May 16, 2017
When I last wrote you two months ago, we were just beginning our plans for Making the Road travel seminars to Southern Africa and Cuba this summer. I'm pleased to report that I will be leaving with the first group to South Africa and Namibia on June 5, and to announce that applications are now open for a seminar to Cuba focused on the Right to Health for mid-August.
In this time when both "fake news" and real-life changes are moving at ever faster velocities, we need to respond to immediate issues. But we also need to draw strength from each other and from a long view that takes in both our past and our future visions as well as today's crises.
That's why I am asking you again for support to ensure that Making the Road can continue to do its part in making these connections, both across generations and across national borders. You can do so by going 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.
In each case, MTR is bringing together experienced professionals and activists with young people who are at the beginning of their professional and activist careers. Each year is somewhat different, but I am confident from experience about the outcome. Openness to dialogue, learning from each other and those we meet on our travels, will re-inspire me, educate us all, and lead to lasting connections across borders.
This summer the group going to Southern Africa includes three racial justice activists from Chicago, with many decades of experience in fighting police torture and other abuses, as well as one of my students from Columbia College and one from Dr. Anita Plummer's African studies classes at Howard University. The travel seminar will begin with a day of orientation sponsored by the African Studies Department at Howard University.
I will be leading the travel seminar to Cuba together with Dr. Luxme Hariharan, who has extensive experience in ophthalmology and public health in Latin America. We will not only examine health issues but also explore the musical ties between the Americas and Africa, with the assistance of my student Andrea Meza, just graduated from Columbia College, where she worked at the Center for Black Music Research. And there will be an orientation day at Village Leadership Academy. For more details see the announcement, which will also soon be available on the Making the Road website.
Anita and Andrea were on last year's seminar to South Africa and Mozambique. I could go on and on about other connections made over the years, but I must bring this letter to a close. So just one more example: From last year's trip by a group largely composed of progressive lawyers, continuing ties with an art collective in Khayelitsha and an art school in central Johannesburg resulted in a visit this month by several of the South African artists to the Bay Area in California.
But back to the bottom line: the resources to make these seminars happen. Such a mix of participants last year was only possible because of your support to supplement that raised by the participants themselves. The first seminar this June, to Southern Africa, costing approximately $30,000 for the entire group, is more than 75% funded by the participants themselves, but we still need approximately $5,000 in the next few weeks to cover the costs of discounts provided to student participants. And we will need additional funds for scholarships to support younger participants in the Cuba seminar and for me to extend my stay to respond to speaking engagements in Southern Africa.
So I am asking those of you who have not yet done so this year to go to http://tinyurl.com/lutacontinua to donate, and 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.
A luta continua,
P.S. Many of you, like me, knew and learned from, Ahmed ("Kathy") Kathrada, one of the titans of the South African liberation struggle, who died on March 28 at the age of 87. Like his prison companion Nelson Mandela, he never let his stature obscure his readiness to respect and reach out to anyone he met. At the memorial service for him at St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, one of the most moving tributes was from a young activist with #FeesMustFall (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO6j9VKlfYc).
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