October is Breast Cancer Month. Join author and four-time survivor of breast cancer, Sherry B. Williams, for a candid conversation about myths and truths about cancer treatments and life after. Also, why are so many African-American women, despite breakthroughs in treatment, diagnosed in the late stages?
For all those touched by a cancer diagnosis: current patients, survivors, care- givers, family and friends. Sherry’s little book, When Cancer Calls is short, faith-based, lighthearted and filled with hope. More information on Sherry at www.whencancercalls.info
No registration required:
Tuesday, October 1 at 12noon
Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda Weekly Meeting
Please select a date that works best for your schedule and bring a friend. Or, book Sherry for your meeting or Lunch & Learn. The more people educated about this awful disease, the more lives will saved.
Debra Santos (blue scarf), an Atlanta Airbnb host, who is visiting Ghana as part of that nation’s “Year of the Return.” African Americans have been encouraged to return to Africa this year to mark 400 years of slavery. “My face says it all,” Santos said of the photograph, taken in an Elmina Castle dungeon where dozens of female captives would have been held before departing into slavery.
Photo: Courtesy Debra Santos
EXCLUSIVE: Centuries later, Atlantans make trip to Ghana’s “Door of No Return”
King Historical Site, APEX team up to bring grim reminder home
For many thousands, it was the last glimpse of Africa.
Through a door, made narrow so that they would have to walk through in single file, Africans trudged out of the darkness of Ghana’s Elmina Castle or nearby Cape Coast Castle into the blinding sunlight bouncing off the Atlantic Ocean. Then they were chained and stacked like cordwood onto awaiting boats.
That “Door of No Return” was the grim gateway west to a life of enslavement in Brazil, the Caribbean, and America.
“When you walk out of that door today, even now, it is terrifying,” said Debra Santos, an Atlantan visiting Ghana now. “So they had to be terrified to look out in the distance and see no land and know they weren’t coming back.”
But thousands of African Americans have made the trip back to Ghana in recent months. Many have traveled from Atlanta, which has one of the largest Ghanaian populations in the U.S.
Ghana, part of the Gold Coast, a major departure point during the slave trade, recently launched “The Year of Return” campaign. The country, still coming to terms with the role Africans played in the capture and sale of Africans, as well as slavery’s impact on the nation’s development, is urging American descendants of slaves to return home even for just a few days.
Nene Kisseih, his daughters Korleki and Audri Kisseih and his cousin Gabriella look out of Elmina Castle’s Door of No Return. The door is adorned with gifts and wreaths left by others.
Photo: Photo Courtesy Nene Kisseih
At the same time, as America marks 400 years since the first African slaves arrived in the U.S., Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park is trying to acknowledge what that door means in the starkest of ways. As part of a new exhibition entitled “400 Years” that opened Aug. 26, a giant photo of a door and mannequins of slaves greet tourists in the atrium.
A block down Auburn Ave., as part of the exhibition, the African-American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum, the city’s oldest black cultural repository, is exhibiting “Africa: The Untold Story.” In that more detailed account, visitors can walk through a life-sized replica of “Door of No Return.”
The exhibitions, a glimpse into the Middle Passage and American slavery, are being described by the park and museum as a “journey over four centuries to America and hopes as a people, past and present, for racial equity and healing.”
The Door of No Return saw thousands of Africans leave the continent for the last time to a world of slavery.
Photo: Photo Courtesy Courtesy Arletha Livingston
Last week, standing outside the door replica, Dan Moore, who founded the APEX in 1978, watched silently as visitors tentatively walked in and were bombarded with a recording of waves, mixed in with screams and the shuffling of chains.
“Everybody that I have talked to, who has visited the actual Door of No Return, tell me that when they walk into that space, they can feel the presence of their ancestors,” Moore said. “Nothing was as horrific as the slavery that the Europeans modeled. They stripped Africa of its culture, its religion, its resources, its people.”
From ‘20 and odd’ Negroes to 12 million
On Aug. 26, 1619, the first Africans to arrive as slaves on American shores landed in Port Comfort, Virginia. Those “20 and odd Negroes” created the foundation for more than 200 years of chattel slavery in America.
It will never be known how many Africans were captured and stolen from Africa, but it is estimated that more than 12 million of them were shipped across the Atlantic over a span of 400 years. Roughly 389,000, or about 3% of the enslaved, landed in America.
Korleki Kisseih and Audri Kisseih were taken to Ghana for the first time earlier this month by their Ghana-born father Nena Kisseih to mark Korleki’s 14th birthday. The sisters stand behind an iron gate in one of the Elmina Castle dungeons, which would have been used to hold captured Africans bound for slavery.
