Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Take Action



  1. Donate at www.telema.org to help with their transport to safety.
  2. Write BEFORE MAY 4 to the Congolese authorities listed in the alert from Amnesty International (sample language is pasted below). It only takes 3 minutes. http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/uaa06715.pdf
  3. Spread the word by posting and forwarding this information to as many people you can via social media using ‪#‎Telema‬, which means 'Stand Up' in Lingala, a Congolese language.
Please personalize and send the below:
 
Dear Minister Alexis Tambwe Mwamba and Attorney General Flory Kabange Numbi

I am deeply concerned by the recent events in the DR Congo and am writing to urge the Congolese authorities to immediately reveal where the human rights activists and others arrested are being held. Please either charge them with a recognizable criminal offense or immediately and unconditionally release them. I urge the Congolese authorities to ensure that they are not subjected to any torture or other ill-treatment and to guarantee them access to lawyers and visits from their family members while in detention. 

Sincerely,




Send to: 
Include a copy to:

Please let Amnesty International know that you took action so that they can track our impact. Simply send a quick email touan@aiusa.org with "UA 67/15" in the subject line, and include in the body of the email the number of letters and/or emails you sent.

Thank you!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mass arrests of activists in DRC


*** Urgent news from our partners, Youth for a New Society***

Mass arrests of activists, other activists in hiding

Our friend and brother Ben is in grave danger.  Congo Activists of Michigan has been supporting Youth for a New Society for five years through our Hike for Congo fundraiser events.  Ben Kabamba is the leader of the Youth for a New Society (YNS) group, YNS is a member of the FILIMBI coalition.  We have Skyped with YNS, speaking directly with Ben many times.  I had the honor of meeting Ben during his visit just a few weeks ago when he was in the US for the UN youth conference. He is a brave friend who has committed his life to working for peace in the DRC. 




Ben is now being hunted by the Congolese military after a US diplomat and 40 others were arrested at a peaceful, properly permitted, pro-democracy meeting on Sunday. Ben managed to escape being arrested and has been in hiding with 5 other human rights activists at the UN (MONUSCO) office for the past several days, but the UN has said it can’t help him flee the country. The event was also sponsored by the US Embassy. The US diplomat was released as well as all the Europeans but all the Africans are still detained. Details are in an article HERE.  (many more news links below)

On Sunday March 15th, the Congolese military arrested youth leaders from Burkina Faso, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The arrests took place in the capital, Kinshasa after a press conference organized by a coalition of Congolese youth organizations called FILIMBI. The main speakers at the press conference along with 40 other individuals were arrested. The youth leaders arrested represented Y'En A Marre(We're Fed Up) from Senegal, Balai Citoyen (Citizen's Broom) from Burkina Faso and La LUCHA and FILIMBI from the DRC. Those arrested by the government include Oscibi Johann of Balai Citoyen, Fadel Barro, Malal Almamy Talla and Aliou Sané of Y'En A Marre, Fred Bauma of La LUCHA and several other Congolese youth. The military confiscated the equipment, video footage, ID cards and other belongings from the youth.

The arrests took place before a concert was to be held later in the evening in the Masina neighborhood of Kinshasa. The youth from Burkina Faso and Senegal were invited to the DRC by FILIMBI to engage in a dialogue around civic participation. Burkina Faso and Senegalese youth were sharing lessons drawn from their experiences in civic engagement in Senegal and Burkina Faso.



The Congolese government has made outlandish claims about the youth, painting them as terrorists. TheCongolese Minister of Communications has accused the youth of fomenting unrest and promoting violence.

The Congolese government continues to hunt down and arrest youth who participated in the peaceful, pro-democracy event on March 15th. The Kabila regime has been on a remarkable arrest spree. In addition to the dozens arrested on Sunday, one of the event organizers Sylvain Saluseke and another dozen youth activists in the eastern city of Goma were arrested on Tuesday, March 17th. These arrests are in addition to the 400 plus arrested in the wake of the January 19 to 22, Telema uprisings.
 Friends of the Congo, Congo Activists of Michigan, CongoSwim, and our supporters call on the Congolese government to immediately release all political prisoners and cease its witch hunt of pro-democracy youth activists.
The situation is urgent and we are calling for support to help get Ben and the five human rights activists out of the country. We need to raise international concern. 


