March 15, 2017
A year ago, in the interview quoted above, I reflected on my experience with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s first campaign march in Chicago, for which I served as a marshal. Later in 2016, while I was in Southern Africa, my liberation movement friends were shocked when I told them that the threat from Trump was real, and that he was likely to win. Today, the Trump-inspired campaigns against our hopes for social justice on all fronts seem to be pushing us into reverse on King's 1,000-mile journey. But they are also evoking new energy for active resistance and positive collective action. That energy, I am profoundly convinced, must be nourished and informed by deep intergenerational and international connections.
Many of you are among the hundreds who have participated in previous Making the Road trips. And all of you have had other opportunities to live and work across national boundaries or have built strong international political ties through other means. I am confident that you will agree with me that regaining momentum on the long road to Black liberation and social justice requires continuing to build such ties for new generations.
That's why I am asking for your renewed and expanded support for Making the Road's program for this summer, which includes two travel seminars (one to South Africa and Namibia, and the other to Cuba), as well as a three-week speaking tour in Southern Africa where I will be speaking to and hearing from both old and new comrades on the common struggle we face against today's forces of hate and greed.
In 2016, I was privileged to lead two groups to Southern Africa and one to Cuba, and the substantive dialogues among seminar participants and with their counterparts in Southern Africa and Cuba were truly inspiring. You helped in many ways, including by making more than $25,000 in contributions through the tax-deductible South Africa Development Fund and other channels. Younger activists who participated in 2016, with your help, are already building on their experiences this year. One participant, for example, now has a job working with trade unions in Africa. She focuses on issues of xenophobia/migration, gender equality, and social movements, all issues which were explored with local activists on the trip.
Since last year, the cost of travel in Southern Africa has increased for Americans, as the value of a U.S. dollar against the South African rand has decreased by almost 15%. More generally, Making the Road is urgently in need of funds to make these summer programs more sustainable. We hope that at least half of the participants this summer will be experienced professionals (like many of you), who can pay the full costs. But we also need to raise at least $20,000 for partial scholarships and $10,000 to support the speaking tour in Southern Africa and development of future Making the Road programs.
So I am asking you to go to http://tinyurl.com/lutacontinua to donate. Be sure to choose the designation for Making the Road. You can also send a check, made out to the South Africa Development Fund and designated for Making the Road, to SADF, 555 Amory Street, Boston, MA 02130.
Your contribution will help MTR with the following programs:
Southern Africa Travel Seminar: State Violence, Truth, and the Rule of Law, June 6-21, 2017
Number of participants: 8 to 10. Orientation and debriefing sessions at Howard University African Studies. Travel to South Africa (Johannesburg and Cape Town) and Namibia (Windhoek). On-line resources provided by AfricaFocus Bulletin. For more information see announcement and application forms at http://makingtheroad.com/southern-africa-2017/
"A Luta Continua" Speaking Tour in Southern Africa, June 22-July 20, 2017
Prexy Nesbitt will speak to diverse audiences on continuing the transnational struggle for Black liberation. He will focus on Black freedom struggles from the civil rights movement and Southern African liberation struggles to #BlackLivesMatter and the current resistance to Trump-era assaults on human rights and social justice. Venues to be determined.
Cuba Travel Seminar: The Americas, Africa, and the Right to Health, August 15-24, 2017
Number of participants: 18-20. Orientation and debriefing sessions in Chicago. More details and application forms to come in April.
Other ways to help
If you yourself are a committed and experienced professional able to participate, please apply for the Southern Africa seminar at the link above as soon as possible.
Please pass this letter on, and follow up with personal contacts with potential candidates and institutional contacts that might be willing to help find financial support for participants unable to pay the full costs.
If you have promising leads that should be followed up immediately, be in touch with me directly by text or phone call at 708-790-8931.
Like you, and like my students at Columbia College, every day I am shocked—but not surprised—at the new assaults on our communities from the new U.S. administration and its many enablers. Each of us must do our part to fight back and survive. But we must not be intimidated into narrowing our vision to include only those closest to us or only those who live within the same country. And we must remember that we are part of a wider community of struggle that goes back generations, stretches between continents, and nourishes our hopes for a more just future.
A Luta Continua,
Again, the link for tax-deductible contributions is http://tinyurl.com/lutacontinua.
P.S. Please note. This address from which this email is sent is used for updates related to the Making the Road trips. For personal messages to Prexy, please continue to use his personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org.