa