Reconnecting with the Motherland

Filed under OPINION

I’ve traveled to several African states, often to attend the Leon Sullivan African/African-American Summits. There’s nothing like the feeling experienced when arriving on the African continent.

Brothers and sisters are always exuberant in their welcome of guests, but African-Americans tend not to feel like guests. It’s about returning to the home of our ancestors who were stolen from Africa.

Fully engaged
This year, Hope Sullivan Masters, daughter of the late Dr. Leon Sullivan, will take the Summit to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Its president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago, came to Washington, D.C., and I had an opportunity to meet him and his first lady. Both were gracious and invited us to travel to their nation for the next Summit.

The Ninth Summit is a great way for some of us to re-connect with our motherland. It’s made up of world leaders who will again gather August 20 – 24, 2012 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea under the theme “Africa Rising.” The overriding theme of the Summit will be human rights in an increasingly global society.

The first lady inquired of me as to which pain of separation was worse – ancestors being taken from the Motherland or those who were left behind. I told her it was difficult to measure, because the pain must have been great for both. Our ancestors experienced both pain and fear upon being torn from Africa. I’m sure those left behind experienced pain, but without the fear. That might make for a difference in the level of pain, but pain is pain!

Obama applauded
The Sullivan Foundation recently applauded President Obama for his extraordinary new partnership challenging the pandemic of chronic hunger in Africa. He and other leaders made a bold stride to make food security a priority for the tens of thousands of children dying from starvation and the incalculable loss of life that continues to mount, despite the fact that Africa holds most of the world’s unused arable land.

The U.S. is the single largest donor of aid in some portions of Africa, and has a large presence in Equatorial Guinea. About 4,000 delegates are expected to attend – many from the U.S. President Obiang has said he is inviting all 54 African presidents to attend in the new city of Malabo, which was built to create a state-of-the-art platform for the summits of the African Union.

President Obiang has made significant reforms in his country and the Central African region, stressing the importance of democratic ideals and creating an enabling environment for new investment and sustainable development.

It’s great to re-connect with our Motherland, so I encourage all who can to travel to the Summit this year.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.

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