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Ujima, Inc.: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community was thrilled to be a part of the 25th ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Ujima team had the opportunity to meet thousands of women and men from all over the country. Guests were eager to share their survivor stories with the team and loved hearing about the work we are doing in the Black community. Ujima distributed resources, giveaways and received over 600 signatures from guests who are interested in participating in addressing domestic violence, sexual violence, and community violence in their own communities.

The ESSENCE Festival, which was held July 5th – July 7th is known as the world’s largest celebration of global Black culture, entertainment, and empowerment. The 2019 Festival promoted Black culture, economic ownership, and inclusion. The Essence Festival has an international audience of over 500,000 attendees and brings a $4 million economic impact to the city of New Orleans.

Because of the overwhelming support we received, Ujima, Inc. plans to attend and support the Festival annually.

 

Star Jackson
Ujima Communications Intern

Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

On June 3, military opened fire on pro-democracy protesters during their sit-in in Khartoum. Protestors called for a civilian-run government to ensure a fair election after Omar Al-Bashir, former president of Sudan, was overthrown. The seven-member Transitional Military Council (TMC), along with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) assumed power. The military agreed on a 3-year transition period but reneged on the agreement when they opened fire and announced that elections would be held within nine months. Civilians reported over 100 people dead. In addition to the attacks, there were reports of rapes of both women and men by the military, and shutdown of Internet access, which led to further protest strikes in the streets. SPA called for “complete civil disobedience and open political strike.” According to an article by the International Crisis Group, The African Union’s Peace and Security Council suspended Sudan’s African Union (AU) membership until authorities put a civilian administration in place. After a month since the attack that took place on June 3, protest leaders decided to halt protest strikes for 72 hours in order to meet with the military to discuss elections. The conflict is over Sudan’s post-revolution government.

 

The new agreement was mediated by the African Union and Ethiopia. Diplomats from the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were present. During the aftermath of the attack, Saudi and Emirati officials openly supported the actions of the military, while U.S. and British officials openly supported protestors. The New York Times reported that during their meeting they agreed on a power-sharing deal to share the sovereign council for a period of at least three years. The ruling council will have five civilians and five military leaders and an 11th member they both agree on. An army general will run Sudan for the first 21 months of the transition and civilians will run Sudan for the next 18 months that follow. They have also agreed on a civilian-ran government under the leadership of a prime minister. Both sides also agreed to a national independent investigation into the killings of protestors by the military. Details of the deal are still being finalized. Meanwhile, the military has freed rebel fighters who were arrested for opposition.


Last month celebrities and social media influencers used their platforms to raise awareness about the Sudan crisis. #BlueForSudan began trending on all major social media platforms and turned their avatars on social media blue in honor of Mohamed Mattar who was killed by the military during the protest. At the time of his death, Mattar’s profile avatar was the blue image being used in the online movement. In addition to raising awareness on social media, individuals who would like to support the people of Sudan should reach out to their member of Congress or text them (RESIST to 50409) using ResistBot and let them know that you support helping the people of Sudan. Other ways you can help, donating to UNICEF or other organizations whose mission is to support the country and amplify the voice of the people. There are also local Facebook groups and GoFundMe opportunities that are raising funds for food and medical aid.  

Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) is a multimedia campaign created in August 2011 that celebrates African-descent giving. Founded by Dr. Jackie Bouvier Copeland and the Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWNet), BPM is an annual, global celebration that invites African and Black communities and allies to use August as a month to give back. The theme for 2019 is: Let’s Make History.

BPM’s purposes are to lead civic engagement, amplify stories, cultivate next generation givers, and to expand the ways of giving through month long of events. BPM promotes the power of giving to transform lives and aims to inform, involve, inspire and invest in Black philanthropic leadership in order to strengthen giving in all forms in black communities. Public participation began in 2013 and has grown throughout the years. Participants can now get involved in BPM through various avenues, unique to their philanthropic styles – online and offline, locally and globally. Involvement can occur by attending a philanthropy or community related event, writing an op-ed piece inspired by the theme of the campaign, sharing news and stories using the #BPM2019 hashtag on social media, joining or starting a giving circle, becoming a mentor, hosting local civic engagement forums, engaging in community service projects and donating to a cause of their interest.

BPM was recognized by the United Nations as part of its Declaration of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. Each year, a new organizing concept frames the BPM campaign.

For more information about Black Philanthropy Month, visit blackphilanthropymonth.com. To support Ujima, Inc. and our mission, click here.

Star Jackson
Ujima Communications Intern

Happy summer! As temperatures rise across the country, the Black community is abuzz with the sights and sounds that make us unique – from neighborhood block parties and cookouts to concerts in the park, our communities are alive and the energy is palpable.

In the midst of our joyful reunions and celebrations of family and community, we can’t forget that the scourge of domestic, sexual and community violence is an ugly reality that doesn’t go away with the change of seasons.

Ujima, Inc: The National Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community is a national organization with local roots firmly planted in the Black community. We serve the full range of the African diaspora, including Africans, African-Americans, African immigrants, Afro-Caribbeans and Afro-Latinx. The needs of our community are as unique and diverse as our experiences. Our work is guided by the singular vision – to create a world where Black women and girls are valued, respected, safe and free from violence. Our vision is actualized through 5 key goals:

  • Act as a resource center tailored to Black survivors of domestic violence and their families and friends.
  • Build the capacity of domestic violence service providers in their response to family, domestic, and dating violence in the Black community.
  • Advocate for social change and drive policymaking for domestic, sexual and community violence in the Black community.
  • Engage in culturally competent research on race, class and equity surrounding victim services and systematic accountability.
  • Develop tools that have a direct impact on the reduction of domestic, sexual and community violence in the Black community.

Since its inception, Ujima staff, supporters, advocates, allies and friends have adopted a collaborative approach to addressing domestic, sexual and community violence in the Black Community in a comprehensive way. We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made, yet are fully aware of how much further we need to go to ensure the safety and security of the Black family.

We are excited to announce the first installment of our U-Blast (or Ujima Blast), a bi-monthly publication that is an outward expression of the collective, ongoing work of Ujima and its partner organizations and advocates across the country.

The inaugural issue of the U-Blast will be full of information and insight including a review of the 2019 Essence Festival and a glimpse into the power of Black Philanthropy Month (August). Keep a close watch on your mailbox; you won’t want to miss this must-read resource.

 

Karma Cottman
Executive Director
Ujima, Inc.: The National Center On Violence Against Women in the Black Community

CHANGE THEIR WORLD. CHANGE YOURS. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.