by Dr. Donald R. Evans Sr.
The motivation to organize the National Afrikan-Amerikan Family Reunion Association, NAAFRA, a family movement in-gathering all New Afrikan families with reunions and those not yet experiencing the joy of reunion activity in their family into a single family movement charged with the fire of change and coming forward with a passion of love and pride in being Afrikan.
It is an idea born from a response given by lawyer and legal scholar Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” when a question was asked of her a couple of years ago during a speech at Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. The question came during the question and answer period after she had spoken on the subject of her book. The question asked was, “Where do we go from the time of your speech?” – in other words, “What can we do as New Afrikan people?”
It took only a moment to respond. What she told the audience and the poser of the question was this: “We are not likely to make much of a difference without a sizable movement, committed to change.” Little did I realize at the time how her response would affect my life. I don’t even think she knows to this day that she was talking to me.
Let me make it clear: neither one of us realized our spirits were in the spirit world with our ancient ancestors and they were the ones planting the seed in my mind to be called up at the appropriate time. That time came up a short time later at my Rogers of Rison Arkansas Family Reunion, Aug. 11, 2012.
I was honored to be the one delivering the message for this reunion occasion. In the course of my delivering the message for this reunion occasion, an inspiration came over me, requesting that I stop and ask for a show of hands of those married into our Rogers family. After this was done, I knew what to say and what I said was this: “Each one of you who are married into our Rogers family have linked your family to this family, and your reunion family is also linked to this family.
“But what have you done to make both of these families aware of the potential to grow wealth and other benefits that would soon come into view?” All the time my mind was back in Dallas hearing the words of our beautiful sister Michelle Alexander telling us we must have a movement of size. The movement has been waiting for years, and now it is here being connected.
“Where do we go from the time of your speech?” – in other words, “What can we do as New Afrikan people?” What she told the audience and the poser of the question was this: “We are not likely to make much of a difference without a sizable movement, committed to change.”
Already NAAFRA is reaching behind prison bars, letting our family members know they are not forgotten – even into the infamous Security Housing Unit (SHU) system that is the home to NAAFRA’s Inside Coordinator Abdul Olugbala Shakur, s/n J. Harvey, a political prisoner of some 31 years in solitary confinement. Great men live in prison cells, we should recall, as the world pays lip service to the death of South Afrika’s longest incarcerated political prison, Nelson Mandela.
These torture systems hold the bodies of our brothers and sisters in hopes of turning them into weak slaves who are unfit to help a family movement to stabilize our New Afrikan communities across our nation, using lies to prevent the movement of the George Jackson University to reach out to our youth to see the education offered by the GJU that seeks truth, justice and freedom for all righteous people. The minds of our inside coordinators will be of great service to NAAFRA in creating long-term jobs for our people – people the system stigmatizes to prevent those coming out of the system from finding employment.
No organization or movement is apt to go far without a funding plan, offering their organizations of like minds to come into NAAFRA’s Organizational Family Reunion Alliance Umbrella Affiliates, without sacrificing their individual mission or purpose, completely free of interference. This support alliance umbrella serves to increase the movement’s total strength to create jobs, improve educational opportunities, maximize the ability to grow wealth, develop programs that offer better health protection, establish Saturday schooling nationally for all needy families, offer maximum opposition to the fratricide occurring throughout Black Family America. This will be done by mobilizing all available resources to create a franchising infrastructure as a means of creating large numbers of permanent jobs and self-ownership throughout our families, in order to bring forward lasting change.
This will be done by mobilizing all available resources to create a franchising infrastructure as a means of creating large numbers of permanent jobs and self-ownership throughout our families, in order to bring forward lasting change.
As a funding source our NAAFRA plan will seek input from all families, including the highest tier of our New Afrikan families, to assist in keeping some of the monies that come into our hands long enough to help bring about the change we so desperately need. This fund will make it possible to bring into being the following franchising establishments and programs:
NAAFRA’s anchor franchise shall be the “Family Buffet Restaurants.” The restaurants will have a connection to farmland that will create the most jobs. The second franchise establishment shall be our “Hot Dog Huts,” with the same purpose of creating permanent jobs that will eventually eliminate our dependence on a system that has no intent to create enough jobs to fully employ our people.
