by Willie Thompson
A powerful component of 2008 presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney’s five-day San Francisco Bay View newspaper fundraising tour, Aug. 20-24, is the developing bond between Ms. McKinney and a group of young adults in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area. Several representatives of these young adults spent every waking and sleeping minute with Cynthia. Sometimes as many as 30 young adults prepared and ate food, watched DVDs and listened to music with her and discussed the day’s events plus local, national and international issues such as Gaza, Palestine, electoral politics, authenticity, integrity, spirituality etc. until 3 a.m. This is here labeled as debriefing, outreach, bonding and mutually respectful meetings between conscious, experienced, active and knowledgeable elders and young adults.
An expanded group of young adults, sometimes numbering more than 30 people, gathered after a long day of public presentations with the former congresswoman from Georgia. At every public meeting, donations and support for the award winning Black newspaper (firstname.lastname@example.org) and website (www.sfbayview.com) was the main focus of her presentation along with her tour of Israeli-war ravaged Gaza, prison conditions for the mostly Black Israelis and the ongoing struggle against Israeli Zionist genocide of the Palestinians. Ms. McKinney also praised local projects such as the POCC (Prisoners of Conscience Committee), The Black Dot (a West Oakland urban housing, garden and culture project), the Green Party and other programs that she is now profoundly connected to.
Her young adult entourages that transported her, guarded her, dispatched her and affectionately embraced her were mesmerized by the genuine authenticity of the former presidential candidate and her gripping stories. Often, the young adults invited elders of substance, experience and knowledge to join them and share their observations about their community development programs, their strategy for liberating the Black community and preparing themselves for roles in the community.
These were the most dynamic exchanges around strongly held legitimate perspectives. The young adults often reported that they were dealing with these concepts in their own critical meetings and wanted the input of the elders such as Cynthia and others who joined her. These elders responded with great patience, caring, wisdom, commitment and experience. The bond appeared to be sealed here and is expected to grow and expand nationally and internationally.
Film footage of the former congresswoman’s tour, including the debriefings, outreach to young adults, exchanges between young adults and conscious elders and bonding around issues of race and political consciousness was shot by two of the young adult film makers, Adimu and Angela. A documentary film is being made from the footage and will be entered into several film festivals nationally and internationally. Ms. McKinney will help submit the film to the Palestinian and other film festivals and offer her network of supporters in its distribution. The film should be reviewed in October by a group selected by the young adults.
Willie Thompson, president of the Organization of African North Americans, is professor emeritus of sociology, City College of San Francisco. Email him at email@example.com. This is an eyewitness account. Willie Thompson is our hero for opening his beautiful home as the headquarters for the tour and living quarters for Cynthia and the entourage of extraordinary young adults he describes.