Photo: Courtesy Nena Kisseih
“The transatlantic slave trade represents the most tragic episode in human history,” said Osagyefou Amoatia Ofori Panin, the king of Kyebi, in Ghana’s Eastern region. “It explains many things, but most importantly the material underdevelopment and the destruction of the communal and humanist social and cultural fabric of African society. The transatlantic slave trade opened the door for colonization and conquest of Africa.”
With “The Year of Return” campaign, “we can rewrite history,” Panin told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Africans in the diaspora have a role to play in rebuilding the continent.”
Anxiety and horror
Santos, the Atlantan, made that journey home, setting foot on African soil for the first time on Aug. 20. She was traveling with a group of fellow black Airbnb hosts. They have all returned home. She has extended the trip on her own indefinitely, touched by a crowd of Ghanaians who hugged and rubbed her face when she arrived.
“They kept saying, ‘welcome home, we missed you,’” Santos said. “I don’t know if I had ever felt the spirit, the African spirit, until that very moment. It was awe-inspiring. America is the love of my heart, but Ghana is the love of my soul.”
Still, nothing could have prepared her heart and soul for the rest of the trip.
Debra Santos, outside of Elmina Castle in Ghana. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got to Elmina,” she said. “Nothing could prepare me for it.”
Photo: Courtesy Debra Santos
On Ghana’s coast, Santos visited Elmina Castle and the Cape Coast Castle.
Generally known as holding spaces for captured Africans, it will never be known exactly how many came through the two ports, through the doors and onto ships bound for slavery.
At Elmina, Santos was ushered into a dungeon where women captives were held. By today’s standards, one of the dungeons should probably hold about 30 people. More than 150 would be packed in, with a single window to circulate the dense, hot air, according to historical accounts. Those who survived were carted onto boats.
“When we went to the dungeon, they turned the lights off,” said Santos, who has traced her roots to nearby Ivory Coast. “I had a major anxiety attack. You can feel and sense how horrible it could have felt back then. I did not expect to be so emotional.”
Like outer space
Arletha Livingston knows the feeling.
The director of the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Innovation Lab, Livingston has been going to countries in Africa since 1995, and every trip to Ghana is emotional.
In early August, she tagged along with her sister, a trauma specialist, who guided members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), through the castles and dungeons.
They said “send her back” but Speaker @SpeakerPelosi didn’t just make arrangements to send me back, she went back with me
The Shades of Nubia Festival is an amazing event that honors the creative genius and achievements of Black Women in the arts. It will provide much needed exposure to the awesome talent of Black Women, that continues to breathe life into our communities through the arts.
Watch these amazing sisters, as they showcase their creative artistry through music, spoken word and dance!
There will be vendors and an auction of amazing art, jewelry and fashion, all curated by way of Black Girl Magic!
*This event will be recorded live and will air on the Black on Purpose Television Network.
BRING THE FAMILY!
*By purchasing a ticket and/or attending this event you give permission to be taped. You give permission for your name, image and likeness to be used worldwide on BOP TV.
The Women Superstars Luncheon celebrates women of color in front of and behind the bronze lens. BronzeLens honors female luminaries in the film and television world. Now in our 10th year, the event includes a Bronze Carpet, lunch and awards program.
Celebrating the power and achievements of women of color in film and television has been a cornerstone of the original planning of the BronzeLens Film Festival.
Our Women SuperStars Luncheon brings together legends like Suzanne de Passe, Margert Avery, Lyn Whitfield and Julie Dash, emerging stars like actress Brely Evans, top level industry executives like Cheryl Boone Issacs and Connie Orlando, visionary and creative industry women like producer/director Ava DuVernay and producer Shelby Stone for a star-studded presentation of awards.
What is going on with the Fort McPherson development on Lee Street in south west Atlanta? Strategically located between the Oakland City and Ft. McPherson/Lakewood MARTA rail stations, this former Army Base was finally beginning to show signs of development four years ago. That is when Tyler Perry purchased the majority of the property and the remaining (approximately) 145 acres has been slowly planned for community use with community input.
It was beginning to look as if the Oakland City/Ft Mac communities, with an average household income of less than $20,000, were about to get a “good deal”. Now, the project that includes lots of community input, has come to a halt.