Take Action:
Urgent action is needed to protect African youth from the crackdown by the Congolese government:

1.     Please pause to pray or send positive vibes and energy for their protection.  

2.     Donate at telema.org for them to get transport out of the country. Friends of the Congo is working with people they trust on the ground to coordinate the arrangements for Ben and the 5 other human rights activists to get to safety.

3.   Advocacy:
 * Call on the African Union,  United Nations and world leaders to denounce the repressive tactics being pursued by the Congolese government. 
 * Contact the US State Department office to urge the US to investigate the arrests and closely monitor the situation for safety of the civilians. Please email or leave a message (more information and a draft letter here.)
 Daniel Renna - Desk Officer (DR Congo)202.647-2216 rennadm@state.gov and Mark G Jackson - Democracy & Human Rights 202-647-9077.

* Email the Congolese embassy at ambassade@ambardcusa.org (draft letter here) to request immediate release of the people who are still being detained for participating in demonstrations in January, for the remaining 30 Africans arrested on Sunday.


4.     Spread the word by posting and forwarding this information to as many people you can. On social media use hashtag #telema




News Articles:

DR Congo: Mass Arrests of Activists | Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/03/18/dr-congo-mass-arrests-activists

DR Congo: Deadly Crackdown on Protests | Human Rights Watch: http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/01/24/dr-congo-deadly-crackdown-protests
US Defends Backing Event for DR Congo Activists: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31911799
DR Congo Activists in Goma Arrested: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31922771
US Diplomat Arrested with Pro-Democracy Activists in Congo: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/15/us-congodemocratic-arrests-idUSKBN0MB10120150315
Congo frees US diplomat but retains African democracy activists: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/16/congodemocratic-arrests-idUSL6N0WI1V320150316
AUDIO: Monday Kambale of Friends of the Congo was able to speak with Ben in French and he recorded it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwBWEvNzlgo  



Michigan: 
Peace Conference in Ann Arbor this week: 50th Anniversary of the First Anti-War Teach-In: https://www.facebook.com/events/446097078888814/

Hike for Congo, a fundraiser for Youth for a New Society, will be happening on our usual trail in late May this year, details coming soon..

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cuba: An African Odyssey


Cuba: An African Odyssey
The Role of Cuba in the African National Liberation Struggles
November 15 + 17
Detroit + E. Lansing
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History's Liberation Film Series (LFS) continues with a free screening of "Cuba: An African Odyssey" followed by a discussion on "The Role of Cuba in the African National Liberation Struggles" with Dr. Errol Henderson (Detroit), Dr. Rita Kiki Edozie (E. Lansing), and Maurice Carney.

Trailer: http://www.itvs.org/films/cuba-an-african-odyssey

"Cuba, an African Odyssey" is the previously untold story of Cuba’s support for African revolutions, one of the Cold War’s most vigorous contests over resources and ideology.The film traces the pivotal role played by Cuba’s international policy in helping independence struggles on the African continent beginning with Che Guevara’s mission into the Congo to avenge the death of Patrice Lumumba and then Cuba’s support of Amílcar Cabral’s uprising in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde. From Che Guevara’s military campaign to avenge Lumumba in the Congo up to the fall of apartheid in South Africa, 300,000 Cubans fought alongside African revolutionaries.

PART 1: DETROIT
Saturday November 15, 2014, 2 -6pm
with Dr. Errol Henderson and Maurice Carney
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
315 East Warren Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48201
The Wright Museum™
www.TheWright.org

PART 2: E. LANSING
Monday, November 17, 2014, 4-7pm
with Dr. Rita Kiki Edozie and Maurice Carney
Brody Hall Auditorium, Room 112
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hike for Congo 2014


Hike for Congo 2014 is happening the weekend of May 3-4, 2014!  We will hike together through the forest and fundraise for our Congo Connect partners in D.R.Congo: Youth for a New Society.  Hikers are encouraged to raise as much as they can for the cause.  We are raising funds for youth in D.R.Congo to create Technology Networking Centers♥ ~ a place where youth can get online♥ -learn how to use internet +technology to organize and mobilize their communities ♥ - and take action for social justice and PEACE ♥ (as their country has been in conflict for over 15 years -over 6 million have died and the conflict is ongoing) ..this is our 4th year doing this fundraiser - 3 technology centers have been created - the goal is to create 11 centers, one in each province in DRC - so the youth can build a nation-wide grassroots movement for PEACE +justice.  More info here: http://congoactivists.blogspot.com/p/congo-connect.html


::3 Steps to Participate in the Hike for Congo::

1- SIGN UP: email rfcwaa@gmail.com and say "Sign me up for the Hike!". We will add you to the hike team roster.

