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Africa's Resources in African Hands

Urgent Call-In: Make Uhuru Foods Part of Maker Faire

Dear Uhuru Foods and Uhuru Movement Supporters,

We are calling on you to express your shock and outrage at the decision by Ovations, the food coordinators for the Maker Faire 2009 to terminate the contract of Uhuru Foods, without explanation, just 7 days prior to the event. As you may know, Uhuru Foods has been coordinating popular food concessions at fairs and festivals for 30 years to raise resources in support of the Uhuru Movement programs for African genuine economic development and self determination. The booths have offered good quality natural foods, and the opportunity for thousands of volunteers to concretely demonstrate their support for genuine economic development for the black community.

We call on supporters of the Uhuru Movement and of the rights of the African community to call or email the individuals listed here. Please take a moment to read this appeal and to contact the organizers of the Maker Faire immediately. CC: oakland@uhurufoods.org in your emails. If you get a voice mail, leave a message, request a response. The fair takes place on May 30th and 31st.   

  1. Express your outrage at the exclusion of Uhuru Foods and support for the black community from Maker Faire
  2. Demand that Uhuru Foods booth be reinstated at the Maker Faire:
Charlie Neary
Vice President of Ovations
cneary@ovationsfoodservices.com
925-426-5128
Sherry Huss,
Director, Maker Faire
sherry@oreilly.com
707-827-7074
Chris Carpenter, General  Mgr.
San Mateo Event Center:
ccarpenter@smeventcenter.com
650-574-3247

On Friday, May 22nd, Nancy Davis of Ovations notified Uhuru Foods that they were terminating our contract just one week prior to the faire. She refused to give a reason for excluding Uhuru Foods. Uhuru Foods has had an excellent relationship with Maker Faire promoters in the past.

We believe that excluding Uhuru Foods runs counter to the mission of the Maker Faire. The Maker Faire focuses on generating thought and action towards building a sustainable future.

The predominantly white middle class community that produce and attends the Maker Faire have always appreciated being able to support Uhuru Foods. Excluding Uhuru Foods ensures that the festival is an exclusive enterprise that does not include the voice, perspective and struggle of the African working class.

Without any explanation from Ovations for the cancellation, we can only assume that they do not support the independent voice and self determination struggle of the black community, They are choosing to exclude African led programs for true sustainability and justice that African people are leading through the Uhuru Movement. Just as during the early 1960s, some opposed the leading struggles of black people in the South who challenged the status quo with such bold actions as the lunch counter sit-ins.

It is urgent that Maker Faire reverse the decision and allow Uhuru Foods to set up our food booth.  We have already ordered and/or purchased thousands of dollars in inventory; purchased a larger grill to accommodate the number of people we serve, and secured 30 volunteers.  Many are from 3 service organizations from high schools and colleges in Mateo County itself. One volunteer paid airfare and is arriving on Wednesday, May 27th. On top of that, Uhuru Foods has provided excellent healthy and vegetarian food for the past two years at Maker Faire with a great reception from the crowds.

The funds raised by the Uhuru Foods booth support the programs of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF) (www.apedf.org) for economic development and an end to the disparities faced by African communities in health, healthcare, education and economic development. APEDF has built wellness programs, a community gym, Uhuru Furniture, and Uhuru youth and basketball team.
The All-African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) brings clean water and renewable and sustainable energy to African communities internationally. A project already implemented in Sierra Leone provides 3,000 liters of water a day to a community that had no water one year ago. They have built a clinic and fishing project in West Africa, as well. A borehole well for a collective agricultural project in Zimbabwe is also on the agenda of AAPDEP. You can learn more about these projects by and for African people at www.developmentforAfrica.org.

Internationally, the Uhuru Movement convened a conference in West Africa last fall that brought together Africans from throughout the region to create a program to address the issues facing African workers and peasants. In April, a similar conference was convened in East Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. A conference this weekend brought together Africans throughout Europe in Manchester, England, while Africans from throughout North America met in a similar conference in Washington, DC.
AAPDEP and APEDF are collaborating to build the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI), which includes community gardens, renewable and sustainable energy projects, rainwater harvesting projects and economic development programs. This initiative is designed to collectively allow for the survival of African people wherever they are from East Oakland to East Africa. 

African communities today, face brutal police assaults, beatings, harassment and murders. African people fill California prisons as a result of designer laws, such as the three strikes law, and the California prison system in the last period of time has fed the economy of California. The Uhuru Movement defends the African community.

The work of Uhuru Foods is extraordinarily important, especially during these dire economic times. As an Alameda County Health Department report tells us, there are grave disparities in living conditions, just inside of Oakland itself; conditions that mirror those of African communities throughout the country:

An African born in West Oakland, as compared to a white child born in the Oakland hills:
·         Will live 15 years less.
·         Is 1 ½ times more likely to be born premature with a low birth rate
·         Is 7 times more likely to be born into poverty
·         As an adult, will be 5 times more likely to be hospitalized with diabetes, twice as likely to die of heart disease, 3 times more likely to die of a stroke and twice as likely to die of cancer.

At the same time, the state government is cutting all social services, Medicare and welfare, which will only increase these disparities and bring absolute poverty to the African community. The economic situation is so dire in California that teachers are involved in civil disobedience.
We cannot settle for the exclusion of the black community from this event. We believe that the resources that Uhuru Foods raises at Maker Faire must be made available to African people. We believe the voice of the oppressed African community must be heard.

Thank you for your support for the Uhuru Movement and
for justice for the African community!