The third establishment came from an idea that was born after reading the report to our people who did not attend the historical 18th anniversary of the Million Man March in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was pointed out at that time our farmers are only receiving $4 for a bushel of wheat, where the buyer can take this bushel to a flour mill and eventually make a $120 dollar profit.
Our leader, the convener of our 1995 gathering in Washington, D.C., the Honorable Louis Farrakhan, could see our farmers were being robbed of their goods and labor. Not only did our leader see this crime, he put plans in motion that caused our farmers to agree to meet the community halfway to solve this problem. Thus, the idea for our third establishment: “Half Way Bakeries” across our nation, where even more jobs will be created and healthy bread will be available to our families. Our farmers will also receive a fair price for their goods.
These three establishments are the only ones that deal with food, whereas the others are more oriented toward businesses and programs that will not create as many jobs but are very vital to the NAAFRA movement.
For example, our Saturday school system will no doubt involve more people than any other program in our movement, because it will have our children involved in building their future.
The business of dealing with our hair is another instance where franchising will be involved, but a large volume of jobs will not be involved. Still, we must establish hair and beauty shops all across Black Amerika, because if we must buy these products, it becomes necessary that we sell to each other in order to keep our jobs for our own people.
Our NAAFRA Grandmothers Network will include day care villages, single parent support systems, grandmother counseling centers and in-home nurturing services. These are but a few of the important tasks our grandmothers will accomplish from a position of love and tenderness that encourage spiritual growth as well as Afrocentric family development.
The introduction of the National Afrikan Amerikan Family Reunion Association, NAAFRA, to the public occurred on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 2013, at the famous Dallas Fair Park Cotton Bowl Tower Building. We witnessed a very joyful first annual celebration of reunion family unity with Afrikan drum and dance. The rest of the festivities were equally as uplifting: The Youth Drama Theater Group from Act of Change, Inc., a Cultural Umbrella Alliance member, and the Creative Entertainment Dance Company Youth Group, then free food from Iron Chef Caribbean Catering, another Umbrella Alliance member.
Speakers then took the mic – a board member, Ken Peterson, CEO of Global Greenology Energy Efficient Homes, speaking on the Unity Sunday program, reaching out to Black to Black Church America, followed by board member Eshudele Fagbenro speaking on the importance of Black culture to the unity of the New Afrikan family. The summation was provided by Dr. Donald R. Evans Sr., founder and CEO of this vital movement committed to honoring our cultural philosophy and to the survival of all Afrikan people as one complete family.
This movement, this family unity phenomenon, speaks to the continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession, from the past through the present to the future, clearly indicating the coming in of the era of NAAFRA Time, a time when the New Afrikan family must do more to use all of our resources.
The pages of Black family Amerika’s relevant and cherished newspapers in our Black Family Movement, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper and the Arrow Newspaper of the Institute of the New World, to the desk of NAAFRA’s founder and CEO in Cedar Hill, Texas, speak in one voice loud and clear, that 2014 must become Afrikans’ signature year for bringing forward the change we desires for ourselves, our family, our people and ultimately our one true God.
We are New Afrikan people in this struggle together inside prison and out here in our families that must fare for each other. No longer can we afford not to speak in one voice. Our family members locked behind prison walls, our church family collectively, our families throughout our nation, and most importantly our newspapers that stand with our families in building this movement for change will campaign to carry our message to every home inside the NAAFRA movement.
Send our inside coordinator some love and light: Abdul Olugbala Shakur, s/n J. Harvey, C-48884, PBSP SHU D1-119, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City, CA 95532, and register your family on our website at www.naafra.org.
Stay strong, stay focused and most of all stay in God’s hands!