November 11th 2017, Los Angeles witnessed the resurgence and redefinition of Pan Africanism at The African Diaspora Conference hosted at the Holman United Methodist Church.
Under the patronage of South African born Pastor Kelvin Sauls of the Holman Methodist Church, the African Diaspora Coalition including BAJI (Black Alliance for Just Immigration), ISBL (International Society for Black Latinos) reconciled a panel of great leaders from the Pan African Diaspora in Los Angeles to discuss “Our Culture, Our Identity”. Guests and participants at this event included community representatives from Rwanda, Cameroon, Cuba, Belize, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Panama the US and more.
Juanita Palacios-Sims of Cuban descent, Founder and Executive Director of the ISBL brilliantly moderated this discussion portraying the issues and concerns of the Africans in the Diaspora.
Ethiopian born Zerihoun Yilma of CHIRLA (Coalition For Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles) ignited the discussion with a very engaging story about his immigration adventure and called attention to issues men face as new immigrants in America. He shared with the audience that immigrant issues are not only peculiar to Latinos in Los Angeles and called for the African Diaspora to join and advocate for African immigrants who are equally going through very appalling immigration challenges at this time.
Attorney Haimanot Habtu, ESQ, of Ethiopian descent currently a board member of ISBL and great advocate of immigrants in Los Angeles delivered stats on the demographic of the African immigrants in America.
Ayuko Babu, Executive Director of the Pan African Film and Arts Festival, member of The California Film Commission shared more light on the importance of us owning our narratives and producing our ideas.
Taking a short break audience and participants watched a short but very compelling video about LUCIE the very 1st woman alive.
Assumpta Oturu of Ugandan descent, radio host and producer of Spotlight Africa on KPFK 90.7 FM Pacifica for Southern California, talked about how African and African-Americans can enlighten one another about the unique aspects of their culture.
Melissa Shepherd-Williams of Panamanian descent, a marriage and family therapist and Vice President of ISBL shed light on the importance of health and wellness especially in regards to the implications of stress on our health and how the Diaspora should build strength through health.
The event concluded leaving the audience with much more to think about regarding who the African Diaspora is. The second African Diaspora Conference is scheduled for the 1st Quarter of 2018.
Enjoy these clips of panel discussions on “Our Culture Our Identity”: