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Our community report back will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 6:30-9 p.m., at the McClymonds Youth and Family Center (Game Room) located on McClymonds High School’s campus, 2607 Myrtle St., West Oakland. This trip wasn’t just for me or my students; it was for our community. We will show footage of the trip, allow young people to tell their stories, and do a panel so that members of the community can ask questions and learn from our students.
As the executive secretary for the Gore-Mbeki Commission Environment Committee, I sat at the negotiating table while the newly elected government of Nelson Mandela formulated its environmental policies. This position provided a unique vantage point for an African-American woman who had marched in front of the South African embassy against apartheid.
In the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death, hosannas continue to be sung to the former ANC leader and South African president from both the left and from the right. But the right’s embrace of Mandela as an anti-racist hero doesn’t ring true. Is there another reason establishment media and mainstream politicians are as Mandela-crazy as the left?
Nelson Mandela fought for justice, democracy and freedom for all. He did not say that the poor were excluded. He did not say that people from some provinces were excluded. We remain committed to the vision of justice, democracy and freedom for all. We will continue to take Mandela’s struggle forward. Mandela went to jail saying that he stood for a “revolutionary democracy in which poverty, want and insecurity shall be no more.” The struggle for a revolutionary democracy, a democracy in which every person counts, continues.
South African President Jacob Zuma, in his State of the Nation address, promised to speed the pace of land redistribution and housing construction to replace the country’s urban shantytowns, but nearly 20 years after the end of apartheid, the number of people living in shantytowns has doubled and the state violence to evict the residents has increased.
Congolese youth are not going to give up. They’re fighting day and night, educating their peers, their communities and mobilizing throughout the country to bring about change, whether it comes today or tomorrow. They’re clear that they have to be organized to protect their interests, and no one, no one, can protect their interests like they can.
Twenty years ago, on Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela walked out of his prison cell and, four years later, a huge majority elected him president. Now, after 16 years of ANC rule, the majority of South Africans are worse off than they were under the white minority regime.
We arrived in Palestine on Jan. 2, the fourth day of the attacks on Gaza and the day after the murder of Oscar Grant III by the subway police in Oakland.