2- FUNDRAISE: Set a fundraising goal for yourself. Ask friends, family, and co-workers for donations. Share our crowdrise page to attain your personal goal, and help us reach our goal of $3000!

http://www.crowdrise.com/HikeforCongo2014

3- SHOW UP and HAVE FUN: Join the team for the hike on May 3rd and/or 4th at Waterloo Rec Area. The hike begins at 12pm. Potluck picnic immediately following the hike- bring a dish/snack to share.

Hike for Congo -Michigan will be a 3.6 mile hike in the Waterloo Rec Area, 20 minutes north of Ann Arbor.  Lakeview Trail is an easy hike with a nice view of Mill Lake.  There is also a Discovery Center to explore too (great for kids!).  We will meet outside the Discovery Center at 12 noon both days.  Potluck picnic around 2pm.

This year we are opening the invitation to anyone to do a Hike for Congo in your area, anywhere around the world, and fundraise for the cause. You can either create a team to hike with, or hike solo. **We are having a competition to see which team can fundraise the most!!** (email Brooke for further instructions on how to create a team and to add your team to the list: rfcwaa@gmail.com)


Teams:

Michigan: Hiking at the Pinckney Rec Center: 12 noon both days May 3-4: contact Brooke rfcwaa@gmail.com to join this team

North Carolina: contact Ngoie congofutureinc@gmail.com to join this team

New York: contact info TBA


Click here to donate to the cause!!:: www.crowdrise.com/hikeforcongo2014

facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/355825444560469/

One Billion Rising 2014


One Billion Rising Flash Mob in front of Ann Arbor City Hall

Friday, January 31, 2014

One Billion Rising


One Billion Rising
February 13, 2014, 6pm
An evening of poetry and dance to celebrate the right of women to be free from violence. Join us - Rise, Release, Dance!

ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not. It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right. ............

Our stories have been buried, denied, erased, altered, and minimized by patriarchal systems that allow impunity to reign. Justice begins when we speak, release, and acknowledge the truth in solidarity and community. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is an invitation to break free from confinement, obligation, shame, guilt, grief, pain, humiliation, rage, and bondage.

The campaign is a recognition that we cannot end violence against women without looking at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, the plunder of the environment, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy. Impunity lives at the heart of these interlocking forces.

It is a call to bring on revolutionary justice.

Learn more about OBR: http://www.onebillionrising.org/
Join the OBR-AnnArbor fb page: https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingObrAnnArbor

DANCE WITH US: We will be doing the One Billion Rising Dance at this event: everyone is welcome to JOIN US!! Check out this video to learn the steps:
----> http://youtu.be/mRU1xmBwUeA

CALL FOR Participants & Performers: Calling for survivors, allies, friends to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right. To be added to the lineup please email Barbara: werenje@hotmail.com

JOIN US: **Feb 13**: 6pm: The event will take place in the Greenhills School Dining Room (enter via the entrance by the Campbell Center) 850 Greenhills Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105


FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1420053371571929




Congo & OBR:
Rise4Justice Blog: Congo Rising: Why Am I Rising for Justice by Jane Mukuninwa ----> http://www.onebillionrising.org/4467/rising-justice-jane-mukuninwa/
Rise4Justice Blog: Congo Rising: Dear One Billion Rising for Justice Activists by Christine Schuler Deschryver ---> http://www.onebillionrising.org/4465/rise4justice-series-congo-rising/
Rise4Justice Blog: Congo Rising: What is Justice for the Women of Songo Mboyo? by Jessica Neuwirth ----> http://www.onebillionrising.org/4473/rise4justice-blog-series-congo-rising-justice-women-songo-mboyo-jessica-neuwirth/