In the Saporta Report, Maria Saporta weighs in and is asking City Hall some really tough questions. I welcomed the opportunity to add my two cents. See her article on the link below:
Darvian Chester of Columbus, Georgia decided to jump into action when he saw that Google did not honor Juneteenth on June 19, 2019 with its daily ‘Google Doodle’. Darvian has given new meaning to be the familiar phase, ‘You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution’. See the full AJC article by Maureen Downey by clicking on the link below.
It is unfortunate that most people do not celebrate Juneteenth because they either have never heard of it or do not know what it is. So, here are the facts sbout a critically important date in American, not just Black American, history:
This Essence article blew me away because I had not heard of Fort Mose, have you?
Wow! African American/Black history is so rich and filled with stories of courage, sacrifice, determination and a few victories along the way. Fort Mose’ near St. Augustine, Florida is just as important as Black Wallstreet in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Please share with you circle of influence:
The more people we educate, the more power we acquire:
Truth is knowledge. Applied knowledge is power…
To apply knowledge, we form viable strategic plans.
Viable strategic plans are responsible for (just to name a few major accomplishments):
the Underground Railroad, Black Wallstreet, HBCUs, Mayor Harold Washington, the 40-hour work week, child labor laws, OSHA, public transit, the right to vote, Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid, Mayor Harold Washington, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, President Barack Obama, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio.
As we keep working our strategic plans, we will also have victories that include:
Healthcare for all, reparations, equal pay for equal work, dismantling of the prison industrial complex vis-a-vi…elimination of racial profiling, and equal justice under the law.
You are either part of the problem or part of the solution!
Billions in transit funding needed to build and connect MARTA as additional counties “get with the program”. Billions found for toll lanes. And, former Gov. Deal even kicked on $400 million for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). @AJC article explains it well. Read & demand more funds for all More MARTA projects to connect to future regional projects as the other 19 counties complete their transportation plans later this year.
If the state can find hundreds of millions for the GA 400 BRT Transit project, then they can also find hundreds of billions the rest of the region for much needed Light Rail (LRT) & Heavy Rail transit projects. OUR legislators always find funding for their pet projects!
Our voices and our votes matter! We can no longer simply allow state elected officials to vote as they please. ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport’. Democracy is a representative system of government. Those elected are paid with our tax dollars. So, they work for us! Do not get it twisted!! What happens in the halls and chambers of the Georgia State Capitol determines our quality of life both now and in the future. Traffic gridlock is at an all time high and getting worst as tens of thousands of new residents annually moving to Georgia…especially the metro Atlanta region.
And, we all know, as proven by research done by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and numerous other organizations, the solution to Atlanta’s growing traffic nightmares is to heavily invest in a regional transportation plan. So far, we see that toll lanes around I-285, except the southern (Airport) section has been funded. Anything wrong with that plan??
And, MARTA is struggling to find local and federal matching funds for its long list of worthy transit expansion projects. The state can no longer dance around their fiscal responsibility to correct the fact that they controlled, yet did not fund MARTA during its’ first 45 years. Yet, these same state officials love to brag, Georgia is the #1 state to do business! Really?? How many more companies are being told the dirty secret about why Georgia chose to “starve” its only commuter transit system…to reveal the real reason why Georgia was the only state to not fund its’ transit system until January of 2018. The AJC, the Saporta Report (in the Atlanta Business Chronicle)!and many others have revealed these dirty little racist decisions.
It has been 47 years of injustice and outright sabotage to the regional and state transportation plans. Are we as taxpayers going to sit back and let this current 30-40 year transportation plan suffer the same fate? Or, are we going to stand up, speak out, and demand state lawmakers right this wrong with by finding hundreds of billions to expand and build a “real” transportation system as our northern, Midwestern, and western states; and countries overseas that includes: Germany, European countries, Rio de Janero, Japan, China, etc. that allow residents and tourists to avoid the traffic and take public transit. It is smart, efficient, and expensive. Yet so worth it if Atlanta really wants to be a world class city.
Georgia State Legislators are elected every two years. There are 180+ state reps and 56 state senators. That means they are all up for re-election in 2020. So, do we tell them they must change their views and votes to fully support transportation funding? Do we find and fund opposition for those who refuse our demand? This is a chance we can make next year, if we start right now! We can no longer ask or beg. We have the power of our vote to make sure our 2020 votes send a message all the way down our presidential year ballots!!
Are you in? Will you commit now to make sure everyone who voted against HB 930 and those against fully funding and securing additional P3 (public private partnerships) transit expansion funds?
This is a huge opportunity for us to draw a line in the sand and make sure our state lawmakers know to support our transit expansion NOW, or to spruce up their resumes for their next job.
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